Screamfest 2012 – Highlights From Shorts Block 3 & 4

This year’s Screamfest has since finished its week long run. There were a few highlights of the festival for me and I’d be remiss if I were to leave out the short films that screened this past Friday night. It seems like Shorts Block 3 & 4 had a plethora (that’s right, plethora) of amazing films.  From horror comedy to animation, it felt like this year had some of the best shorts I’ve seen back to back in quite some time.  Seriously, almost every one of them impressed. But to keep with the consistency of my previous piece on this year’s shorts, I’ve narrowed it down to my five absolute favorites.

INCIDENT ON HIGHWAY 73

Cast: Elizabeth Schmidt & Ian Alda Writer: Michael Kirk  Director: Brian Thompson

Synopsis: On Christmas Eve of 2005 Jeff and Kelly took a trip through the desert and mysteriously disappeared. This is the account of their final hours.

There’s a reason why INCIDENT ON HIGHWAY 73 won the Skully for Best Short at this year’s Screamfest.   The whole package here is great.  The actors’ performances were convincing in their nuanced subtlety.  The story was enough dark as it was weird.  And the film did a great job of showing you the necessary details instead of bogging the audience down in exposition.  With just a glimpse of something crazy in the storm clouds above, INCIDENT ON HIGHWAY 73 was a fun little ride down a weird dirt road.

Check out their official site for more information on the film.

SUCKABLOOD

Cast: Holly Jacobson Samuel Metcalf & Robin Berry Written/Directed By: Jake Cuddihy and Ben Tillett

Synopsis: The 5th episode from Bloody Cuts is a dark bedtime story, a gothic tale of a girl scared to suck her thumb – lest the monstrous Suckablood should come! Written and directed by Ben Tillett and Jake Cuddihy, Bloody Cuts bring their brand of UK horror to new levels with a new film shot on location in a stately home and featuring the special make-up artistry of Millennium FX.”

This is the first I’ve ever heard of Bloody Cuts and, well, I’m happy to finally be “in the know”.  SUCKABLOOD is the story of a monster that preys on children who suck their thumbs.  Pretty simple concept, sure.  However, between the beautiful and creepy imagery, the evil nursery rhyme narration, and overall Edgar Allen Poe feel to the piece, this thing is pretty dark and a hell of a lot of fun!  I’m definitely intrigued to see the other work coming out of Bloody Cuts, that’s for sure!


OTHER

Cast: David Steiger  Writer: Anthony Williams  Director: Daniel DelPurgatorio

Synopsis: Patrick is a brilliant doctor in an obsessive race to alter his own grim prognosis. During a series of unconventional experiments, he discovers a scientific loophole unlike anything he had ever imagined. In pursuit of this dark prize, Patrick will risk everything to ensure he sees his experiment to the end…even if it means accepting the sinister results.

This film did a very nice job of keeping my attention.  The stylized camera tricks, the gore, David Steiger’s performance…it all helped keep this short film’s crazy imagery in my mind long after viewing it.  Reminiscent of THE FLY, THE OTHER easily stands out as one of my favorite shorts from the entire festival.  It also has a nice little bloody twist at the end of the film that had the audience ignite into applause.

POST HUMAN

Cast: Tricia Helfer & Ulric Dihle  Written/Directed By: Cole Drumb

Synopsis: Set in an adrenalized future of espionage, assassins, and out of control super science, PostHuman follows a genius hacker and his dog as they help an enigmatic young woman to free the remaining test subject of a black ops ESP test lab.

When an animated short is screened, my expectations are usually low as I’ve seen a lot of shitty ones.  However, this one reminded me of a cross between ANIMATRIX and the likes of AEON FLUX from MTV’s old animated program Liquid Television.  Actually, I feel POST HUMAN was too short.  It sort of just whetted our appetites and just when it got really good, it ended. POST HUMAN is this year’s winner of Best Animated Short.  Here’s hoping Cole Drumb has more up his sleeves and delivers another installment soon.

KILLER KART

Cast: Christine Rodriguez, Ray Bouchard, Britt Gordon & Elly Schaefer Written/Directed By: James Feeney

Synopsis: An evil grows, hiding in plain sight. We never give it a second thought, as it carries our groceries and holds our children. Just four wheels and a basket, but forged of aluminum in the fires of hell. Fueled by years of pain and neglect, tonight, it will strike, and the closing crew of a small-town grocery store will be thrust into the fight of their lives against the monstrous devastation of… The Killer Kart!

The concept for KILLER KART is as simple as it is awesome.  Hilariously awesome.  It won for Best Horror-Comedy Short and is very well deserving of that honor.  The audience was nearly crapping themselves from the constant barrage of laughter.  James Feeney really struck gold with this story and it’s his college thesis for crying out loud!  And Christine Rodriguez stole the show.  Here’s hoping they bring us a sequel and soon.  I’ll never look at shopping carts the same way again!

This piece brings our Screamfest coverage to a close.  I highly recommend seeking out these shorts if you can.  They’re well worth your time!