Category: Short Films

Short Horror-o-Rama #3

Hello kiddies! It’s time for more short horror films! This week we’ve got a whole steaming batch of backyard fan flicks mixed in with a couple of neat music videos. Have fun, and as always, stay safe when you play in traffic!

1. Freddy vs. Jason vs. Ash (2011)
Ah, trademark infringing fan films, they warm my heart. Well, sometimes they do. This one isn’t that bad for a fan wish fulfilment thing. The props and the acting are strictly budget Halloween store but you at least get the feeling that it was made with love.  And that isn’t that the most important thing? Until Hollywood gets off it’s lazy remake puking ass, this is the best version of this idea we are going to get, sadly…

2. The Nightmare Ends on Halloween II (2011)
Chris R. Notarile’s work continues to impress me. This is another famous slasher film villain fan mashup but the production values are much higher than in Freddy vs. Jason vs. Spongebob and Notarile once again shows that he has real directing chops. For what it’s worth, I also really dig  Roberto Lombardi’s Freddy. A pretty fun little short all around.

3. Time to Dance (2012)
Jake Gyllenhaal hates hipsters. Jake Gyllenhaal goes to stupid hipster parties. Jake Gyllenhaal kills hipsters. Jake Gyllenhaal goes back home and thinks about what he’s done.  That’s pretty much it. Hey, at least the music’s catchy and there’s a bit of style to the whole thing. Wait, was this scripted or were they just filming a typical weekend for Jake Gyllenhaal?  Hopefully he got his hipster hunting license from the DNR and he’s only bagging his limit…

4. The Last of Us (2012)
Hooray, another fan film! (Just a bit of sarcasm there). This one is for a video game that I’ve never heard of. While it’s cool that people are making stuff like this, it’s like listening to cover bands. They might be good, but they’re still just doing other people’s songs instead of their own. It’s my sincere hope that these filmmakers use this stuff as stepping stones to better things.
On that note, this one is just okay even if it feels a bit too much like a video game you can’t play. Gotta love a bit of the old ultra-violence though.

5. Ghosts (AKA Michael Jackson’s Ghosts) (1997)
After Thriller, Michael Jackson promised his church that he would never make anything horror related ever again since they threw such a big stink about it being demonic and against God. By the mid-90’s, their influence must have waned because here came Ghosts, Jackson’s attempt to out do his previous attempt at a horror music video.  With a story by Stephen King and a screenplay and special effects by the amazing Stan Winston (who also directed) it seems like Ghosts should have been just as ground shaking. Bigger is better, right? Except that didn’t turn out to be true. What happened?
I think the problem lies with Jackson himself. Like a lot of his later work Ghosts is pretty much “The Michael Jackson Show, starring Michael Jackson as Michael Jackson” (he plays a total of five characters!) Therefore, it isn’t half as much fun as Thriller was unless you really buy into Jackson’s ego and the idea that the entire world was picking on him for being “weird” (Which he kind of brought down on himself anyways).
It’s not all bad, however. Stan Winston’s makeup is still incredible even if the digital effects really show their age. The music is also very good, even if it’s not up to the level of his earlier work, and Jackson’s dancing is still shit hot.
When you get right down to it though, Ghosts is still just an amusing curiosity instead of the groundbreaking piece it really should have been. Plus it played before screenings of Thinner. That could not have helped it’s reputation.

That’s it for this week. I really hope you all had as much fun as I had and didn’t eat the poison dates I set out on the table. Or was that poison grapes? Oh well. I’m sure you’ll all be fine.

Short Horror-o-Rama #2

Hey kids, it’s Wednesday again and that means another trek into the under appreciated world of the short form horror film! Once again I’ll be pulling from IMDB’s Most Popular Horror Short Films list and trying to find places online where you, yes you, can watch these at home yourself.  A splendid time is guaranteed for all.*

1.  Broken Night (2013)
Hey, who likes mind fucks? Well, here ya go. This 10 minute exercise in parental fear and driver safety finger wagging doesn’t work as well as it should because it’s just too damn slick looking, thanks to the use of a Nikon D800 digital camera to film the whole thing. The opening in particular looks exactly like a car commercial! It worked well enough to play at Sundance but in my opinion, it’s just “okay.”

2. Maniac (2011)
Honestly, I’m not a big fan of Shia LaBeouf as an actor, despite everyone telling me that I should be, but if this short is any indication, he’s got some chops as a director. Maniac is basically 10 minutes of disturbing graphic violence and not fun graphic violence either. It’s the type of graphic violence that would make most normal people sick to their stomachs. Unfortunately, I’ve been way too desensitized to that sort of thing for much onscreen to bother me anymore. My only quibble is that the film doesn’t seem to have much of a point beyond seeing how far it can go before the viewer shuts it off. That’s cool and all but something beyond that would have been nice as well.

