When you arrive at a horror festival for the first time you are never sure what you are gonna get. There are generally very artsy films that go way over my head. There are traditional horror films which tickle everyone's Halloween horror fancy. Then there is a great balls-to-the-wall action horror movie. This year we have Spare Parts filling that role. Spare Parts follows an all-female punk band who gets into a big scrap during a show. This draws the attention of a random kidnapper/recruiter for a local post-apocalyptic armor-wearing fighting ring/secret religious garbage dump society. Better yet, once they are kidnapped they are surgically operated on to allow for upgrades when they get into the fighting ring! After they lose one of their fellow band members in their first bout, the story starts to get real. Spare Parts is not an award-winning film unless you consider Efrit's award for Most Goofy, Cheesy, Entertaining Movie of the Festival an award. But it is a great addition to a genre that I don't feel gets enough new content. The genre is actually a mash-up of many. Neon Horror, Gore Fest, and Secret Society communities all meshed into one to make it something quite different, but needed.
The plot is pretty straight forward and I would say the acting is not the best, but if you went into this movie expecting something directed by Christopher Nolan then you really didn't pay attention to the movie you were about to watch. That being said, I do think the story had some interesting things happen but they were kinda predictable. It reminded me of Mandy and Nothing but Trouble had a kid and that kid was raised on Mad Max. If you have time and wanna break from heavy horror I would say check out Spare Parts, it is a bloody chick fighting good time! Horror Rating System Horror Qualifier: 7/10 Horror Quality: 4/10 Film Quality: 4/10
"Here There Be Monsters" Shorts Block
Keith: This Short is pretty interesting, but it ended a bit early for me. The premise was a little girl starts talking to a monster under her bed and realizes that is not what she needs to be afraid of.
The Knock: When you hear a knock on your bedroom door in the middle of the night, do you answer it or just roll over? Well, this lady does neither and kind of just starts to freak out when a voice starts talking to her...then there were eyes... It was pretty confusing and not really my cup of tea, but it did have a cool neon effect at the end!
In The Mirror: DON'T EVER RENT AIR BnB's. Well, at least I think that is the moral of this story. In the Mirror follows a lady who has a big interview and is staying at a local Air BnB. She is doing fine until she realizes she may not be alone in the house. What can a lady do but find a mirror and hope to escape with her life? This was a pretty creepy short, but I think the plot was a bit twisted up in itself and I had a question I was asking instead of getting very spooked.
Maere: This is a very short short about a short monster with HUGE eyes. A lady wakes up in her apartment and hears something strange from her roommate's room only to find her getting attacked (?) by a strange little monster. While the premise of this short was very good I think they should have spent a bit more time developing the scares and setting a bit more.
Clearwater: Clearwater was a very interesting short about what happens to blood after a mosquito steals it from the living. As far as the short is concerned, those bug vampires take it to a strange Lovecraftian birthing pod that makes slimy doppelgangers. The short is mostly dominated by the sequencing in which the doppelganger is constructed. It is mostly CG, and most folks know how Sickle and I usually feel about that, however, this time it was very morbidly beautiful and surreal. A very good short with a good ending.
Nightingale: Being a night nurse is never easy regardless of if you are at a hospital or old folks home or both. But it gets even harder when crazy feral vampires are around. Nightingale has a pretty great ending, but it has a very slow build (for a short) and some of the plot elements felt too artsy to be much more than confusing.
Guest: Guest is about a lady who wakes up with bandages all over her head and a lady asking her what happened. She slowly recounts a tale of a horrifying creature that is following her and how she ended up in this lady's bathroom late last night. The creative team behind this film tapped into my greatest fear when making the creature in this movie. Don't Let It In: Nothing is better than the Everglades, folklore, and monsters! Don't Let It In is a great little film about how a terrifying monster that can shape and bad timing can be a dangerous combination. This short is pretty spooky and could have honestly been in the Fear Itself block, but the end is a bit rushed.
The Relic: This was my favorite short of the day and possibly the festival. It is well known Sickle and I are Lovecraft horror fans and we both love a good horror adventure! The premise of this film as described from the synopsis does a good job of letting you know it is going to be a horror adventure film, but the first scene is a quote from Lovecraft. It is well-paced, exciting, gory, and has BOMB practical effects. Scary and funny and even a bit cheesy to make it a superb pulp fiction story, this short is hands-down the best one at the festival. Day two is in the books and it was awesome, lets see if our other two days can compete! See ya tomorrow.