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By Rory L. Aronsky | October 27, 2003

Wait, is it really over? You mean, that’s all there is? I guess so, because Halloweird 2003 marks the close of another season for Microcinema’s Independent Exposure. Everyone has to take a break sooner or later and with the shorts in this edition, Independent Exposure is at a good stopping point, ready to pick up when the time comes again to jut the muscles, crack the knuckles, and freak people out with more weird s**t to look at from people around the world who take their time out to make shorts like the ones found in this edition and so many others.
Cellular Crimes
Directed by Brett Simon & Lily Prillinger.
Normally, I don’t cover this delightful pre-show short because every time I pop in another Independent Exposure program, it’s always one I’ve seen before. Not this time, where Brett Simon & Lily Prillinger prove that “Cellular Crimes” is once again poetry for the multiplex age. Here, during a screening of “Down By Law”, Dale, a cinephile, who picked up a call and set up a rendezvous. However, the chick that he set up the rendezvous with turned out to be underage. Sucks for Dale, but it’s great for us.
And now, I present to you, courtesy of me being a warm and loving person (depending on what day you catch me on), the final edition of Independent Exposure for the season:
Directed by J.X. Williams.
Peace, love, and freedom, baby! Wrap it up in those wacked-out psychedelic sequences from so many ‘60s films and you’ve got yourself quite a head trip. Those psychedelic sequences have been taken and mixed up furiously along with shots of skulls and tits, and fire to first show the freedom of the ‘60s, followed by the self-destruction after it was all over, symbolized by skulls overshadowed by fire.
Directed by Paul O’Bryan.
I don’t think any bachelor has cupboards or a fridge this empty, as the woman in “Lovey” does. At best, there are always a few beers lying around and some week-old pizza slices. Out of a tiny slab of butter, a small onion, a tiny bit of spices that turn into lots of spices once ground up, and beans, the woman cooks up something. I’m not sure what the object was, but soon enough, she scoops up a bean to taste her concoction and then we see her with one of the beans in a stroller, with her cooing at the bean. Kind of nutty, yeah.
The Dark Side of Morning
Directed by Erik Rosenlund.
A black background with the animation in white shows an oddly shaped woman in the shower and some demonic force out to get here for some reason. She’s in the shower, shampooing her hair and we see a long, clawed hand in front of the long knob that can turn it off and it cuts back to the woman and soon the water does turn off. Later on, she trips and the TV comes on and it turns out to be “Funniest Home Videos”, with the clip of her in the shower when the water goes off. Perhaps it’s rumination on humiliation or something.
Good Girl
Directed by Joachim Aust.
You never know when death might be on your tail, ready to strike. That was exhibited in many gruesome ways in “Final Destination”, but here, Death just follows a homeless woman pushing a shopping cart along, filled with items picked up along the way. At one point, Death turns into a speeding van, but she gets out of the way and soon, she comes face-to-face with Death. Death in “Good Girl” first looks like a thinner, near look-alike of Gerard Depardieu, before changing into the typical caped figure with scythe. Does that mean Gerard Depardieu is a form of Death as well? It’s something to think about.
Birds of a Feather
Directed by Orin Portnoy.
Why couldn’t I have gotten a short like “Killer Bunnies” that was featured in Halloweird 2002? That’s about as useful a question as asking why life sucks sometimes. The Super 8-mm short’s frames are split, showing various shots of ostriches pecking out the ground, with the soundtrack emitting their squawks that first sound like a French police car and an American police car having sex with sirens as loud as possible. Now THERE’S an idea for a short film.
Mad Ame (Still Life)
Directed by Leili Gueranfar.
A brunette lies in the grass, where at one point, it looks like she’s dreaming. Whether her dreams are that of a naked redhead ranting, raving, and screaming remains to be seen, but it’s possible.
Breakfast In Despair
Directed by Eunjung Hwang.
In animation, anything is possible. Toys can talk, ogres can tell smart-a*s donkeys to leave them the hell alone, and dogs can eat people. In “Breakfast In Despair”, that’s exactly what happens when a dog walks over to a man smoking a cigarette and eats him whole. Flames then shoot out of the dog’s a*s and it lifts up and rockets off. In a dark screening room where the main character is, there’s a sequence in there called “Connection” that has the biggest lot of foot fetishists you will ever see in your life. Pixar may be a big name in animation and DreamWorks may get the job done once in a while, but the truly different and very weird animated works (paging Spike and Mike) are found outside of those Hollywood names.
The Right One
Directed by Stefan Weinert.
