Shorts Round Up of the Week – 3/28/19

For this week’s edition of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” we have a look at pitch for toys involving Italian Turtles, a horror tale about a pale lady, and a comedic spoof of an eighties Christmas horror classic.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

Italian Turtles (2019)
Writer and Director Vin Nucatola’s “Italian Turtles” is a hilarious and very clever short comedy that wonders what it must have been like to be a fly on the wall for one of the most historic pitch meetings in pop culture history. We meet young Eastman and Laird as they pitch their comic book about martial arts turtles to toy executives, but they’re having trouble wrapping their heads around the premise. They’re just not sure it’ll sell with kids, especially considering it’s four slow turtles “living in shit water” and being trained by a “big fucking rat.” This is a great short film with a collective of great performances from the entire cast. It skirts the whole copyright infringement beautifully, while also taking us in to an imaginary pow wow meeting setting the stage for the eighties phenomenon. This is a laugh riot and absolutely witty, and I had a good time.

On the Horizon (2013)
Pascal Payant wrote and directed what is basically a proof of concept for what would become his 2015 romance drama. “On the Horizon” was filmed in three hours with no budget or technical team, but has a great sense of imagery and dreamy loss that makes the concept of love loss feel so desolate and sad. There’s not a ton of information on the story or the characters, but the imagery and cinematography are vibrant. I also loved the music by Havenaire. This is primarily meant to establish the film’s narrative, I assume, so if you come across the feature film in the wild, look for this short to get a prologue.

Miracle On Metal Street (2013)
Despite the very sick make up effects, “Miracle On Metal Street” is a clunky and dull metal musical that pairs an artist with a musical demon. Carl Bachmann’s film centers on George, an artist who creates cover art for a Death Metal band. Facing horrible artist’s block, he decides to smoke a bong to ward away his lack of creativity. He’s suddenly visited by Scott (Frederick Lawrence), a horned, bipolar demon with a penchant for Rebortion. With his short temper and flair for song and dance, he inspires George to create an amazing album cover, and also learn the meaning of what metal means. Save for the great prosthetic work, and very good demon design, “Miracle…” is a swing and a miss, with a tongue in cheek premise that never amounts to laughs, sadly.

The Pale Faced Lady (2019)
Written and directed by Jeff Payne, “The Pale Faced Lady” is a very good short horror film that succeeds in mounting terror and tension. Told mainly through narration, the caveat of the film is that it feels like the prologue to a larger feature length horror film. I almost expected the film to have opening credits and continue onward. As a short though, it’s a very good and spooky tale about a young girl who forms a bond with a horrific ghost known as the pale faced lady. When she forgets about her, years later, the Pale Faced Lady comes knocking at her door refusing to be ignored. Despite kind of a gimmicky finale, “The Pale Faced Lady” spooked me good, and garnered some genuinely well crafted moments of horror and the supernatural. I love the idea of a horrific female ghost that is always creeping off to the side in the corners. I hope we can see more from Jeff Payne soon.

POP (2013)
I don’t even know how to explain this short to you at all. It’s a bizarre comedy from the UK that, I presume, is about repressed sexuality and fetishes in the fifties? Or something. Anyway, Malcolm is a businessman in a normal suburban household, who sneaks off every other day to a sleazy motel to fulfill one of his own sexual desires. From there it’s simulated intercourse with a woman made up of balloons, strawberry eating, spreading grease all over one’s body and a laugh track that I admit confused the hell out of me. I’m still not sure whether I liked or hated this movie, but it succeeded in keeping me baffled and absolutely confused in its unabashed bizarre tone and wacky ending. This is a weird movie. Weird, weird, weird.

Scary Little Fuckers (A Christmas Movie) (2015)
On Christmas Eve, drunken dad Saul brings his son a gift, unlikely creatures known as Fookahs, a mythical monster that can not be paired in the same cage. When he and his girlfriend accidentally pair two fookah’s together, they begin wreaking havoc, bringing chaos to Kyle’s house, including a grotesque skin rash. Director Suher has a pretty good idea with his satire of “Gremlins” right down to turning our hero in to a whiny, man child. I even kind of loved the design of the creatures identified as Fookah’s, a bunch of demonic monsters that look like sentient Madballs. Nathan Suher’s spoof of “Gremlins” starts out with some decent laughs that manage to satirize “ET” and “Gremlins” very well. Mid-way, though, it loses sight of the comedy with a lot of silly gross out humor and a meandering narrative. “Scary Little Fuckers” is a passable satire of a horror classic, but it loses steam after the first five minutes.