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Fifteen Shorts to see at Fantastic Fest 2014

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On the eve of Fantastic Fest 2014, FANGORIA—proud sponsor of the FF Shorts Programs—shared with our readers five stellar short films from the festival’s past to watch online in full. As the fest gets underway however, we turn our eye to its highly anticipated slate of short shock. Ever exciting in its short film programs (thanks in large part to curator and programmer Kier-La Janisse) Fantastic Fest is a destination for adventurous audiences, those with irreverent taste and looking for an amazing time. Sometimes, amazing is fun. Sometimes, amazing is gross. Sometimes, amazing is confrontational. Oftentimes, it’s simply way gnar. Roll then with me, through a selection of shorts to keep an eye out for. Some I’ve seen. Others, I’m just very much looking forward to. All, I’m hoping fans and festgoers will catch with me at the Alamo South Lamar.

• ABDULLAH (2014, Dir. Evrim Ersoy)
Abdullah is a lonely London cab driver who goes through the motions of his day while clearly disconnected from his environment. When he is invited to interact with a client, Abdullah chooses a frightening from of contact.

• AUTUMN HARVEST (2014, Dir. Fredrik S. Hana)
From last year’s Short Fuse winner, Fredrik S. Hana, AUTUMN HARVEST is a seaside scare. Ethereal and somber, it utilizes stunning nature to tell a story of supernatural sacrifice. See our full preview with Hana here.

• BEAST (2013, Dir. Vladimir Mavounia-Kouka)
From the Film Guide: “A woman discovers her animal nature when a wolf grows out of her own body and ravages her. A beautifully choreographed erotic tale that recalls Walerian Borowcyzk’s film of the same name.”

• GOAT WITCH (2014, Dir. James Sizemore)
From the director of homemade horror spectacle THE DEMON’S ROOK, GOAT WITCH is a short film that undeniably lives in the same universe. Here, two young woman prepare and enact a transcendent, transformative ritual. A black magick splattershow ensues.

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• HE TOOK HIS SKIN OFF FOR ME (2014, Dir. Ben Aston)
Ben Aston’s HE TOOK HIS SKIN OFF FOR ME is captivating, both in its masterful grotesque SFX work and the lyrical tone which holds it within. Based on a short story by Maria Hummer, HE TOOK HIS SKIN… translates to a moving, melancholy piece… about a devoted spouse who quite literally peels away his outer shell.

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• HURRICANE BOY FUCK YOU TABARNAK (2013, Dir. Ara Ball)

Black-and-white punk wave coming-of-age about a directly confrontational denim-clad kid with a rude fucking tude. HURRICANE BOY FUCK YOU TABARNAK sees its white trash Quebecois protagonist spit in our faces as he acts tough and lives rough. Director Ara Ball’s work is clever though. It isn’t simply celebration of a young punk, or an indictment of how he treats the world, or a stone look at how the world treats him. It’s all. Deftly layered in a mere 14 minutes, HURRICANE BOY transitions from rowdy montage to frank portrait of a poverty-stricken bully’s life now and what it will turn it out to be, before circling back around for unapologetic acceptance of just who the fuck he is. Tough, silly, sad and likely all manner of off-putting.

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• INHERENT NOISE (2014, Dir. Karol Jurga)
Richly sound designed, INHERENT NOISE is akin to a short story, told in booming, exhilarating manner. A relatively simple tale about a young caretaker, her missing patient and creaky, crusty old house becomes an aural explosion. See it big. See it loud.

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• INVADERS (2014, Dir. Jason Kupfer)

Just look at this image.

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• LITTLE LAMB (2014, Dir. Heidi Lee Douglas)
Making its U.S. Premiere, Heidi Lee Douglas’ LITTLE LAMB previously won the annual scriptwriting contest at the great Stranger with My Face Film Festival in Australia. Just its pedigree and period setting are more than enough to intrigue.

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• PEINE DE MORT (DEATH SENTENCE)
From the Film Guide: “A woman savagely brutalizes two men in the woods. What would drive a woman to commit such atrocities? A frank and disturbing film about vengeance.”

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• THE PRESENT (2013, Dir. Joe Hsieh)

Based on an ancient folktale, this strikingly crafted retelling is sad in its horror as director Joe Hsieh splashes red over a tragic black-and-white atmosphere. It’s an otherworldly work, indicative of its origins and both lulling and frightening at once.

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• RITUAL OF CATHODE RAY TUBE (2013, Dir. Mores Zhan)
From the Film Guide: “RITUAL OF CATHODE RAY TUBE began its life as a multi-screen gallery installation, in which a series of monochrome drawings interact with each other like a live news feed recording of a black magic happening. Hypnotic and awesome.”

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• SOLITUDO (2014, Dir. Alice Lowe)
From our preview: “Lowe has crafted a short directorial debut that’s often stunning in mood, atmosphere and assurance. Deftly blending the classically creepy with psychological turmoil and absurd horror, SOLITUDO tells the largely dialogue-free and frighteningly picturesque tale of a nun at a rural abbey haunted by both herself and a lurking presence.” See the full, extensive preview with Lowe here.

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• THE STOMACH (2014, Dir. Ben Steiner)
From our preview: “You’ve not seen a medium like this. Ben Steiner’s THE STOMACH, likely described as a genre hybrid and seamless in being such, is a fantastic and fantastical piece of work. Whereas spiritualists and psychic mediums are often romanticized, or at the very least cast in a more classical horror light, this stark short presents a harsher, sadder existence. One where the gift manifests in a strange, abject manner and the person its bestowed on is at the mercy of those with nefarious needs. See the full Q&A with director Ben Steiner here.

• THE VOICE THIEF (2013, Dir. Adan Jodorowsky)
From the family Jodorowsky, this imaginative, supremely colorful film is the directorial debut of Alejandro’s son Adan. The young director crafts something lush and expectedly (and excitedly) out there as Asia Argento stars as an opera singer whose voice is lost. Her husband (another Jodorowsky, Cristobal), sets off on a quest to retrieve it. His is an odyssey frightening and warped, boasting a dwarf prostitute, a transvestite and a garbage heap goddess.

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About the author
Samuel Zimmerman
Fangoria.com Managing Editor Samuel Zimmerman has been at FANGORIA since 2009, where fresh out of the Purchase College Cinema Studies program, he began as an editorial assistant. Since, he’s honed both his writing and karaoke skills and been trusted with the responsibility of jury duty at Austin’s incredible Fantastic Fest. Zimmerman lives in and hails from The Bronx, New York where his pants are too tight and he’ll watch anything with witches.
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