This Week's SATURDAY SHORTS Are a Scarefest of Awesome!
Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here with this week's badass line up of killer shorts, that (go figure) involve quite a bit of blood, guts, and over all immense levels of creeptastic fun. You'll have to excuse my tardiness with posting so late in the day, but I've been hard at work fighting the good fight at home for our hardworking men and women on the front lines of a little thing called Comic Con out in San Diego. (Yeah, I don't know either - never heard of it.) Slightly bummed you're not out there in that mess of crazy fun? It's cool, time to just relax and check out some damn fun flicks with you're pal Muldoon right in the comfort of your home free of charge, only real price of admission is the use of your neighbor's unprotected wi-fi.
Seriously, we've got a great set of films from some incredible filmmakers, all of which seem to have a unique point of view that I think you folks will dig. I sure did and do, but feel free to sound off in the talkbacks below with your thoughts. Dig a short in particular? Toss out a few nice words to the filmmakers. Have a question/unclear about something? Toss that at the filmmakers too. Curious what someone's got going on next? Toss that at the filmmakers. Want to bash a short and be a jerk? Toss that... No, wait - please refrain from that, but seriously it's amazing how many filmmakers are in the audience and it's always interesting to see how they pulled off something or got the damn thing made, so speak up if you're curious.
Enough yacking on my end, 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:
Oh hell yes, this short is flipping awesome, a hell of a way to kick off this weeks swan dive into the strange and creepy. Clark Baker's film kicks all kinds of ass, from the acting, to the creature design... I'm all over this one. Clark, what the hell have you got up next? Seriously, I think you folks can't help but dig this one.
"VESSEL is a very ambitious scifi / horror short in the vein of Alien, The Thing and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. VESSEL features a blend of old school, practical creature effects and slick, modern day VFX. The story focuses on Liberty Airlines' Flight 298 and its passengers. Shortly after takeoff, the passengers encounter an otherworldly force and are thrown into a fight for their lives!"
Next up is 33:00 minutes of great storytelling from director Louis Matta. It feels like a love letter to AMITYVILLE HORROR and THE SHINING mixed with an interesting style, very much not your standard spookfest. "Washed up horror novelist Owen Slater has hit rock bottom following his exploitation of a family's tragedy in one of his best selling novels. But, when paranormal investigator Jack Grady recruits him for his next investigation in the town of Still Meadows (which was the setting of Owen's book) Owen feels this is the perfect opportunity to redeem himself. What neither man knows is there is more than just tragedy and memories lying in Still Meadows."
Here we are with Karl Holt's heavily eerie and atmospheric tale of a a paranormal journalist's attempt "to regain kudos of a front page story." I'm not going to lie, I'm a very production design minded movie lover and this short's got exactly what I need, a fun/creepy story, great acting, well lit and visually interestingly composed shots that all add up to 10:40 of pure uneasy fun. Check out more from Karl and Darkline Entertainment HERE.
[WELCOME TO] LEVEL 7
This next one comes to us from director Matthew D. Wilson, and if you're not hooked in the first minute or so, then I just don't know what to tell you. It's got aliens and big guns. If that isn't your thing, no biggy - but I absolutely dug the hell out of it.
"[WELCOME TO] LEVEL 7 takes viewers on a terrifying eight-minute thrill-ride into the bowels of a secret government-run underground facility where humans work side-by-side with extraterrestrials in an effort to forward a mysterious agenda.
The short film follows John, an unwary abductee, who awakens in this hostile techno-dungeon with no sense of where he is or how to escape. As John flees for his life through the perilous labyrinth of horrors, we come face-to-face with the inhuman denizens that stalk the shadows and gain an unwelcome glimpse into the dark purpose of this forsaken place."
Be sure to check out the film's website HERE.
So there we are, take that San Diego Comic Con! At any amazing rate, that's it for this week. I hope you dug these shorts as much as I did. Now it's back to the trenches of Comic Con goings on and sneaking around behind the scenes all over the place.
If you're new to SATURDAY SHORTS and want to check out some other really cool shorts that have screened here, here's an evergrowing list of filmic fun:
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 AN ASSHOLE). I picked them, so you know I think highly of all of these, but how about you fine folks? How'd you like 'em?
- Mike McCutchen
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July 14, 2012, 9:39 p.m. CST
by Longtime Lurker
This has turned out to be a great column. Once again, well done Muldoon :)
July 14, 2012, 9:48 p.m. CST
July 14, 2012, 9:56 p.m. CST
I'm truly blown away by the amount of talent out there. So many folks are sitting on great shorts, so I'm just excited I get to see them and have the fortune of helping them get seen by others. As long as they keep coming in, I'll be here doing my best to make them seen.
July 15, 2012, 1:55 a.m. CST
Love seeing what creative people out there are doing. As long as storytelling is alive and well, I can see these shorts all day long. Thanks for funneling them to us!
July 15, 2012, 3:06 a.m. CST
Vessel such production value squandered on a been there done that kinda story. Still meadows - couldn't sit through it. May have a good story but execution turned me away early in the game. is it just me was the dialogue just bad?
