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"It's our ability to conflate the physical and the virtual world that makes this whole apparatus work in the first place." Another scary horror short to watch to keep the thrills going beyond just the month of October. Monitor is a horror short film made by Matt Black & Ryan Polly, of a Texas-based filmmaking cooperative called Maker Table. Similar to, but different, than the other horror short Monitor (about a baby monitor), this one is about a sleep-deprived corner store clerk who wonders if he's seeing things when a man appears on his security camera monitors. Starring Gunner Willis, Jacob Daniels, and Tyler Burditt. This really is a much scarier version of the monitor concept, with the mysteriousness playing perfectly with the horror.
"This has to be it, right?" "Yes, definitely." Another new horror short to serve up even though we're already through October. The Fitting is a short film directed by Wilfredo "Wil" Manzano, made by the production company The Nocturnal. It's about two actors who are heading to a wardrobe fitting for an indie film, only to discover it's actually not a film they're being fitted for. The Fitting stars Tayler Hamilton and Sterling Williams. This is a fairly simple short film, but gets very freaky very fast near the end and just keeps going. I feel like there's more missing, though. Did she get out? Do they find her? Who knows! We'll never know…
Even though it isn't October anymore, it doesn't mean we can't still feature new horror short films. Take this one, for example, another creepy new horror suspense short that will leave you feeling a bit unsettled. The Collection is a horror short made by three filmmakers and friends: Carlos Baena, Carlos Puertolas, and Rani Naamani. All of them have worked in the VFX or animation industries in San Francisco, and also love to make films on the side. The Collection stars Bob Roden and Carla Westlund. It's a deceptive film with a sucker punch ending, which is what makes it so unsettling. Warning: this contains some graphic violence.
"You'll be safe - just stay inside the circle." We've saved the best for last…! After posting a bunch of horror shorts throughout October, one of the best shorts has debuted online just in time for Halloween. Salt is the latest horror short made by filmmaker Rob Savage, with his writing partner Jed Shepherd. The two last made the highly successful Dawn of the Deaf, a zombie movie told entirely in sign language. Salt is a two-minute horror short about a mother protecting her sick daughter - using a ring of salt. Starring Alice Lowe, Beau Gadson, and James Swanton. It's incredible how much they pull off in two minutes, with all of the elements (concept, production design, cinematography) working in harmony to make this instantly iconic.
"The Pope himself asked us to look into cases…" Raven Banner has released an official promo trailer for the indie horror film Belzebuth, the latest film from Mexican director Emilio Portes (Meet the Head of Juan Pérez, Pastorela). Set on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, the film is about a Detective investigating the deaths of young children at the border. What seems like a clear case becomes much more intense when a priest of the Vatican appears with another point of view. Tobin Bell (from the Saw series) plays that priest, sporting a pretty gnarly beard along with markings all over his body. Belzebuth also stars Joaquín Cosio, Aida López, Tate Ellington, Giovanna Zacarías, Norma Angélica, Jose Sefami, Yunuen Pardo. This is a freaky trailer and it does a good job of selling this, but I want to see more of what's really going on.
Sleep tight tonight. Just in time for Halloween, filmmaker Geof Wolfenden has unveiled his new horror short film Monitor. The idea came about from a moment where he was watching the baby monitor with his wife, suddenly wondering what would happen if something was on the monitor. This isn't a new concept, but it's the execution and tension here that makes this short a thrilling watch. And it's an entirely dialogue-less short film, only 3 minutes long, but still incredibly creepy. Monitor stars Nicole Evans as the mother, with a score by Wesley Roskell. I really like the way it plays out at the end, and how the cinematography works so well in establish much of the scary feeling. If you need a good jolt, this short will definitely give you one.
"In this place, you are the main dish." First there was Human Centipede, now there is The Farm. Although some reviews say this is much more like the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. From writer/director Hans Stjernswärd, The Farm is a horrifying horror film about a young couple, played by Nora Yessayan and Alec Gaylord, who get kidnapped and treated like farm animals after stopping at a roadside diner to eat meat. The full cast also includes Ken Volok, Rob Tisdale, and Kelly Mis. This looks and sounds about as disgusting as they come, and the footage looks seriously off-putting. Even the reviews aren't great either. I don't know how this kind of gross stuff gets made, but it does, and it'll be released next month. Bon appetit.
