Remastered onto BD-R/DVD-R, Carnie Features have released the definitive edition of Thomas Lee Rutter’s Bella in the Wych Elm; a West Midlands phantasmagoria based on the world-famous unsolved Hagley Wood mystery. Part documentary, part experimental horror, Bella in the Wych Elm is a delight to watch and never comes across as exploitative.
For the most part, The Game of the Clock had me intrigued. Michele Olivieri’s short film begins well and in typical horror fashion. A beautiful girl visiting her friend finds she’s not answering the door, so she enters her home, quickly realising that she’s missing and that there are some sinister, supernatural shenanigans going on. Once on the premises, she’s faced with a ringing alarm clock and a series of unnerving notes left asking her if she can endure the next five minutes; along with other handwritten and hand-drawn riddles.
“Can you endure 5 minutes?”
The Dead of Night Film Festival returned this year despite everything happening in the world, proving you can’t keep a good horror hound down. After all, look at how many different ways Christopher Lee died as Dracula. This year’s festival was a free virtual edition!
“27 Short Movies. 4 Filmmaker Q&As. Across 12 Horrific Hours.”
A dog’s bark pierces the silence of the night as a man emerges from a car into the shadows wearing a Michel Myers style jumpsuit. We are only a few seconds in and already there is an atmosphere of intrigue and dread. The man is John, a janitor who has arrived to work a shift at an orphanage where strange occurrences are afoot. In an office turned nursing room, a woman holds a baby closely as vintage music pipes its way out of an old radio, adding to the overall sense of foreboding.
“I swear to god, I wanted to throw her right down the stairs earlier. It’s awful, I know. She’s teething…”
Director Adrienne Lovette came to my attention through the release of her 2016 short horror/mystery film Hidden Daylight. A film that almost plays as a companion piece to The Dark Room, as it not only has some of the same cast, but most notably actor John Rice plays a psychic in both. The characters are very different, but Lovette is now carving out a name for herself in the horror genre as a director to definitely keep an eye on. Both films seem very similar in pacing and style and it’s easy to identify it was directed by the same person, which I always believe is a good thing.
“Some things are better left in the dark.”
Clocking in at little over two minutes, Hangnail certainly packs enough of a punch to raise an eyebrow or two. Everything on show here is to be applauded. This is low budget indie-filmmaking thinking big.
“Oh, fuck, fuck, FUCK!”
Continuing from our previous interview, Attack from Planet B talked with Michael Fausti regarding his first feature film EXIT, and the various influences that have helped shape him as a filmmaker.
“The early stages of writing took place at the same time as the European Referendum, so inevitably this was always going to have an influence. Our original premise for a story set in a single, insular location, seemed the perfect starting point for a Brexit inspired horror film.”
Have you ever looked at a mannequin and swear you seen it move or talk? Variable in size, shape and detail, these human-like but hallow creations have a definite mystique. Filmmakers have included them continually in horror, relying on their presence to create a deep and unnerving effect…
“Oh, Melvin… What are we going to do with you?”
1982 saw the release of Louis La Vope’s horror short which was broadcast on American television. Entitled simply The Dummy, and running at less than eight minutes, it tells of the eponymous doll who comes to life and inflicts mental and physical torment on an unsuspecting victim.
“I’ve had that since I was eight years old… You can’t throw it out!”
The Ingress Tapes and Dead Celebrities are both witty, engaging and at times disturbing pieces and are effective for their conciseness. With their tight running times and often dream-like, art house aesthetic, Michael Fausti’s works act like a short sharp adrenaline shot.
“Real life can be truly horrific and a script always needs a strong foundation. Rooting a narrative in real life events or happenings is a good starting point.”
Clocking in at just over one minute twenty seconds (including credits), The Tattooist is the briefest of short films, but has enough visual flair to grab your attention. The story revolves around the murderous exploits of the titular character. Because the film is so brief and quick, it’s barely enough time to fully comprehend how the narrative flows. What we do witness is the kidnapping of multiple people and them being subjected to horrendous torture, that resembles something straight from the Saw or Hostel movies.
“Behind his obsession is a sinister secret.”
When writing reviews I always make a decision of if I want to reveal plot points or spoilers. This isn’t in any way to ruin the experience of the film for people who haven’t seen it, but I like to write as if you, the reader, and me are having a cup of coffee and chatting about a film we’ve just watched together. I find it a lot more engaging and intimate. So I apologise if during my reviews there’s a lot of spoilers, but that’s my process. This won’t be the case with the short film Occurrence at Mills Creek because I’d found it very difficult to fathom anything interesting?