Thursday, June 4, 2015

Reviews: Short Horror Films

Text © Richard Gary / Indie Horror Films, 2014
Images from the Internet

The Horrors of AutoCorrect
Written, edited and directed by Alex DiVincenzo
Grimbridge Productions
5:43 minutes, 2014
Talk about yer short and sweet! Reminiscent of the opening of the first Scream franchise film, obnoxious teen Jenny (Jaquelyn Fabian) is at home watching a public domain Corman film, when the phone rings, leading to a humorous interaction with a masked serial killer (Nick Principe), who is standing outside her door. Though he seems a bit of a grammarian (“I don’t know, can you?”), he’s tortured by the both his cellphone’s AutoCorrect and Jenny’s sense of mean girl privilege. Beautifully shot by Jill Poisson (who shoots most of Richard Griffin’s films), the mood is kept going, and it’s hard not to laugh at both the texts (we’ve all been there, am I right?) and the texture of the moods. This is such a nice, enjoyable piece; it was a pleasure to sit through it a few times. Worth checking out.

Lights Out
Directed by David Sandberg
2:41 minutes, 2014
I’ve probably watched this a couple of dozen times now over the past few months. Such an excellently shot, dialog-free and claustrophobic boo! A woman (Lotta Losten) is alone in her apartment, or is she? Flicking lights she sees shadows, and there is obviously something in the dark. Filmed with just the right use of contrast and shadow, it is creepy as all get out, and the fear pays off.

They Stole the Pope’s Blood / Los Pantalones contra Dracula
Directed by Richard Griffin
Scorpio Film Releasing
5:48 minutes, 2014
If you’ve seen the fake coming attractions with a Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez film, these two trailers will make a bit more sense. It’s a mixture of a film that will never be made that combines a number of genres, and from beginning to end is hysterically funny. Many of the Griffin regulars are here (Jamie Dufault with a moustache!!!), and this is slick as can be, but in a good way. Not sure if it’s purposeful or not, but it seems to have been filmed with no sound and dubbed after, which actually works for its utter silliness, though especially with the second, Mexicano wrestling mash-up. Is it anti-Catholic? Perhaps, but not in a way to be taken seriously. It’s more schizophrenic than anti-religion. There are some themes that were present in other Griffin features, such as the Latino exorcist in The Sins of Dracula, but this really is a total stand-alone short that bears watching not once, but many times. It’s a gem. 

Directed by Preston Corbell, Chelsea Corbell
Demented Gnome Productions
18 minutes, 2014
Without dialog, we are taken on a trip through a remote part of Wimberley, Texas (<40 miles outside Austin) – which looks remarkably like the area near Pittsburgh in the opening of Night of the Living Dead – as we approach the house where some murders took place 20 years before by a hatchet-wielding man in a gas mask. We are told this in a text scroll at the opening.

Entirely shot as a POV, the short follows the protagonist as he explores the deserted house where the crimes played out. Yellow tape crosses the room where the past events happened, and we follow the person (whom we never see) doing the exploring. It is mostly all in a single shot as we see creepy dolls on display, rotted floor and walls, rusted appliances, and dimly lit hallways.

Here’s the thing: I have actually done something like this. With a friend, we went exploring local ghost (i.e., deserted) towns where the houses looked remarkably like this one, and it really is a fascinating thing to do, though illegal and occasionally dangerous (again, rotted flooring and walls). I see it as the modern version of spelunking, so I can relate entirely to the protagonist as she (Chelsea Corbell) walks around the spooky house taking pictures. There are a few good moments that you could easily miss if you’re not paying attention, so keep your eyes on the screen.

This probably could have been shortened a bit, but its execution is handled well as an indie with probably a budget of, well, nuthin’. It did keep my attention throughout due to my own deserted house fixation, but even so, it’s worth a watch.


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