Here it is, the Microcinema is wrapping up this season of Independent Exposure screenings with their “Halloweird” show and it’s the best collection of shorts I’ve seen from them so far. If you can make the shows in New York (October 16th) and San Francisco (October 29th), you’re guaranteed to have a good time. On with the films –
Abusive Parental Guidance ^ **** ^ Directed by Matt Kovalikades ^ Call me an a*s, but whenever I hear about a kid killing his parental unit, I can’t help but think that those are a couple of parents that probably deserved what they got. This film caters to my way of thinking when a young boy decides to tend to something more than the garden after receiving endless verbal and physical abuse from his folks. This short gets this Halloween program off to a cruel and delicious start.
Closer ^ *** ^ Directed by Jorge Pinheiro ^ A man and a woman stand at either ends of a dimly lit alley, in plain view of each other. The woman casually smokes a cigarette, while the man just stares at her, petrified. The woman laughs at his inability to do anything. This goes on for a few minutes, until some longhaired guy walks over to the woman and kisses her deeply. The man can do nothing, but just stand and watch, until another longhaired guy, the splitting image of the guy swapping spit with the woman, comes up behind him. He bends the petrified man over and allows him to puke up a bunch of worms. Both longhair guys become one and take off, leaving the petrified man and the woman alone again. Seeing that he’s still not up for making an approach, the woman casually walks away. Not only does this film look and sound good, with it’s bassy electronic score, but it also teaches the lesson – you better make that move, big guy, before you’re barfing up a load of worms.
Slaughtered Pigtails ^ ** ^ Directed by Usama Alshaibi ^ This flick is very little more than jerk-off material for those guys out there who get their jollies by watching fake snuff vids on the internet. A screaming girl is chased, pinned down and then killed. One little cool thing at the end though, is that this killer seems to have somewhat of a kind streak. Believe it, or not.
Suppressing the Dream ^ *** ^ Directed by Claudia X Valdes ^ Jesus, I hope I never have to have any kind of major surgery. Mixing actual surgery footage with black and white imagery of explosions and earthquake rubble, this film reveals what may be going through the anesthetized brain of a trauma ward patient. Not for the weaker stomachs in the crowd.
Killer Bunnies ^ *** ^ Directed by Orin Portnoy ^ For a change, bunnies hunt humans in the hot Arizona desert. Thing is, these bunnies are about six feet tall, carry rifles and smoke stogies. And the humans they’re hunting…well…you’ll just have to get yourself down to this show and see for yourself. Shot in glorious black and white Super 8mm.
Thanksgiving ^ ***** ^ A White Dog Production ^ The title for this piece is a little off of the holiday track here, but that’s okay because this is perhaps the spookiest film in this Halloween program. I really don’t want to give away much about this film, but just know that there’s a delivery room, a doctor and a butterball turkey with stitches and bolts in it. The images put forth within these ten minutes are so bizarre and even terrifying that you may just find yourself drooling in your drink…try not to do that though, cuz everyone will laugh at you.
Just Nails ^ * ^ Directed by So Young Yang ^ You could say that this film is as exciting as watching someone getting their nails trimmed…but wait…that’s exactly what this piece is – it’s two minutes of uncalled for close-ups of various people getting their nails trimmed. Yes, it’s all very clever.
Devil Tour ‘94 ^ ***** ^ Directed by John Geary ^ Before there was “Jackass,” there was this guy. Back in ’94, some guy dressed up as Satan and decided to stalk the streets of Los Angeles in broad daylight. Fortunately, Satan had his own cameraman follow him around town as he perched himself atop buildings and even took time to smell the flowers. But the funniest footage in this film comes from various news reports that Satan had been spotted by the side of the freeway, harassing drivers and sure enough, we’re shown plenty of news helicopter camera footage of Satan creeping around the 405-freeway in Santa Monica. Absolutely hysterical. You’ll beg for them to run this one again.
Punkarella ^ ** ^ Directed by Brian Tane ^ I guess what this film is saying is that it’s better to listen to music with headphones on, in the middle of the woods and smoking weed, rather than cranking it on your stereo at home. This point is illustrated okay, but it doesn’t quite do much for an interesting viewing experience.
Locked ^ **** ^ Directed by Rosario Garcia-Montero ^ A guy wakes up locked in a box with a big, fat girl sitting on top of it. Despite his pleas, she refuses to let him out. I’m not gonna tell you how this situation came about, but let me just say that doormen at nightclubs have a shitload more to fear now than the occasional rowdy clubgoer.
Timmy’s Wish ^ ***** ^ Directed by Patrick Cannon ^ Out of all the kids that have ever wished violent death upon their parents for such misdeeds as making them eat brussels sprouts, Timmy gets that wish and finds in his living room, a glowing Jesus surrounded by the dismembered body parts of his parental unit. There aren’t too many other images stronger than this one that have ever been filmed. And the fun just keeps on rolling.
Gore, s**t jokes, blasphemy, gorgeous camera work and great actors round out this black and white joy. This may even be the best film ever to feature Jesus as a central figure, but then again, I guess that’s not saying too much, is it?
Savage Archaeology ^ **** ^ Directed by Britta Johnson ^ Similar to a Jan Svankmajer film, this stop-motion piece has us follow a set of teeth molds as it goes out on a little adventure to find a bride. It was shot on black and white Super 8mm and is absolutely gorgeous.
Are We There Yet? ^ * ^ Directed by James Sadoski ^ First off – NEVER use the actual sound from your video camera if you’ve shot from an open window of a moving car, unless it’s your goal to irritate the living f**k out of whomever watches your piece. Now that that’s out of the way, this one-minute short is composed of a single shot. A car drives up to a moving hearse on the road, stays next to it for a while so we can get a good shot of the old man driving it and then passes it up. That’s it. Oh wait…as the car passes the hearse and the camera looks back, the old man waves. There, at least something happened.
How to Kill Your Mother ^ * ^ Directed by Rodney Dickerman ^ Something about a man and his professional wrestling girlfriend and mother. Um…yeah.
Salt ^ *** ^ Directed by Aaron Hawks ^ Looks a little like the “Closer” video for Nine Inch Nails, yet you can’t argue too much with the, grainy, scratchy, black and white image of a pretty, naked girl clawing her way out of a plastic bag at the bottom of a bathtub to slither onto a checker tiled floor. Eye candy indeed.
Millennium Bug ^ ***** ^ Directed by Lee Lanier ^ Amazing! This computer animated short takes the “Millennium Bug” term literally as bizarre creatures such as walking, talking billboards and giant cockroaches take over the city. An absolute spectacle!
For other screening dates and cities, visit the Microcinema website.