Warning - disturbing/mature content and images
(Dir. Chris Bavota, Lee Paula Springer) TORONTO PREMIERE (83 mins)
After Becca receives a distressing call from her suicidal brother Richie, she rushes over to his apartment and finds him alive and well - surrounded by copies of his own dead body.
MY TAKE: This is not the movie you expect it will be going in, even though there are Dicks, literal and as classy metaphoric descriptions. It's about the cycle of death and rebirth. It's about mental health and the traps it lays for those who suffer from it, as well as their loved ones who suffer along with them on their journey.
But it also knows when to add a touch of levity. The characters are strong and real and connected. I wouldn't say it's a full on horror comedy, but it's close enough for me.
It's no wonder this is one of the movies nominated for BITS "Bloodies"...gotta love a fun film with a unique concept that also gives you some twisted speculative fiction, a dash of gratuity (in the form of nudity and gore) that's grounded with a message...maybe not so much a message as a bit of a study.
This was a low budget production shot in 10 days plus, making it all the more amazing. Watch my interview with Lee and Chris, co-writers and co-directors.
Sky So Blue
(Dir. Tyler Williams) (15:12 mins)
After being attacked and imprisoned in his own home, a man stands accused of creating a strange piece of music that may or may not have the power to kill anyone who hears it.
MY TAKE: This is very much in the tradition of a Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, Outer Limits or Black Mirror episode - a super cool concept.
The Nights Before Christmas
(Dir. Paul Tanter) WORLD PREMIERE (101 mins)
A year on from the Woodridge massacre and those who survived have moved on with their lives. But Mr and Mrs Claus are back, and this time the killings seem to be based around the asylum where they first met.
MY TAKE: This is some good over the top gory horror fun with villains that will delight you while they twirl their metaphorical mustaches!
Mr. Claus is vicious as he is hilarious when he spits out his darkly witty lines designed to wink at us horror fans. Mrs. Claus is equally intense - she's like a coked up version of Harley Quinn.
So many creative ways of dispatching each of the victims on their list will keep you giddily amused. The FBI is very slow to catch on to as their purpose for this particular spree (one of the many horror trope "winks"). You see, this deranged Yuletide couple have done this before - and at BITs, at that - in Once Upon A Time At Christmas in 2017. But no worries if you haven't seen the first one - this blood fest good time film stands alone, too.
One in Two People
(Dir. Ali Mashayekhi) (7:42 mins)
Emily is surrounded by her friends as she reveals her dark secret.
MY TAKE: Mental health turned on its head - another highly creative idea with potential to spawn into a feature length story.
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Space Zombies! (or Amazon)
They Suck (or Amazon)
Horror at Terror Creek (or Amazon)