THE KID AND THE CAMERA – Horror Short

A young boy named Cailen with a broken camera is visited by a sleep fairy called the Cipsneed, but he’s never heard of a sleep fairy.

 

The Kid and the Camera is a creepy and strange animated horror short that is quite eerie, even though it may look very innocent at first glance…

THE KID AND THE CAMERA - Horror Short

 

Director: Braiden Ortiz
Writer: Braiden Ortiz
Year: 2023
Actors: Richard Stibbard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beau Is Afraid (2023)

Beau Is AfraidBeau Wasserman is afraid. He’s afraid of a lot of things, but mostly he’s afraid of going back to his childhood home. He’s grown up without a father, and his mother told him he died in the instant Beau was conceived, due to a heart murmur caused by orgasm which is supposed to run in the family (or at least according to his mother). His mother, Mona, is a successful and wealthy businesswoman, while Beau has grown up to become an extremely anxious person living in the crime-ridden Skid Row. He’s prepared for a flight in order to visit his mother for the anniversary of his father’s death, but his apartment keys and luggage are stolen and all hell breaks lose, his home is invaded by a bunch of homeless people for the night, and of course he misses his flight. How does his mother take the news about that? Well, I guess you can imagine. Later, he tries to call his mother again, only to get a UPS driver on the line telling him that he found his mother decapitated after a chandelier fell on her head. Beau, not far from having a complete mental breakdown at this point, ends up taking a bath in order to prepare himself for a final travel to his mother’s place in time for the funeral, but ends up getting in a violent confrontation with an intruder, runs out in the street naked and tries to get help from a police officer. That goes as well as you can imagine. After trying to get away from the incompetent police officer threatening to shoot him, he gets hit by a food truck, and then his anxiety-ridden journey in order to reach his mother’s funeral has just begun.

 

Beau Is Afraid is a surrealistic comedy drama with some horror elements, written and directed by Ari Aster. Aster, most known for his directorial debut hit Hereditary and his other horror film Midsommar, actually intended to have Beau Is Afraid as his directorial debut, with a 2011 short entitled Beau serving as the basis for this movie.. Well…for his career’s sake, it was probably best he didn’t and went for making Hereditary first, because Beau Is Afraid was a major box office bomb, despite receiving rather positive reviews from critics. It had a budget of $35 million (making it A24’s most expensive film) while only grossing $11 million. The problem with this movie is that its three hours of arthouse tragicomedy surrealism is certainly not for everyone, and it’s a movie where you need to know what you’re in for, and most specifically you should not compare it to any of Aster’s earlier movies. Those who end up watching this expecting another Hereditary or Midsommar, will be disappointed and most likely confused as heck.

 

The movie is chock-full of metaphors about childhood trauma, manipulation, guilt-tripping, shame and anxiety, presented with some crazy visuals, weird characters and great performances. Art-wise you could say it often leans into the more abstract, where you aren’t told exactly how to interpret everything and this will often lead to some real wtf-moments. To be honest, the first part of the movie which takes place in Skid Row, despite how insane it actually is, is probably the most down-to-earth and believable part of the entire movie. Just like Beau has no other choice than to keep trudging through the weirdness he encounters, we who watch his journey have no other choice than to keep trudging through it with him, not always able to make sense of what is happening. One easy way to define the movie, is to call it “Beau has mommy issues”, with very clear depictions of his mother being manipulative and toxic. He’s filled with anxiety, guilt, shame, and everything that comes with such a crappy upbringing. While this is certainly the core of the movie’s topics, there’s so many other things here that could make you quite busy with metaphor-hunting. I personally saw some vague hints about possible sexual abuse, and possibly some Jocasta complex thrown into the mix. Many things in Beau’s life appears to be muddled with lies from his mother, and we, the viewers, are not entirely sure what is fact and what is not.

 

Joaquin Phoenix does a good job portraying the anxiety-ridden, guilt-tripped to the point of barely functioning, and constantly confused and scared Beau. The character’s confused and totally lost appearance fits in with how completely without hope we realize Beau actually is. Aster described this film as a “nightmare comedy”, and as “if you pumped a 10-year-old full of Zoloft, and had him get your groceries”. No matter how you may view this film and how you may interpret it, there’s no doubt Aster knows a little bit about trauma and anxiety, that’s for sure.

 

Beau Is Afraid is a weird, surrealistic Freudian nightmare, sometimes quite abstract and a bit demanding to keep up with, but if you want something on the weirder scale, this might be something for you.

