Hello ladies and gentlemen, Muldoon here wishing you an amazing Halloween! This is without a doubt my favorite holiday of the year and I have a strong feeling I'm not alone on that. By now I hope you've stocked up on all sorts of treats for the kiddos (the good kinds of candies, damn it!), prepped your costumes, watched HOCUS POCUS numerous times, and have insanely cool plans for tonight! I typically hope to screen about five films here each week even with the ebb and flow of badass submissions from filmmakers who happen upon SATURDAY SHORTS, but today's something special... Today I'm happy to put forth nine films that I think are something special, a lineup that is just too perfect not to proudly promote to the AICN audience. I'm sure next week I'll be kicking myself for not holding a film or two back, but hey - it's Halloween, so why not do it big, right? While my math skills aren't as slick as my wirting skills, I'm fairly certain there's roughly an hour's worth of densely packed horror here today, and I absolutely hope you guys and gals hang around long enough to give them all a shot. The embeds below contain scares, thrills, some twisted humor, and most importantly - are fun. If you've got a film you think belongs here, then reach out! I'm pretty easy to get a hold of and am truly always on the hunt for new films from all sorts of filmmakers. I don't care if you've directed a big movie in the past, have a rich uncle who's given you way too much money to go film a two minute short about Killer Alien Beaver Ghosts, or had a fun concept and decided to go out and make something (experienced or not!). I get to see films from all sorts of folks and just looking at how long this columns been running - I'm clearly not looking to stop any time, so if you've got something - I want to see it and I hope to share it with the rest of AICN. Enough text fluff, let's get this party started - let's jump on in to one hell of a fun Halloween inspired lineup of terror. Let's do this.
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:
DEATH MASTER'S HOUSE
Joe and Llod Stas of Holomax have our first spooky tale of the night, a beautifully written love letter to Halloween itself. The film encapsulates to much love for the holiday, is funny as hell, and literated with style - it's the perfect movie to start the holiday weekend on. "It tells the tale of Whitby, a kid who thinks he’s the Halloween King. The only obstacle standing in the way of his dream of trick or treating every single dwelling in town is Death Master’s House. Rumours say that Death Master kills each and every kid that knocks on his door… so until now Whitby has been too scared to knock." Clearly I'm a big fan of the guys, and if this film grabs your attention, then think about checking out their website or Facebook page!
Next up is a freaky flick from Steve Desmond. Hot damn is this one cool, with skilled and deliberate frame compositions, sound effects, and tension galore. The young lead, Caitlin Carmichael, gives a damn impressive performance as a young lady simply trying to survive. I expect to see more and more of her, as well as more and more films from Steve. "Jenn lives in an underground bunker with her family, protected from the monsters that now ravage the world. This is the day that she goes outside…" Be sure to check out the film's website and the production company's as well!
TIME TO EAT
Director Luke Guidici has our next film, a creepy tale of basement creatures and why it's always important to listen to your parents. Luke is the real deal - this film is packed with just about everything I love: practical effects, twists/turns, and subtle nods to great films that have come before it (I feel like there's a big M reference, but I could just be reading into it.) This is a short and sweet film that does not disapoint. "After being sent to timeout, a mischievous boy’s trip to the basement leads to a monstrous revelation." Check out the film's website or Luke's Twitter feed if you want to know more about the movie and the man behind it!
THE THING IN THE APARTMENT
With a title like that, you'd hope to hell it would deliver, right? Boom - it absolutely does. John Ross and the Crypt TV folks have built an eerie 11 minute film that's so packed with tension you'll be hitting up a massage parlor to get back to normal. The two ladies in the picture feel real, as in John's captured some stellar performances from his small cast, individuals who bring this supernatural film to life. Damn is this a creepy flick that'll have you looking over your shoulder in your own home... I love it. "You're not alone tonight." If you're curious to know more about John, then what are you waiting for - head over to the man's website and see what he's all about!
OVER MY DEAD BODY
I don't know about you, but I could use a little something funny right about now to help take the edge off from the last few shorts. Thankfully we've got filmmakers Timothy Plain and Alrik Bursell here with their horror/romance with a kick. Zombies! Zombies everywhere! At least that's the hot topic go-to for the last few years. It's next to impossible to make zombies interesting, to show us something fresh (undead perhaps?) in the genre... Timothy and Alrik have done just that. This is a fun spin on the zombie sub-genre and I'd be dumfounded if you didn't laugh your face off (or at least crack a smile here and there) with this film. "Marie's night goes horribly wrong when a zombie shows up for her blind date. Now she must figure out a way to let him down easy, or else..." If you're like me and you want to learn more about the film and its creators, then check out its Facebook page or the Bursell Productions website.
