By BRYAN CHRISTOPHER
This month’s Short Cuts comes courtesy of the Cabane à Sang (Blood Shed) Film Festival, an event started by Québécois filmmaker Frank Apache to showcase horror, sci-fi, and trash cinema. The festival celebrated it’s fifth anniversary this April with a hybrid event that featured an online component along with an in-person event at l’Ancien Marché Maisonneuve in Montreal. There were a lot of great shorts this year that ranged from the goofy to the macabre, and you can check out some of the highlights below.
Enjoy, and as always, if you or anyone you know have a short film you’d like me to consider or if you’ve got some news you’d like to share in the short horror world, please contact me via Twitter or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Knit of the Dead (2020)
Length: 10:00 minutes Director: Alana Auden & Edward Yates Starring: Francesca Waters, Nina Thompson, Ryan Johnson, Zelda Yates, Josh Turk
Everything about this short is gleefully silly, as an elderly woman finds herself at the dawn of the zombie apocalypse and left with just one option: strap on a series of knitting needles and take on the undead swarms who try to invade her home. Lead Francesca Waters is perfect as the ass kicking granny who never loses the twinkle in her eye as she fends off zombies in varying levels of decay, all culminating in a stand off with a burlesque dancer dispatched with a creative use of yarn. This one is just a lot of fun.
Milk and Cookies (2021)
Length: 5:50 minutes Director: Alex Baró Cayetano Starring: Jayden Boyd, Marnie-Helene Boyd, Joshua Whincup, Melvyn Rawlinson
When young Adam concocts a plan to lace cookies for Santa with rat poison, those who know Santa’s “real” identity know that it can only end in heartache. But I have to give credit to director Alex Baró Cayetano with throwing in such a great curveball of a reveal at the end of the film that if you’re anything like me, you’ll be ashamed at how hard you laugh at what’s really a pretty grim tale. It’s black comedy at it’s best, and I salute Cayetano for it.
Scorpion on a Bed of Roses (2021)
Length: 13:13 minutes Director: Sebastien Rovere Starring: Sylvain Urban, Guiseppina Comito
In case the title weren’t a dead giveaway, Sebastien Rovere’s short is a pure jolt of giallo, complete with black gloves, colorful lighting, and psychosexual elements permeating every inch of the film. It opens as a mysterious man monologues about his practice of luring women to his home and, in true giallo fashion, murdering them before taking their picture for his twisted photo album. He’s particularly excited about the woman who he’s got planned for his next visit, but of course things aren’t quite as they seem. This one should please fans of the subgenre while also giving a little something for those tired of the typical formula.
Every Time We Meet for Ice Cream Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes (2021)
Length: 7:03 minutes Director: Anthony Cousins Starring: Arden Machalec, Logan Schuneman
While this short’s title may be accurate in terms of narrative content (a character’s face does frequently explode), it might be a little misleading in terms of tone as this is a surprisingly sweet film about navigating adolescence and love. It just so happens that the young lady at the center of the film’s romance has a condition wherein her face will literally explode if her emotions run too high. Cousins uses a lot of bright pastels to give the film an old-fashioned feel, which works well in this adorable meet-cute with a healthy dose of body horror thrown into the mix. Weird to think of this as a feel good film, but that’s exactly what it is.
Pumpkin Boy (2021)
Length: 1:32 minutes Director: Trent Shy Starring: Nick, Jack, and Timo Shy
This movie has all the hallmarks of a family production, as it’s shot on a handheld camera, takes place in a cul-de-sac, and stars Shy’s own kids. It also has some of the best low budget special effects that I’ve seen in quite some time, as a group of kids smashing pumpkins on Halloween find themselves on the business end of a sentient jack-o’-lantern. The practical effects are really fun, but the star of the show are some really effective stop motion effects as faces are chewed off and melted by the pissed off gourd. This one is bursting with messy fun.