 

Beau Is Afraid Beau Is Afraid Beau Is Afraid

 

Writer and director: Ari Aster
Country & year:
USA, 2023
Actors:
Joaquin Phoenix, Patti LuPone, Amy Ryan, Nathan Lane, Kylie Rogers, Denis Ménochet, Parker Posey, Zoe Lister-Jones, Armen Nahapetian, Julia Antonelli, Stephen McKinley Henderson
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt13521006/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Green Slime (1968)

The Green SlimeThe human race is in danger when a 6.000.000 ton asteroid is on its way to Earth to wipe us all out. But don’t worry, a group of astronauts is sent to blow it to pieces before it reaches the atmosphere. They land on the asteroid with a small shuttle sent from the space station Gamma 3, and the set design looks as convincing as a high school play. At first glance, you may assume this was a cheap space opera from the 1950s, but The Green Slime is from the same year as 2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968. Both also distributed by MGM, just so you know. While they implant the explosives, they come across some – yeah, you guessed it – green, glowing slime. Nothing much to worry about since it will go down with the explosion. Ha, so you thought. A sample of the green liquid manages to attach itself to one of the astronaut’s space suits and becomes a blind passenger to the space station.

 

After they are back safe and sound to the space station and mission completed, they celebrate with champagne and funk music with a group of young nurses. To have some shallow character development thrown in we have some boring and stiff melodrama, strained friendships and such bullshit we couldn’t care much less about. The real fun begins when the green slime(r) starts to transform itself into cute rubber monster creatures with a big eye and electric tentacles to fry their victims. They also scream constantly like a bunch of horny witches on helium while having a non-stop orgasm.

 

The Green Slime is an odd hybrid of a production and a campy, goofy, lighthearted schlockfest like you’d expect from such a title, and if not by the surf rock theme song that belongs more in a Saturday Morning Cartoon intro. An ambitious project on paper with a script from Batman creator Bill Finger that was supposed to be a fifth film in a film series from the big Hollywood company/distributor MGM and directed by an Italian guy. Although the film is an Italian project financed by American dollars, it somehow managed to end up at Toei Studios in Japan with Kinji Fukasaku (Battle Royale) in the directing chair. The cultural crashes could be heard all over the Pacific Ocean.

 

The Green Slime leaves more of the impression of being directed by some naive film student on his first acid trip based on a comic book from the mind of a seven-year-old. The effects and production design are straight from the the stone age and made from kids toys that gave me Dinosaur War Izenborg flashbacks, a dear childhood favorite of mine. So I can’t really complain, can I…

 

Although there’s little to zero tension to be felt here, the actors (most of them) tries their very best to keep a straight face and convince us that they’re in serious danger with the silly rubber monsters wobbling confused and disorientated around. They seem as threatening and sinister as something you’d see in a Halloween special of Barney & Friends. While the whole cast consists of western Caucasians, a group of Japanese children got the daunting task to wear the rubber – and assumingly heavy costumes which they clearly struggle to wear without almost falling over like a piss-drunk hobo every three seconds. I could easily imagine a string of J-cussing to be heard behind the costumes beetween the takes. Kuso!

 

So overall, The Green Slime is a fun, silly Sci-Fi, B-movie schlock that is suitable for the whole family, and was also the very first film to be mocked on the pilot episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. It’s available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Archive Collection.

 

The Green Slime The Green Slime The Green Slime

 

Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Writers: Charles Sinclair, Bill Finger, Tom Rowe
Also known as: Trusselen fra det ytre rom (Norway)
Country & year: Italy, Japan, USA, 1988
Actors: Robert Horton, Luciana Paluzzi, Richard Jaeckel, Bud Widom, Ted Gunther, David Yorston, Robert Dunham and a lot of nurses
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt0064393/

 

 

Tom Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skinamarink (2022)

SkinamarinkThe year is 1995, and the 4 year old boy Kevin injures himself during a sleepwalking episode. We’re told he was taken to a hospital, and then brought back home. He and his 6 year old sister, Kaylee, then wakes up in the middle of the night and finds that their father has disappeared. And that’s not all…the doors, windows, and certain other objects also keeps gradually vanishing. The children, appearing to be more puzzled than scared, decide to sleep downstairs while watching cartoons. They soon realize that they’re not really alone in the house, after all.

