Another great short . . . this time from Nadine L’Esperance.
It was inevitable, I know. My podcasting philosophy doesn’t sit well with those who aspire to make a career out of it and/or those who take horror and podcasting very, very seriously. But I’ve talked about all of that way too much in the past — you know my position.
My days were numbered there, which I realized from day one. Why was I there in the first place then? I’ve been asked that by several people now. My main reason was Jay of the Dead, whose friendship and kindness renewed my faith in horror podcasters coming together to do great things. He left the show and put me in charge of it, which I did out of respect for him and the great show he had started.
We all know that podcast suddenly stopped in a rash of controversy — which boils down to a certain member of the podcast becoming irate over a comment I made about Argento. Amazing! We came up with a story to cover it all up so that nobody looked bad and that the highly-cherished reputation of das Netzwerk would remain untarnished.
I was begged to stay on das Netzwerk — despite harsh treatment and my suspicions that things may not be what they seem. Repeatedly begged to stay. So I returned to solo-casting with The Electric Chair. That lasted for 3 episodes on das Netzwerk, at which point I left, continuing the show on my own. The reasons for this are many. Let’s just say that my leaving coincided with heated disagreements over the treatment of podcasters and leadership decisionmaking.
In fact, just before I left das Netzwerk, my friends on Devour the Podcast were thrown out under controversial circumstances.
So, I’m in the very awkward position of no longer supporting or promoting das Netzwerk, while still having many friends there who make wonderful podcasts, and are all-around great people.
The beginning of the end? We’ll see. But I’m gonna keep doing what I love to do. Thanks to everyone who has show their kind support throughout all of this!
I threw this little beauty together this morning to promote the new show, and give people a way to find out more.
Crowdsourcing is really hot now. It’s a way of getting lots of people to all donate small amounts of money to fund film projects (well, not just film, but that’s what I’m talking about here). Oftentimes, donors will receive perks like copies of the movie, shout-outs online, t-shirts, etc., in exchange for their donations.
I just threw a few bucks at an upcoming project that I really believe in, and think will be exceptionally cool. It’s called Way Down in Chinatown. It will have a very film noir feel, and will be very original.
This is a nice little zombie tale from the great nation of Australia. There’s a bit of strong language in this one.
I just stumbled across this little gem on Vimeo. Enjoy.
A blogger on The Independent reviews The Thing (2011), comparing the two in terms of how the special effects were done. In John Carpenter’s 1982 version, digital effects were all but non-existent, and all of the body-crunching gore was achieved using practical means — prosthetics, mechanical contraptions, lots of liquid latex and fake blood, and so on. The 2011 version features digital effects — all the alien violence was made by a team of geeks on their fancy computers.
It’s a controversial topic among horror fans. I tend to agree with most of what the author says about the use and misuse of digital effects. Where do you weigh in? Was he too tough on modern horror using digital effects?
He did make a comment that I can’t completely agree with, however. He says that “modern US horror cinema is defined by lazy cash-ins, spin-offs and other defilements of legendary films.” Lazy cash-ins and spin-offs: yes. Defilements of legendary films: get over your hatred of remakes because of the alleged untouchable holiness of the originals. I’m tired of hearing this kind of argument.
Just had to put that out there.
One of my favorite events of the year is the Eerie Horror Film Festival. Although it takes place over four days every October, I usually only have time to go for one day. This year I went on Saturday, and watched the first four blocks of movies they played, totalling 8 hours of shorts and features. Allow me to tell you a little bit about what I saw.
But before I start, I have a couple comments. First of all, I’ve never seen a truly bad movie at this festival. Sure, there were some I didn’t care for, but the quality is consistently excellent in the films chosen. Secondly, I was very tired the day I went. This definitely affected my experience of the features, since they were obviously longer.
UK | Directed by Ray Vernava | 11min
Very weird, very cool! It’s a surrreal fantasy horror piece . . . or something like that. This one is hard to explain, but well worth the watch. Watch the trailer.
Canada | Directed by Stephen Martin | 11min
An original tale, for sure. I didn’t care for the makeup, but it involves a zombie (always a plus in my book) and some fun humor. Watch the trailer.
Canada | Directed by Evan Kelly | 99min
My first feature-length film of the day was a good one. It was a strange supernatural tale that for some reason kept reminding me of The Shining. But I kept falling asleep during this one — I’m not sure whether it was the movie, or my severe lack of sleep that caused this. I think I needed to pay more attention than I did to really get this movie. Watch the trailer.
