As part of our coverage of the Phoenix Film Festival I’m taking a look at the independent horror short films, which have been playing at the festival.Below is a list of the short films from both blocks of horror films, their synopses, and any available web links.
Directed by Bradford Uyeda
“In this music video, a mad doctor replaces a geriatric patient’s hip with one straight from hell.”
There really isn’t much of a story here that can be discerned. It’s a stop-motion film that just takes the viewer right into the short without any warning. While any possible story narrative is vague at best, the animation is pretty good.
No links available.
Directed by Daniel DelPurgatoria
“Susan has more than just skeletons in her closet.”
This is an unassuming and slow short. Susan has a date over at her place, but she has plans for her boyfriend. The film takes a while for the punch line to finally be delivered.
IMDb: Third Wheel (2017)
Official Site: “THIRD WHEEL”
Facebook: THIRD WHEEL
Directed by Brendan Pollecutt
“Libby donates a kidney to her fiancé, Dom. After he breaks off the engagement she goes on a mission to get it back.”
At first this film looks like it deals with a form of separation anxiety, but takes a detour into the area of vengeance. The film has some shocking gore played totally for laughs. This is one of those horror shorts that isn’t looking for any redeeming element. It’s just there for lots of blood and laughs.
IMDb: Keloid (2017)
Directed By D.A. Keenan
“Rotsy, a killer clown, is faced with death when his slasher villain friends find out he has never killed anyone.”
This short film should win the award for the most use of horror tropes. The tropes are very well used, and at times even becomes somewhat self-referential. Only drawback is that it is a little bit long, which makes the ending somewhat predictable. Other than that it is well acted and produced.
IMDb: Rosty (2018)
Directed by Helen Baldwin
“Raymond discovers a ‘magic camera,’ which he uses as a weapon to dominate women. After recovering from their initial terror, the women reclaim their power.”
The McGuffin for this film is not entirely a new one, but the manner in which it used is dark in today’s culture. The main character could find himself on a slippery slope to committing to some really ugly atrocities. It was well done, but not the kind of horror story I like to go out and see.
IMDb: Songbird (2018)
Official Site: Songbird
Directed by Ben Anderson, Sawyer Purnam
“The Leshiy follows Anya as she attempts to free her husband from the curse of the Leshiy, a monstrous winter demon.”
This was a very unusual short that relied mainly on strong imagery as its narrative. It came off as disjointed leading me to feel like I was watching an Igmar Bergman film.
IMDb: The Leshiy (2019)
Directed by Julian de Volte, Arnaud Tabarly
“Completely mad, very hungry, The Foodies make a terrifying and evil family. They are ready to do anything for food, including the worst.”
From the moment it started the first thought in my mind was “Green Zombie Acres.” It was a somewhat new take on zombies that should have a tagline “The Zombie family that kills together, eats together.”
IMdb: Les fines bouches (2014)
Official Site [France]: LARUCHE PRODUCTIONS
Facebook: La Ruche Productions
Directed by Zachary Dehm
“A young woman is stalked by a shadow figure that lurks outside her new apartment. Her peephole may be the key to stopping him.”
This is a creepy and tense short film that felt like it could have been taken from an episode of Night Gallery. It wasn’t entirely original in thought, but it was nonetheless excellently produced.
IMDb: Peep (2018)
Directed by Matthew Van Vorst
“Jordan, a discontented employee, struggles with her grasp on reality as she transitions into becoming a zombie, ultimately finding where she belongs.”
Zombie short films are becoming a dime a dozen, but this was a truly original and outrageous look at this horror genre, starting with a primary character who is a complete idiot, followed by a list of the steps in becoming a zombie. It was very well acted and quite entertaining.
IMDb: Zombied (2018)
Official Site: Zombied – Missive Behavior Productions
Directed by Chad Patrick Shannon
“A young couple wakes up to a chilling discovery.”
This short was one big tease. It was rather slow in building any suspense, and then plays a game of misdirection, only to fake the viewer out in time for the closing credits.
IMDb: Frozen in Terror (2018)
Directed by Jennifer Nicole Stang
“Lindsey is forced to babysit her little sister, Becky. One night, after falling asleep, she wakes up to find her sister gone.”
There was something refreshingly classic with some of the filmmaking techniques employed with this short. It was somewhat strange, but delightfully creepy. It all leads to a rather unexpected ending.
IMDb: The Whistler (2018)
Official Site: Horror Film | The Whistler
Facebook: The Whistler
Directed by Trevor Mirosh
“A police forensic photographer discovers that people in the small town of Battleford have been infected by an alien.”
This is an insect monster movie, pure and simple. The insect gets into the person and is able to control both body and mind. It plays on some old monster horror tropes from B horror movies of the 50’s, but the production is extremely slick. This short film is simple and fun due to its outstanding makeup.
IMDb: Exhibit Man (2019)
Official Site: The Exhibit Man | MindTool Films Inc.
Facebook: Exhibit Man
Directed by Niall Shukla
“Jane suffers from haphephobia (the fear of touch). Tormented by years of loneliness and isolation, she orders a synthetic love doll online to nightmarish consequences.”
Despite the modern filmmaking techniques there is something oddly gothic about this one. Here is another short film that looks like it could come out of a Night Gallery episode. It’s beautifully shot allowing for some incredibly creepy, if not terrifying, sequences. It would give anyone pause before ordering their own love doll.
IMDb: A Doll Distorted (2018)
Facebook: A Doll Distorted