ScreamFest LA held at the TCL Chinese Theater from October 18 to October 27 just held a series of short film blocks this past weekend (October 22 & 23). Featuring an abundant diversity of short films, here is a recap of some of the best short films on Saturday, October 22.
The Screamfest LA short film program is really indicative of the diversity and barrier shattering propensity of the horror genre. Featuring a multitude of talent from around the world, the shorts program was so immensely diverse that no two short films resembled each other. Each film provided a multifarious perspective– from men and women, the U.S. and Canada, Europe and Australia, and everything in between– exploring things both familiar and foreign with unprecedented skill and vision. The films ranged from body horror to found footage to home invasion thrillers, to creature features (and of course many more). Here’s a look at some of the best short films at Screamfest LA 2016 on the Saturday program.
(Editor’s Note: I was unable to view films from the first block (12pm) of short films, but caught every subsequent short film block thereafter (2pm, 4pm, 6pm). The only short film I had previewed prior, from the first block, is Pigskin, a film I very much enjoyed. Pigskin is a gorgeous homage to the nostalgia of 80’s teen sexuality set to the tone of a body conscious 21st century feminism. Albeit brief, the film explores the male and female obsession with the female body).
The Incredible Tale of the Incredible Woman-Spider (France)
Dir. Pablo Guirado
Written by: Demet Basaran
‘The Incredible Tale of the Incredible Woman-Spider’
The film that opened the 2pm program, from France, The Incredible Tale of the Incredible Woman-Spider, is an evocative and gorgeous black and white feature about a down and out young man at the end of a rope. However, his rope snaps and he must live another miserable day on Earth, fate botching his own suicide. Wandering through the streets he comes upon the the titular Woman-Spider at a sideshow attraction inside a seedy bar. As it turns out the Woman-Spider is practically a slave to her vicious sideshow promoter, whom now, the young man must save from. The film shapes up as an eerie and macabre tale of humanity and the cruelty people inflict on each other.
L’oeils Silencieux [The Frozen Eye] (Belgium)
Dir. Karim Ouelhaj
Written By: Karim Ouelhaj
‘The Frozen Eye’
From Belgium, L’oeils Silencieux (The Frozen Eye) is a darkly comic tale about obsession, where a seemingly normal man, Bernard, moves into a flat with a crevice in his floor that gives him voyeuristic access to the woman who lives below. His peeping escalates into obsession and delirium with Bernard’s reality displaced and obscured for the viewer. The film is painfully funny and equally bizarre. And you’re never entirely sure what to think about Bernard and his predicament. The film’s final moments are painful to watch but offer a glimmer of dark comedy to offset the pain of watching the lamentable Bernard.
First Like (Sweden)
Dir. Alexander Ronnberg
Written by: Sara B. Elfgren
First Like (or First to Like – First to Die), is a Swedish film about social media possessed by a murderous apparition. When a woman returns home and attempts to take a selfie, ghostly figures make their presence known. After she posts her picture on Instagram, the pervasive presence doesn’t go away– is there any credence to the film’s title, will the first person to like her picture die? Written by Sara B. Elfgren and directed by Alexander Ronnberg, First Like is a brief and concise (clocking in at 4 minutes), comically relevant short about the pitfalls of our social media obsessed culture that is eerie and frightening.
Never Tear Us Apart (Canada)
Dir. Sid Zanforlin
Written by: Sid Zanforlin & Chris Bavota
‘Never Tear Us Apart’
Another concise short film (at just over six minutes), Canada’s Never Tear Us Apart, about two friends and their backwoods search for an elderly couple– who aren’t as polite or as nice as they seem– is a funny, and bloody, film featuring a hilarious twist at the end. The film also boasts one of the best executed movie deaths involving an axe.
Creatures of Whitechapel (UK/USA)
Dir. Jonathan Martin
Written by: Jonathan & Rebecca Martin
‘Creatures of Whitechapel’
The final short in the second block, Creatures of Whitechapel, a gorgeous period horror in the same vain as TV-series Penny Dreadful, is an update on the Frankenstein story set in 1888 London, at the height of the Jack the Ripper murders. The short features characters like Jack the Ripper and Dr. Frankenstein, in a highly stylized re-imagining of 19th century literature. Creatures of Whitechapel is a love letter to Gothic film and literature and a bold and stylized take on Frankenstein.
Alien Inside (Spain)
Dir. Alfonso Garcia Lopez
Written By: Vincent Blonde
The third block of films featured such accomplishing feats as Alien Inside, the Spanish science-fiction horror that begins in medias res, in a world where our protagonist Ata, fights alien beings on earth, in a desperate search for his wife. With the help of his friend Toni, the two will have the fight of their life as they fight off the alien threat. The film is imaginative and compelling, captivating from the very first moment featuring terrifying aliens. The short is packed with action and thrills, ending satisfyingly bleak.
La Cena [The Supper] (Spain)
Dir. Karim Shaker
Written by: Karim Shaker & Pablo Schumann
Also from Spain, La Cena (The Supper) is about a family and a dinner visit that gets stranger by the moment, slowly revealing the true purpose as it builds towards it finale. La Cena is an atmospheric piece that gives viewers an unsettling feeling, featuring a stark and bleak cinematography with a cloud of pessimism hanging over the film’s setting.
Dir. Steve Desmond
Written By: Steve Desmond & Michael Sherman
Monsters is a tense and suspenseful film about a family living out the end of times in a bunker. Jenn, is the youngest in the family, shielded from the potential destruction of the world. Her family thinking that she is too young to brave, or survive, the outside world is left alone in the bunker while her family ventures out daily. The film features a finale that you won’t see coming, even when you think you have the film figured out. Once you see where the film is going it completely flips everything on its ear, and the results are entirely satisfying.
Cauchemar Capitonne (Canada)
Dir. Jean-Claude Leblanc
Written By: Jean-Claude Leblanc
In the fourth, and final shorts block of the day, the French film Cauchemar Capitonne is a tale about a chair found on the side of the road that compels its new owners to contemplate suicide. The film is evocative and frightening with nightmarish and bloody sequences, featuring a powerful force, in a magnificently shot film.
Yummy Meat: A Halloween Carol (USA)
Dir. John Fitzpatrick
Written By: Sean Decker
Yummy Meat : A Halloween Carol follows dentist Amber (Miracle Laurie) and her quest for healthy white teeth, passing out toothbrushes instead of candy on Halloween night. A boy dressed in an adorable werewolf costume comes knocking, unaccompanied by a parent, chanting an eerie Halloween carol that, rightfully, sends a chill down Amber’s spine. But her indignant reaction (and her lack of candy) could land Amber in a whole lot of trouble with the young tyke.
Screamfest LA runs from October 18 to October 27. For ticketing info for the remaining screenings visit their Official Site