Bad Moon Rising
Australia | Directed by Scott Hamilton | 8min
Awesome werewolf short, complete with a sweet transformation scene that reminded me of An American Werewolf in London. You gotta watch this 1-minute excerpt.
St. Christophorus: Roadkill
Germany | Directed by Gregor Erler | 26min
A faced-paced thriller about a guy who endures an extreme amount of pain after witnessing an accident on the road. I loved this one. Check out the official website, where you can watch the trailer (among other things).
USA | Directed by Elise Robertson | 86min
I love a good cannibal movie, and this made me happy. It’s all based on the Donner Party, and the legends surrounding it. Great production value: acting, violence and gore effects were wonderful. Watch the trailer.
Mea Maxima Culpa
Canada | Directed by Eric Spoeth | 25min
Black and white and based on Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, this short was very enjoyable. Good acting, and good expansion on the original story. Watch the trailer.
Germany | Directed by Martin Bargiel | 19min
I think I was too tired for this one, as it was really surreal, having to do with blurring the edges of the real and the imagined. Too much for my tired mind to wrap around. I’m sure it was good. Watch the trailer.
The Black Box
USA | Directed by Jason Balas | 81min
I think I was so confused after Augenblicke that the disorientation spilled over into this movie. I guess it’s a post-apocalyptic, futuristic kind of thing, but I really have no idea. I need to try to watch this one again. Watch the trailer, and look for links on that page for other trailers for this movie.
The Living Want Me Dead
USA | Directed by Bill Palmer | 23min
This was my favorite short of the whole day! A man subjects himself to scientific tests for money, and consequently develops a condition in which he gives off a pheromone that causes people to turn into bloodthirsty killers. Brilliant and extremely enjoyable. Bravo! Watch the first scene and sneak peek.
The Millennium Bug
USA | Directed by Kenneth Cran | 98min
My favorite feature of the day! I was pleasantly surprised by this, as I had no idea what it was about. It’s New Years Eve 1999, and a family is headed into the mountains for a holiday getaway. They encounter inbred hillbillies, a cryptozoologist and an enormous creature that surfaces once every thousand years. All practical effects (“No CGI” was actually the movie’s mantra), which was pulled off masterfully. I liked this movie so much that I went out and bought it on DVD immediately, getting to meet the director. What a way to end the day! Go to the official website to watch the trailer and order your own DVD.
This week, the independent British movie Bane was released on DVD by Safecracker Pictures. Written and directed by James Eaves, it runs close to 2 hours, and was the winner of the Best Horror Feature Award at Shriekfest in LA.
This movie has a very Saw vibe. Four women wake up in an underground cell, remembering nothing. They are drugged and subjected to a series of horrifying experiments. On top of this, the women are visited one at a time by the killer Surgeon, who cuts a number into each woman’s skin — the exact time that he’s coming back to kill them. The movie takes a number of unexpected twists and turns, leading to an ending that is truly surprising.
I have to say that I’m amazed at what the filmmakers did with a very low budget, especially in the effects department. There is lots of blood and gore, the vast majority of it being practical (not CG). I only saw a couple quick CG enhancements to the effects, and they did not detract from the scene at all. It all plays into the psychological nature of the movie — they’re messing with the actors’ (and the viewers’) heads, leaving everyone to try to figure out what is really going on.
It’s also very good on a technical level. A lot of careful attention was paid to camera placement and movement, and stylized, creative lighting was utilized to the fullest extent. It’s all edited together very well — even though it’s a longer movie, the pacing is very good and never left me bored or over-stimulated.
The acting is pretty much what you’d expect from a micro-budget film. A couple of the characters are done well, while most are mediocre at best. But they weren’t helped by the fact that there wasn’t much character development — I really didn’t care for any of them that much. Most of the movie is focused on the psychological horror of the situation, not on growing deeper with the characters.
A few specific problems I had:
- I just didn’t get the killer Surgeon. Why was he there? Several things didn’t make much sense to me.
- After the experiments and subsequent questioning, the women were given the chance to ask the doctor one question. Why didn’t they ask what was going on? They never thought of that until the end.
- The main character was awfully calm upon discovering the Lovecraftian tentacle bug monster. She was even clearheaded enough to use the creature to her advantage. I think that any normal person would have crapped their pants and collapsed in a sobbing heap. Or maybe that would just be me.
All in all, this was a very interesting movie to watch. It’s a Saw-like psychological horror film, lacking the fine polish of a big-budget film, but still delivering some nice gore and unexpected twists.
Thanks to my friends at Organic Marketing for sending this!