Week 2 of Creepy Christmas Fest, Glass Eye Pix’s digital advent calendar, brings far lighter stop-motion animation than last week. It does, however, bring hellbent cookies, an invasive Santa, and a holiday light-bound nightmare for your viewing pleasure. If you missed last week’s roundup of spooky short films, you can find that here, and all films are still available on the CCF website.
7. Presence – Dir. Joe Maggio
In addition to blessing us with a Larry Fessenden sighting, Presence has the brief, unsettling quality of a midwinter’s nightmare where something harmless suddenly takes on a gravely upsetting tone. Director Joe Maggio (whose 2010 horror film Bitter Feast is a clever must-see if you haven’t yet) explains the short’s origins:
“On a conscious level, I started thinking about the tyranny of presents, of finding just the right present to give to those we love. That’s how I came to make this strange, and hopefully creepy, little movie.”
8. I Could’ve Been Sweet – Dir. The Andujar Twins
In two minutes, narrator Manuel Taylor-Alcocer weaves a twisted tale of genocide and revenge from the point of view of a gingerbread man who just wanted the ultimate honor of being baked and offered to Santa. The Andujars, comprised of identical twins Courtney and Hilary, have long been intimate with visual storytelling; the pair did production design for 2018 horror western and festival darling The Wind, and contributed graphic design for recent hits Sorry To Bother You and Blindspotting. It makes sense, too; I Could’ve Been Sweet displays strong confidence in everything from lighting to miniature set design. Come for the cookies, stay for the Bava-heavy reds and blues.
9. Crafty – Dir. Beck Underwood
If you’ve watched a Glass Eye Pix film, you’ve likely seen Beck Underwood’s work in some capacity. She has donned various caps on several films: Bitter Feast, Habit, and I Sell the Dead among others. Crafty is Underwood’s take on a short film embodying the simple prompt “Christmas Tree”. In it, a nasty little fellow with a Gremlin’s temperament and a grungy Wes Anderson creature’s countenance gets into the holiday spirit using his fresh kills. Don’t worry, no animals actually get hurt.
10. Eighteen Reindeer – Dir. James F. McKenney
James F. McKenney (Hyperthermia, Satan Hates You) struggled with what to do with his word prompt, “reindeer” and ultimately settled on more of a mood than a story. On the CCF website, he talks aboout the process:
“Not an easy one, especially if you don’t have access to the animals themselves. I know, who does, really? I struggled with this one a bit, but ended up doing what I often do. I just went out to the studio and started screwing around with reindeer shapes, then messing with the edit until I ended up with something I didn’t completely hate. It is my hope that the unsuspecting viewer will not completely hate it either.”
11. Un Copo de Nieve en Texas – Dir. Michael Vincent
Michael Vincent takes a poetic approach to his prompt “snowflake” in Un Copo de Nieve en Texas, along with his creative partner ad the short’s star, Summer Frost. Frost reads a poem capturing the blunt coldness and sweet warmth of Christmastime, which along with Vincent’s experimental style creates a hypnotizing atmosphere all towards a sobering end.
12. Merry Creepy Christmas – Dir. Mickey Keating
If you’ve watched The Core series on Shudder, you’ve seen Micky Keating’s face and heard him talk shop with genre filmmakers and fx specialists. If you’ve seen Carnage Park, Psychopaths, or Pod, you’re already familiar with the writer-director’s work specializing in stylish homage to his favorite films. In Merry Creepy Christmas, Keating employs a ghoulish reading of an excerpt from Carolyn Wells’ A Ballad of Old Loves against jarring imagery that recalls that one part of Jacob’s Ladder that haunted your dreams. You’ll know it when you see it.
13. A Little Late – Dir. Unwanted Houseguest
Unwanted Houseguest is not your average filmmaker. A self-described “lonely spirit cursed to wander this Earthly plane”, Houseguest serves up a creeping, thumping shuffle of anxious hand-wringing as he prepares a big holiday bash, all in the form of a music video. Awaiting the arrival of guests has never been so catchy.
What’s this week’s favorite in your book? Let us know below!