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Almost every writer—myself included—has at one point said, “It’d
make a better short.” Seconds after the familiar phrase is uttered however, I
often find myself wondering if, in fact, the hypothetical “it” were a short,
would I have ever seen it? While short films can often be a wholly striking
introduction to new talent, and lovely asides from masters, they don’t
typically have the widest audience. So, having been exposed to a number really
great works in recent weeks, here’s a roundup of some wonderful horror shorts,
and where you may be able to see them if you’re on the lookout.
New York City’s Museum of Art and Design, a place in the
midst of crafting a really fun cinema program, is playing host to Daggers: The
Festival of Short Horror Films. Amidst more widely received bangers like Jason
Eisener’s (HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN) TREEVENGE, and the recent festival hit, THE
LEGEND OF BEAVER DAM, the lineup is incredible; a rarity I’ve come to find in
shorts programs. Here are four gems within:
THE ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, dir. Briony Kidd
My favorite of the bunch, THE ROOM AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS
hails from Australia, and in a swift fifteen minutes, director Briony Kidd
tells a haunting, poetic tale of a lonely young girl and her first residence at
art school. An immediate outsider amongst new roommates, the girl comes to find
solace in her room’s previous occupant whose infamous reputation figuratively
and possibly, literally, haunts the place. Kidd’s style is assured and
beautiful, and while the film avoids any overly horrific payoff, it absolutely
sticks in your bones. You can keep up with the film at its official site.
(BABY) IT’S YOU, dir. David Cowles, Jeremy Galante, and Brad
One of two animated works included (the other being an
imaginative and psychedelic silent film-styled retelling of H.P. Lovecraft’s
THE OTHER GODS), this short, sweet and incredibly fun love story between a mad
scientist and his reanimated robot bride is a great bit of levity, and one that
keeps a devious smile attuned to your face the whole time.
NEXT FLOOR, dir. Denis Villenueve
Hilarious, and at the same time gravely serious, Villenueve’s
excellent short satirizes the disgusting gluttony and descending morality of
those on top, amidst serious production value and the ever-continuous
relationship between horror and food.
LUMP, dir. Faye Jackson
While Jackson’s recent full-length, STRIGOI, really
underwhelmed, LUMP is masterfully creepy burst of body horror and medical
You can catch Daggers tomorrow, October 22 at the Museum of
Art and Design at 3 p.m., for $10. You really, really should.
Also currently underway on the left coast is Screamfest
L.A., one of the country’s top all-horror fests, and tonight sees its own
shorts program. While I can’t speak to it as a whole, two of its inclusions are
probably worth the ticket alone.
ALL MEN ARE CALLED ROBERT, dir. Marc-Henri Boulier
Preceding YOU’RE NEXT at Fantastic Fest last month, only a
short this genius could be just as memorable as the excellent and
crowd-pleasing feature it was paired with. The film sees a naked man being intensely
pursued through a forest and aside from strong visuals, the payoff just rules.
Don’t miss it.
INFECTED, dir. Jason Miller
Coming from the Ariescope family, this short directed by
Miller (second unit director on HATCHET II, and producer on FROZEN, HATCHET II
and CHILLERAMA) boasts some seriously cool monster suit action and FX, neato
cameos and a successful, if familiar, twist; all in about four minutes.
Get tickets for the Screamfest shorts, tonight at 8 p.m.,
This next film played Fantastic Fest last month, and while
it doesn’t seem to have any upcoming play dates, should hit pretty hard, pretty
COST OF LIVING, dir. BenDavid Grabinski
Starring Brandon Routh (SUPERMAN RETURNS) and Bret Harrison
as Silas and Jerry, COST OF LIVING pits the two employees of an unnamed
corporation against an unnamed threat in “the tunnels.” COST is brisk, full of
slimy monster action and killer delivery, and best of all, feels really big.
Also, available to watch online right now is Spike Jonze’s
brand new stop motion short, MOURIR AUPRES DE TOI (TO DIE BY YOUR SIDE). Like
the aforementioned (BABY) IT’S YOU, the piece is sweet, and visually enchanting,
telling of a skeleton who hops off the cover of MACBETH in the famous Parisian
bookstore, Shakespeare and Co, to win over his love. Click through the image
below to check it out, and hopefully you’ll get a chance to see all of these
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