Screamfest 2012: Highlights From Shorts Block 1 & 2

This past Sunday, Screamfest held their first two short film blocks of the festival.  One of the highlights for me are peeping what directors can put together on screen in these shorts.  While it was indeed a mixed bag, as per usual, there seemed to be more that stood out to me this year.

I’ve picked the five shorts that stood out from Sunday’s programming.  They are below.

THE RISING

Cast: Leander Modersohn Director: Sebastian Mattukat

Written By: Sebastian Mattukat & Tobias Voigt

Synopsis: The year is 2057. Years ago, mankind’s hubris has destroyed the earth’s atmosphere. Survivors have retreated to bunkers deep underground. In THE RISING we follow the story of clone LE-E-003976 (LE-E). On a research mission in the toxic woods of the destroyed environment, he incidentally gets caught in the middle of an upcoming rebellion and thus learns about the dreadful truth of his destiny.

For a 12 minute short film that has absolutely no dialogue, THE RISING succeeds at everything it is trying to convey to the audience.  Plus, it’s a post apocalyptic story and I absolutely love those.

For more information on THE RISING as well as other works by Sebastian Mattukat, why not visit his website?

STUCK


Cast: Paul McCarthy-Boyington Andy Lauer Treva Tegtmeier Director: Martin W. Andersen

Written By: Rod Peyton

Synopsis: Disoriented and confused, Jack awakens to find himself alone in a warehouse, CEMENTED WAIST DEEP IN THE FLOOR! Unable to get free, Jack soon meets his captors – a husband and wife who insist he’s the man that murdered their thirteen-year-old daughter. With only minutes to spare, Jack must convince them of his innocence or risk being buried alive…

This was one of those short films that surprised me.  Throughout the duration of the entire thing, right up to the end, I really thought I knew where it was going.  However, I can proudly state I was wrong.  STUCK showed up in the first shorts block of the day and honestly, it was the one that stuck with me the most.  See what I did there?

Further information on Martin W. Anderson can be found at his website.

YELLOW

Cast: Stephen M Gilbert Hester Arden & Rocco Menzel Written/Directed By: Ryan Haysom

Synopsis: A reclusive older man is on the hunt for a vicious serial killer of women in neon-lit Berlin. A neo-Giallo short film.

This one still has me confused.  This “Neo-Giallo” short film is definitely one I will remember.  Stylistically, it was the most interestingly bizarre and beautiful short of the day.  I’ll give Haysom that.  The performances were fine and the music lent what it had to ultimately convey the style the director was going for.  The yellow motif throughout added a unique touch which harkened back to the title of the film as well as the genre it is paying homage to.  However, the overall story lost me.  More style than substance is fine as long as you keep the audience’s attention. And for that sole reason, YELLOW made my list of highlights.  Just please don’t ask me what it’s about.

For more on YELLOW, check out the film’s Official Facebook Page.

A BOY’S LIFE

Cast: Christie Lynn Smith, Griffin Gluck & Brian Majestic Written/Directed By: Elias Benavidez

Synopsis: Through his father’s absence, an imaginative boy attempts to prove to his disbelieving mother that the monster beneath his bed is real.

There seemed to be a number of entries in the shorts category that played on themes of children and childhood.  A BOY’S LIFE was one of them.  The short played to its strengths by focusing on the young boy’s fear of the monster in its room as well as his relationship with his mother.  The two struggling with a recent loss of the boy’s soldier father. A BOY’S LIFE is more-so a portrayal of a mother and son dealing with a shared grief than a monster movie. At times funny and other times touching, the short ends somewhat predictably.  As a man brought up by a single mother, though, I related to the subject matter and think it’s a short worth seeing if you have the chance. For more on the director Elias Benavidez and his work, here’s his website.

ATTACK OF THE BRAINSUCKER

Cast: Keyanna Fielding, Alex Weiner, Arthur Holden, Janine Theriault, Neil Napier & Jeff Lefebvre Written/Directed By: Sid Zanforlin

Synopsis: Attack of the Brainsucker Pray he doesn’t get inside your head! Samantha, a little girl growing up in the sixties, loves classic b-movies and monsters. That is, until they start to invade her bedroom and her obsession compels her parents to seek help from the latest scientific breakthrough.

ATTACK OF THE BRAINSUCKER is a fun short film dressed up as a classic 60s monster/alien invasion film with an underlying social message. This is the story about young Samantha and her very realistic dreams about monsters. Sadly, her parents are not the types to promote creativity in their child and ultimately take her to the doctor to get the crazy removed from her brain. No problem!  Let’s just stab a sharp metal tool right into her eye socket and just fix that for ya!  It’s hard to believe this was a common medical practice in the day. Yes, underneath the retro b-movie style, this film tackles the subject matter of prefrontal lobotomies and the practice of this controversial procedure that was prevalent until the 70s.

Scary!

Well, there you have it, folks.  Please stay tuned as I will be updating you in the coming days on the other programming we were able to catch at this year’s Screamfest.  As always, check out their website for full information on the films and their schedules for the remainder of the week!