Telluride Horror Show was nothing short of impressive in its selection of shorts and films, as it is every year. Sunday was a great closing experience, seeing tons of shorts and a couple of films that hadn't yet popped up on the docket. Let's get into it!
The Horror...The Animated Shorts
Red Riding Hood Redux - This short is pseudo-animated, in that a majority of it looked like it was live action with filters on top of it. It reminded me a lot of Renaissance with Daniel Craig. The end product was a quickened, dark version of the famous tale. Nothing terribly inventive.
Cerulia - The culture shock of this piece made it difficult to engage and understand at times. The split personality/imaginary friend concept was interesting and the stop-motion animation was solid, but the piece as a whole was darkly awkward.
Dead Horses - An incredibly depressing stop-motion short on the collateral damage of war, from a child's point of view. Think Pan's Labyrinth with just the depressing moments and no fantasy.
Fierce - This short follows a man who, after getting a promotion at work, is left for dead in a forest with a mysterious hunter stalking him. The smooth animation and clean plot drove this short for me. It's a little ambiguous as to the motif, but a strong piece.
Jungle Taxi - This was an amalgamation of confusion for people outside of the culture. Something that would probably be a lot of fun to watch on 'shrooms.
The Aeronauts - This was my favorite animated short of the block. It follows a group of petty creatures that scrounge up food to feed themselves and an intimidating flying beast that lives on a floating rock in the sky. The weakest of the group devises a plan to get up to the paradise, but is it everything they hoped? The stop motion/CG animation is perhaps the best I have seen. The story is easy to follow and the payoff is great.
Less Than Human - A journalist attempts to prove that rehabilitating "cured" zombies into society is impossible by interviewing said zombies in their facility/habitat. This short was one of the funnier pieces and clever in the style and writing. It was a fun watch.
The Future - At only 2 minutes, you can assume this one was going to have a quick punchline, and it did.
The Sandman - A short from the early 90s, Sandman follows a boy who is stalked by the aforementioned monster in the night. Intense and surreal, this short weaves a haunting tale in the vein of Tim Burton effectively.
Zarr-Dos - Umm....what was that? It took me a minute to realize that the short wasn't just glitching out. It had some funny moments towards the beginning, but the stylistic approach, however original, was overwhelming to say the least.
"Sometimes They Come Back" Shorts
We Together - Perhaps the cure to zombie-ism... Zombosis.. . Zombie-itis...is busting a move! Bittersweet ending but a pretty cool premise for this short!
Kisses - We have all dreamed about making out with mannequins... I think. What we don't expect is the it coming alive. Very interesting take on something we are all scared of, living dolls!
Homesick - One of two shorts with very smart kids in them. In this short, we see how well a kid can survive being abandoned on his own. This short is what I wanted from It Comes at Night but with a little kid and in less than 10 min.
Smashed - If you kidnap a popular kid, you will get stuck in a time loop! So yeah, just remember that next time you need to fix a mistake or something. I was hoping for a little more with this film and the motif for the characters was kind of weak.
Safe Haven - BEWARE ASH FEVER! It will turn you into a raving lunatic. This is the second movie with a very intelligent child, so much so the end will make you cry in a great way!
A Mother of Monsters - Even a demon like me gets uncomfortable with torture sometimes, especially when it serves no purpose. This is one of those times, but I guess to birth a freak, you have to make a freak. No thanks.
Hope - Dare I say a better "Romantic Zombedy" than Shaun of the Dead? Well even if you don't think so, it is one of the best horror romance comedies in short form. Plus you get a bit of revenge in there too!
The Black Ghiandola - A pretty interesting zombie movie with a lot of big names in it. This was the awesome result of Antony Conti, Sam Rami, the Make a Film Foundation, and others!
I know I will get exorcised for this, but I have not seen the Hatchet films. I'll wait till you are done ranting...
Okay got it out of your system? Good, now let me tell you a tale of what was my favorite movie from Telluride Horror Show this year. Victor Crowley is a tale about facing your fears. And while many (and yes it is to be expected) of the characters die in amazing ways, the ones who survive have "grown". Now the lesson may be "never leave your house again", but even the nod at the end speaks to the "face your fears" nature of this film.
Now that the serious stuff is out of the way, let's talk about what (I've been told and now agree with) Adam Green does best, kill scenes!! I have heard movies boast good kills before, even The Windmill, seen here a few years ago, boasted this (and mostly followed through) . But Victor Crowley has set the bar incredibly high in today's horror. From using a hammer to pry a man's head off to shoving a woman's own arm through herself. All of these are so over the top that they can be enjoyed for their creativity instead of just being unsettling for their torture. Trust me, none of these people live very long...haha.
Suffice it to say, I am very excited to see the rest of these films. Thanks, Telluride, for introducing me to my new favorite series, and thank you sticking with us all weekend!
Horror Qualifier: 8/10 Horror Quality: 7/10 Film Quality: 6/10
"Sunday Suspensefuls" Shorts
Health Wealth, and Happiness (Good) - Ever wonder what would happen if a chav were to be offered three wishes by the Devil? No, how about now? Well this short explores that, I'll tell you this he gets two out of the three titular items, but which two?
The Armoire (Best) - This short may make you never even think about reclaiming abandoned furniture. An aspiring actress new in LA finds the perfect piece to make her empty apartment a home. But it seems to be filled with something terrible, perhaps bedbugs, perhaps worse.
Admonition (Weird) - This short about a deaf woman, the elderly woman she cares for and a demonic visitor just never quite hits the mark.
Limbus (Wierd/Bad) - Fucking Hipsters! This short has a wonderful concept, and some great moments, but is generally being too pretentious to be effective.
The Welcoming (Worst) - this short seems to mostly be about proving that with the right music even stick nature footage can be scary.
Drip (Wierd/Bad) - I like the concept of this short, take a picture of an apprently drown person, and a ghostly version of them will drown you. I just have some issues with the plot/actions of the main character that killed this for me, your milage may vary.
Creswick (Good) - This short was high in the running for this block. This short about a woman helping her father pack up his home has g pretty great creepy payoff.