Posts Tagged ‘short film’

The spirit of a witch reeks havoc on two siblings and their partners when she is summoned to their cottage.

As the genre is close to my heart I couldn’t pass an opportunity to view Sweden’s filmmaker Jarno Lee Vinsencius latest offering Svarta Madam. Opening with a creepy exposition card harking back to the good old days of horror we’re treated to glimpse of a 1633 burning at the stake. Moving forward to 1995 oozing atmosphere as two children, Emma and Alex, go about summoning a spirit (unavoidably echoing Bernard Rose’s Candy Man and the Bloody Mary legend) it then jumps to 22 years later at a birthday dinner where the siblings are reunited with their grandmother’s mirror. Director, writer Vinsencius packs every frame of The Madame in Black with a flavour of eerie ambiance. With a few jump scares courteous of an injection of effective sound design and music he then amps up the horror suspense with creaky floor boards, disembodied whispers and shrieks in the dark.

As the body count increases even with severed fingers, dreams within dreams, the script rings true, adding some much needed credibility to the underdog genre. It contains all the creepy staples of a good horror, even floating camera work in a forest reminiscent of Evil Dead but like the recent Spanish horror revival this is also fittingly played straight with an on location backdrop enhanced with naturalist lighting. The cast are on fine form, as with Vinsencius’ Darkness Falls this offering benefits from some strong performances courtesy of Ida Gyllenstan and the notable Demis Tzivis.

The moonlit night is seemingly CGI free and the makeup effects by Ellinor Rosander are used sparingly. When Madame in Black appears it encompasses all the best of practical horrors, a simple effective shrouded figure (also played by Rosander) channelling Exorcist III. But where Vinsencius excels is in his cinematography, creating a cinematic feel, even throwing in some aerial shots that put DTV horror and some bigger budget films with longer running times to shame. It’s clear that Vinsencius gives 110% to his craft and there’s no wonder why this Swedish chiller has won handfuls of awards.

This is a must see short horror film, watch with the sound up and the lights off.

During a drug raid a group of policemen find themselves trapped in a nightmare, the third zone of Dante’s ninth circle of Hell.

I had the pleasure of viewing another German/English language screener personally from filmmaker Kevin Kopacka. Here the Austrian director offers another dark moody psychological visual 32 minute short. The preceding opening with a horrific story of the fate of a young boy which is followed by a flick though the sounds, voices and static of a radio station of 99.9, Kopacka’s prequel to Hades – TLMEA is more street than its predecessor, following a sullen group of swat and undercover police (poliza). Blurred images, shadows on red, troubled sleep with unnatural lighting, flashy editing that cuts to the hyper real moments as the director takes us through on screen title cards beginning with segments subtitled Limbo and Lust.

TLMEA unfolds with the harsh reverberating, at times melodic music by Aiko Aiko as we go further into the subtitled levels and themes, Animosity, (Greed reflected on the TV), Malice, Heresy, Violence, level 1,2, 3 and so on; we seep into the Twin Peaks dreamlike mind of our chain smoking protagonist with a cancelled TV show, Johnny Arson, showing on the TV sets in scenes possibly reflecting society imitating art and sensationalising horror and vice-versa.

Amongst the array of unconventional yet wonderfully abstract coloured lighting (reminiscent of Revolver) there some great effects by Tim Scheidig as a character turns to ice (reflecting Dante’s penalty for the damned) and we are introduced to more hallucinatory themes subtitled Fraud and later Treachery.

Time and effort has clearly been pumped into this production. The acting is first rate, the excellent Anna Heidegger appears briefly (reprising her Hades role). Author/producer H.K. DeWitt also appears. As with Kopacka’s other work the narrative is up for interpretation, no doubt a mainstream interesting feature script awaits (wow, I’d love this team to option one of my novels). As a standalone mystery thriller short it may not have the nightmarish impact of Hades but as a companion piece they compliment and complete each other perfectly.

As mentioned running through the underbelly of the short is the nine circles of Hell (Dante’s Inferno). These dreamlike nightlife images, have a contradicting visual clarity as our lead Cris Kotzen as Schweitzer unloads a gun bringing the state of mind to a close, Tolomea after ‘Ptolomea’, conjuring Minos (interestingly played by rapper/artist Ufo361).

If visually surreal rides are your thing, this is compulsory late night viewing.

 Reviewed for

Horror Cult Exploitation Film Blu-ray and DVD News and Reviews.

A woman is trapped in a dream like state which appear to represent various stages of her relationship.

Watching films can sometime be dull, but occasionally the planets align and you get to view something quite stirring. Austrian director Kevin Kopacka offers a genuine haunting piece of art house film with a kitchen sink of camera tricks, sound design and lighting effects. Following a series of individual arresting sequences actor Anna Heidegger’s organic beauty and fine performance really enchants as you journey through her nightmare. It has a universal standing as there’s little, if any dialogue, its all about visuals and Kopacka delivers more treats in his experimental short than many features manage to do.

This Berlin made short film (just shy of fifteen minutes) unfolds like a Steven Berkoff play of uneasiness. Broken up by title cards Kopacka injects Giallo’s horror and psychological thriller elements into his piece. He also throws in for good measure elements reminiscent of Kubrick’s The Shining and a cross section of Lynch’s work to name a few, successfully borrowing from the some of the best with lingering long corridors, locked doors, shadowy figures and silhouettes. Shots with glimpses of things that seemingly supernaturally move, notable are the eerie bed clothes. There’s also the haunting stillness of faces, sunsets and hazy memories.

Is it paramount that you analyse writer H.K. DeWitt’s take on the five rivers of the realm of Hades and their symbolic meanings? Possibly, but it’s not important, as Kopacka’s Hades is about how it makes you feel with its unrelenting pressure and a sense of all-pervading paranoia and dread. The short is almost pure cinema and comes highly recommended.


 Watch this excellent Star Wars anime style short film Tie Fighter.

Paul Johnson’s seven minute short movie with an amazing guitar track is a dialogue free battle in space, set a longtime ago in a galaxy far far away, between Imperial and Rebel forces. 

It was made by Johnson over four years worth of weekends. The Tie Fighter is film is packed with dogfighting action, wonderfully drawn and smoothly animated, it impressively captures the original Star War magic I felt as a kid.