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Second on the list for PFF2014 Sunday: Horror Shorts A. I may have been most excited about this particular showing because I was totally blown away by the creativity and storytelling of Horror Shorts B on Friday night. So without further ado, here are the 9 entries from the next set!

Love
A man, a woman and a moster express their love for one another at slightly different times, but in the same way. Don’t go underground with a monster, even if he’s got yummy treats. It’s called “Stranger Danger”, folks. I loved the narration. This was creepy because, ick, but funny as hell because monsters in love.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Zombie
Mr. Zombie’s friends have gathered to surprise him on his birthday. He loves his presents, but blowing out the candle on the cake proves to be a bit more difficult than he remembered. You know, back when his teeth were on the inside of his mouth. Excellent makeup. The script consisted of various types of grunts and moans and facial expressions. The cast was fantastic.

VHS
No, not the actual big-budget release. Duh. These are short films.
Stop motion is utilized to convey the feel of 80’s low-budget horror. It’s quite effective. The man decides to upgrade from a VCR to DVD player. He tosses his tapes, since they’re now useless. The tapes feel differently. In the Q&A session after the 9 films were finished, I think the writer/director said it took something like 14 hours to shoot the stop-motion of the actual tape doing its thing. Pretty cool.

Itsy Bitsy Spiders
My favorite of this session. A young boy has this creepy obsession with drawing spiders and spider-like shapes on every stationary surface, walls included. It is freaking out his mom and the neighbors, and the landlord is getting ready to evict because the kid is destroying the property. We learn from the news that there are kidnappers on the loose, and the boy’s spiders prove worthy adversaries when they attempt to take him from his home. I think the best part about this short was how quickly the kid drew. You turn your back for literally 2 seconds and he’s destroyed a room. Kids. Siiiigh.

‘Til Death

Four men meet up in the pub and are clearly tired of being henpecked and degraded by their wives and girlfriends. They decide to kill each other’s girls. It doesn’t end up going as planned. This was overacted a little bit, but it was SO FUNNY. The men’s next-morning reactions to the outcome of their night of murder are absolutely genius. A fun idea turned into an effective film.

Signal
I think this was the shortest of the shorts. Malevolent spirits lurk in the television. Be careful how much attention you pay to the static and white noise: it may be deadly. I was amazed at how quickly terror can be conveyed—this was MAYBE 90 seconds long.

One Please
Another brilliant short with no dialogue. Mommy and daddy are relaxing at home. They’re missing body parts. Turns out they’ll do anything to make their children happy, and today, it’s ice cream. THEY CUT OFF THEIR PARTS AS PAYMENT FOR ICE CREAM. One little girl had TWO ice creams. I was DYING laughing at the end of this one. Such a good story! The guy in the ice cream truck was creepy as hell, which makes sense…he makes kids pay for ice cream with BODY PARTS. Ech.

Beware of Children!

I think this is the Swiss film; the language was Germanic, but not quite as scary as German. A bit more neutral. Ha ha. A couple traveling to see family ends up in a random town, where they quickly run over a child in the street. Crazy, right? Well, not as crazy as what happens after an old man comes to their aid. These are not normal children. When cornered in a backyard playhouse, the couple are arguing (quietly, kind of) about how best to deal with their situation. The twist at the very end, when they make it back to their car, is amazing. See what happens when we give everyone participation trophies? Very fun.

Dust Jacket
Directed by Kenneth Miller
An entry from Phoenix (yay for hometown filmmakers!). A young girl is being followed by two men during a time of unrest in the city—the “Red Menace” is stalking, kidnapping and killing young red-headed women in the area. Which is what this girl happens to be. She gets home and watches the news, featuring a story on this particular subject. She hears noises, grabs a kitchen knife, and goes to investigate. The ending is a major shock, and very well played. Fun, suspenseful, and local.

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