Horror Shorts from the 2nd Final Girls Berlin Film Festival 2017: Part 1

I was lucky enough to be able to review many of the short films that played for audiences at the 2nd 2017 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival. The festival which runs from June 9th to June 11th features a wide array of horror films, horror shorts and horror programs fueled by creative female voices, from writers, and directors alike. This year, they ran the anthology “XX” and a myriad new female powered genre titles, along with a big block of short genre films with specific themes. These are a few of the shorts that played.

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The Purge: Election Year (2016)

James DeMonaco’s second sequel to the exploitative and silly “The Purge” series reaches the masses in a very politically fueled year, and while DeMonaco and Blumhouse have the advantage of very much satirizing the current political climate, “Election Year” just continues the same routine we’ve seen with this movie series so far. It’s a lot of the same where there is an opportunity to offer a scary dark satire of America, but it backs off in favor of a lot of goofy plot twists and meandering sub-plots. Once again the annual the Purge is about to commence where every year for one night there is no such thing as law. So you can murder as you please, rape as you please, pillage, plunder, take a penny without leaving a penny, pick at a buffet without the sneeze guard, leave your trash with the recyclables included, walk on the grass, loiter like hell for hours on end, the sky is the limit.

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Alien: Covenant (2017)

With “Prometheus” Ridley Scott met the other side of his “Alien” mythology by visiting the very early dawn of his universe that saw the very evolution of his xenomorphs. After it hit with a thud resembling a wet diaper smashing in to a garbage can, Scott hits the other extreme by delivering a movie in the vein of “Prometheus” that’s just as flat and just as stupid. Director Ridley Scott has lost the grasp of his own film and has really failed to learn how to deliver a well measured and compelling horror tale teeming with themes about sexuality and human biology. Instead now he gets to literally have his cake and eat it too, by offering up a ham fisted goofy prequel that feels like a glorified fan film. All the while also continuing his descent in to pseudo-intellectualist allegories and on the nose metaphors about God, the Devil, Heaven, Paradise, evolution and birth.

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Willard (1971) [Blu-Ray/DVD]

You have to give Shout Factory credit for at least trying to connect “Willard” to “Ben” for audiences. In the original 1971 movie, Willard Stiles is dysfunctional man whose rat of choice is white and named Socrates. For some reason he harbors an adversarial relationship with Ben, first scolding him like an embarrassed parent and then lashing out at him violently time and time again. Ben is always a mysterious element in the tale of Willard Stiles, an animal that has a lot more to him than simply being a rodent. He’s sometimes a sentient and very clever animal that feeds Willard’s own sense of need for family. “Willard” is kind of a demented thriller that’s always been considered a horror classic. And though it’s not scary at all, it does bear elements of horror with an EC Comic bent in rare moments.

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Seoul Station (2016)

Yeon Sang-ho and the studios were wise to capitalize on the running juggernaut that was the success of “Train to Busan” in 2016. Often times studios or directors wait two to five years for a prequel or a sequel, but “Train to Busan” gets an almost immediate prequel that helps expand the story and mythology of the live action film. One of the best zombie films of the last fifteen years, and perhaps of all time, “Train to Busan” was an action packed blockbuster disaster film set to the tune of the zombie apocalypse. The animated prequel is a bit more downbeat but still maintains the same social relevance and commentary that “Train to Busan” did so well.

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Five Great Linnea Quigley Films

On May 27th, Linnea Quigley celebrated her birthday, and we thought we’d belatedly celebrate the occasion. Quigley is an iconic horror actress known by horror fanatics for her love of rock, her great sense of humor, her knack for playing appealing characters, and her incredible sex appeal. In honor of the great Quigley, here are five essential performances from her career. Though every horror fan has their favorites, this is five I quite adore.

Also be sure to re-read our interview with the horror goddess!

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You Have to See This! The Guest (2014)

Adam Wingard is one of my favorite filmmakers working in film today and he almost always works alongside Simon Barrett, a cuttingly funny and witty man who knows how to churn out a damn good script. Wingard and Barrett pull off some amazing feats together, and “The Guest” is another notch in Wingard’s belt that oddly enough doesn’t get as much mention as his banner horror film “You’re Next.” Granted, I love “You’re Next” and have seen it at least two hundred times since it arrived in theaters, but “The Guest” is such a unique horror thriller with a premise that’s very socially relevant without ever being preachy.

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House: Two Stories [Blu-ray] (2-Disc Limited Edition)

Arrow Video is easily one of the best movie distributors around, and if you ask certain movie buffs collectors, they’d argue that they’re the best, period. I can’t decide as Arrow Video has been on a mission for the last few years to deliver fans some of the most unique movie titles on blu-ray and DVD, and offer them in deluxe collector’s packages that would make most cineastes hyperventilate out of sheer excitement. Arrow Video has taken it upon themselves to offer fans the two tales of “House,” two films that were big movie rental fodder in their heydays and are now brought together for what is a heavily suggested anthology. Arrow Video combines two of the true “House” movies that are—ironically—about as different from each other as the last two “House” movies.

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