 

Skinamarink is a Canadian experimental horror film from 2022, written and directed by Kyle Edward Ball in his feature directorial debut. Prior to this film, the director ran a YouTube channel called Bitesized Nightmares, where he would ask his viewers to write about their nightmares and he would create short videos based on them. Skinamarink was inspired by the most recurrent themes in the submitted nightmare stories, and he also recounts having had a nightmare when he was a child where he was in his parent’s house while the parents were missing, but there was a monster there. And a lot of people seemed to have shared a similar kind of dream. Before the feature film, he created a short film called Heck which was a proof of concept for Skinamarink. The film’s title might ring a bell for some, as Skinnamarink (aka “Skid-dy-mer-rink-adink-aboomp” or “Skidamarink”) is a popular preschool sing-along song from North America. He chose to alter the spelling a bit so children searching for the song would not accidentally find his film instead. The film was shot over seven days in 2021, in the director’s childhood home, using some of his old toys. It had a budget of $15.000 which was mostly crowdfunded. The film got widespread social media attention after one of the online film festival screenings caused the movie to become downloadable due to a glitch, and thus it was spread and this caused it to go viral.

 

And yeah…this is one of the times when the worn-out phrase “this movie is not for everyone” can easily be replaced with “this movie is for a select few”. It’s very experimental, and if you’ve never seen an arthouse film before you’re probably either gonna end up wondering what the hell this is, or snooze off within the first few minutes. For the right kind of audience, though, it’s prone to be a different experience. When we watched it, we pretty much knew what we were in for, and while some movies are best seen going in blind, this is definitely not one of them. If you’re aware of this being a very experimental and abstract film, hardly providing any plot, you’re in the clear. Then you’d likely to be prepared for the experience. In many ways, the film is quite demanding towards its audience and could easily have been considerably shorter. It’s like a nightmarish ASMR, but if you’ve ever suffered from night terrors and fear of abandonment during your childhood, I’m certain this film will click more into place for you. It’s a movie that through its experimental scenes and surreal vibes, draws upon the childhood fears of being left alone without a guardian. The soundtrack mostly consists of the TV screen, playing the tunes and sounds from old public domain cartoons, and this certainly gives off an eerie and surreal vibe. Some of these movies include Max Fleischer’s The Cobweb Hotel and Somewhere in Dreamland, as well as Ub Iwerks’ Balloon Land, and Merrie Melodies Prest-O Change-O.

 

Skinamarink is a movie where you really need to know what you’re in for. It’s a movie that’s more of an experience than a story (although there is some kind of story hidden there in a very subtle way). Other experimental movies like for example Begotten will feel fast-paced and easily consumed in comparison. But I can see how it can evoke the inner childhood fear in some people, irrational as though those fears may be and how aware we are of that fact.

 

And if you think Skinamarink was too abstract, experimental and slow, there is actually a 1967 movie called Wavelength where you’ll watch a long zoom of a window stretched over 45 minutes…

 

Skinamarink Skinamarink Skinamarink

 

Writer and director: Kyle Edward Ball
Country & year:
Canada, 2022
Actors:
Lucas Paul, Dali Rose Tetreault, Ross Paul, Jaime Hill
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt21307994/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Talk to Me (2022)

Talk to MeWe’re at a crowded house party where a young man, Cole, is trying to locate his brother Duckett. After asking several people about Duckett’s whereabouts, he eventually finds him locked inside a bedroom. Cole breaks down the door, and an injured and confused Duckett comes out, babbling about how he thinks Cole is someone or something else. After walking together into the living room, Duckett suddenly stabs Cole and shortly afterwards himself, right in the face. Total panic among the partygoers ensues, and we then shift over to the next scene where we meet 17 year old Mia who is struggling with the second anniversary of her mother’s death. She lives with her father, who she’s got a distant relationship with. One evening she sneaks out with her best friend Jade, with Jade’s younger brother Riley, to attend a houseparty where they have a certain spooky attraction: a severed, embalmed hand which is said to have belonged to a powerful medium. If you light a candle and touch this hand while uttering the phrase “talk to me”, you’ll see a spirit. If you continue with the phrase “I let you in”, you’ll be possessed by said spirit. All fun and games, as long as the candle and ritual is broken before ninety seconds have passed. But soon they will see what happens once the ninety second timelimit has passed, and the dire consequences of it…

 

Talk to Me is a 2022 Australian supernatural horror film, directed by the brothers Danny and Michael Philippou as their directorial debut. The duo is known for their YouTube channel RackaRacka, which they created in 2013, where they have had intense live action horror comedy videos. Talk to Me had its first screening in 2022 at the Adelaide Film Festival, and its world premiere at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. It’s been quite hyped and well received, and a sequel is already in development.

