The most frequent lament I heard this past weekend at the Nightmares Film Festival was the inability to clone oneself. With four days, two screens, hundreds of great conversations, 155 shorts, and 23 feature films, astral projection would have been the only way to view all of the films from the most talented and ambitious horror filmmakers around the world. My physical self was able to catch a mere 17 of the short films; however, most of the filmmakers whose films I missed have been gracious enough to send me screeners of their films. So this is merely a recap of the horror-comedy shorts I watched during the whirlwind weekend with a post-fest part two coming soon detailing the remainder of the shorts I will have watched.
Describing a horror-comedy short to someone is akin to explaining the humor of a comedian: you can give your recommendation and some vague descriptions, but if you tell too much, you give away their punchlines and ruin the show for the other person. Thus, I will restrain myself from raving about each of these for too long as to not give away their fantastic “punchlines.”
- Rakefet Abergel‘s short Boo (winner of Best Writing in a Short) was a great twist on the constant struggle of sobriety. When her finance picks her up from a self-help meeting, the woman affectionately called Boo (Abergel) by her beau is frantic and covered in blood. In the form of flashbacks, the details of her evening are revealed. Watching this short left me wanting to see what Abergel could do with the feature-length format.
The next nine shorts were included in an incredibly solid horror-comedy short block on Saturday
- Inflatio was rightfully the winner of Best Horror Comedy Short. This is a very slow burn that culminates into an uproarious ending that this writer cannot divulge. However, I CAN say that Bryon Evans earned a true fan with his creative approach to juvenile humor.
- In real life, Zeke Farrow set out to make a film to overcome an extreme state of depression. He began making a documentary, soon realizing no one would be interested. So, he turned his documentary into a mockumentary with the brilliant short Possessions. Deciding to reset his life, Zeke sells all of his belongings in an elaborate art installation only to find out that at least one of his possessions holds an unexpected power.
- Zebra is an Aussie short featuring two elderly ladies presumably escaping from a perilous situation, walking through the woods exhausted and bloody. We find out quite early that these women are not the victims but instead two nursing home patients who will go to extreme lengths to win a bet for tapioca pudding.
- Rooming with an odd friend can be difficult. . . especially when he brings home haunted and possessed objects on a daily basis. Jackie is ready to move out until he makes the proclamation We Got a Monkey’s Paw, which reignites her enthusiasm for the living situation. As monkey paw tales tend to go, the pair create a chaotic mess of misunderstood wishes that they must unravel.
- Half-Cocked explores the age-old quest for eternal life. Two brilliant doctors use an apartment for a Frankenstein experiment that works amazingly well from a scientific standpoint. However, they forgot to check their subject’s hilariously obvious Facebook profile that reveals his one true wish in life was to die and remain dead forever.
- In the near future in Los Angeles, an internet influencer and her boyfriend are fighting for their lives against a home invader in We Follow You. What seems to be a malicious attacker is soon revealed to be one of her followers on a crusade for a selfie. Quickly, she must find a way to thwart a throng of social media followers who have the same compulsion as the original attacker.
- Kids will always try to scare each other at sleepovers. . . but when this particular group of kids can’t manage to scare each other, the creepy neighbor in fishing gear climbs in through the window to frighten the boys with the legend of the Ghost Turd that haunts their local park. He tells three increasingly terrifying tales of the Ghost Turd before the legend and real-life collide.
- Coming back ten years after high school graduation, a group of three friends has a Reunion of sorts only to find out that perhaps the years have altered their friendship to an unrecognizable state. In fact, one of the trio actually begins to fear for her life as she suspects the other two of being killers. In trying to escape the potentially murderous pair, the three rediscover their friendship in an unorthodox manner.
- New parents know the absolute number one rule to survival: get the baby asleep and don’t make a sound. SHHHH depicts the challenges of a couple as they struggle to complete simple tasks while their lightly-sleeping baby lays in the crib like a ticking time bomb. The pair turn against each other in frustration but continue to stubbornly abide by the golden rule of silence.
Each one of these shorts was delightful, hilarious, and indicative of the talent of these humorous filmmakers. Definitely be on the watch for these in upcoming anthologies and shorts collections in the next year.