PODCAST 248: SPAWN & THE CROW  


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28.11.14

THE REST OF THE FEST: Indie Horror Films You Must See!

By CORY CARR & FOREST TAYLOR
As you all may know, we here at Slaughter Film were asked to be film judges for the 2014 Eerie Horror Film Festival and together we screened and scored hundreds of films. Some were amazing and others… not so much. We talked about many official selections during our daily recaps of the EHFF which can be heard HERE. But as judges, the real trouble we ran into was letting go of some of the other great films that WEREN’T shown during the festival. There just wasn’t room in the three day schedule for all of the really remarkable shorts and features.

So we decided to compile a list of the more noteworthy films that didn't make the cut, called “The Rest of the Fest”. This list will act as a guide to those of you who are film festival goers on what you should be on the look out for. If you see any of these titles, in addition to the ones that WERE official selections of the EHFF, make sure to check them out!

SHORT FILMS

Hellyfish
Lets us begins with a bright, colorful and fun take on an old classic -- the giant monster movie. It begins with a pair of ne'er-do-well trying to retrieve one of the many long lost nuclear weapons from the Cold War era, just off the U.S. coast. The material from the nuke has causes the endogenous jellyfish to become monstrous and attack the hapless beach goers. This short hosts a diverse group of characters who's paths intertwine, developing their them quite a bit in such a short time. A good way to build a world around the beach setting in a way that is fun to watch.
Heels
This twisted short isn’t for everyone. It’s about a murdering foot fetishist who gets his comeuppance. Cory has said that Heels is what you would get if John Waters made a horror film. It’s strange, it’s violent and it’s gross. What makes the film truly memorable is how it doesn’t hold anything back.

Meet Your Maker
This film is easily one of our favorites. It was a real shame that it didn’t get shown at the EHFF. It’s is a story about an scientist who is conducting an experiment in an attempt to better understand what happened during the “Big Bang”. During the experiment he is able to, unknowingly, recreate the Universe on an atomic level. It raises all sorts of interesting questions about God, reality and the purpose of existence. What knocks the whole thing out of the park is that it is modeled in look and in tone after an episode of The Twilight Zone. This is a must see!
The Jigsaw
I don’t know who created the first jigsaw puzzle, but whoever crated THIS jigsaw puzzle must have ties to the supernatural. The Jigsaw begins with a man looking for something to occupy his evening, when he settles on a puzzle in a blank cardboard box. As the man struggles to piece the puzzle together, he is startled to discover what the puzzle image is. Wonderful premise with a very eerie, and effective reveal at the end.

Small Talk
Small Talk is an interesting combination of horror and the supernatural, about a young woman who is trying to make ends meet by moonlighting as a phone sex operator. Things take a turn when she suspects one of her callers of abusing children. While she investigates for herself, the young woman also learns that the conversations she has been having with her callers just may be killing them. This flick is clever with an interesting blend of horror and humor. Manini Gupta, the lead actress, displays great range. From no nonsense to frightened, as well as a collage of flirtatious characters to keep her callers going. Very creative and very fun.
Humidor
In a world full of "torture porn" and "Saw" rip-offs, Humidor follows in that trend, but in a much more high brow kind of way. It is about a wealthy man, the Colonel, who propositions a young go-getter. The Colonel offers to reward the young man for carrying out dare like tasks. They start with simple things, but soon grow more and more extreme -- as does the value of the rewards. Like many great horror films this ends with a twist that we don't want to spoil. We'll just say that we learn the true purpose of all this suffering. It's the type of thing that we could see happening in real life.

M is For Mobile
A film that for the most part is about a hired killer who is in the process of working over his victim in a slow torture sort of way (cutting off fingers and what not). His instructions are being texted to him one by one from the person who hired him. This leads into the ending, which is twisted and surprising. Similar to Tales From the Crypt in the way the ending springs on the viewer. Simple, but enjoyable.

The Lost Boy
A creative and artistic adaptation of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. The film begins with a fractured family who is vacationing in a cabin in the isolated wilderness. The family has removed itself from their day to day lives to focus on themselves and repair their family. That is… until a group of wild and nomadic children attack the family. We would rather not say too much about how the plot unfolds because it may give away some of the clever nods to the films source material. Perfect for those of you who may have read the book as a child.

Knock Knock
This is a story about three young women who are spending the night together at a sleepover, when one of them suggests that she knows how to summon the spirits of lost loved ones. As you would imagine, a spirit appears and the lives of the young girls are threatened. What makes this film stand out was the over all quality of the acting and production, but also in the way the director was able to deviate from what can be seen as a predictable horror short. An enjoyably terrifying surprise.
'Aemorraghe
A science fiction short based on a story published in the magazine Heavy Metal. This film was interesting due to it's complete absence of dialogue. The film is a surprisingly emotional story about one woman's struggle to hold onto her emotions in a cold emotionless future society. The lead actress gives an incredible performance consisting entirely of body language.

Dead Hearts
This was one of Forest’s favorites. The film is a cute little love story centering around a star crossed couple as we follow them through childhood, to death and eventually undeath. The film is very well-directed with a weird, quirky style that feels like a Wes Anderson directed horror film. If you're interested in a touching romance story with zombies and a little bit of Kung-Fu, this is your film.