OCCUPY ELM STREET
Next up is a silly fun mockumentary from Brandon Boudreaux. Will this dance around in the nightmares of your mind as you toss and turn tonight? Probably not. Is it a charming 6(.5) minute slice of Halloween happiness that will remind you of your favorite killers? Yes (and holy hell did that feel odd to type out...) Brandon and company have whipped up a rather fun reminder of how serious we're really supposed to take some of our favorite horror films. "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you invade their dreams and murder them. Then you win."
DON'T WAKE DADDY
Let's keep this horror humor game going with a new short from Frederic Blake and Brian Rosenthal, a cute spin on a relatively tame game we've all played once or twice as kiddos, and perhaps a few times as adults (with alcohol involved). This short is silly. This short is weird. This short is charming as hell. "What's the worst thing that could possibly happen if you "wake daddy"? Our advice? Don't." Check out more from Frederic and gang at their Hilarity Ensues Facebook page!
Next up is a lovely gear shift away from humor, a simple and incredibly well executed short from director Jenseny Yancey, a short conceived and delivered within the span of 48 hours for the Austin 48-Hour Film Horror Project. With such little prep time, I'm genuinely impressed with the shots... The camera moves are sick, slick, and ghostly with a texture that feels tangible. I know I'm speaking in metaphors, so I'll tone it down - this short is interesting and the fact that it was created in such a tiny window of time truly blows my mind. "A young couple inherits a run-down farmhouse with some serious baggage." Quick! Go check out the movie's Facebook Page or the official Escape Plan Productions website for more info!
IT'S ONLY A MOVIE (Film Fest Intro)
I love that each year Vanessa and Joseph Winter put on It's Only A Movie Short Film Festival up in Utah and that means we get a super to-the-point dip into their twisted heads with another fun short, a short they use to intro the fest with. This year it's all about strange monsters in the closet, a familiar scenario we've all seen before. I can't put my finger on it, but this short really hooked me in a way that felt slightly nostalgic. As a niño I had quite the imagination and my poor parents were tasked with calming me down after nightmares (damn COMMUNION aliens still haunt me to this day...), and I don't think I'm a snowflake in this instance - I think we all might've freaked out as kids, be it monsters under the bed, shadow people standing in the corners of our rooms, or odd noises in our closets... This two minute short is a perfect step back in time to that age when the fear of monsters (creatures) was still real. I can't wait to see what Vanessa and Joseph whip up for next year and hopefully one day I'll get to check the fest out... until then I'll just live vicariously through their shorts and check out news on the fest's website to get my fix!
Freaky stuff, eh? Muahaha... enjoy the nightmares boys and ghouls! (I truly hope you re-read that last line with the stupidest Vincent Price impression you can think of.) In all semi-seriousness, I hope you ladies and gents had a fun time this week. It's rare that I throw that many films your way, but these each felt just too perfect not to block together and post on the scariest day of the year. Be safe, have fun, and I'll see you all next weekend where I'll be posting from the lovely city of Las Vegas (hurray for vacations!). If you're in the mood to check out other fun films, then feel free to click on any of the many links below. Also, there's a pretty cool Kickstarter page for a new short, called THE SUB, from some insanely talented filmmakers (whose work I've been able to screen here in the past). I don't typically do Kickstarter pages, unless I really do hope to see the final film and this is the case here. I'm not asking you to give, just to know it exists. So bam! there we have it for this week. I'll see you folks seven days from now. Please feel more than free to share your thoughts in the Talkbacks below! Hopefully a few filmmakers are lurking around, folks who might answer your question/critiques head on!
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. The more info you send my way, the more info there is to put with your short.
Please don’t feel the need to submit multiple times.
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?
BY THE WAY: If you've had a short featured here, that means that I personally am a fan of your work, so feel free to shoot me any kind of news on new projects/films/whatever. I can't say I'll be able to help or in what capacity, but I'm interested in your work and am always down to see more! (Keep making cool stuff, everyone!)
- Mike McCutchen