 

When it comes to Australian horror, we have so far reviewed the well-known The Babadook, the re-discovered Lake Mungo, and the lesser known movies Relic and The Tunnel, and the very obscure The Next of Kin. And here’s another solid entry for the list: Talk to Me, which has gotten a fair amount of praise and attention.

 

Many horror stories about people playing with the occult just for the shits n’ giggles ends up with a tragic outcome, so as you can expect the embalmed hand goes from being the life of the party to a life-shattering threat. We get the story fueled from the start by a dramatic and violent opening scene, which does of course have a significance as to what is happening with the mysterious hand. Then we have the classic grieving protagonist, looking for closure, comfort, or anything that can fill the void of grief inside them. Yes, it’s not all that original, but sometimes a little bit of clichés is what works well together with something new into the mix. Other than the tired Ouija-board session, we now have an embalmed hand which requires a handshake from you. The hand is letting you into the supernatural world with a small glimpse, but at the same time leaving the decision of how far it should go up to you. The people possessed are literally asking for it, not giving a hoot about consequences, and I guess this could serve as a metaphor for drug use. The visitation into the spirit world is enticing and hard to resist, and thus they keep doing it and doing it in the way they consider “safe”, until the safety rules are broken of course and things go too far.

 

The characters in Talk to Me serve mostly as bricks to fuel and explain the main character’s actions. Mia, the protagonist in the story, often comes off as quite self-centered and even a little unsympathetic at times. She’s grieving, but at the same time fails to see that others have their problems too, and she’s so absorbed with her own needs. And that’s exactly what eventually makes Riley’s session turn awfully bad. While the ghost/demonic possession in this movie doesn’t take it to the lengths we found in the splendid Evil Dead Rise earlier this year, it does portray it very effectively and manages to be creepy and dread-inducing without being over the top.

 

While Talk to Me isn’t ever really scary, it is certainly very suspenseful and creepy, and keeps the tension up throughout. I also liked the dark closing scene, it really gave the film a satisfying ending.

 

Talk to Me

 

Directors: Danny Philippou, Michael Philippou
Writers: Danny Philippou, Bill Hinzman, Daley Pearson
Country & year:
Australia, 2022
Actors:
Sophie Wilde, Marcus Johnson, Joe Bird, Alexandra Jensen, Miranda Otto, Zoe Terakes
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt10638522/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SETACEOUS – Horror Short

A small group of neighbours discover a mysterious car, seemingly abandoned in their suburban cul-de-sac.

 

Setaceous is a creepy, mysterious and a little weird horror short!

SETACEOUS - Horror Short

 

Director: Tel Benjamin
Writer: Tel Benjamin
Country & year: Australia, 2017
Actors: Maggie Dence, Sasha Dyer, John Keightley
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt6139768/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tigers Are Not Afraid (2017)

Tigers Are Not AfraidIn a Mexican city devastated by the Mexican Drug War, Estrella is a young girl who gets her life turned upside down after hearing gunfire outside the school. There’s a panic, and Estrella’s teacher hands her three pieces of chalk, telling her that these will grant her three wishes. After the shooting incident, classes end up being cancelled indefinitely. On her way back home, Estrella sees a dead body in the street. Just a normal day in cartel-world, nothing new here…but the trail of blood from the body leads to her house, and here she discovers that her mother is missing. And it becomes apparent that she will not be returning anytime soon. Getting lonely and hungry, Estrella wishes for her mother to return, and then begins having spooky visions of her mother as a spirit. Soon, the desperate girl meets with other children, a group of orphan boys, who are trying to survive in a increasingly dangerous world.

 

Tigers Are Not Afraid (the Spanish title of the film is Vuelven, which translates into “They Return”), is a Mexican fantasy horror film from 2017, written and directed by Issa López. And while having some magical moments of wonder, it’s a dark and grim story about the horrors of the Mexican drug cartels, human trafficking and kidnappings. And even though the young girl is granted three wishes, the good old saying “be careful what you wish for” is ever so present here, like in many dark fairytales. Those who have seen Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth and his lesser known The Devil’s Backbone, will immediately recognize the influences here, with children trying to cope with mixing fantasy and wonder into their terribly depressing and dangerous environment.

 

The children in the movie had zero acting experience prior to this film, yet their performances are quite impressive. In order to get as authentic reactions from the child actors as possible, the film was shot in chronological order and the children were never shown a script. When a movie features young children in very dark and dangerous situations, the acting is of major importance, and just like The Innocents (“De Uskyldige”) the child actors bring forth believable performances, and certainly deserve praise for their efforts.