3. Aftermath (1994)
Whoo boy, we’re getting into the nasties tonight, aren’t we? Aftermath is a sick little film and I’m not quite sure what to think of it. On the surface, it seems like a pointlessly disgusting piece of junk but it throws you for a loop because it’s so beautifully filmed and seems to have something to say about mortality and the value of human life. Or it could just be a grueling shock film about corpse mutilation and necrophilia. It’s supposed to be the middle of a trilogy, the other two films of which don’t seem as fucked up, judging by their synopsis’s. I’ve talked before about the thin line between art and exploitation but I can’t quite tell where this one stands. All I know is that the director’s first name is Nacho and that’s awesome either way.

4. The House That Drips Blood on Alex (2010)
Speaking of grueling, it’s a comedy horror movie starring our good friend Tommy Wiseau! He’s…not as funny when he’s trying to be. Neither is the script. It’s like that guy in the back of the class that makes dumbass comments and laughs at his own jokes even though everyone else wants to punch him in the throat. That dude made a movie and got Tommy Wiseau to star in it. Fucking Hell.

5. A Child’s Play Story: Chucky’s Revenge (2006)
Well tonight certainly ended on a crappy note. I’d cut this a lot of slack since it’s basically a backyard film but…it sucks. I’m sorry. If you’re going to homage a popular film, at least try and add something new into the mix, otherwise I could just pull out the original movies instead of bothering with the one you made. Especially if you’re going to steal it’s music and sound clips. Fucking Hell.

Well, that was interesting, to say the least. Join me next Wednesday when hopefully the films I find end up being a lot more fun to watch.

*Splendid time not actually guaranteed

Short Horror-O-Rama #1

Tonight I thought I’d try something a little different. Instead of pulling from the piles of budget horror DVDs I’ve stock piled from various discount racks around the world, I thought I’d take a detour into the wholly unappreciated world of the short horror film. And hey, you guys get to play along since I’ll be posting links to where you’ll be able to watch these yourselves! Oh, for fun.  Hopefully this will be an ongoing thing here at Dollar Horror. Maybe. Possibly.
All of these are pulled from IMDB’s “Most Popular Horror Short Films” list, starting at the top. I know that IMDB ranking lists never stay constant so this won’t be in strict order (plus I don’t know how many you can actually watch online).
Enough poorly written blathering, let’s get started. Here comes five shorts to shove in your eye holes…

1. Saw (AKA Saw 0.5) (2003)
Yup, this is currently the most popular short horror film on IMDB at the moment. It’s not really surprising until you see what’s at #2. Before it was the franchise that wouldn’t die, Saw was this no budget short made to entice film studios to give James Wan enough money to let him make a feature. It’s pretty intense even though it really does feel like a pitch instead of an actual film. But man, when that puppet came out wearing that funny little hat, I had to laugh. Really glad they ditched that for the actual film…

2. Thriller (AKA Michael Jackson’s Thriller) (1983)
Yes, this actually counts as a short film. It was shown theatrically before a screening of Disney’s Fantasia to qualify for The Academy Awards! (Boy, would I have loved to have seen the audience reaction to that!)
What can you really say about it? Even after all these years, it’s still fucking awesome. Werewolf attack, dancing Zombies, Playboy centerfold Ola Ray being adorable, Vincent Goddamn Price, and Michael’s shit hot dance moves. What more could one person possibly need?  It’s one of the highlight’s of John Landis’s career, even though he had to sue later on for unpaid royalties. So did Ola Ray, apparently. That’s not very nice!

3. Krueger (Another Tale From Elm Street) (2013)
This one is actually part 2 in a series of prequel fan films being made by Chris R. Notarile and holy crap! This 6 minutes and 30 seconds is actually better than not only the shitty Nightmare remake, but also most of the sequels! I’ll definitely have to check out more of this guy’s work.

4. Mamá (2008)
I wasn’t too big on the full length version of this when I saw it in the theatre this year. It had too many ideas and not all of them worked very well. I do really like this short short though.  It has an intensity that was really lacking in the massively expanded version. I guess that’s where short horror works best: get in, get your scare, and get out.

5. Walking Dead (2008)
This weird little short is really unnerving despite the fact that I had to watch it a few times to really figure it out. I’m not quite sure what “based on actual events” means either.  All I know is that anybody expecting a connection to a certain popular television series will be sorely disappointed. But you probably already knew that, didn’t you? DIDN’T YOU? Yeah, you did. You’re all smart cookies.

Well, that was a lot of fun. I’m kind of excited to do this again. Maybe make it a weekly thing? Alright, that’s what I’ll do. See you next Wednesday!