short films

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More Horror for National Canadian Film Day 2016!

Published April 20, 2016 by rmpixie

 

cdnfilmday

National Canadian Film Day-April 20, 2016

 

It’s that time of year again when we celebrate Canadian Film on National Canadian Film Day!  Good old Hollywood North gets a day to say “Hey, we make great films up here!”  Of course, being the gal that I am, I’ll concentrate on horror made right here on Canadian soil.

First off is a couple of indie slow burners that really resonated with me.  Screened at Toronto After Dark Film Festival and Blood in the Snow Festival last year, these two contributions feature man vs. nature in the most hellish way.

The Interior(2015), directed by Trevor Juras, premiered at Toronto After Dark Film Festival and really needs to be seen on a big screen to experience the overwhelming beauty and psychological terror.  James (Patrick McFadden) is bored with his life and dealing with a gnawing ennui.  When he has to come to terms with his mortality, he escapes to the wilderness to deal with his issues. He soon realizes a mysterious figure is sharing the forest with him, watching and waiting to strike.  See this one for the cinematography and the unravelled performance by McFadden.

 

White Raven (2015), also premiered last year, but this time at The Blood in the Snow Festival (of which I am now a film programmer!  Yay!), also takes place in the wilds of Mother Nature.  Four friends take their annual manly camping trip so they can catch up with each other’s lives and bond.  They soon realize that one of them isn’t doing so well, and his obsession with a past wrong and a Native legend will change their lives forever.  Director Andrew Moxham pulled some really great performances out of the cast.  Definitely worth seeing.

 

Feel like something gory to whet your horror appetite?  Then you’ll want a to check out Bite (2015).  This festival favourite also screened at BITS and includes all kinds of cringe-worthy splatter.  Casey (Elma Begovic) is getting married and goes to Costa Rica for her bachelorette.  When she is bitten by a mysterious bugaboo, she returns home only to find the bug bite has gotten worse and her symptoms have become stranger.  Director Chad Archibald and the crazy kids at Black Fawn Films really went for it and created a fun gooey body horror classic.

 

Heir (2015) is a short that left me feeling really uneasy.  Gordon (Robert Nolan) suppresses an urge and an ailment that he shares with a supposed old college friend Dennis (Bill Oberst Jr.).  He brings his son to meet Dennis, but there is a more sinister reason for their visit.  With creepy undertones and some intense performances, this little film directed by Robert Powell will definitely make your skin crawl.

 

For some classic weirdness, I recommend Pin:  A Plastic Nightmare (1988).  This gem from bizarro-land directed by Sandor Stern, brings us Leon (David Hewlett), an isolated young man who becomes friends with his father’s (Terry O’Quinn) anatomically correct see-through dummy named Pin, used in his father’s medical practice as an educational tool.  This unusual attachment grows as Leon and his sister Ursula (Cynthia Preston), lose their parents in an accident.  What ensues is a weird spiral into obsession and insanity.  This one you’ll just have to see to believe!

 

Seiren (2015) is a short that should be a full-length horror, which is what director Kat Threlkeld intends to do at some point.  When a model (Sayla Vee) gets bitten on a beach photo shoot, she begins to transform into a vicious version of a well-know legend.  Loved this for the special effects and Vee’s blood-thirsty performance.

 

And They Watched (2015), directed by Vivian Lin, is a short with a strong message.  A custodian cleans the execution room of a prison, and disturbs some troubled souls.  Lin got the idea for the film after reading testimony of death row inmates.  It is chilling and the makeup effects are really, really good.

 

So there you have it!  Get out there and freak yourselves out with some great Canadian horror on National Canadian Film Day! Check out my full reviews of the festival films on Cinema Axis here, and be sure to read about other great Canadian films on Cinema Axis too!

 

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Face Off Season 10 Episode 14: The Big Finale Part 2 “Sinister Showdown”

Published April 14, 2016 by rmpixie

The second part of the finale had the artists tweaking their makeups to suit what the directors needed.  Walter and Melissa didn’t have too much more to do, but Rob would have to redo his makeups from scratch.  They had very little time left, but a visit from their loved ones helped spur them on.  Walter’s wife, Melissa’s hubby and son, and Rob’s parents gave them some much-needed support before they went full force to finish their makeups for their films.