 

Tigers Are Not Afraid is a touching movie with some realistic horror mixed with fantasy elements. While the film does have ghosts and corpses, the true horror elements lie in the savagery by the people surrounding these children. The ghosts are not the villains, and they’re mainly creepy because they resemble the injustice and brutality they’ve endured, and they want revenge. The supernatural events happening to Estrella also feels like a situation where the interpretation is left to the viewer. Just like in Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth, one can easily speculate whether the supernatural events really occur or if they’re just the child’s way of coping with what is happening around her. Tigers Are Not Afraid is worth checking out, especially if you like the typical Guillermo-style dark fairytale, where the most horrible things the audience will see is the part that most resemble the reality of the world we live in.

 

Tigers Are Not Afraid

 

Writer and director: Issa López
Original title: Vuelven
Country & year:
Mexico, 2017
Actors:
Paola Lara, Juan Ramón López, Nery Arredondo, Hanssel Casillas, Rodrigo Cortes, Ianis Guerrero, Tenoch Huerta
IMDb:
www.imdb.com/title/tt4823434/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come to Daddy (2019)

Come to DaddyNorval Greenwood (Elijah Wood) is a musician who lives with his mother in Beverly Hills. One day, he receives a letter from his estranged father, who asks him to come visit in a secluded cabin by the coast in Oregon. Norval decides to take the trip, despite not having seen his father since he was five years old. When he arrives, his father appears to be happy and welcoming, but things soon take a different turn. He becomes more and more taunting towards Norval, insulting him and being aggressive. And one afternoon, everything escalates into something that will send Norval into an experience he never could have imagined.

 

Come to Daddy is a black comedy thriller from 2019, directed by Ant Timpson as his directorial debut, and written by Toby Harvard. And it’s one of those films that certainly works best if you know as little as possible about the plot beforehand, as there’s a lot of twists and turns that keeps you interested and sometimes even surprised. The origin for this movie came after the director’s father passed away, and he was brought home after embalming. A week was then spent with a corpse in an open coffin, with people he didn’t know coming over to pay their respects, sharing stories about his father that seemed like they could have been about another person. This sparked the idea for this film. He also told he was influenced by films like Snowball Express (1972) for the cat & mouse twists, Sexy Beast (2000) for the comedy violence, The Servant (1963) for the mindgames, The Birthday Party (1968) for the pitch-black comedy, and Straw Dogs (1971) for the simmering violence awakened. He also said Roald Dahl’s Tales of The Unexpected influenced the screenplay. So yeah, there’s a lot of different inspiration sources there, and should give a little bit of a pointer as to what kind of movie this is.

 

Elijah Wood, which mainstream audiences probably mostly know for his role in The Lord of the Rings (but who has later given solid performances in several other movies, like for example as the serial killer in the 2012 Maniac remake) offers a good performance here as the innocent, abandoned son hoping to bond with his estranged father. The movie gives off a slightly surreal strangeness, with nutty characters and an even nuttier plot. It’s a black comedy about the insanities of family life and the disturbing revelations that can come forward. The pacing is good, starting off with the mystery about Norval’s father while giving the viewer the obvious feeling of something being wrong. I’d say it’s in the first part of the movie that the true horror elements are at most present. When things escalate, the tension is kept up by offering new reveals and a nice blend of comedy and action.

 

Come to Daddy is a roller coaster ride with twists and turns, violence and a good slice of black comedy. Maybe not very memorable and not a movie that can be recommended to all audiences, but overall a fun ride and worth watching, especially if you like your movies a little strange.

 

Come to Daddy

 

Director: Ant Timpson
Writers: Toby Harvard, Ant Timpson
Country & year:
Ireland, Canada, New Zealand, USA, 2019
Actors:
Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Garfield Wilson, Madeleine Sami, Martin Donovan, Michael Smiley, Simon Chin, Ona Grauer, Ryan Beil, Raresh DiMofte, Alla Rouba, Noam Zylberman
IMDb:
//www.imdb.com/title/tt8816194/

 

 

Vanja Ghoul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOME – Horror Short Film

A young woman is awaken by her boyfriend coming home after a night of drinking. But who did actually come home that night?

 

Home (“Hjem”) is a creepy Norwegian horror short!

HOME - Horror Short Film

 

Director: Pål Gustavsen
Writer: Nils Brodersen, Pål Gustavsen
Country & year: Norway, 2018
Actors: Nils Brodersen, Petter Sørnæs, Amna Veledar
IMDb: www.imdb.com/title/tt9140954/