July 15, 2012, 3:13 a.m. CST
by Industrious Angel
When I saw "Scarefest" in the title line I thought ok not my week but there was some nice material here! "Vessel" and "Level7" are actually close relations, resembling fun park rides rather than stories. Good rides though, the visuals worthy of a feature film. Nothing new or original, but well done. "Still Meadows": ok. I liked the sets and much of the camerawork (the slightly tilted angles). The actors were a bit wooden and the concept was old-fashioned (I had to laugh at "holy water and a cross" - really?) "Negative Image" was the most original thing here and as you might expect in a "story" circling still photography, framing, camera and light were really good. Maybe it's also more like a fun park ride, but "Negative Image" had at the same time the most interesting technique of story-telling. Very promising short!
July 15, 2012, 3:15 a.m. CST
by Industrious Angel
one thing I missed in "Vessel" was the claustrophobic feeling you can get from airplane interiors. Maybe the sound mix has to be adjusted, engine noise louder or something like this.
July 15, 2012, 3:17 a.m. CST
VESSEL Worked best in the opening as an homage to George Miller's NIGHTMARE AT 20,000 FEET (pesky little blonde girl and all). Accomplished production here; technically quite well put together. As primarily a SFX/VFX project (in no order): match-moving fine; black levels of CG elements didn't match the plates in some composites; wise to go with a practical hero alien, lens flare overuse; fully-CG shots well composed; CG tentacles seemed *floaty*. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND did this with just half a dozen guys listening to air traffic control chatter — as I recall that was the bulk of the movie's trailer — a lesson in showing less for more impact. Otherwise, we start wondering how slimy aliens build interstellar spacecraft. STILL MEADOWS Lead character in need of a goal, as his ambition to learn more on the subject which he is writing quickly changes to *purging the house*. The early scenes with the paranormal investigator hint at comedy, which the story heads unintentionally towards as the *living* characters are presented with a multitude of talky apparitions. Plot becomes a confusing cross-story of the Berkelys and the Cranes, who are not distinguished by clothes, mannerisms or even a photographic filter which would help the viewer tell them apart despite verbal exposition. *X* mark placed on the author's hand, and finale with shaking house and opening of window, oddly unresolved. On the plus side, lighting direction is appropriately suggestive in darker scenes, and handling of a ghost story without VFX, SFX or gore a nice change. Actor playing the paranormal investigator navigated his scenes adroitly. NEGATIVE IMAGE Horror/suspense handled with taste and visual sophistication. Some geography issues which made it seem at first that the photographer was developing photos in the basement of the boarded-up asylum. Likewise, a bit more attention to the workings of a photographic enlarger might be required for modern audiences. The paranormal photojournalist's digital snaps being lost, and his *negative image's* shadow vanishing from ghostly prints, suggests the old Native American belief that a photograph could steal your soul. Opening Faulkner quote had little resonance. Production design, lighting and sound design of high quality, and CG elements suitably subtle. [WELCOME TO] LEVEL 7 Smoked set, industrial corridors, practical lighting, terse dialog, marine outfits and background score hearkens to ALIENS. Image effectively timed a sickly cyan/green — like people being dragged around while suffocating in plastic bags! Steadicam, practical creatures and top-notch digital VFX imbue high production feel. Mainstream sci-fi/action plotting holds interest while not *seemingly* a director's reel (which it may be). Let's hear it again for those extras in the plastic bags! Overall this week = Damn snazzy.
July 15, 2012, 7:19 a.m. CST
July 15, 2012, 1:26 p.m. CST
PRAISE: Has got a great concept and great production value and photography, shot choice, wardrobe, physical casting, hair makeup, lighting. I love the underlying story idea, and holy shit they pulled out tons of ammunition with the effects both digital and real, and the set... wow. CRITIQUE: It could have used more finesse on the characters and direction of the acting and performances. There are moments of reactions and interaction which don't work for me (but hey, those are kind of the glaring flaws of Prometheus). Those elements are the hardest part for many indie filmmakers to master. that's the the elusive golden skills that really make a piece work. And the music score is a bit much, almost like a epic video game or made for tv movie. It would be much stronger with minimal music, less melodic music, or... no music. since Muldoon mentioned ALIEN and CE3K in his intro blurb, I want to point out that both those movies feature no music at key moments of extraordinary stuff happening. For example: chestburster scene, egg scene, Brett's death Or Neary's first encounter in the truck, the actual moment when you first see the three UFO's. You could even jump to Jurassic Park where there is no music in the strongest moment of that film: the tyrannosaur attack. I haven't had a chance to watch the other entries yet.
July 15, 2012, 9:51 p.m. CST
And I look forward to seeing what is offered every Saturday. There is some amazing talent out there and Muldoon I do not envy your task of having to just pick a few every week to showcase as I imagine there are quite a few good ones that do not get seen by the AICN audience. Thanks for the hard work and time you put into this column!
Vessel: Great production values shown throughout and a pretty engaging story. Still meadows: I thought this was ok but I aslo had problems with some of the dialogue that I thought was a slew clunky. Negative Image: Handled quite well but I think the performances where the highlight here. Level 7: Don't see the ALiens references somebody made but overall I thought it was quite atmospheric and the lighting and design were really well done. Like to see a bit more panach to the cinematography but otherwise an OK effort. Wowzer, so many films to work through these lists! Great column, thanks for posting the future.
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