This week's SATURDAY SHORTS are an explosion of genre goodness! Check 'em out!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with this week's crop of killer flicks. This week we've got balls to the wall horror, far out scifi awesomeness, and fantasy shorts to boot. Personally, I'm all about movies for one (simplifying here) reason - escaping from the confines of my reality and experiencing the fantasies of imagination. How else could you ever see with your own eyes a living breathing dinosaur chasing down people to gobble them up or get dropped onto an alien world where you're being hunted by giant Predator monsters? The shorts today all nail that, that sense of "This is pretty fucking cool and could never really happen." At least that's my opinion, feel free to fire off in the Talkbacks after you give each short a shot (just don't be an asshole. Save that for a different post). So let's get to it, let's see what our fellow Ain't It Cool Readers have been up to.
Go grab yourself some popcorn, lock your kids in a closet, kill the lights, relax and check out this little weekly film fest we've got ourselves here:
BAD MOON RISING
First off, who doesn't like well done man in monster makeup movies? I sure as hell do and apparently so does director Scott Hamilton as evidenced with BAD MOON RISING. This short has been taring up the film festival circuit, so I feel especially lucky that we're allowed to screen it here. Whenever Hamilton gets the feature version down, count me in.
Held captive in a basement, a young man is repeatedly beaten. As his torture intensifies, he finally breaks. His captors have won, but they’ve missed one little, bloody, thing…"
Bad Moon Rising is short film based on an in-development feature film script of the same name. The short film screened at last year’s Screamfest Horror Film Festival, whilst the feature film script was a finalist in Screamfest’s Screenplay Competition. The special effects creature make-up was designed by 2011 Fangoria Magazine Chainsaw Award winner Steve Boyle.
STARBOY - ETERNITY
Up next is Zac Blair's visually stunning dive into the world of steam punk goodness. I watch more shorts than you know and I know "steam punk" typically gets a knee jerk reaction of "no more!!" But holy hell, Blair couldn't have had a fresher approach. The closest film I can think of off the top of my head is REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA, though comparing the two does neither justice, but that level of energy with kickass visuals and music - it's almost palpable. That all said, if none of that seems to pique your interests - well, maybe ETERNITY can bring you back from the dark side of "meh."
Directed by myself [Zac Blair] and Produced by Mabelle Teh, Eternity started out as a music video and has now become a 3 part mini movie. The production started in November 2009. We shot in June of 2011 in various locations around Auckland, New Zealand. It tells the story of a young girl and her fight against the "Strangers" who have taken over her village.
It stars Matt Bowden aka Starboy as the Alchemist and his daughter Shizzi as the hero.
Part 2 is out later this month, with part 3 coming with the release of Starboy's album later in the year.
Want more? Check out the trailer for the 2nd Part:
JAMES VS REALITY
(Sci Fi Comedy)
This next one was sent in by 3D sculpter artist Malc Burke and was done on a shoe string budget and honestly, it's just good old fashion fun. Directors Chris Wilson and Tim Feeney put together a fun little flick. Check out Malc's website HERE as well as the director's site HERE.
A chronic escapee from a mental institution, our 'hero' James, believes he has super powers. He is a nuisance to his physiologist with his attempts to save 'this whole stupid planet on his own'. Is he only doing the world more harm than good? Well, maybe...
NAZI ZOMBIES: I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW
(Zombie/Video Game Adaptation)
Here we are with filmmaker Jake Akuna's film and if you don't know what you're in for after reading only the title of the film, I can't help you. This short is completely packed to the rim of fun and awesome stuff for the sake of fun and awesome. Be sure to check out the film's website HERE.
Up next we have director Dane McCusker's beautifully shot, but creepy as hell short. "When an expectant teen mother reluctantly works the Night-Shift at a Hostel she must investigate a complaint about strange noises coming from one of the rooms. What she finds locked within, forces her darkest fear to surface"
Director Bobby Miller's film, TUB, is... Well the tagline he's used is "Paul jerked off in the shower. Paul just impregnated his bath tub." Who thinks of that? Bobby Miller, a man whose films I plan to enjoy from afar. Seriously, this one's great.
And in the immortal words of Porky the Pig, "That's all folks." That's it. No mas shorts for this week. I sincerely hope you guys and gals had half as much fun watching these shorts as I did. I'd like to thank all the filmmakers who shot their films into me as well as all of you fine readers who continue to send them in, I more than welcome them - my only regret is it takes me a while to get to each and everyone, but that's because I do watch every single one that hits my inbox.
