[CINEPOCALYPSE] SHORTS BLOCK 2: SEX, BLOOD, AND HEAVY METAL

CINEPOCALYPSE’s second slate of shorts prove that sex, blood and heavy metal do mix.

THE ONLY THING I LOVE MORE THAN YOU IS RANCH DRESSING
Dir. Dir. Sydney Clara Brafman (USA)

Review is taken from previous coverage. 

A short and sweet horror film that leaves you hungry. I’m not even saying this as a pun. I was starving after watching this. The Only Thing I Love More Than You Is Ranch Dressing features a man and a woman eating chicken wings on their date. However, things start to take a dark turn when she takes a bite out of him. I just all-around enjoyed this short because it was very on point and hilarious. It didn’t pull any dime and whistles or set out to do anything extra. Chicken wings are eaten. Fingers are eaten. Our girl continues her meal as usual.


BUDFOOT
Dir. Tim Reis and James Sizemore

A toy designer gets high off his entire supply as one of his creations comes to life and tries to get the ideas out of his head… literally.

Budfoot is that stoner comedy that I DREAM about. It’s the perfect amount of absurd and funny, mixed with some great dialogue and epic “what the actual fuck is happening” moments.

There’s nothing better than when filmmakers go balls to the wall with their storytelling. The written Akom Tidwell gives you the best kind of absurd, but everything falls into place because of the events happening. The one thing I had to praise this short for is their set design. It’s like this candy story of figurines and weird shit everywhere. It looks like somewhere I’d want to live, stay and play around in.

I don’t want to give too much away for this one because it’s literally like tripping balls. You have to live off the high of your experience watching it. Also, read the credits cause they’re fucking hilarious.

 


CRITICAL HIT!
Dir. Adrien Stoclet & Briac Ragot

Critical Hit! features a woman who is kidnapped and forced to conform to a particular personality to fight in gladiator-type battles for entertainment.

So, holy shit. This was a surprise all around. If you guys are wondering what the personality I was talking about is, it’s Pokemon. Yes. Women are dressed as Pokemon to fight battles. Our main character is dressed up as Pikachu.

As I said, this film was a massive surprise. By the time you start it, you feel like its just another regular short. Once it’s done, you’re thinking about it a lot more than needed. It makes you think about gaming culture and popular culture in general if you need an example of how men dominate so much of a fandom that women literally have to FIGHT their way in and out of survival, look no further than this film.

Critical Hit! spins that culture in a creative, funny, heartbreaking, and realistic way that makes it sit on your brain for hours.


KILLER OF KILLERS
Dir. Don Swaynos

Part music video, part home video. A boy who watches his father die from a random killer summons Satan (by record) to catch the guy and kill him.

A heavy metal band named the Zig-Zags plays throughout the short, and they are a better Metallica, and I’m so into that. The home video element is so goofy, but so much fun! It’s like if three college kids just decided they wanted to make a movie about Satan and a serial killer that day. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and it’s not grand or over the top. It’s the best three minutes that you’ll have.


ROAD TRASH
Dir. Natasha Pascetta (USA)

“Good intentions paved the way to hell.”

Alice buries road kill and tries to give them their final resting place. However, after she buries one road kill that seems way too gnarly to be true, it ultimately comes back to bite her. So, um, Road Trash is SO FUCKING GOOD. Road Trash is shot like an Argento/Cosmatos film with werewolves and heavy metal, which is the aesthetic that everyone should live by. As a surprise, this film is narrated by horror legend Heather Langenkamp. Yes, THE Heather Langenkamp. Her voice is perfect for this film as she narrates it like a bedtime story / cautionary tale that you melt into.

Another thing about this film is the heavy metal soundtrack score is a goddamn dream. It just mends perfectly with the neon-noir aesthetic perfectly that makes the overall short so worthwhile. (I don’t think you guys understand how much I love this aesthetic.) One thing that this reminds me of is a graphic novel. It has all the quirky shots and weird vibes that you’d find in an off the wall graphic, but this is twenty times better. One last thing, the twist ending is something that only a genius could lay out. It ends on such a realistic and gnarly note that throws you back from its perfection. From start to finish, Road Trash is something out of this world with fantastic storytelling and conquers techniques in a short amount of time.


STARLETS
Dir & Writ by Marten Carlson

A film executive is sent on a mission to find three missing starlets. However, he’s not prepared for what he finds instead. Starlets has a classic feel that never feels overwhelming but earns that look and the feel of a classic 1950s film. It’s eerie and mysterious from the jump, but also funny and unsettling. Starlets nails a Hitchcock-like vibe with also reminding me of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? and Grey Gardens as well.

The cinematography by Andrew Baird knocks it out the part. If this were a Hollywood movie, every single shot would be a classic. The writing for this is incredible as well. It leaves you wanting a full length to answer some questions you may have. Will the mother will get caught? What happens to the girls? Does anyone come looking for the studio executive? I’d watch a full-length movie of this in a heartbeat to know these answers.


SWITCH
Dir. Marion Renard

When a girl has her first sexual experience, she finds out that there’s more to her than she thinks there is. Through experiences of self-discovery and sexual awakening, she figures out that there’s more to accepting yourself than meets the eye. Switch was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I love a good sexual awakening, self-accepting narrative. I’m not sure what I had just watched with this one. I think I need to spoil this a bit for you guys and myself to get to the bottom of everything. The girl ends up being able to switch to a boy and can go back and forth when they have an orgasm.

Again, I’m all about sexual awakening and self-acceptance journey, but I’m not sure what the message this film was supposed to bring. The film played upon the sexuality and gender really well, but that message felt muddled. When they meet and are attracted to someone like them, it becomes a little clear, but still very confusing? Even though the storytelling was a bit confusing, the cinematography was sleek and sexy, bringing another type of flavor to it that felt truly coming of age.


TEACHER’S LOUNGE
Dir. Josh Mruz

Deon Davis is welcomed to a new high school in a most peculiar way. He’s other co-workers tie up to a chair and let a worm determine if he’s worthy of knowledge. Teacher’s Lounge is the best time you could have with a short. It’s over the top cheesy, but hilarious and gives off some good b-movie goodness. It doesn’t take itself too seriously cause it knows the storytelling is so incredibly bonkers.

Demetrius Butler as Deon is THE star of this film and short be A star in general. He’s overall the best actor in the bunch, and he’s so likable! The other teachers are B-movie by far, but also so funny and excellent in what they bring to this short. The other things in this film are hilarious too like the cult of teachers, the knowledge worm, even the weird ass video that explains what the hell they’re doing. It all combines to let Teacher’s Lounge be itself and be a good ass time had by all.

 


THE THIRD HAND
Dir. Yoni Weisberg

A man finds a hidden door behind a vending machine. Inside that door lies a copy machine that can make copies of things you put inside better than ever. Needless to say, he takes full advantage of the opportunity. When watching The Third Hand, I was a bit speechless. It’s such a simple premise. However, the way that this short was short and the actor in it pulled it off and made it such a stunner of a short film. You felt almost claustrophobic and watching this mans action in the corner of a room horrified and wanting to tell him to stop. This is another short that had some BEAUTIFUL frames in it. It had a color palette and unsettling feeling that reminded me of Green Room. The Third Hand was bloody, gorgeous and sickening, but overall a fucking brilliant and undigestible film that leaves you speechless.

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