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February 15, 2012

FMWL Indie Spotlight - February 2012 Horror Shorts Roundup

I get a lot of requests to promote everything from indie films to dating sites (Seriously? Seriously.) here at FMWL, and one of the things I struggle to mention enough are indie horror short films.  So, I thought it would be a good time to talk about a few short indie horror films that have been thrown my way recently.  Below are my thoughts on five independent horror shorts that have come my way lately, which I think represent an interesting cross section of horror goodness.

House Call
Dir. by Erik L. Wilson.

It's a classic tale of lust gone wrong in House Call, which follows a young woman who commits a criminal act to get away from an apparently failed relationship.  Unfortunately, she doesn't account for her ex's mother - who has some witchy talents. This happens to lead to some surprising events on the night of the young woman's anniversary, including a healthy dose of revenge from beyond the grave.

At about 18 minutes, House Call manages to provide several twists and turns, all filmed professionally and looking great.  The film also boasts some terrific special effects, particularly when bloodshed starts to occur late in the film.  I wasn't as wild about the acting, particularly from Aimee Bello and Michael Shepard Jordan as the soon-to-be-unhappy couple, but the film isn't hurt too badly by their amateur performances.  The lasting images of the film are certainly Janet Gawrys' turn as the mother, which is pretty spooky and effective.

House Call is currently on a festival run, but you can learn more about Wilson's film by hitting up the project's Facebook page, and can view the trailer HERE.

Dir. by Andre Welsh.

Created by, written by, and starring Nate Golon, Briefcase is a brief (haha!) experiment, the 6 minute journey of a man who finds a mysterious briefcase and has his life turned upside down.  The use of the case - whose contents are unseen - will no doubt make plenty of nerds think about Pulp Fiction, but any comparisons to Quentin Tarantino's masterwork probably should end there.

The film takes on the role of a chase picture for most of its length, with Golon's character evading a series of pursuers until the film reaches the end of its story.  The ending is a fun little twist - one that's quite unexpected - complete with a tease of future exploits that ends the film on a different note.

Briefcase is just a little taste of what Golon and company could have up their sleeves, but it's a neat diversion.  And, best of all, you all can watch it on YouTube whenever you like.  You can also follow the production in the standard places, at its Facebook page and Twitter account.

Dir. by Luther Bhogal-Jones.

There's a healthy helping of things that go bump in the night inside of Creak, a five minute short film by the folks at Sincerely, Psychopath Productions.  The brief tale introduces a couple who hears a noise in the middle of the night, then follows as they go through that wonderful horror film procedure of checking the house for abnormal entities.

Creak offers an incredibly simple perspective - lights turn on, lights turn off, maybe you see something, maybe you don't - before wrapping up under the five minute mark.  This is the kind of horror framing that I absolutely love, because the viewer is on edge every time the characters near a light switch.  What is revealed during the film is less important than the act of creating tension, which the filmmakers do here with flair.

Creak is also available online, so feel free to go check it (and the one lady's cool Minilla t-shirt!) out now.  And hit up that link to Sincerely, Psychopath that I posted above for more info.

Dir. by Bill Palmer.

Anything related to John Carpenter or Stephen King is bound to get my attention, so I was most intrigued by the idea behind Bill Palmer's Vicki, a spoof of the Carpenter directed King adaptation Christine.  This version follows a nerd turned cool dude - at least, by '80s standards - played by Adam Conger, who buys a beat up car that seems to have a mind of its own. 

Unlike the original Christine, Vicki is a firmly tongue-in-cheek spoof that takes plenty of shots at the '80s.  The 15 minute film is full of references to horror of that decade through clothing (The Monster Squad and Big Trouble in Little China are represented) and music (You want the oily sax man song from The Lost Boys? YOU'VE GOT IT!), but it doesn't overstay its welcome.  The lighthearted film is effective thanks to the countless jabs at the source material and the over-the-top performances, led by Conger's sleazy turn in the lead.

Vicki is available online, so head over and check out this neon flavored plate of '80s goodness today!

Dir. by Richard Powell.

Diabolical monologues are the in thing in Familiar, produced by Zach Green and Fatal Pictures.  This 23 minute terror takes us into the mind of a husband, played by Robert Nolan, whose disgust for his family life and his average wife is vocalized repeatedly by a sinister inner voice.  Nolan is extremely convincing in the role, and the character quickly becomes a captivating vision of a mind gone bad.

Everything is not exactly as it seems as Familiar moves into its final act (it's weird to think that a 23 minute film can have acts, but the director and writers have crafted their brief story incredibly well) and the final revelation is a neat (and gory!) surprise.  The special effects are incredibly impressive, as are the production values throughout the film.  When you put together the high-end production, the fantastic lead performance, and the witty and intelligent script, you might just find yourself incredibly impressed by what Familiar does in such a short amount of time.  I certainly was.

For more on Familiar, make sure to check out Fatal Pictures on Facebook, and check out the teaser for the film here.

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