But what? You want more SATURDAY SHORTS fun? Bam, here's a list of previous columns/screenings.
If you have a short and think it belongs here or are on the fence about whether to send it in, please do send it in - I'd love to see what you've put together. I've already seen hundreds of fresh new filmmakers' shorts and like any good addict, I need more!
Shoot me an email at "Mike@aintitcool.com"
In the subject line include:
“SHORTS” + “Your film’s name” + “The film’s genre”
Then, in the body of the email, please include a synopsis of the film and any contact information you might think I need or would want published.
Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times. I swear to each of you I truly check every email I get, and sending the same short a few times just makes it a bit messier.
Remember, the filmmakers might still be in the audience, so feel free to share your thoughts in Talkbacks below. (JUST DON'T BE A DICK). I picked them, so you know I think highly of all of these, but how about you fine folks? How'd you dig em?
- Mike McCutchen
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May 5, 2012, 3:58 p.m. CST
May 5, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST
by Ice Paul
May 5, 2012, 5:06 p.m. CST
by ajit maholtra
Very nice make up, and very scary. I like those scary ones. The only thing I didn't like is when the bad guy says, That wasn't so hard now was it? Bad guys are always saying, That wasn't so hard now was it? It gets so boring. Dont use those boring ones. Other than that it was a nice one.
May 5, 2012, 6:46 p.m. CST
but holy hell is the acting pretty bad. Am I the only one who thinks this? I want to get in on the 'rah, rah, love 'em all!' thing, but I can't lie... I almost never see good acting in any short or indie feature. It seems like that, more than anything, is what makes one of these feel more professional. Not the resolution, not the depth-of-field, not the cinematography, not the digital effects, and not even the story as much as whether or not I believe that the actors believe in what they're doing. I don't care if it looks like Prometheus or The Godfather, if the acting is bad, it takes me right out of it.
May 5, 2012, 8:34 p.m. CST
Was there some sort of story to that? Because it seemed like it was "woman goes into room and man attacks her" was about it.
May 5, 2012, 9:05 p.m. CST
by Tigger Tales
great effects and makeup!
May 5, 2012, 9:06 p.m. CST
May 5, 2012, 9:08 p.m. CST
by Tigger Tales
I get what you're saying... it's difficult for any short to immerse me in its story and setting in the same way that a TV show or feature film can. As long as the acting is not laughably bad, I can get into the short okay.
May 5, 2012, 10:31 p.m. CST
Bad Moon Rising was the cream of the crop for me this time around. Although predictable, nicely done with the make-up and effects. Tub ... not so much, for me anyway. As usual, looking forward to next week.
May 5, 2012, 11:26 p.m. CST
Both had the goods for me.
May 5, 2012, 11:42 p.m. CST
Well made film. Loved the look. But the end kills were both off screen, and during the second kill, you can see the silhouette of the wolfman's puppeteer's rod/arm, rendering the ending cheap to me.
May 5, 2012, 11:44 p.m. CST
I wanted to see for quite some time(since they were raising the distro funds), but when I finally did, it wasn't as good as I expected. Wonder what the director is working on now.
