I haven’t been to The New York City Horror Film Festival, but now I know what to expect if I ever do and that’s good indie horror. You take the good with the bad in DVD compilations like this, but for the most part, this is a disc filled with plenty of interesting sights and sounds.
Kicking the whole thing off proper is the New York City Horror Film Festival intro, which is a collection of clips from some of the most notorious horror films of all time – “Evil Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Braindead,” “Zombie” – all cut to the tune of a rockin’ track by Disturbed. I’m not to keen on this band, but this song definitely fits well with this gory montage and it does a lot to put you in the mood to watch some horror flicks. It’s the equivalent of Hank Williams Jr. screaming – “Are you ready for some football!?” F**k yeah I am. Let’s do it.
Cup O’ Abominations ^ Directed by Ben Hillman ^ *** ^ Featuring dialogue ripped from the Book of Revelations, this animated short, that looks a bit like the Den segment from “Heavy Metal,” has us sit ringside for the sins of the flesh adventures of the W***e of Babylon – a charming woman if you’re a barbarian or a crank fueled biker. Perfectly timed, just as you’re getting ready to make up your mind that you’ve had enough, the whole film turns into a commercial, featuring a cheeseball live action salesman, for a product called “Cup O’ Abominations.” Gotta admit, it made me chuckle.
Missing ^ Directed by Terrence Atkins ^ *** Based around a detective trying to catch a brutal serial killer, this thriller keeps its audience watching even though you’re pretty damn sure about who the killer is halfway through. Filmmaker Terrence Atkins pulls this off by keeping the film moving along at a quick pace, ever building upwards towards to that inevitable climax, peppering the whole thing with well-placed scares and a little gruesome imagery. And in a film that’s as well shot as this one, that little bit of gruesomeness goes a long way.
Non-Abductees Anonymous ^ Written and directed by Philip Powell ^ **** ^ This mockumentary takes a look at a group of people suffering from massive alien abduction envy, or maybe they just need something strange shoved up their butt, I don’t know. We witness the funny goings on of this support group as they deal with extraterrestrial rejection. Funny as this short is, it’s scary to think that a group like this probably truly exists out there somewhere. Yeah, that’s when the laughing stops.
Entrapped ^ Directed by Alan Smithee ^ ** ^ A man awakens to find that he’s locked up in a cage in some dark basement somewhere. The man can’t remember how he got there or even what he was doing the night before, all he knows is that there’s some guy dressed as a cop on the other side of the bars of his prison, wielding a gun and accusing him of sexually brutalizing his wife. The cop shoots the man in the arm and the leg, an old lady walks around the basement with coffee and biscuits and the audience gets a little confused as to what the hell is actually going on here. Something about crazy people and a game.
Oh yeah, you’ve also no doubt noticed the Alan Smithee director credit. Methinks this means one of three things:
1 – The director disliked his film as much, or maybe even more, than I did and had his name removed. ^ 2 – This is just one of those jokes that really isn’t funny ^ 3 – Or this could be a tragic case of a filmmaker actually having the name Alan Smithee.
Plasticity 1.7 ^ Written and directed by Brian Forrest ^ *** ^ Cool short that could’ve been much better if it had been trimmed down a few minutes. An angry young woman has a beaten and bloodied elderly man blindfolded and trapped in her basement. The two share a heated dialogue that reveals this man had previously run a red light, causing a car accident, which cost the young woman her legs. The man’s fate now hangs in the balance and it too is a major topic of discussion until the rewarding climax of the film finally occurs. Excellently shot and acted, my only problem with this film is that it just seems to go endlessly on and on with the dialogue between the two actors constantly going in circles. A shorter film would’ve have made a much harder impact here.
Slasher Flick ^ Written and directed by Nick Basile ^ *** ^ A night janitor spends a good chunk of his shift greedily digesting slasher movies. But what happens when the movies end? C’mon, you can guess this one. That’s right. The janitor finds himself stalked by the killer in the films. A cat and mouse game ensues. Not entirely original, but still entertaining with its blend of scares and slapstick humor.
Tomorrow’s Bacon ^ Written and directed by Bryan Norton ^ ** ^ What starts out as the best short on this disc, ultimately becomes the most frustrating. Brilliantly shot and acted, we observe a married couple madly in hate with each other as they barrel down a dark road in their car, desperately trying to find the highway. Screaming and yelling at one another, they decide to take a coffee break at a diner in the middle of nowhere. The wife has a black eye and the husband has scratch marks on his face. Not that they’re too concerned with their appearance; they look like they’ve been through this before. So they have their coffee and find out from the waitress how to get back on the highway. And then they’re off, barreling down the road once again until they crash, knocking out all of the power in the area. We then go back to the diner to find that a knife the waitress was using earlier has disappeared. And then that’s it. So I guess the wife or husband took the knife, stabbed the other on the road, and caused their presumably fatal accident. Who cares? I mean these guys were bound to kill each other anyways, right? I don’t understand why I watched what I did. I immediately took a look at it again to see if there was anything that I missed. Nope. Not much that I can detect really happens in this film. It’s a shame because it looks so damn good.
Subway ^ Written and directed by James S. Murray ^ *** ^ A creep harassing women in the subway soon finds himself being stalked by something a whole lot worse than himself. Spooky cinematography and sound design make this simple story all the better.