We all know that last month, my life was engulfed by the greatness that was Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. I was pretty gutted after my favorite festival of the year ended, but thankfully, the great people at HIFF had more coming. Campfire Tales is a quarterly series dedicated to shorts. The October 2020 edition has taken place, and I was there to get you the best scoop on the hottest shorts. Strap in, and let’s go!
Campfire Tales – My Favorite Live Action Film: Sackead (Dir: Ben Cunis)
Made on a shoestring budget of only $300, this incredibly creepy film takes a very simple concept into full-blown terrifying territory.
The titular Sackhead is as creepy a monster as I’ve ever seen.
Full of body horror and nods to theater, this one chilled me to the bones.
Campfire Tales – My favorite animated short: Abe’s Story (Dir: Adam H. Stewart)
How can you possibly go wrong with an animated account of Bram Stoker’s life?
12 minutes of the most beautiful animation and smoothest narration I’ve witnessed make Abe’s Story one to watch. Gotta love Campfire Tales’ short selection!
Reviewing the Rest of the Program
Though Sackhead and Abe’s Story were my favorite films, the rest of the program was also incredibly strong. There are some real standouts here, so do keep an eye for something that might strike your fancy.
Campfire Tales October 2020 – Part 1
Frank & Mary
A beautiful tribute to The Monster, told with the charm of ageless love and a tinkerer’s eye. I adored this, it warmed my cold heart no end. I was also happy to see that great British institution represented: The Shed.
How to Rob a Witch
Another animated film, though much lighter than Abe’s Story in… well, story. Much more of a nursery rhyme in content, I still liked it and the American-style animation reminded me of Cartoon Network content.
A cautionary tale about the dangers of bullying. Not for the squimish, or those who take the genre too seriously. One of the few times I’ve seen horror and comedy working together well.
The Long Walk Back
Heartbreaking tale of what passed as witchcraft, and sadly continues to do so. That women’s rights are under constant threat is a shame. This short masterfully deals with delicate subject matter.
A wonderful retelling of a traditional New Orleans folk tale. I had some questions around the setting, but I could see where the filmmakers’ intentions lie after the Q and A session for Campfire Tales.
Strong effects and perhaps less strong performances. I liked the concept, but it did stumble a bit in execution.
Campfire Tales October 2020 – Part 2
Asian She – Competitive Mourning
A modern take on a classic tale, this is a film with strong visuals and even stronger sound cues. For fans of vamps and tunes.
Detras de la Puerta
A fantastic showcase of South American horror. Probably my runner-up for favorite short of this edition of Campfire Tales. What a strong film! Be careful with your greed!
A morality tale with a twist. What it chronicles is horrific and the fact that this is something which continues makes me quite sad. But I love me some social commentary horror!
Another fun one, with a great emphasis on practical effects, and pizza. I mean, I love pizza, so they kind of had me at the title.
Perhaps not the strongest execution in terms of filmcraft, but certainly relevant and captivating in its own way. Hits a bit too close to home, too, I think. At least right now.
The Final Verdict
Once again, our friends at Horrible Imaginings have put on one hell of a show. The Frida Lounge has made its virtual return, and I had a fantastic time catching up with all the friends I made in September. Organizers, filmmakers and audience members were all there to chat horror and have a laugh.
HIFF has an incredible short selection, and the quarterly Campfire Tales series is a great way of checking out bite-size stories with a huge punch. Not everything clicked with me, but that’s the case everywhere. Most things I liked, quite a few I loved. Sign me up for the next one!