"I'm no longer speaking to Miles. I'm speaking to the person who has taken residence inside his body. You came uninvited." Orion has released the first teaser trailer for yet another new horror thriller, arriving in February early next year, titled The Prodigy. The only synopsis available is quite vague, but it's about a child who has some demonic force living inside of him. His mother becomes increasingly concerned about his odd behavior and decides to do something about it, which might just (probably will) make things worse. Jackson Robert Scott stars as Miles, with Taylor Schilling as his mother Sarah, and a cast including Colm Feore, Brittany Allen, Peter Mooney, and Olunike Adeliyi. This is a slick teaser, enough scares to pull you in and make your hair stand up, but without giving away anything else major yet. Check this out.
"Well that's creepy as hell." Sony Pictures has debuted the first official trailer for the horror movie Escape Room, which has also gone under the title The Maze, now being released in the first few days of January in early 2019. I'm not surprised that Hollywood has decided to capitalize on the massive popularity of escape rooms by making a horror movie about one. How original. There isn't much of a plot synopsis for this one, but it seems to be a bit like the Saw movies where six strangers end up trapped in some high tech "Escape Room" - though this one isn't just a game, they will really die if they don't escape. The cast includes Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, with Yorick van Wageningen. I like that this sends them from room to room, I just hope the whole movie isn't that campy.
"We are not animals." "Aren't we?" RLJE Films has debuted the first official trailer for a crazy indie horror thriller titled Monster Party, which just premiered at Beyond Fest in LA earlier this month. The gory new horror flick is about three teenage thieves who infiltrate a mansion dinner party and plan a heist/robbery to pay off debt. But they soon discover that the guests as this particular dinner party are not who they seem - it's actually a party secretly hosted by a serial killer cult for the social elite. The ensemble cast includes Sam Strike, Erin Moriarty, Kian Lawley, Robin Tunney, Virginia Gardner, Brandon Micheal Hall, Bill Engvall, with Julian McMahon, and Lance Reddick. It's escribed as "funny, frightening, and flush with enough practical effects and gore to sate even the most demanding horror fans' bloodlust." Take a look.
There are film festivals and then there are genre film festivals. They both show great films from all over the world, and they both highlight cinema as one of the finest forms of modern art. What makes the Sitges Film Festival stand out in particular is the audience. Celebrating its 51st year, Sitges has been around for a while. It has a strong reputation and its known around Europe as the top genre festival. Horror fans from Spain and other nearby countries travel in to catch the latest, greatest offerings from talented directors, and catch up over drinks and pintxos (and tapas). This year was my second year back to Sitges, and I decided to stay the entire time to relax and catch a bunch of films over the full 10 days it runs. After my unforgettable experience last year (attending for my first time), I had to return, I couldn't stay away. And as usual, I'm very glad I did. I still love film festivals and Sitges is now one of my favorites in my regular yearly rotation.
After watching John Carpenter’s 1976 action-thriller Assault on Precinct 13 at the Milan Film Festival, film producers Irwin Yablans and Moustapha Akkad put up the $300,000 budget for the young up-and-coming filmmaker to write, direct, and score a movie about a psychopath who stalks babysitters. Carpenter and his then-girlfriend Debra Hill began drafting a script for The Babysitter Murders, which was later renamed to Halloween after Yablans suggested setting the movie on Halloween night. And the rest is history. The 1978 independent film grossed $70 million at the worldwide box office and became the blueprint for every slasher flick since. Now, 40 years later, David Gordon Green (of George Washington, All the Real Girls) looks to capture some of the macabre magic of Carpenter's classic with his own Halloween — a direct sequel that ignores the seven sequels before it and resurrects the iconic characters of Laurie Strode and Michael Myers.