Director: Kate Dolan (UK)
In Catcalls (2017), a man is out looking a cheap thrill. He encounters two girls, feigns that he needs directions, and flashes them in order to get aroused. When he puts his wedding ring back on and returns home to his wife, he is not alone — unbeknownst to him. We see a cat, then one of the girls from earlier arrives at his door. What unfolds is a violent blur of girl and feline that gives new meaning to the term catcall. The premise of Catcalls is interesting, but it fails to complicate or further the connection between actual cats and catcalls. That said, it is a short film, and it is enjoyable. It exudes a punk rock vibe, which I really appreciated, and the move from cat to girl and vice versa is a creepy and seamless transition.
Director: Hanna Bergholm (Finland)
Puppet Master (2018) opens in a pub, with a young woman who seems lonely and out of place. She catches the attention of a man, only to have him disappear. Wandering the streets, she finds her way into a puppeteer’s shop: a quirky place filled with small figurines and bell jars and other oddities. The man from earlier reappears, and he turns the woman into a sentient puppet. Visually Puppet Master is right up my alley. It is whimsical and creepy — in the best way — and there is a curious, elaborate dance between puppet and puppet master. However, beyond the visuals, this film leaves much to be desired. She lets him make her a puppet, but then she also becomes a puppet maker, so it is unclear where the agency lies.
Director: Jessica Hudak (USA)
Inseyed (2018) is an animated short in which a girl tries to find the source of the noises she hears in her house. As she brushes her hair, she hears something outside. As she washes her face, she hears something in the shower. As she looks in the mirror, she hears something in her eye. This is a trippy, masterful, and quick short film. In just the few minutes of the film’s running time, I found myself to be curious, unsettled, and oddly pleased all at once. The ending is thoughtful and unexpected, and the animation is incredibly smooth and delightful.
BLOOD RUNS DOWN
Director: Zandashé Brown (USA)
“Because, in the end, we all need rest.”
Blood Runs Down (2017) is a mother-daughter narrative about heritage and metamorphosis. On the eve of a young girl’s birthday, her mother helps prepare her not only for bed but also for what lies ahead. When the clock strikes midnight, the girl becomes older — in more ways than one. There is a lot to unpack in Blood Runs Down, and it is certainly a film that rewards multiple viewings. The music is beautiful with lots of piano and string instruments. Images — such as the girl in her party dress, armed with a bat — remain with the viewer. And the structuring of the film itself is poetic. Blood Runs Down does what the best horror films do: it remains firmly rooted in both the realms of the fantastic and the everyday.
Director: Sofia Carrillo (Mexico)
“Can you touch a dream?”
Cerulia (2017) is a Spanish, animated short that follows a woman who returns to her childhood home — a house for sale that no one will buy. Why no one will buy it becomes evident as the woman remembers what occurred there. Viewers encounter a child psychiatrist office, ducks with sharp teeth, imaginary friends, puppets, and games. Everything is very Tim Burton-esque with its nightmarish whimsy. The tinny piano music is perfectly suited to the story, and the stilted movements of the figures are captivating. Through its examination of storytelling and family, Cerulia is as moving as it is unnerving.
Each of these short films will be shown during the Final Girls UK event We Are The Weirdos, which serves to showcase international women in horror. This is the second We Are The Weirdos tour, and a full list of dates and venues can be found here.