Festivals

{Panic Fest Tricks & Treats} Shorts Volume 2 and 3

I am getting older. With two kids COVID distractions all over, and the impending sense of doom that seems to permeate every part of my life sometimes sitting through a feature length movie feels more like a chore than an escape. That’s why The shorts section of Panic Fest Tricks & Treats is so MY stuff. Nothing longer than ten to fifteen minutes means I can see what each director brings and still have the attention span to obsess over my runny nose and slight cough. Here are the shorts and their directors to keep in the front of your brain as you look for new content and new content creators.

Ten, Thirteen, Twelve

What a weird weird weird little movie. 10 seems to be having a discussion about parallel universes and being trapped by the choices we have made. It feels a bit like a slightly dumbed down version of a Ted Chiang short story (that is a good thing, I think sometimes he is too smart for me and I don’t always get it). There is a lot going on with this short and director Daniel Bowhers does his very best to keep control of everything. As the film progresses it gives into its weirdness and focuses on some CGI effects that while interesting don’t always match the more existential qualities of the film. The film’s gorgeous use of drone shots and the hunting storyline spoke to midwestern aesthetic that seemed quite familiar.

Green Cobra

What is this VERY funny, very strange little film called Green Cobra. So if Hostel and What We Do in the Shadows had a baby it would like quite a bit like Green Cobra. Green Cobra was my favorite short at this years event and it blew me away. It was also disgusting and hard to watch from time to time. I do not know if I have seen a film that is simultaneously so mean but so easy to watch. Green Cobra played by the sweet and sinister Colleen Foy is a “Life-Ending Technician”. Long story short through a series of interviews we get her backstory as she shows off her skills, including staple-gunning pictures of her exes to the face of our victim and the insertion of a tube that still makes me squirm thinking about it. It is not just the similar mocumentary style that feels so familiar and so fun, its the cast which operates with such joy and chemistry you might forget they are slowly torturing someone to death. Like another film Bitch Popcorn and Blood Green Cobra uses subtle use of accents and an over the top setting to drive up its Eastern European Noir qualities. Both films punctuate the horror with a PITCH BLACK humor that really works for me. Director Sigurd Culhane is onto something. Whatever comes next is going to be hilarious, terrifying and undoubtedly gross.

I’ll Be Back Tomorrow

The final short I want to highlight comes from a pair of brothers that like their haunted houses. The Summer’s Brothers have put together short film that seems like it belongs in a new subgenre I like to refer to as suburban horror. Yes most suburban horror is really just less gothic haunted house faire but it really plays upon how quickly our houses are bought and sold. With COVID ravaging different parts of our economy the real estate market is still booming. It is like its possessed or has supernatural powers. What if our houses carried with them surprises that we couldn’t even tell our spouses. Yep, I am down for that discussion and I’ll Be Back Tomorrow wants desperately to drag the haunted house genre into modern America where everything is a secret (including who you voted for). The Summers Brothers have put together a cool and clever film. They are big fans of dreams sequences and if they didn’t feel genuine and believable then the entire film would fall apart. New houses are cool and full of potential, not entirely different then this film which really highlights where I hope suburban horror as a subgenre ends up.

Making up the other two blocks of shorts were killer scarecrow movies, a steampunk slasher short, and a couple of really stellar monster flicks. Whatever your Halloween kink might be Panic Fest Tricks & Treats continues to prove that Halloween lives in all of our black little hearts. Check out the rest of our coverage here.

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