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By Mark Bell | July 4, 2007

It’s Horror Day for “On the Lot,” so guess who the guest judge is? Wes Craven? Nope, done that, been there. Think someone folks tend to either love or despise. Eli Roth? BINGO…

The Elimination…
Adam and David were definitely the ones with the most lackluster shorts last week, and thus America voted and… David was given the boot. He took a risk making a sex romp without the sex, and he paid for it.

The Judges…
As mentioned earlier, Eli Roth joins Carrie Fisher and Garry Marshall in judging the horror shorts. For many, this selection is all the proof they need that this show is a piece of s**t. I will say this, having no personal issue with Eli Roth one way or the other, it DOES make sense. Why? Because like it or not, he’s horror’s poster boy right now, so at least these filmmakers are getting judged by their contemporaries.

The Shorts…
Will any of the contestants deliver anything remotely scary, or will they go straight for the gore?

“The Malibu Myth” Directed by Kenny Luby
Surprise, surprise, Kenny had trouble communicating with his cast and crew. Why? HE’S A BAD FILMMAKER! And how did his short turn out? Better than his previous efforts, but overall not very good. Had mutated zombie-thingies, a “Blair Witch” lead-in and a hot chick screaming. Pretty by the numbers for shitty horror nowadays.

“Anklebiters” Directed by Sam Friedlander
A kid gets attacked by an ankle biting rodent, is bleeding and screaming all over the place… you’d think his Mom would’ve helped him out. Nice and gorey; menacing even. To agree with Carrie and Eli, the prologue was weak and set a context that was unnecessary. Fun effort though.

“Midnight Snack” Directed by Andrew Hunt
Count the cliches: scary ghost girl with long hair, bloody writing that reveals itself in lightning flashes, creepy children’s laughter, zombie thing… Lin Shaye. Not scary, but not funny. Not really the point of the exercise. Beautiful short, though, even if, as Andrew said, his music cues etc. did not play during the live screening (shame, buddy, but it’ll get you prepared for the festival circuit, when things tend to go awry all the time).

“Eternal Waters” Directed by Jason Epperson
Nice opening, actually pretty creepy. Spins horror convention on its ear too, as normally the living have to do something to help the dead, but in this case ghost boy is looking out for Mom and… it’s sweet. Creepy and sweet, what a mix. Jason’s best thus far.

“Open House” Directed by Shiri-Lee Shalit
What open house doesn’t have finger sandwiches!?! That’s the real horror. For the record, the second you think you’ve talked to or seen a ghost, GET THE F**K OUT! Didn’t really see the point to this one, more like an anecdote experience than a scare. Still, short was well-acted and looked gorgeous.

“Profile” Directed by Mateen Kemet
Racial profiling turns violent and… while the actions are horrific, it’s not really what one would consider a horror film, as set out by the genre standards. Maybe if he had been killed, come back as a ghost or something to get revenge. It’s tough, because it’s a very thought-provoking short on its own and yet… just doesn’t fit into the genre.

Final Thoughts…
This is a tough week to call, mainly in that there wasn’t any short that stood out as being overly horrible, and even the shorts that didn’t really deliver on the horror genre were still good shorts, done competently. The one I enjoyed the least, surprise surprise, was Kenny Luby’s “Malibu Myth.” After that, I’d put Shira-Lee’s “Open House” on the chopping block, and maybe Mateen’s “Profile,” if for no other reason than it didn’t really fit the genre theme of the evening (but was one of the best shorts, genre be damned).

– Mark Bell, Editor-Turned-Anklebiter

Got your own opinion about this week’s screening episode? Are you one of the filmmakers? Join in the conversation at the Official “On the Lot” Discussion Thread.

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