I hope this year has been merciful to you, as October is now in full motion. After such a terrible, bizarre year, feel free to lose yourself in five short horror films for our October festivities, which are no in full swing! Warning: Some of the reviews include the short films for your viewing pleasure, while others are just the teaser.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
If you’re in the mood for a short but oh so sweet chiller, look no further than “Bill.” Directed, written, and produced by Dan Gitsham and Sophia Mair, “Bill” is the classic premise letting the dead stay dead. A grieving wife uses the dark arts to conjure up her deceased husband one night. After performing the ritual, she waits for Bill much to her own peril. “Bill” is a genuinely terrifying short injection of horror, and tension with a build up that leads to a memorable bone chilling bang. The excellent direction matched with the beautiful plays on light and anticipation makes this a short film worth re-watching over and over. I strongly recommend it.
The Collector (2019)
There isn’t a whole lot of substance to Marc-André Dubois’ “The Collector” (presented by E6IX) beyond being a showcase for make up and prosthetic effects. Dubois doesn’t exactly build on a narrative, nor does he create a very interesting title character. I would have loved to learn just a little bit about Dean Perseo’s character and why he does what he does. The four minute short finds the titular Collector mutilating three victims and collecting their body parts for his display case. Why? Who knows, really? It’s about over before we get warmed up to carnage. I like Dubois’ direction, and I hope we can get more information in to this character somewhere down the line, as for now it’s more a reel for the effects team and nothing else.
Still Life (2005)
John Nautz’s horror short took me by surprise. In fact it took a ton of people by surprise as it’s circulated around the internet for years since 2005 for being such a bizarre and unnerving film. If there were to be a remake of “Where is Everybody?” from “The Twilight Zone” this would be it. “Still Life” is a very creepy suspense thriller about a young man suffering from sleep deprivation who runs over someone in the road. He steps out to see if the person is alright, and is shocked to stumble upon a town littered with mannequins. All of whom look to be alive. As he ventures in to the town he discovers that the mannequins seem to be moving every time he looks away. Is it an elaborate prank? Is it all a dream? Or is it a hallucination? “Still Life” is ingenious with great direction that’s a balance of suspense, sheer lunacy, black humor and very well done editing. The mannequins only serve to add the frightening element to the abstract genre film, as “Still Life” ends on an utterly morbid, genuinely shocking twist, and makes us go over how our eyes, and our mind can play tricks on us when we least expect it to.
Glen Matthews’ “Teething” is equal parts disturbing and emotional as it explores a lost soul given an unlikely purpose in the middle of the night. John is a weary janitor for an orphanage who happens upon the nursery during a shift. Horrified to see a vampire feasting on a newborn baby, he chases the monster off. Before he can comprehend the scene before his eyes, the victim named Bethany suddenly awakens. “Teething” is a fantastic and well paced horror drama teeming with potential for a feature film. I would love to see a feature in the vein of “It’s Alive” as Matthews is a great director and his short lays the foundation perfectly. The idea is unique and might inspire a goosebump or two from viewers. Slated to premiere at the LA ScreamFest October 6th-15th, FilmQuest Utah, and the Telluride Horror Show.
Rebecca Kahn and Abhishek Prasad’s short is a horror film in every sense of the word, but not a horror movie about monsters, or demons, but about the horrendous grip that grief can take on us. I sincerely wasn’t expecting “Uplift” to end as it did, but I kid you not: My jaw was on the floor in the final scene. Eli is awash in grief after the terrible loss of his young son. After watching a news item about a man carried off by balloons, Eli decides to pay homage to his balloon loving son. He jets to the local party store hording balloons, helium and all the necessary supplies. “Uplift” (an official selection at Fantasia, BUFF, and Beyond Fest) is a great side swipe of a film with themes that are terrifying but not in the way we think. The finale, while just absolutely chilling, is also thought provoking and will provoke conversation for hours.