The each arrived at the creepy mansion on the oilfield to shoot their scenes, and as noted in the previous post, Jason Blum would be on the reveal stage to help judge the final films and makeup.

Melissa finished her molds on set. She got Johnny to affix the appliances differently so they would hold up to the actor’s sweat.  Melissa bounced between makeups to get everything finished.  On set, the judges thought she hit the right notes for her director John Wynn.  He asked her to add a bit more sheen to the possessed makeup and make the demon eye more gooey.  She was happy with how the makeup turned out and thanked her “Team Badass” for their help.  The film was called Hellhole: The Possession and  the judges thought it was a cohesive makeup and liked the organic elements in the prosthetics.  Jason Blum thought her creativity with the cyclops demon was great and her director thought she did something really different with the concept.

Rob had a lot of work to do.  He needed Anna to do a more simple possession makeup and  he had to get rid of the demon’s horn to make the look more sleek; while Kaleb worked on new shoulder pieces.  On set he was terrified but excited.  Anna blended the prosthetics like a maniac, and Rob came up with a gag to make oil seep out of the demon’s eye.  He was happy with the end result, but was apprehensive about what his director Bryce McGuire would say.  Luckily, he only asked for dust on the demon and to keep the possessed makeup hair wet so the oil wouldn’t cake.  The judges liked the eye gag that worked really well, and Rob was happy with his team and thought it was the best creature he’d ever made.  Neville thought he gave them a classic demon that told the story, and they loved the possessed makeup for the J-horror feel.  Glenn thought Rob focused on the right things, and his director thought he was a stroke of genius.  The film, Hellhole: Dead Earth, took place in 1929, and impressed the judges. Ve also loved the horns that looked like a crown on the demon.

Walter was prepared and ready to get to the film set.  Mel made sure not to overdo the painting this time around, and they all focused on the many details to make the characters camera ready for director Ryan Spindell.  The judges loved the integrated vines in the possession makeup, and thought the demon looked “rad” under the lights.   Ve liked the demon’s boils on one of the biggest makeups on the show, and Neville thought they covered a lot of work.  In the film Hellhole: Dark Harvest, the demon looked great!

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The winner was Rob!  He was grateful for this life changing experience, and was happy to share the moment with his parents.  He walks away with a Fiat 500, $100,000 and a visit to one of Kryolan’s 85 international locations.

If you’d like to check out the films, click here. (Canadian fans will have to watch the full episode here, since the short films will play in the U.S. only…boo!!).

All the finalists were really talented and deserved to be there.  Congrats to Rob! Now we have to wait for the next season to see more crazy challenges and innovative makeups!

Christmas Horror Fun with the Little Terrors Short Film Festival

Published December 20, 2015 by rmpixie

 

littleterrors40

Artwork by Daryl Shaw

 

For the 2015 Christmas season, I finally got the chance to see my first Little Terrors Short Film Festival.  Programmed by Justin McConnell, an indie producer/director/writer dynamo and CEO of Unstable Ground based in Toronto, and co-presented with Rue Morgue Magazine, these are monthly screenings of the best international and domestic short horror films you can find.  I’d heard about the festival and was never able to go due to a terrible work schedule, or the fact that I was just tired of going to horror events on my own.  This time around, I had the company of  the best horror boyfriend a gal could ask for and delicious snicker doodles, made by said horror boyfriend.  During this special Santa Claws Xmas Edition, we saw a fun selection of holiday-themed horror shorts ranging from a horrific kidney stone to a Santa kidnapping gone wrong.

 

Mineral:  When a man thinks he passes a painful kidney stone, what he expels turns out to be monstrous.  Director Michael J. Marino threw in all the leg crossing footage of real births you could, or maybe would never, ask for, and a grimy, gritty production value.

http://www.michaeljmarino.com/portfolio/item/mineral/

 

Hungry:  A Christmas shopping creep checks out a thrift shop.  When he finds an expensive jacket for a too-good-to-be-true price, he realizes he’s found a thrift shop from Hell.  Unfortunately, there is no trailer available right now, but go see it if you can find it at local festivals.  Director John Montana gets you in the end with something that’s weirdly cute.

