Greetings, readers, Bill here with some coverage of the final day of the Inaugural Buffalo Screams Horror Film Festival. I say some, because (since I have to be up at an ungodly hour to go to work tomorrow), I’m only putting my coverage of the films screened today tonight. Tomorrow, when I get home from work, I’ll post a write-up of the awards banquet.
We begin with a “More Than Horror” short film, BORN TO DIE, from writer/director Jay Mager. BORN TO DIE is a gritty, vicious little murder/crime thriller with some dramatic elements as well. The attention to detail and mood reminded me of Tarantino’s earlier films, such as PULP FICTION and RESERVOIR DOGS, and the carefully-crafted dialogue (I lost track of how many times star Chris Wroblewski said the word “fuck” or some variation thereof) and excellent editing and pacing further contributed to the very visible level of dedication and craftsmanship that went into this film.
Following this was Brett Kelly’s tongue-in-cheek superhero film, AVENGING FORCE: THE SCARAB which is a truly fun lampooning of the superhero genre. Things to watch for: The villainous “Sphinx” makes his lair in a mattress warehouse, and the flaring collar of the hero’s cowl.
Next up was the short film NO ROAD OUT, from local filmmaker Sam Qualiana. An absolutely unflinchingly savage little film (it clocks in at all of 11 minutes), Sam himself not only wrote, directed, and edited the film, he also starred. Excellent use of brass knuckles, a weapon seen all too rarely in genre cinema these days.
After that, we saw THE BLACK CAT, from writer/director Carl Caprino. The initial theme of the film seemed to be almost a twisting of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to suit Halloween, but I’m afraid that ultimately, the film seemed to become (in my opinion, at least), over-enamored with special visual effects, and too wrapped up in them. Amusingly, according to Caprino, while he did not set out to make his film an adaptation of Poe’s short story “The Black Cat,” his film did ultimately follow similar lines.
TRIPTOSANE, from writer/director Michael DiCerto, is a psilocybin-inspired exploration of psychedelic thought, bringing together themes of the Modern World vs. the “Primitive” World, and tying them in with notions of the limits of human consciousness vs. Artificial Intelligence. Very trippy, very well-worth a watch. Trace Beaulieu of Mystery Science Theater 3000 voices the AI.
After this, the short film GITCHY, written by Thomas Norman, co-directed by Norman and Lenny Rivera. NOT for coulrophobics or people who can’t stand being tickled. The audience reaction to this was incredible, absolutely the most vociferous of the entire festival. People were shrieking with laughter and discomfort.
Lastly, the final film of the festival, M, from Derek and Shane Cole. Before you start whistling “Hall of the Mountain King,” this has nothing to do with the classic Peter Lorre vehicle by the same name. A torture-cinema aesthetic applied to the classic slasher formula and set in our own homes, M is a fantastic reminder that sometimes, less really is more. A great supporting cast and innovative torments and gore enhance the film.
That being covered, I will continue this tomorrow evening, going into detail on the awards dinner and the super-secret, final-final film (which makes a total of 37 films I saw at the festival).
Tags: avenging force: the scarab, born to die, Debbie Rochon, Emil J. Novak, Events, exploitation, Film Festival, gitchy, Gregory Lamberson, Grindhouse, Horror, Horror Movie, horror-comedy, Indie, M, Movie Reviews, no road out, Short Films, the black cat, triptosane