On July 21st, I attended the short film fest held by Loren W. Lepre, a filmmaker who wears multiple hats from director to actor and herein as the fest director who truly gave the independent showmanship on a rainy night at The Trocadero in center city Philadelphia, PA, a building with a legendary history. A good crowd formed on hand to enjoy a few hours of short films, it’s always interesting what a filmmaker can do with 20-minutes or less telling a tale. In addition, the event closed out with a cult classic called The Monster Squad (1987), a film that notes connections to Dracula, the Wolfman, Gill Man, and the Mummy, and of course Frankenstein’s Monster the classic monsters.
The event started with confirmation, that it was a bare bones fest, not a party, and informed the audience to take all networking discussions to the lobby. The first film of the night Happy Birthday Brenda (2016) from director Rory Douglas Abel, starts with the usage of a smartphone and celebrating the day for Brenda by her boyfriend. Except she really got started on her gift, and it’s a gift which keeps giving for she enjoys it thoroughly though reluctant to share and that leads to mistrust, and a camera tells no lies, but a great story to see. I’m going to summarize these films, because they are all the fest circuit no need to ruin the surprise of what awaits you in the darkness. Next, Goodnight, Gracie (2017) written and directed by Stellan Kendrick, about a little girl trying to avoid death but not having much luck, the music in the 4-minute short sounds like Goblin’s Suspiria (1977).
Then Cauchemar Capitonne (aka: Studded Nightmare) from director Jean-Claude Leblanc, a foreign film entry, normally many would tune it out, however the great thing about film festival, the audience is more engaging to the movies, wanting to see the visual storytelling and often no problem with the subtitles. Herein, taking a simple chair and converting it into a possessed piece of property, which might make some people afraid to take furniture from a yard sale or flea market. This production visually stunning uses demonic abilities to have people witness different acts and thereby compel them to commit suicide thereby taking their souls, and even a succubus scene. Director and writer Louie Cortes who penned Blood Slaughter Massacre (2013) had an entry known as Help Me (2017) no relation to Marco Bottiglieri’s Help Me, which is in pre-production, this time around a short Halloween (a holiday he’s obsessive with, can’t blame him) film, about being drunk on that day and not listening to other’s advice.
In addition, a great movie, which graced the screen came as The Hobbysist (2016) from director George Vatistas based from Fredric Brown’s story involving a man wanting an untraceable poison to give to his wife, except herein offers a different game of death, protection, and revenge, all neatly wrapped together. The conclusion of the short movie felt, very Hitchcockian, and a nice twist that audiences thoroughly enjoyed.
A Beautiful Place (2018) presented as a religious horror themed movie, one that allows the audience to understand, there’s consequences for their immoral, sinful and lethal behaviors. It opens with a man named Danny (Tony Moran, yes the same one who played Michael Myers at the age of 23, in Halloween ), dying of cancer in his bed when an angelic woman named June (Genevieve Nylen, who also produced and co-wrote the short with director Matthew Vinaja) comes to greet him. However, what she presents to him for his everlasting last look isn’t what he may want, but deserves, well that’s life and death.
An interesting aspect which Loren presented between the short films, were throwback horror movie trailers, from Slumber Part Massacre 2, Halloween (1978), They Live, (1988), and Freddy vs. Jason (2003). As well as voiceovers quoting famous lines such as “David you’re eating maggots”, “So Cool Brewster” and “No more room in Hell” now as experienced horror fans know which movies those lines go to, right, therefore you don’t need the answers.
The two final short films of the night well worth the price of admission, first Beneath, a revenge style movie, motivated by the #MeToo movement, and personal history inspired the director and writer Lindsay Serrano, to make her film, wonderfully produced and shows the dangers of ignorant boyfriends and so-called friends. Mass Grave Pictures, a company she owns with filmmaker Manny Serrano, assisted in the production, but Lindsay headed the project, since its only 10-minutes and not wanting to ruin the story for many, think about the topics of social media, revenge porn and mistrust. One key element of the film involves a teddy bear, who appears not to get credit in the film, and went missing from the set, so likely he’s on tour avenging others for their misdeeds and mistreatments of other fuzzy teddy bears. Lastly, from directors Carson and Erick C. Bloomquist, bring a paranormal slasher tale about a group of camp counselors on their last night at the camp, playing dangerously around an urban legend and the spilling of blood, in a film called She Came from the Woods (2017). Around a campfire the small group tells tales, one of them involves a witch named Esther, her fondness for practicing Druidism, medical techniques and of course they tempt fate, and all hell breaks loose, with nifty special effects on a meager budget. This one is definitely worth the investment of time, if fact all of the movies named in this article should find themselves on your checklist of upcoming horror tales, never let the fact of film short on time, equal the falsehood of short on talent, likely not the case when dealing with a film fest which gives out awards.
I look forward the Liberty Massacre 6, headed by Loren and his company Average Superstar Films, one hopes the weather fairs a tad better, either way the fans of horror and cinema came to see these movies, from the talent minds and enjoy their time.
Links for The Films presented in this article:
Happy Birthday Brenda (2016) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6057770/
A Beautiful Place (2018) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8609204/
The Hobbyist (2016) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6249648/
Help Me (2017) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7434154/
Beneath (2017) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7414742/
Goodnight, Gracie (2017) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7234604/
Cauchemar capitonne (2016) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt5846580/
She Came from the Woods (2017) https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6945636/