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This year, we were treated to nine shorts per session—up three total from last year. I just love the shorts—most of them are steeped in comedy, so there’s really nothing bad happening in the course of 3-15 minutes. Last year there were more truly scary shorts, but these didn’t disappoint.

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Gotcher
Directed by Bruce Branit
A support group gathers to find strength in one another in tracking down the man who stole something from them in their youth. What a great idea! Excellent effects, and the creepy man was creepy. Think Poltergeist 2, the early years.

Ideal
Directed by Kevan Tucker
How far would you go for beauty? An interesting take on media and advertising. Not the most realistic effects (the abdominal wall and viscera don’t look like that), but a bit surprising that the main character would actually go THAT far. Cool idea. Make sure you can trust your agent.

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Blight
Directed by Brian Deane
A bit on the long side, this is a story about religion trying to comfort and heal the afflicted in remote areas in the earlier decades of last century (or before). When a young pregnant woman begins to behave strangely, a priest is called to help deal with the situation. By the time he leaves, you realize that things did not go the way they were intended. I appreciated the twist, but it went through a lot of unnecessary buildup.

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The Man Who Loved Flowers
Directed by Justin Zimmerman
Apparently this is a Stephen King short story. I have absolutely no idea what it was about. I guess if you are a woman and have the bad fortune to catch the bad guy’s eye, don’t accept his flowers. Very strange.

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A Way Out
Directed by Jason Tostevin
Why was this in the Horror Shorts? Absolutely nothing like anything in the genre. An old gangster and his protégé are both keeping secrets, which can potentially ruin their lives if one acts rather than the other. It wasn’t even brutal. Not a fan.

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The Smiling Man
Directed by A.J. Briones
This is fantastic. A little girl at home hears odd noises and sees balloons placed as a kind of bread crumb trail. What she finds at the end of the trail is so creepy, you have to give props to the kiddo for actually finishing the scene. Whoever played the smiling man did so with incredible gusto. Creepy as hell.

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Deathly
Directed by Mike Williamson
Alan Ruck plays a widower who is forced to come to terms with the death of his wife from just a few days earlier. Some creepiness, and another way-too-dark film. Hard to see anything. You get the gist, but it’s visual storytelling. Show us the scares. We want them!

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Yummy Meat: A Halloween Carol
Directed by John Fitzpatrick
Just be nice and give the kiddos what they ask for on Halloween. One dentist decided not to, and ended up a little worse for wear. Duh. There was actually an outtake for this short. Absolutely hilarious. Cameo by Lou Ferrigno Jr as the werewolf.

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Welcome to the Party
Directed by Michael A. Livingston
I think this short was too hipster to make sense. There was a lot of time-jumping during the story of a hipster serial killer group celebrating one of its member’s 30th birthday. Beautifully shot, possibly at Griffith in L.A. But super confusing. Cute fox.

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