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A Look at the Recent Surge of Brilliant Short Films

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Now, when you read the word recent, understand that we’re not necessarily talking about pictures filmed last month. A handful of these pics made successful festival runs over the last few years but experienced a delay in making their way to the internet. A few others are pretty damn new. Regardless of when these movies were specifically filmed, they’ve only emerged as readily available pictures in recent memory, but every one of these brilliant short horror films more than deserve your time, attention and respect.

If you’ve got an hour or so to spare, and you’re looking for genuinely amazing entertainment, look into the short films below. Not a single one fails to impress!

Tonight I Strike is a brief tale of loyalty, pursuit and revenge, as a young man finds himself tracking a small group of thugs who’ve kidnapped his younger sister. There’s a fine futuristic element to the film, and it proves to exceed expectations in the performance department. It isn’t long, but it is a well-assembled picture with a finale that will have your head hung low, shaking in a slowly on-setting shock that sticks to the psyche after the film has ended.

There’s nothing better than a story fueled by desperation and familial terror. The Surface gives us both, and blends science fiction and horror seamlessly. It almost feels like a monster movie, in a sense, as we see a frantic mother racing to obtain a power source that will keep her child alive. The problem comes in the fact that a cyborg-like creature has the power source, and he’s got good reason to need it, as well. Beautifully shot apocalyptic horror works well in feature length format, and you can best believe it works well as a short film, as well.

There’s probably very little reason to talk about Neill Blomkamp’s Zygote. Most have already jumped to check it out, and what they got for their time and attention is a beautiful nod to John Carpenter’s, The Thing. It’s fast-paced, features authentic set pieces, a kick ass, uber-weird monster and two stellar performances from convincing tough guy, Jose Pablo Cantillo and child phenom turned grown woman phenom, Dakota Fanning. It’s true must-see greatness, especially if you dig monster movies.

The Fisherman is a throwback monster movie in the greatest of ways. It’s built around a hardheaded but wildly relatable everyman trying to make a living fishing, and he alone makes the film a worthy watch. Factor in an amazing monster and an all-out war on the world and what you’ve got is potential greatness. What truly pushes it completely over the precipice of genius is the highly refined aesthetic value of the production. It looks gorgeous, and even the CGI is far superior to that which we see in high profile, commercial releases. Alejandro Suárez Lozano has crafted an unforgettable piece of film.

Firebase is the second Neill Blomkamp picture to be featured on this list, and it comes our way courtesy of the obviously fan-friendly and immediately successful Oats Studios. The film drops viewers right smack dab in the center of the war in Vietnam, which alone is a relatively fresh approach. The fact that the film comes loaded with stunning practical effects and some extremely satisfying digital work boosts the stock immediately, and the story itself, which introduces soldiers to an entirely new kind of threat doesn’t hurt the production in the least. It’s a sublime picture, and it needs to be seen by anyone who can confidently call themselves a fan of horror or science fiction.

Unlike the other films on this list, What’s Up Bro? doesn’t have a lot of money dumped into the production and it lacks any really stimulating visuals or camera work. It’s a shoestring piece of work that probably didn’t take an enormous effort to complete, and, it even comes with a cliché conclusion. However, the story is great. It’s a familiar idea with a familial spin that leaves a knot in the belly, so it’s an easy little picture to recommend. Sometimes less can be more, and this is one of those rare times there aren’t too many bells and whistles needed. I would have liked to see a more creative conclusion, but the script and the concept earn big points and the film is a fine way to pass seven minutes.

The Jigsaw is nothing short of brilliant, and certainly ranks among the greatest additions on this list. It’s well-shot, has some of the greatest sound mixing I’ve ever heard in a short film and even features a pair of elderly gents who prove to be fine performers. The concept – a man buys a puzzle that, unbeknownst to him, he wants no part of – is refreshing, eerie and flawlessly executed. I’m not too familiar with the work of the Al-Safar Brothers, but this little picture has me itching to see more!

And finally, we’re going to close this list out with yet another Neill Blomkamp film, Rakka. Arguably the bleakest of his new trio, Rakka pits man versus alien in an engrossing feud for survival and supremacy. The special effects are again amazing, and this time around the great Sigourney Weaver shows up to prove she’s still a bad ass, even if she is a bit older, and a bit more collected. There’s an awesome District 9 vibe to the pic, but it’s certainly a story all its own. Now all we need is the full length film!

Editor’s Note: Since the writing of this article, D.C. contributor Matt Molgaard has passed on. It’s an honor for us to share his final insights with you all. He will be sorely missed.

Rakka

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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I Already Have a Dog But Now I Want a Baby Dinosaur

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The first trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World, is rumored to be attached to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since that film is going to be coming out in less than a month, it’s no surprise that the marketing campaign for the dino-filled trailer is already starting and today it kicks off with a six-second teaser that is as adorable as you can get!

In the teaser, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is petting a baby velociraptor, which coos and twitters in the cutest of fashions. Is there anything else going on? Nah. Does something else need to happen? Nope. The movie already has me sold.

Directed by J.A. Bayona (When a Monster Calls), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong, and Toby Jones. However, the biggest and most important star of the film will be the return of Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, who is, in my humble opinion, the best character in the franchise, besting even the T-rex that seemingly cannot die.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will evolve into theaters on June 22, 2018.

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John Landis’ Rejected Pitch for American Werewolf 2 Was Brilliant

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If you’re anything like us then you consider writer-director John Landis’ horror-comedy An American Werewolf in London to be one of the best f*cking movies of all-time.

Horror (or comedy), or not.

But did you know that Landis was asked back in 1991 to make a sequel to his original classic? Neither did I. But he was, and his pitch for the sequel was amazing.

“I was asked to do a sequel by PolyGram in 1991,” Landis told Digital Spy. “I entertained the idea for a little bit and then came up with something that I liked and wrote a first draft of the script.

“The movie was about the girl that the boys talk about at the beginning of the movie, Debbie Klein. She gets a job in London as a literary agent and while she’s there, starts privately investigating the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Jack and David.

“The conceit was that during the time in the first film where Jenny goes to work and David is pacing around the apartment, he actually wrote Debbie Klein a letter. It was all to do with this big secret that David had never told Jack that he had a thing with her.

“She tracks down Dr. Hirsch, who tells her that Alex now lives in Paris because she was so traumatized by what happened. She went back to the Slaughtered Lamb and everyone is still there! I think the only changes were a portrait of Charles and Diana where the five-pointed star used to be and darts arcade game instead of a board.

“It’s then when she speaks to Sgt McManus, the cop from the first movie who didn’t die, that she finds out that Jenny is still in London. She calls her and leaves an answer phone message, which we then reveal is being listened to by the skeletal corpses of Jack and David, watching TV in Alex’s apartment!

“The big surprise at the end was that Alex was the werewolf. It was pretty wild. The script had everybody in it from the first movie – including all the dead people!”

But then Landis adds:

“I gave the script to Michael Kuhn and he loathed it! He absolutely hated it and was actually pretty insulting about it. Clearly, he would have hated the script for the first movie because, like that, it was funny and scary – and if anything, a little wackier.”

Is it just me or does this sound like a perfect sequel to An American Werewolf in London? Make sure to hit us up and let us know what you think below!

Synopsis:

David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne), two American college students, are backpacking through Britain when a large wolf attacks them. David survives with a bite, but Jack is brutally killed. As David heals in the hospital, he’s plagued by violent nightmares of his mutilated friend, who warns David that he is becoming a werewolf. When David discovers the horrible truth, he contemplates committing suicide before the next full moon causes him to transform from man to murderous beast.

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