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Bob Doto [Film Festival 11.13.08] movie review news

It is great to know that in a world increasingly mediated by big business where prepackaged and manufactured EVERYTHING is the rule rather than the exception, the DIY scene is not only alive and well, but, when it comes to the NY Horror Film Festival, DIY film is kicking, screaming, slashing, frightening, cannibalizing, dismembering, and burning alive. And that is a sight for my bloody eyes to behold.

In NYC it’s hard enough to get your friends in Manhattan to visit you in Brooklyn, so when founder/director Michael J. Hein manages to convince people from as far away as Ireland to hang around a rock club/bar deep into lower Manhattan, you’ve got to tip your hat. Founded in 2001, Hein has done an amazing thing. Because of his almost tangible passion for supporting new horror and science fiction filmmakers (and therefore the entire underground independent film scene as a whole) Hein has been able for the past eight years to get people from literally all over the world to mingle, network, and watch what is the future of the genre on a small fold-up projector screen.

You'll find some notable short films screened on the first night after the break.

Jeff Speed, 1 min

Clocking in at around one minute, IL BRUTO manages to capture all the voyeuristic complexity (foremost race and gender issues) of the cannibal exploitation genre without the burden of heavy narrative or plot. IL BRUTO is a single shot expose of two cannibals shyly devouring the flesh of a woman hanging from her feet. At the very beginning presumably the filmmaker and his/her assistant wave the two cannibals into the shot as if to suggest that performing the gruesome act on film is not their first priority. I had a nice conversation with writer/director Jeff Speed ( about the making of the film. The film was commissioned as a part of a greater work documenting someone’s (fictional) film collection. Speed’s film was supposed to represent the “crown jewel” of the subject’s collection. IL BRUTO was filmed in a neighbor’s backyard using only the setting sun and a mirror as lighting.

Brandi Hines, 5 min

Written and directed by Brandi Hines, CHARLIE is a five-minute short that tells the story of a clown who stalks playgrounds for children who he then serves to his family of clown brethren. It’s super DIY, disgusting, and predatory. It works.

Neville Steenson & Charlie Blackfield, 3 min

Clocking in at around three minutes, Neville Steenson & Charlie Blackfield’s RECLAIMED is an eerie tale of two female college students starting the new year. One student is haunted by vague nightmares of murder and mayhem and there is a brief mention between the two girls about them finally being rid of some “perv.” The gruesome ending leads us to believe otherwise. This film is an example of how a title can actually add to the mystery of a piece and not just mark it or (in some cases) take away from it. Nice stuff.

Mike Salva, 3 min

BACK TO LIFE is a hilarious B&W animated short from the perspective of Dr. Frankenstein’s monster who tries to graciously understand why the doctor decided to bring him down from heaven. “Did you even get me a girl?” He asks? The brilliance is in the monster’s trying-not-to-be-rude take on the situation. “I suppose those burning torches outside are not for me.”

TRANSREXIA (plus retrospective)

Also on the list was a retrospective of stop-animation shorts by acclaimed filmmaker and musician VOLTAIRE. He’s done a ton of station IDs for television. You’ve probably seen his stuff on MTV, Cartoon Network, and Fangoria TV. Great high quality stuff. Weird. Disturbing. Funny. Fleshy.

Conall Pendergast, 5 min

Because the opening night of NYHFF was at a bar it could be a bit hard to hear everything. Such was the case with LSBTs, but what I did catch I really liked. LSBTs is a grim (and Grimm-esque) B&W tale of an inspector who finds a gnarly fate when he attempts to penalize a group of six torturers purporting to be seven torturers, which is the regulated amount. A black comedic piece with some really good acting.

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Jenny (13 years ago) Reply

Saw Charlie - creepy as hell...I loved it. Liked seeing something other than zombies.


Lyle (13 years ago) Reply

Charlie was great! It was a great twist on classic horror; absolutely sick and demented.


Bob Doto (13 years ago) Reply

I liked Charlie too. Weird, because the whole clown thing doesn't really do it for me, but for some reason this film just worked. I'll be posting on the whole event if you're around. Let us know what you think of the rest.


Anonymous (13 years ago) Reply

Seems this festival has gotten worse in past years. There even wasnt a celebrity award, and the theater i went to in Canal street was tiny and cold. Hope the show gets better next year


Don Domino (13 years ago) Reply

I worked on Charlie! IT was a fun experience and I'm glad that people are enjoying it! I was the "Daddy Clown", the one with the white shirt. haha

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