May 6, 2012, 12:40 a.m. CST
BAD MOON RISING We don't get much Steadicam around here. But we did have another *captive turns into a werewolf* short, called LEASHED (http://www.aintitcool.com/node/54191). AMERICAN WEREWOLF obviously an inspiration, and shooting on film helped sell this as vintage horror. The accurately opaque blood at the outset indicated the makeup would be good in this, and was pleased the transformation was done more practically, using edits instead of CG. Acting and camera blocking were solid, and as a proof of concept trailer this held interest. STARBOY - ETERNITY Some cross-cutting issues in establishing the central POV, leading to difficulty ascertaining whether *Starboy* is the child or the hero. Reminded me a of an old Japanese steampunk CD-ROM called GADGET, crossed with McFarlane's TWISTED LAND OF OZ. VFX feel thin, which is a shame since art direction and costumes are consistent and a highlight. I wasn't surprised this one was one-third credits. STARBOY - FLYING (trailer) Keep up the good work. JAMES VS REALITY With such a global obsession over super-heroes, in which fans channel god complexes or megalomaniac episodes, something like this was a long time coming. I found a much of this well-scripted fan satire hilarious. Only loses its charm when the CG elements takes the stage. Kudos to the actors for giving it their all on such a low budget. NAZI ZOMBIES: I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW I've seen NAZI zombies before, and I've seen digital blood splatter on the lens plate before — but never with *a cappella*. Didn't really know what to make of this. Tech end is okay. RECEPTION Kidnapping would have been a lot less work but — hey! — he's a psycho. Suitably grisly and offensive for today's horror audiences. May have had a better finale with the receptionist opening the closet to find all the baby toys, after a few subtle hints around the room. TUB David Lynch's funnels, tunnels and screeching fetus. ALIEN male birth and milk-blood. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS AND 2 DAYS. Performances and editing were great. For a statement on men's highly disposable relationship with their sperm, less gross-out could have opened the audience up to more. Overall this week — *Mmmm! That is a tasty burger!*
May 6, 2012, 3:36 a.m. CST
by Industrious Angel
Always an interesting and varied selection. "Bad Moon" had excellent makeup and very good light (if nothing else). "Starboy" was good, more style than substance but that was ok since it didn't try to hide its music-video soul. I Just didn't like the song (sorry), but nice concept. Somebody should do a Hawkwind space opera some day, pleeease! "James vs Reality" was a bit long for my taste but still fun. The strange thing is that Malc Burke seems to have done this as a vehicle for the 3D creature, but the creature actually looks too good for this film, somehow it doesn't fit. "Nazi Zombies" did nothing for me. "Reception" was ok, I liked when the camera was focused on her eyes. "Tub" was a mess I thought (sorry).
May 6, 2012, 7:08 a.m. CST
One of the best things on the site. Always cool.
May 6, 2012, 7:09 a.m. CST
I'll get my bowl of sugary cereal and sit on the floor with my computer just like the old days and Saturday morning cartoons.
May 6, 2012, 7:47 a.m. CST
I loved it, but if it were up to me I'd make one tiny change and lose the clips of the vocalist lip synching the lyrics on screens. Takes me right out of what is otherwise perfection. I know it's a music video, but that doesn't mean you have to stick to the rules. GREAT job though. Loved the visuals, the costumes, the acting. Everything. Really wonderful. That the video on Vimeo has no likes or comments is criminal and actually shocking. How could this be ignored?
May 6, 2012, 9:10 a.m. CST
Indeed, indie filmmakers would rather brag about their use of a Red cam instead of finding real actors
May 6, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST
I think alienindisguise gets what I'm saying, that so many filmmakers now are caught up on the tech and put a tremendous amount of effort into it, only to be let down in the acting department. Casting is like 80% of filmmaking, I think. The other 20% is relatively easy, but it's difficult to go through that process and find the acting gems... but they are out there. Like I said, it seems to me that what the tech is showing now is that setting up a camera, doing special effects, lighting, etc., are all very accessible and it seems like a shit load of people can get a high end LOOK and feel, but almost noone seems able to find actors or direct them to give believable performances. I actually think this is a useful observation, maybe somebody reading this column will go, "A-ha!" and they'll put a lot more effort into casting and directing their actors and it'll raise the bar a little and help them to get closer to a career.
May 6, 2012, 10:45 a.m. CST
by Malcolm Burke
Thought I better clear up this was not my film I just helped out and did the creature work for it. The film was written and directed by Chris Wilson and Tim Feeney.
May 6, 2012, 11:37 a.m. CST
by Industrious Angel
thank you for the information! the creature was actually so good it stood a bit apart from the filmed material which I found disconcerting. but good work anyway!
May 6, 2012, 1:45 p.m. CST
Funny, I have a feature film from 2005 released as NAZI ZOMBIES in a few countries... even had the movie reviewed here on AINT IT COOL NEWS
May 6, 2012, 2:09 p.m. CST
Run less number of shorts every week will you? Otherwise it takes a long time to load.
May 6, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST
by Industrious Angel
I watch them one after the other, loading times are ok and it's less strain on the eyes anyway.
May 6, 2012, 2:42 p.m. CST
Ok. I've tried to do six a week, but if you guys don't mind 4 a week - that just means SS can run longer. Sorry about the load time there.
May 6, 2012, 2:49 p.m. CST
---when posting these, in your intro for each, say what the running time is !? PLEEZ?
