As for the slate of films, I unfortunately missed a few because of my dreadful commute from New Jersey to New York, making me miss three out of the nine films. Before I go any further, here is the list of releases, with my review linked to each one:
- Spiders 3D
- (was supposed to be Game Of Werewolves, but there was a last minute replacement)
- It’s In The Blood
- Gallery Of Fear
In my personal opinion, the two best films shown were Doug Schulze’s Mimesis and Greg Olliver’s Devoured, with the latter being my festival favorite. Olliver is typically a documentarian, known for his metal-head fueled look into the life of Motorhead’s famous lead singer, Lemmy, but he also proved to possess a strong sense of atmospheric awareness with his first horror feature, Devoured. This white-knuckled creep-fest had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, and was a phenomenal way to end my 2012 festival experience.
Mimesis wasn’t a film to be forgotten either though, answering the age old question of “what happens when horror fans become too obsessed?” Schulze was able to find a way to ground the ridiculous notion that people would re-enact their favorite horror movies, and was able to pull off a scary tale of adrenaline junkies gone sadistic, introducing us to a cult-like group hell bent on recreating George A. Romero’s Night Of The Living Dead – for real. It’s a really cool concept, one that’s granted a sequel, and possibly even more, but none of these future endeavors would have been possible without Schulze’s proper delivery the first time around. Indie horror fans should go pick up a Blu-Ray copy if they can, it’s got my own personal endorsement on it and everything!
As for the not-so-good, which happens at any festival, so don’t take this as a bashing, but Spiders 3D just never sat well with me. It’s good, because we got this cheesy creature-feature out of the way on night one, but when a spotlight release gets out-shined by every single short film shown before it, you know something is amiss. Things only seemed to get worse when the attending cast and crew (or cast and entourage, couldn’t tell) got up halfway through the screening and left, being nowhere to be found afterwards. Oh well, you’ve got to take the good with the bad, right?
As for our short films program, I can’t tell you how much fun I had with these miniature screamers. Almost every single one struck my fancy in some way, be it a hearty laugh, ambitious kudos, or terrifying gasp, but a few stood out more than others. I ran down all of them already pretty extensively (Day 1/Day 2/Day 3/Day 4), but let’s revisit my Top 3 for the entire festival, as I originally separated them by days.
Night Of The Pumpkin
Night Of The Pumpkin was, as I like to say it, banana-sandwich (That was crazy! -> That was bananas! -> That’s a freakin’ sandwich of crazy! -> Banana-sandiwch! Now you know the progression). Frank Sabatella’s film is horror comedy to the extreme, containing hilariously graphic violence and absolutely absurd plot points, but while rocketing along in the format of a short film, there’s never a second for you to sensibly react. The craziness is just thrown at you scene after scene, continually topping itself, as our rampaging pumpkin devastates a town on Halloween. For those horror fans looking for something more fun and less serious, check this short out ASAP!
Plush is another comedic short that struck my fancy, taking the “killer doll” mentality and introducing us to a protective teddy bear. He’s not mean, he just really loves his owner, which becomes apparent when a burglar attempts to rob the house this teddy bear resides in. What ensues is hilarity and brutality, as this stuffed animal shows a serious set of claws. The situation only becomes funnier when the teddy’s owner comes home with her date, and there’s still a good amount of cleaning up to do. I know we’ve seen possessed toys and whatnot before, but Plush separates itself by keeping our bear consistently adorable, even though he’s covered in blood. Trust me, this is another can’t miss short.
Erlingur Thoroddsen’s short film Child Eater has the flair of a feature film, showcasing visually impressive cinematography and stellar acting from all parties involved. Seriously, I was absolutely floored by the high-quality of this urban legend story, introducing us to a twisted take on the long fabled stork mythology, birthing a brand new boogeyman in Robert Bowery. Prepare to have your skin crawl and feel the shivers going up your spine, as Bowery gives children yet another reason to fear the dark. Hey, Erlingur, can you please start making this into a feature film already?
Alright, so who wants to hang out November 14th – 17th, watch some horror movies, meet some legends, and throw back a few cold ones? You bet your ass I’ll be at the 2013 edition of the New York Horror Film Festival, and you should be too. I can’t wait to see which films surprise me this year, and hopefully make my Top 10 again, so stay tuned until around mid-October when the full lineup is revealed to the public. Then the real excitement begins…
Show a little support for indie horror and turn up for this year’s New York City Horror Film Festival! I hope to see you there!