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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Best of the Fest: 2015 Buried Alive Film Festival Short Films

At GeekRex, we love short films; at their finest, they can tell a kind of story or explore an idea in a way that nothing else can. We encourage you to try to make it out to local film festivals to see them, and seek out interesting ones on crowdfunding sites and support the art form! Last weekend, the Buried Alive Film Festival hosted its 10th annual fest, screening over 70 shorts and three features over two days. For your viewing pleasure, here are our picks for the ten best shorts of the festival!

Autumn Harvest
Dir. Fredrik Hana – Norway – 2014 – 17min

This black and white film is nearly silent and is shot absolutely gorgeously. A coastal Norwegian tale of love lost and the depths to which we will go to bring someone back. It's stark and graceful, and was certainly one of the most beautiful of the shorts at the fest.

Dir. Simon Cartwright – UK – 2015 – 10min
Official Site

A man tries primal therapy, which mostly consists of men running around half naked and screaming at the top of their lungs. Soon his primal self manifests as a tiny grotesque naked man that drives him to crazier and crazier acts. It's a really unique blend of puppetry and what looks like claymation that really complements the tone. Done completely without dialogue, this one is hysterical and strange, and without a doubt unforgettable.

The Mill At Calder’s End
Dir. Kevin McTurk – USA – 2015 – 14min

Official Site

This short, which had some key elements designed by Mike Mignola, features the most lifelike puppets I have ever seen. It actually took me a minute to realize I wasn't looking at real actors. In addition to the stunning craftsmanship that permeates the film, the Victorian ghost story is done extremely well. I could easily see this being adapted into a feature film in the vein of Crimson Peak or The Woman in Black.

Dir. Victor Palacios – Spain – 2015 – 18min

Official Site

This twisty and comedic tale focuses on two women who plan to steal organs from a corpse at a mortuary. Things get tricky when the body suddenly comes to life and begins running around, and when one of the character's boss shows up unexpectedly. From there it only gets more out of hand as the story takes a dark turn. Tanatopraxia has great characters and smart dark humor, and is shot quite well.

Dir. Christopher McKee – USA – 2015 – 11min
Official Site

Some of the crew of Crush were present at the screening, and their explanation for its genesis was that after doing more atmospheric horror, they wanted to do something that would really elicit a physical response from the audience. They certainly succeeded here, as the story of a girl addicted to hurting herself after gaining the attention of a cute boy by getting hit by his car is suspenseful and cringeworthy in all the right ways. The gross-out violence is played excellently against the cutesy Wes Anderson-style design, which makes for a funny and memorable short.

Dir. Brian Lonano – USA –2015 –6min
Official Site

A man getting out of prison is told where to find a good time, only to find that it is a disgusting little goblin man named Gwilliam that is happy to provide. The puppetry and editing here is stellar and laugh out loud, and as the film's tagline states, "You can't forget Gwilliam." Brian Lonano has been a staple of the local horror scene for some time now, and Gwilliam is sure to be among his most masterfully hilarious short films.

Dir. Kevin Kopacka – Germany – 2014 – 15min
Official Site

Hades is an experimental short that explores the stages of the end of a relationship using horror imagery and editing. It is haunting and intelligent, and for the fan of challenging experimental filmmaking, this is definitely worth seeking out!

Psychotic! Dir. Maxwell Frey – USA – 2015 – 7min
Official Site

Done in the vein of Halloween with sprinkles of split-screen De Palma and 80's slasher schlock, Psychotic! is told in essentially one shot from the POV of a killer stalking a Brooklyn hipster birthday party. It's fun and stylish, and as the director said after the screening, "Who doesn't think about killing a hipster every once in a while?"

They Will All Die in Space 
Dir. Javier Chillon – Spain – 2015 – 14min
Official Site

Very nice to see some well done sci-fi horror! The black and white The Will All Die in Space takes place on a massive starship in which one of the hundreds of cryo-frozen crew is awoken to help repair the ship by the skeleton crew. As he does his best to get the ship back in working order, he begins to notice the crew's strange behavior and realizes that something far more sinister is going on. It's exceptionally well shot with great special effects, and the story is a classic sci-fi tale with a fantastic twist.

The Pond 
Dir. Jeroen Dumoulein – Belgium – 2015 – 15min 
Official Site

Almost a live action companion piece to The Mill at Calder's Gate, The Pond is another Victorian horror drama. This one has a young girl living with her strict aunt and comatose mother in a decaying mansion, and although she's been warned to stay away from the pond in their backyard, something draws her to it. The film is elegantly shot and does a phenomenal job of pulling the rug out from under you as you discover that not all is what it seems!
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