Tokyo Halloween Night
Can anybody do strange tales like they do in Japan? This story follows a scarecrow who leaves the farm every Halloween to interact with people. While at a party, she meets a zombie and the two become friends. The zombie then helps the scarecrow defeat her mortal enemies: The Crows! The film is full of cheap, grade school drama club looking special effects and over-the-top performances, giving it a very otherworldly atmosphere. If you're into films that are way outside the ordinary, this one's for you.

The Dark Walk Backward
This one feels a lot like an old ghost story that people might tell around the campfire. The film follows a farmer as a goes up a hill to bury his daughter, but like all ghost stories, things are not as they seem. This short is well-acted and incredibly well-directed.

Strange Thing
A sci-fi thriller with practical special effects that harkens back to similar films of the '80s. It focuses on a newlywed couple who discover a strange door that mysteriously appears in their living room. Before the couple can decide what they should do about it, they find themselves in a paranoid "Body Snatchers" like situation. Simple in scale, but very effective. This films is a great example of what can be done with a good crowd funding campaign.
Forever
This one wins Forest’s vote for scariest short that he watched this year. It's the story of a woman who had a stalker years earlier. She has since moved and changed her identity, but now it seems like her stalker has found her. This film is scary and has some very good performances, but be warned, it's very unpleasant. After watching it Forest felt really bad, but that was the point so the film was very successful.

Pine Pinchers
This film follows a camera crew who is documenting a team of "pine pinchers", which is just a fancy word for grave robbers. We watch them perform their talent until they eventually dig up a grave that they probably should have left alone. The found footage genre is becoming a little played out, but we thought this one was very interesting.

Anemia
Another one from Japan! This is the tale of a female vampire who can only subsist on the blood of virgin men. Good acting all around, plus it's gross, scary and unsettling all in equal amounts. What more could you want in your vampire tales?

Switch
At just three minutes long, this one was the shortest film in the competition, but it does so much in those three minutes. The film is about a woman who discovers a light switch that can seemingly turn off the sun, And things only get weirder from there. This film contains one of the most well-timed scares of any movie in the competition.

Tasha and Friends
This one was an absolute blast! It's about the host of a children's TV show who is sick of the puppets on the show hogging up the spotlight. She plans to sell the puppets, but they have their own plans for her as well. The film is full of twisted humor and disgustingly enjoyable gore effects similar to early Peter Jackson or Sam Raimi. If you're in the mood for some grossout fun, this one's for you!
A Friend in Need
Last on the list is this film which follows a man who's convinced by his buddy to drive him around town to help him collect strange items that he needs for... some reason. As the film goes on, he realizes that his friend my have accidentally awoken some cosmic horror that he now needs help getting rid of. This film was very low-budget, but also incredibly enjoyable.

FEATURE FILMS

Interior
To begin, we have this little ghost story which follows a man who agrees to investigate his former girlfriend's new house while she and her family are out of town, because she thinks it may be haunted. The film makes good use of the stale found footage style. It is also very chilling, occasionally funny and by the end, more than a little surreal. Like all the other ones on my list, we were pretty disappointed that this one didn't make into the EHFF.
The Last Buck Hunt
This was a fun one, especially in a state where buck hunting is practically a religion. The film is about the cast and crew of the TV show "Who Gives a Buck?" as they search the woods of the Pacific Northwest for an elusive species of deer, but they end up finding so much more. The film is a lot of fun, with some great references to classic survivalist films like First Blood and Predator. Also, the lead actor is very funny and surprisingly sympathetic.

Case #13
Did someone say found footage? Well yes. We did, right now… So here we have a movie about a group of young men who belong to the same adrenaline junkie social group. After a friend pledging to join the group doesn’t return from being sent into a haunted house, the group venture into the house after him equipped with cameras. Sounds generic? Well Case #13 stands out from other similar films because of it’s over all quality. It looks good. It sounds good. It’s well acted, and ya know what? It’s actually scary.

Alice D
The last feature we’ll mention is about an old brothel that is haunted by the spirit of a young girl who was tortured and killed there. The story is well-worn territory but the director does a good job making it interesting with some creative camera work, some well placed scares and good performances, especially by Kane Hodder and former WWE wrestler Al Snow.

3 comments:

John Walkiewicz said...

The Jigsaw sounds like a short story I read decades ago. I will have to talk to you guys on how it ended (don't want to post potential spoilers here).

Aemorraghe being absent of dialouge makes me think of one of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes "The Invaders" starring Agnes Moorehead of "Bewitched"; about a lady in a farmhouse under attack by aliens. Written by the late great Richard Matheson. We had an entry to the horror fest a couple years ago which was quite like the TZ episode. Since there was no credit toward Richard or Rod, I disqaulified it.
-John Walkiewicz
V.P. Eerie Horror Fest

Kelly Kowalczyk said...

Now I'm curious and want to see them!!!

Jeremy Jantz said...

Jeremy Jantz here, the guy that brought you Heels. You are now the best festival that rejected me ever. Seriously, I appreciate you taking the time to highlight some films that for one reason or another didn't fit in. And I love your critique. If you have a moment, you might like my onstage Q and A from the Sacramento Horror Film Fest. As you might expect, it's off the rails. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbq-Cf7hkbM&list=UUscBtc45R3JYVnJPBJ9Dyqg