Never Hike Alone (2017)

I dare say that not only is “Never Hike Alone” one of the best fan films ever made, but it’s easily the best “Friday the 13th” fan film ever made. A mixture of “127 Hours” and “Friday the 13th,” director and writer Vincente DiSanti provides a riveting small scale sequel to “Friday the 13th” where he offers up a brand new twist to the conventional tale featuring Jason Voorhees. It’s a shame we might never get an actual sequel to the series because with a small bit of polish, and twenty extra minutes of extrapolation on our main character, “Never Hike Alone” could pass in theaters as the sequel to the series that we’ve always wanted. I’d say it surely is the sequel that I’ve always wanted, as it focuses less on cannon fodder and T&A and spends a lot more time on build up and suspense.

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Two Birds (2017)

I like where Brendan Beachman seems intent on taking us in the realm of horror, as “Two Birds” is an indication of a rich cinematic talent who has potential to spin some very creepy horror tales down the road. Director Brendan Beachman creates a spooky and unnerving short film filled ambiguity and an enigmatic villain, and though we never quite understand what’s happening, that doesn’t make the tale less scary.

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The Call of Charlie (2016) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

Charlie is a friend, so Mark and his wife help him out by setting him up with Maureen. As the evening goes along, with uninvited guests Virginia and Jay joining the 4 of them, things take an odd turn.

Written by Guy Benoit, John Simpson, and director Nick Spooner, The Call of Charlie is a horror comedy that works, and works great. It’s funny and uses a creature to the best possible result in terms of comedy and awkwardness. The film has witty dialog and flows really well throughout. The writing is on point and the directing supports it perfectly. The way this is short is build shows a good grasp of comedic timing and how to build a strong story with odd aspects and keep it simple to make it work the best possible.

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Saint Frankenstein (2015) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

Halloween night, a motel room, someone has requested a very specific call girl for very specific reason. As the client and provider get to know each other, a story of survival, betrayal, love, and life is woven.

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Creatures of Whitechapel (2016) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

London, 1888, someone is killing prostitutes. At the same time, a mad scientist is putting together a creature.

In this mash-up of Frankenstein and Jack the Ripper, Igor is now a woman and on the hunt for body parts. Frankenstein’s creature is a touch different and the film gains greatly from it. Co-written by Jonathan Martin and Rebecca Martin, with the former directing as well, Creatures of Whitechapel takes two well-known stories, mixes them, and creates a story that works perfectly. The changes to the characters work and their new ways bring these stories some fresh air. The characters created this way are fun to watch and layered in a way that feels non-gimmicky as opposed to most film that pull the gender-swap card. The stories work well once merged into one and the mysteries they create are interesting. The film makes good use of known characters, locations, and stories, creating a short film with a ton behind it and a lot of interest for most horror fans.

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Geek Girls (2017)

What is it like to be a geek girl? How does the rest of the geek world welcome you? This documentary looks to explore and shine a light on what it’s like to be a woman in a very particular men’s world, the way they are treated, how they have to adapt to basically survive. In a world where people are threatened with doxxing, rape, and murder for being different, women find a way to make it work and get to enjoy their fandoms and interests.

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Born of Sin (2017) [Horrible Imaginings Film Festival 2017]

When an alcoholic father leaves his daughter in the car to go to a bar, things take a turn for her that is both dangerous and odd.

Written and directed by William Boodell, the short explores bad parenting and the risks of leaving your child unattended, but with a twist that changes things quite a bit at the end.  His writing here leads the viewer in one direction for most of the film and then a twist changes things, which makes sense, and does not feel forced.  The characters he creates here are strong and have their own direction and way of handling their situations.  He uses these to a great effect and plays on some of society’s fears to bring his film together and make the audience react.

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Susannah (2017)

Carlisle Floyd’s 1955 opera has long been a staple of regional opera companies, but it has only rarely been staged by the major urban companies – and, incredibly, this release marks the first time that has ever been presented on DVD. In this new release from the Naxos label, a 2014 version by Florida’s St. Petersburg Opera offers an intelligent interpretation that captures the raw emotional power of Floyd’s imaginative updating of the apocryphal Biblical tale of Susannah and the Elders into an early 20th century Appalachian setting.

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