May 6, 2012, 8:36 p.m. CST
by Fish Tank
BAD MOON Solid acting. Great makeup. Great cinematography. Pointless plot. So the guy they were interrogating was a werewolf... and... nothing. It's only a fitting ending if it has some relevance to the plot. Like this: A child killer unknowingly abducts a ghost of a child he killed previously who then exacts revenge. The Twilight Zone was rife with short, sweet poignant stories that worked - like the one where the invading alien in human form boastingly reveals all his species' invasion plans to a man at the bar - who then turns out to be a different warring alien in human form and now knows their plan. This one had no real point. No "conclusion" that satisfies. STARBOY Great for what it is. Didn't expect any more for a "music video". Song sucked. JAMES vs REALITY What the hell was that? Horrible digital camera. Zero filmic post work. Boring, stupid plot. Possibly the worst acting I've ever seen - from ALL the actors. The ONLY good thing is that creature design. Ugh. NAZI ZOMBIES Again - pointless. If it were a music video for a metal band - maaaaaaybe, but otherwise stupid. Seriously stupid. RECEPTION Well shot. Too long, and again pointless. IF the point was that it's punishment for mistreating her unborn in a "could have been" scenario - not clear. IF it was a premonition phone call, or a phone call trap - not clear. IF it was some weird time loop thing where she ends up being the one the original phone call was about - again... not clear. Come on people! TUB A cute "idea" that could have worked if someone else did it. Tries to get rid of baby - baby "magically" ends up at work. He starts liking it. Baby melts in tub. WTF? Seriously? and the acting.... oh my gawd the acting.... horrible. Muldoon - these were horrible this week. I'm sorry. The previous animated ones were FANTASTIC compared to these. They had story arcs. These ALL sucked.
May 6, 2012, 8:49 p.m. CST
Sorry you didn't like them as much as I did. Maybe next week will be more to your liking. I can't please everyone each week, but that doesn't mean I can't try.
May 6, 2012, 9:59 p.m. CST
by Fish Tank
Apologies if you took it personally. It's not you... it's the videos. I very much respect you and what you do - and really do appreciate the effort. And _usually_ enjoy them ;-) Like I said, the animated ones were fantastic. Besides - I KNOW you agree with most of my points ;-)
May 6, 2012, 10:42 p.m. CST
The funny thing about text is sarcasm being implied and man, there is none intended in that little response. No reading between any lines on that one, though I can see how there could be. I'm just happy I get to see so many shorts and it pumps me up to be able to share them with you guys. Clearly my tastes might not always align with everyone else's, but I can't change that. This stuff is so subjective and I'm not really one to assume because your opinion is different that you're wrong - you might dig what's in store for next week or you might hate them all, I can't really know or stress about it. I'm just glad I get to see so many shorts I probably wouldn't have seen otherwise - good or bad.
May 7, 2012, 4:11 a.m. CST
by Malcolm Burke
Can we use that as a box quote for the DVD It can go next to Bruce Campbells' "it was SOMETHING!"
May 7, 2012, 11:47 p.m. CST
by Mr. Giant
I'm not saying you're wrong about acting, but casting is not 80% of making a film, and then there's the other 20% which is just some simple stuff that you breeze through. Good lighting can be hard, terrible sound kills more movies than bad acting...sound is one of the most important things, and if the sound is bad the movie can't recover. Oh, and the script and editing, so so so many indies fail at the editing. So, you're right, but you make it sound like you just find some great actors and instantly the movie will be good. I only watched a few shorts but I didn't think in general the acting was terrible. It was a little hoary in Bad Moon but it's a werewolf tied to a chair short film, it didn't kill it for me. And the acting in Tub was very good. I need to watch a few more.
Aug. 15, 2012, 11:23 a.m. CST
by I am the colesLAW
Bad Moon Rising was my fave although as some have said here it was a little predictable. Plenty of suspense and the actors, dang, they were fine. Nazi Zombies: Fun peice which rescued it from my expectations. I don't know why anyone bothers to make zombie movies though, it's such an overdone genre and tiresome so everyone plays it for laughs now. If they're gonna go to so much effort why not do something more original? Good film makers though. James v Reality: Come on, this was fair and 'justmyluck' and 'fishtank' were off with their reviews (as usual and one of the reasons I've started posting after reading their 'expert' drivel for a few weeks ;-) Quite a cute idea and original, to an extent. I enjoyed it and it's worth a watch. Tub & Reception: Joint best for me of this bunch, maybe giving it to the latter for the really strong performances.
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