Shock and awe. Those were the words of the day. This was true of some of the shorts showcased throughout the day, but specifically true of the features. I have a high tolerance for shocking themes and imagery. While never offended by anything I witnessed, even I was continually surprised at the nonstop sensory assault going on in films like Night of Something Strange and especially The Night of the Virgin. The latter is a Spanish feature that made its North American premiere at Nightmares Film Festival. I’m curious to see if the film ends up finding distribution in the U.S., because it’s a doozy. After all, it’s not often you witness an unnatural baby cackling and screaming that it wants to eat someone’s dick.
She Was So Pretty and The Barn may not have gone for shock value on the same level as those films, but they each had their strengths. Synth scores are mighty prevalent across the works I’ve seen thus far at the festival and She Was So Pretty was no different, containing a particularly pulse-pounding one at times. It also may hold a record for the amount of times that teeth are brushed on screen. What? I notice odd things sometimes.
The Barn launched itself into full-on Halloween fun territory; wallowing in the holiday and many of its traditions. The result was an endearingly-fun time at the movies, all wrapped around an interesting take on my favorite holiday. It also tosses out a new sinister angle on candy corn. Paired with She Was So Pretty’s obsession with circus peanuts and I have more reasons than ever to dislike both candies. As for Deep Slumber, it was an anthology project (still rightfully popular these days), bridging the programming gap between long and short-form works.
Speaking of shorts, spanning across three different blocks this time ‘round, they also continued to impress. I’m starting to rack up so many that I loved that I might soon have to bang out a short film-centric piece. Some have been perfect at the length they already exist in, whereas others are practically screaming to be expanded into features. The ones that stuck with me the most in this slate include Dryad (I’m a sucker for medieval elements), Night Land (UK horror continues to be on a roll of late), Howl of a Good Time (a classically Tales from the Crypt-esque yarn), The Thin Place (how is this not a Blumhouse hit already?), The Stylist (as tragic as it is well-crafted), The Babysitter Murders (a fun twist on classic slasher tropes), and Born Again. There are many more, hence the need to showcase them all soon.
There’s only one day left (be sure to check out my coverage of the first two days) and it’s set to be just as jam-packed as the rest. Loads of indie horror still awaits you at Columbus’ Gateway Film Center! And if you can’t make it down for the last day, hit them up in the near future regardless. They always seem to be showing something in (or adjacent to) the genre. Hell, outside of the festival they are currently screening Shin Godzilla, Ti West’s In a Valley of Violence, and the new remastered cut of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer!
Day Three – Saturday, October 22nd
Horror Shorts C
She Was So Pretty
Midnight Shorts B
Horror Shorts A
The Night of the Virgin
Night of Something Strange