Sorry it took so long folks, but here’s the rundown of the 11 shorts and 2 features presented at Day 2 of the Buried Alive Film Festival. From 2pm until the after party started after midnight, we we got a block of shorts chosen by 30 year Fangoria vet Philip Nutman, a local filmmaker showcase, one of the most anticipated indie flicks of the year, and a lot more. Like I said in part one, do a little research on these flicks. Many of them can be watched online. Support Independent Horror!
The Other Half – The moment I got the double entendre of the title, I knew I liked the cut of Atlanta filmmaker Bret Wood’s jib. An amputee forces his wife to set him up with a whore to prove that “he’s not dead yet.” A nasty little burst of psychosexual debauchery with a very David Lynch-ian vibe. Good stuff.
Emergency Preparedness – It’s Halloween, and monsters are invading. One man is ready for them, but they may not be what he thinks. This is from the same director as Do Not Disturb from day 1, and it’s just as good. The ending is especially satisfying.
Hell Week – Three sorority sisters take revenge on a frat pledge who seduced them all to avoid hazing. This was short number three from Patrick Rae, and it’s my least favorite of the three. The acting wasn’t as good, and even for a 13 minute short it really didn’t seem to go anywhere. As the song says, two out of three ain’t bad.
Borley Rectory – This was just a teaser trailer for an English flick about the “most haunted house in England.” Looks to be another found footage flick, with the gimmick being that it was shot many years ago. I’ve never seen anything else Ashley Thorpe has done, but he must be something special for them to have made such a big deal about this trailer.
Down to Sleep – I don’t know a better way to describe this flick in a non spoilerish way than a phrase from the festival program; “life/death, incest…and goldfish!” This was the longest of the shorts at 40 minutes, and it felt like the perfect length for the story. The acting was good, it looked great, it had plenty of atmosphere, and the twist ending is a perfectly executed punch in the gut. At the after party, director Ryan Lieske told me that one of his big influences is Cronenberg, and I can definitely see that in this flick. One of the best of the festival. Did I mention that awesome ending?
A Wet Dream on Elm Street – Not the recently released porn parody, but a local short. It’s a three minute long Freddy sex joke…good thing it’s freakin’ funny. It’s intentionally silly, and you just can’t help laughing. My only qualm…I hate “almost” nudity! Just show it!
Satanic Panic: Band out of Hell – You always thought heavy metal was the devil’s music, didn’t you? Well, turns out it’s dance pop. Satanic Panic is a band of devil worshipers that is a cross between Dead or Alive and Electric Hellfire Club. The flick concerns a new threat that arises at their video shoot. Speaking of which, the videos for songs like “Six, Six, Sexy” are the funniest part of the flick. I also enjoyed the nod to the infamous Gaal “Satan” interview. I look forward to the promised sequel.
Survivor Type – If you were stranded on a deserted island, how far would you go to survive? I’ve never read the Stephen King story that this is based on, so I can’t compare the two, but the movie more than stands up on its own. The central performance is strong, and the gore is effective. Probably the best film out of the “Georgia Fever Dreams” local filmmakers showcase. Definitely worth checking out. My only question, would his hair really grow that fast?Data Entry – Good concept, but it was 6 minutes of epileptic cameras and tiresome repeated jump cuts. I get it, this style is supposed to convey the craziness of the scene. It doesn’t. Far too often these contrivances are mistaken for actual visual style. I was not impressed.
The Familiar – Sam becomes a vampire’s familiar, only to find that the job isn’t nearly as glamorous and rewarding as he thought. This short seemed more like a TV pilot. The production values are very high, it looks great. The acting is good all around, but Paul Hubbard as Simon, the vampire, steals the show. The tone is funny without becoming jokey. The end sets up the possibility of a continuing story, which I would love to see.
Banana Motherf**ker – Bananas killing people in horrible ways. What more needs to be said? This Portuguese short is 13 minutes of pure frenetic gore soaked insanity. The nods to classic horror movies (especially the Nightmare on Elm Street homage) had me laughing out loud. You can tell that some of the people on screen are barely maintaining a straight face, and you won’t be able to either. This was the winner for Best Short. There were more polished films and more technically proficient films, but certainly none were more entertaining. On a side note, I think Ben & Jerry's should have a flavor called Banana Motherf**ker.
The Selling – A realtor is having trouble selling a haunted house. This was, in my mind, the best feature of the festival (even though I Didn’t Come Here to Die took the award). This horror comedy is extremely smartly written. The interplay between the two partners selling the house was great, as the two actors have wonderful chemistry. The entire cast is good, but these two really anchor the flick. All of the conventional haunted house tropes are trotted out, but presented in a new context, they seem fresh. As far as the laughs go, the movie is fairly top heavy. The scenes of them trying to sell the house in the first half are much more clever than the second half. It doesn’t lose too much steam, however, and delivers throughout. I loved this one.
Chillerama - I wanted to like this movie a lot more than I actually did. This anthology, directed by Adam Green, Joe Lynch, Tim Sullivan, and Adam Rifkin, presents four stories that are extremely uneven. First up is the oh so cleverly titled Wadzilla, in which a city falls under siege from a giant sperm. This part played like a decent SNL sketch that drug out way too long. The double entendres hit perfectly, and are really funny, but overall the cum joke wears extremely thin by the end. Eric Roberts is always a welcome presence though. I was a Teenage Wearbear is the second, longest, and worst chapter. The musical isn’t funny at all, nor is it even entertaining. Just boring. Luckily, The Diary of Anne Frankenstein is up next. This story of Hitler creating a Jewish monster (played by Kane Hodder) was hilarious, and almost made sitting through Werebear worth it. The final chapter, in which day-glow blue zombie spooge causes an entire drive in to devolve into an orgy of gore, is decent. The non-stop classic movie lines are funny, the gore effects are very well done, the young leads do a good job, Richard Riehle is a hoot (yes, I really said that), and I liked the ending. Watching the zombies screwing everything in sight is funny for a couple of minutes. The problem is, like the rest of the flick, they beat you over the head with the joke long after it ceased to be funny.
I admit, I’m very picky about my comedy. Sophomoric comedy normally doesn’t do it for me. I’m not one of those pretentious “I am above this low brow humor” people, but an hour and a half of jokes about jizz just isn’t my cup of guts. Those of you who dig that style of humor will most likely enjoy Chillerama much more than I did. I like the “drive-in tribute” atmosphere, but overall the flick seemed like it got a last minute rewrite by a couple of giggling 12 year old boys. Greene’s Diary of Anne Frankenstein was by far the best, being genuinely funny most of the time. Werebear was by far the worst. It drug at a glacial pace through tired gay jokes and badly filmed musical numbers. The other two were somewhere in between. I hate to give this a lackluster review, because I like a lot of the filmmakers involved. There are a lot of fun things about the flick too, it’s just very one note and not very funny.
Two Severed Thumbs Up: The Other Half, Emergency Preparedness, Down to Sleep, Survivor Type, The Familiar, The Selling, Banana Motherf**ker
One and a Half Severed Thumbs Up: A Wet Dream on Elm Street, Satanic Panic: Band out of Hell
One Severed Thumb Up: Chillerama
Half of a Severed Thumb Up: Hell Week, Data Entry