 

Then there was the Astron-6 insanity.  The production company that brought us such greats as The Editor, Father’s Day, and Manborg, also had some Christmas contributions as well.  From Breaking Santa, where, in an insanely funny ride, Santa gets seduced and kidnapped, to Kris Miss, an infomercial for your everyday mail order Christmas bride, their brand of humour, horror and weirdness just can’t be matched.

 

 

The crowning glory of the night was the 2008 award-winning masterpiece, Treevenge.  Directed by Hobo with a Shotgun‘s Jason Eisener, this short is a cautionary tale for all of those real tree purists.  Part environmental message and part horror, it’s a zany, over the top film that will definitely keep you shrieking with laughter and cheering for Christmas trees everywhere.  For all you Trailer Park Boys fans, Jonathan Torrens a.k.a J-Roc and Sarah Dunsworth get trounced by their tree in this clip.

 

Little Terrors has their own YouTube playlist, and check them out for the next night of horror shorts if you live in Toronto or the G.T.A.

http://www.littleterrorsfestival.com/

 

We had a great time, and it complimented the holiday horror movie fun that we look forward to every year.  For those of us who are having a great holiday, or those folks who have a hard time during the Christmas season, I wish you all the best, along with a little, actually, a lot of peace, love and happiness for the new year!  Thanks for reading!

Carolyn

Face Off Season 9 Finale Part 2: Short Film Frenzy!

Published October 29, 2015 by rmpixie

After waiting a whole, long week, we finally got to see the second part of the finale.  A third character was added to the three short film scripts the artists chose from last week.  Along with the added character came extra help from former contestants Libby, Jason and Ricky.  The finalists were stressed but they were pumped to work on a film set and rose to the occasion.

Evan added Libby to his team, and Patrick added a mutated infected character to the film Quarantine Zone.  That meant Evan had to rework his infected captive so he wouldn’t look so far gone, and bump up the mutant so he looked grotesque.  Patrick liked the concept for the mutated infected, and they made giant mutant arms for the makeup.  Working on a film set was Evan’s dream, and this challenge was fulfilling it for him.

On set, Evan and his team worked well together to get the mutant painted and finish all the makeups.  When Patrick saw the wanderer, he wanted to remove the coat she was wearing, so Evan had to go in and cover her exposed skin with makeup to make her look dirty and camera-ready.  The judges said they loved the captive’s veins, the mutant arms and how on the ball they were as a team.  Glenn liked how well Evan worked with Patrick.  Ve loved the paint jobs and cohesive characters, and Neville liked that he rethought the characters and managed to pull off the looks.

The cast of Quarantine Zone

The cast of Quarantine Zone

 

Ben added Jason on his team and they had to create a sacrifice victim that seduces the creature.  She needed to be beautiful and more human-like.  They had lots of pieces to apply, but there was some trouble with the victim.  The edges around her mouth lifted, so they added blood to make the flaw look like a wound.  Ben pre-painted most of the pieces, and although Jason was freaking out about the female character, Ben was happy.  This night shoot was really dramatic by the light of a fire, and the priest and creature got a lot of praise for their cohesiveness and forms, but the judges did notice the issues with the female victim (no victim picture available).

A shot from Ben's short Resurrection

A shot from Ben’s short Resurrection

 

Nora added Ricky to her team.  She had to create a giant ally for the prey in order for them to trick the hunter.  Nora was really psyched to get her makeups done.  She did a great job controlling every detail, and drew the best out of her team. On set, she had to water proof the makeups due to a last-minute directing decision, but she took it in stride.  Neville loved the giant and thought he was badass, and Glenn loved how the mud and water worked well with the makeup.  It was a great shoot, and Nora got emotional over the whole experience.

The cast of The Prey

The cast of The Prey

The winner was Nora!!  They loved how she worked well on set and how cohesive the giant and prey were.  She wins a Fiat 500, $100,000, and a VIP trip to one of Kryolan’s international locations.

Hats off to all the finalists, and congratulations to Nora, winner of Face Off Season 9!  I’m sure she’ll blaze a trail in the movie makeup world.

I’ll see you here in January when Face Off comes back for a 10th season!

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