Oh cool, she’s back! The German chick, Sabine, who was all over a guy named Sergej in “Always Sergej (featured in the Sizzling Summer Edition of Independent Exposure), speaks to Irina (actually to the camera) and tells her that she has found the right guy. This one does wonders for her and Sabine would have probably kept him, but she sees another guy at the Laundromat and tells Irina to forget what she just said. When it comes to men, Sabine isn’t picky at all.
House of Dolls
Directed by Goran Skofic.
If Woody hadn’t scared the living s**t out of Sid in “Toy Story” and Sid had stayed the way he was during his teen years (probably resorting to torrential abuse of blow-up dolls too), then this is what probably would have resulted. In “House of Dolls”, toy dolls are chained together, thrown this way and that, and in one scene, arms and legs come pouring down, in a nearly dark and eerie atmosphere.
Black Tears
Directed by Divya Srinivasan.
This was a music video for a band called “The Apes”, who have the video available for viewing on their site, along with a description: “The perils of indulging one’s curiosity”. Each member of the band has their eyes closed by some mystery evil being and black sacks placed over their heads and soon those disappear and they go tromping around a forest while the same evil thing lurks near.
Le Corbeau
Directed by Frederic Pelle.
While featuring an annoying crow, “Le Corbeau” is actually a story that contains the message that you don’t know how lucky you’ve got it till a loved one is gone or nearly gone, in this case. This French short features a husband who’s indifferent to his wife at first, wishing that she wouldn’t change around his beloved cellar by connecting it to the house because then it would be known as a basement. He becomes annoyed by a crow flying overhead and wishes that it would drop dead….and it does. His wife plays around with this and he points an imaginary gun and pulls the trigger and she drops, supposedly dead. Coincidence, or what?
Villy the Elephant
Directed by Barbara Zentai.
In this animated piece, a circus ringmaster learns the hard way on why you shouldn’t give an elephant a cigarette. It’s a body-smashing good time.
Directed by Armando D. Muñoz.
There’s nothing like watching a randy vampire with a raging hard-on. Filmed in the style of a 20s silent horror film (more notably, Nosferatu), the vampire Pervula creeps through the night, waiting for the moment when he can get into Gretchen’s pants, and otherwise, and bite her most private parts. It’s fun perversion!
Consulta Medica (Doctor’s Appointment)
Directed by Jon Tojek.
In this computer-animated short, Zeca, a little boy, is nervous about going to the doctor the next day, but his mother tells him not to worry and get to bed. Soon his weed-packing imaginary friend joins him and takes him on a journey that doesn’t turn out happily. With a “To Be Continued…” tacked on to this one, hopefully Jon Tojek will tell us just what the hell happened.
Five F*****g Fables
Directed by Signe Baumane.
Remember how John Laroche (Chris Cooper) talks about a fuckable flower in “Adaptation”? Well, in this sick and depraved animated short, a man who can talk to flowers gets his hoo-hah sucked by a flower. And that’s only one fable. There’s another where a woman gets her head chopped off like Marie Antoinette and her head lands in the same popular male area. You’ll laugh, you might hurl, and then you’ll probably hurl anyway. That’s the goodness of sick animation.
Devil Talk
Directed by Illeana Douglas.
Why can’t the Devil get any respect? No, I’m not talking about Rodney Dangerfield’s desperate opportunity to recite his well-known catchphrase in “Little Nicky”, but rather a Devil who has everything and nothing. He has no friends and has decided to hire a publicist to help him improve his image, and on top of that, he talks to his mother on the phone who questions his decision. When she asks about one “friend” he has, the Devil tells her, “Tom Hanks is not my friend. He signed a deal with me, but that does not make him my friend.” Michael Panes puts on a great performance, ably guided by actress Illeana Douglas who obviously knows that it doesn’t take much to make people laugh, so long as the script is right. Hell is merely red lights glowing against a wall, and even so, that doesn’t matter much. And where else can you find a short where the Devil corrects his mother, saying that she invented sodomy, not him?
How To Cope With Death
Directed by Ignacio Ferreras.
For those that may not be able to make the 2003-2004 Spike And Mike’s Sick And Twisted Festival Of Animation, here’s a sample for you. An old lady, who looks like she sucked on some very potent lemons, is asleep in front of the TV, and Death appears. But this crafty old bag isn’t going down without a fight, and the fight begins. I don’t see much that’s sick about an old lady trying to keep on living, but it certainly is twisted and fun.
And that wraps up another season of Microcinema’s Independent Exposure. For information on screening times and locations for this edition, go to the Microcinema website and check it out.

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