ShriekFest 2008 - Horror and Sci-Fi Shorts for All

Shorts are a challenge because they are by default elusive to the average moviegoer, except in festival settings like Shriekfest. However, these days lots of shorts have a home on youtube or the myspace page of the filmmakers. It may take a bit of trolling- digging and hunting and pecking through Google to find the right website. But some short are just worth it; it will renew your faith in storytelling, because original ideas and fresh interpretations really are out there.

Some of the Shorts presented at Shriekfest 2008 are:

Eel Girl from writer/director Paul Campion is a story of yearning. The five-minute piece is a twisted tale of a beautiful sticky pale green eel girl and one of the scientists that keeps her imprisoned in a small laboratory when they study her. Fortunately for Eel girl, this one particular scientist is enraptured by her and his attraction for her will not go unsatisfied. Great concept, great makeup, great visual effects, short but bittersweet. Nice job.

"Eel Girl" by Dir.: Paul Campion

The Perfect Victim is a selection from the festival’s “Under 18” Category. The short by Eric Badger tells the story of an outsider, a girl who finds herself the next possible victim of a serial killer on the loose. But the tables are turned when she gains the uphand on her attacker – just like she had always planned. This is a strong story for an 18-year old. The acting and camera work all need lots of polish. But for a budding filmmaker, well done. Keep focusing on story, the rest will come.

"He Dies At The End" by Dir.: Damian McCarthy

He Dies At the End  is an astute study in the thin line between comedy and terror, and that line is tension. Director Damian McCarthy has written a story about a guy working late, by himself, in a dark, empty office. He hears a noise behind him and turns, but sees nothing. Next, prompts begin to flash on his computer screen suggesting that he possibly does not have very long to live. There is no dialogue, just the appearance of taunting text. It’s funny and creepy and intense in all the right places. The most suspenseful and entertaining five minutes I’ve experienced in a while. Truly troll-worthy.

"Consuming Darkness" by Dir.: Shane Cole

                                                        When a mysterious “phenomenon” causing random people to spontaneously kill the person in closest proximity, one man is plagued by visions, allowing him to see it happening before it does. That is the plot of Shane Cole’s Consuming Darkness . This six-minute chase thriller turns terrifying when our hero seeing the occurrence happening at his home. The short was not bad although a little too light on the character development. The final image is quite chilling.


"The Shadow of The Night" by Dir." Justin Daering

                                                       The Shadow of the Night is a non-sync sound classically gothic tale of passion and vampires. Written and directed by Justin Daering of Verona, Wisconsin, the piece is shot in black and white. With the aid of the full sweeping orchestra strumming and plucking full blast the entire time, there is no need for words in this simple, smart, yet predictable film. The music is the star of this short.


"The Procedure" by Dir.: Sergio Pinheiro

                                                     The Procedure is a tale of an average Joe named Pullman who signs up for a temp gig only to find he has been hired as assistant to a ghosthunter. The suspense it really nicely paces with measure, credible performances. The production design and lighting truly sell the supernatural element of the piece. Featuring some graphic violence, I am deeming it troll-worthy. Writer/director Sergio Pinheiro has earned his fifteen minutes with this short. 

"Side Effect" by Dir.: Liz Adams

Side Effect was especially chilling. Lauren is a very busy student. She has exams to study for while having to prove she is the perfect help and nanny to her new babysitting clients. A happy couple leaves their small toddler and infant sons in her charge for a night out. Lauren stresses, but thinks she can get through it all, with a little help from her new prescription of “happy pills”. However, the night does not go without a few major wrinkles. This short will creep you out. Excellent execution on all fronts: direction, editing, lighting, acting, story. It is well paced and shocking. Side Effect is another great example of brilliance in brevity. Brava to director-writer Liz Adams.

Shriekfest 2008 celebrates eight years of freaking and creeping people out with the lots of undiscovered horror, suspense and sci-fi fare. The screams you are hearing are coming from Raleigh Studios in Hollywood, just across the street from Paramount Pictures Studio lot, October 2 thru 5, 2008.

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