We celebrate Day 1 of the stacked virtual Nightmares Film Fest by bestowing some very special awards on ten killer horror comedy shorts.
My favorite part of film festivals are the shorts. Aside from the occasional Pixar creation, shorts are hard to find in the wild. But these tiny horror snacks pack a punch. Often more versatile and creative than their ponderous feature length counterparts, a short film can do anything from telling an entire lifetime in a moment to giving a glimpse of a world you could never imagine.
Within the extensive Nightmare Film Festival: Masquerade virtual film offering, you can purchase a ticket to all sorts of unique delicacies, from the very best the indie world has to offer. One such cinematic adventure waiting to be explored is HORROR COMEDY SHORTS BLOCK A, a collection of ten tasty treats — each so different and unique that they all deserve special prizes. So, we here at Morbidly Beautiful are providing just that!
Without further ado, the GOLDEN DOLL HEADS FOR HORROR COMEDY SHORTS A GO TO:
GOING VIRAL (Short I want to forward all my friends)
LIVE FOREVER – A charming song dedicated to all the red shirts out there, the random individuals sacrificed to all the horror ghouls for the purposes of adding tension or fear. With stellar effects and a hilarious deadpan delivery, Live Forever is my pick for the short my fingers itched to post on all my social media!
FIENDISH FRANCHISE (Short I want to see more of)
THE DANCING KETTLE – An updated version of a Japanese folktale, Rinko Kikuchi (Babel, Pacific Rim) shows off her impressive comedic chops against a living hot pot and a mysterious delivery man. Between golden poop, a powerful symbol, and a downright adorable cooking device, I would stream 15 seasons of this. This weekend. Give it to me.
LOVE CONNECTION (Best Onscreen Couple)
MAKE A WISH – The best relationships are where couples acknowledge and embrace their vulnerability, and try and grow together. What started off as an eyebrow-raising portrait of an unhinged girlfriend grew in depth and flavor when the pair was revealed to be far more compatible than you’d think. Josephine Chang deserves a particular shout-out for somehow staying likable in the kind of role that has tripped up lesser actors.
TIM BURTON CREEPY KID AWARD
MELTED – With a character that would have been just as at home in Frankenweenie or Paranorman, our neurotic heroine ponders candy-colored mortality with every sticky drip of a melting ice cream. True horror fans are born, not made, and Melted bears out the truth that death is as ever-present in a sweet summer’s day as the crispest snap of a Halloween night.
CAMERA IN MY BRAIN (Short I feel on a personal level)
GORGAR – The inspired combination of sandwiches, cute pets, and voting is all that’s been on my mind lately. Let the story of Gorgar remind you that voting is the best way to keep hideous trolls and their sandwich-hating mitts off of the things we love. This tiny short is a bit over a minute, but there’s something deeply cathartic about the comeuppance here. Plus, more sandwiches for me.
KEEP ‘EM GUESSING (Best Overall Story)
EVERYTHING IS GOING TO BE FINE – Centered around a fractured rock band and its partially-disemboweled keyboardist, flashbacks reveal a night of passive greed, stupidity, and ego igniting after the death of their lead singer. Everything Is Going To Be Fine is so funny that you can miss how insanely clever it is. Imogen Wilde’s performance centers a seriously wacky situation, and the last line is the perfect topper. If you’ve ever thought The Treasure of the Sierra Madre needed more intestines, here you go. You’re welcome.
HOW DID THEY DO THAT? (Best VFX)
MEAT LOVERS – In a twist even my jaded eye didn’t see coming, this stale setup gets a clever reboot involving some deep, cheesy evil. After a significant pause of wondering how in the hell those visual effects got made, I decided to just lay back and let the story do its work. At this point, I don’t even want to know. I just believe in the magic of the meat lovers.
MISCONCEPTION – One of the best things about story is how much can turn on a single line. For comedy shorts, those are often punchlines that surprise and delight and turn the entire concept on its head. Misconception builds the tension perfectly, as each new sequence leads you by the nose towards an ending you think you’re expecting — until you don’t.
THE NEW CLASS (Best reimagining of horror tropes)
THE VIRGIN JAMIE – If John Hughes and Wes Craven had a baby, and that baby was a short film, it would be The Virgin Jamie. With a sly meta awareness of horror tropes, and a heavy sprinkling of heartwarming teen angst, this sweet-natured parody teeters on just the right side of over the top. Bonus points for focusing the real drama on a strong friendship over getting the guy. In the (admittedly small) pantheon of horror-romcoms, The Virgin Jamie is right up there with the best of them!
EATS LIKE A MEAL (Best world for a full feature)
CARNIVORE – Levi is recently released from prison after being wrongly convicted for the murder of his mother. As he re-enters life in a small-town diner, you’re drawn ever-further into a community that seems a bit…off. The more I saw, the more I wanted to know of that town where everyone you see has a touch of the crazy eyes — all except the shifty loner that allegedly ate his mother. Showcasing some seriously committed performances and a delightful cast of characters, I’m ready for a second helping!
Join me tomorrow as I review Block B of the Horror Comedy shorts. Maybe there’s some more doll heads to give from my blood-soaked sack of tricks!