[Horrible Imaginings Film Festival San Diego 2015]
Every year, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival in San Diego offers a carefully selected collection of genre short films. At this festival, the shorts are organized by blocks instead of being each paired with a feature length film each. The blocks at this year’s festival were “Child’s Nightmares”, “Horror-Comedy”, “Creature Features”, “Youth and Student Showcase”, “Horror for Humanity”, “LGBT”, “Natural Born Killers”, “Supernatural”, and “Animation”. Due to prior engagements and obligations, it was not possible to see all of them. Missed were the “Child’s Nightmares”, “LGBT”, “Natural Born Killers”, “Animation” blocks and most of the “Supernatural” one. 30 shorts were viewed and enjoyed and 33 were missed. Here are the best ones, the ones you should track down from the ones viewed (in no specific order):
Balloon by Frank H. Woodward
A little girl loses her balloon and the camera follows it as it floats and joins other balloons. A mountain climber meets with these balloons in a cave and mayhem ensues. Balloon is fun and has a few surprises in store for the viewers in its short run time. It’s a fairly simple story but having balloons be the central characters gives it originality and spunk. Music by Mars Homeworld.
Viande Rouge by Fernando Gonzalez Gomez
A man is apparently being tortured by a madman in basement, when he escapes, he finds himself in a house only to find out why he was being held captive. The twist in this one makes the film, it’s funny, well executed, and makes you want to see more of these characters holding the man captive in their basement. This one has really good use of classical music.
The Revenant by Norman Bosse Platiere and Victor Druillet
A young man finds out he cannot die after jumping off a roof to prove that dying is a matter of letting it happen. Much to the dismay of the Grim Reaper, he gets in his way by repeatedly stopping him which doing his job and saving the lives of random people for whom death had a plan. This film is really funny with a dark sense of humor and the effects on the increasingly damaged young man are gooey and just gross.
The Barber’s Cut by Mark Brocking
A man and a woman awaken in a refrigerator. Actually, scratch that, the heads of a man and a woman awaken in a refrigerator while their bodies are occupied elsewhere. A barber has them captive for experimentations on their dead bodies. The heads scheme and decide to escape but things are not as easy when your body is separate from your head. The humor makes this one of the bests of the fest, the effects make it even better.
Invaders by Jason Kupfer
This one is a really short short about two completely inept home invaders attempting to do their thing and quickly being thwarted. It possibly has the most blood on screen of any short film ever.
Clowntown by Andrew Kasch and John Skipp
A couple of down on their luck clowns stumble upon a pair of mime that are costing them business. However, these mimes are much more than simple French mimes, they are vampire cirque mime, hence much harder to fight and defeat. This one is insane and completely bonkers which is a very good thing in this case. Bombo and Flopsy may make comeback with more adventures soon, so keep your eyes peeled. Tom Holland co-stars.
Reborn, or the Young Woman and the Snail by David Halphen
A young woman goes to unusual lengths to see her dead boyfriend one last time. What sets this raising of the dead story apart is that it is a musical, complete with dance numbers. Reborn is an oddly uplifting story of loss and letting go making its song and dance fit well in the context.
The Peripheral by JT Seaton
A young man comes to his therapist’s home out of desperation. He sees monsters in his peripheral vision and he’s certain they will be the death of him as he has seen them. The monster here is stop-motion animation added in the scene later. It’s a bit choppy in movement and a bit blurry but still is quite creepy and effective. Lynn Lowry stars.
Hag by Erik Gardner
A young woman sleepwalks which affects her and her husband’s life. As the story progresses, a supernatural presence shows itself and messes with the husband. This one is creepy and the title character is very well done in practical effects. Eileen Dietz co-stars.
Mr. Dentonn by Ivan Villamel
A young boy finds a book and has his big sister reas its scary story of a figure who walks in shadows and reflections and steals children’s souls. The figure then shows up and chases the boy and his sister. The effects, the music, and the ambiance of this short film all create a sense of creepy dread. This one could easily be extended into a feature length film but might just be perfect as is.
El Gigante by Gigi Saul Guerrero
A man sends his wife and child from Mexico to the US with coyotes and due to a lack of funds, he decides to walk to go join them. On his way he gets caught by a demented family and their gigantic lucha libre wrestling son. El Gigante is based on the book Muerte Con Carne by Shane Mackenzie and is riotous mayhem and bloody fun while reminiscent of a Mexican Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It is currently gathering funds to be turned into a feature length film.
Ghost Train by Lee Cronin
Three friends break into a closed theme park to go ride a haunted attraction, a ghost train. As the ride doesn’t seem to be working, the youngest climbs into a car while the other two argue. Then the ride suddenly starts and the young boy disappears. Years later, the two surviving friends are coping as best they can with the loss and the guilt over their childhood friend’s death. They reunite at the ride to pay their respects when something incredible happens. Ghost Train touches the viewers and gives them chills through its imagery and how the leads react to their situation. Top notch acting from the leads also helps sell the scares.
Horrible Imaginings shorts have been getting better and better each year and this year’s batch was the best I’ve seen in the last few years. Shorts being more difficult to find, film festivals are possibly the best place to see them and on the big screen at that. As the festival programmers do a good part of the weeding out the bad, going to see their selections makes it easy to go enjoy these bite sized films.