Monday 15 October 2018

Mayhem Film Festival Report 2018 - Scary Shorts (Day 3)

As always, Saturday’s programme at the mayhem Festival contained the annual “Scary Shorts” section.

This years collection consisted of 13 titles, plus there was an addition short film which was shown later on in the evening, which I've reviewed here.

Dick and Stewart : I Spy with My Little Eye.

Done in the style of a 70s children's cartoon, schoolboy Dick and his friend Stewart (who is basically a disembodied eye) seem quite happy living in their walled up town, until they are approached by a strange man who asks them to spy on their parents. 

But when Dick refuses, strange things happen at the hands of the government.

Director Richard Littler was clearly having a dig at the dangers of modern Goverment surveilance with his 12min cartoon, though was done in such an abstract manner the point may have been lost on some. 

For more info Visit... 

A couple stranded in a remote forest, find themselves being stalked by strange neanderthal like people in director Owen Tooth's 5min short. Which echoed the likes of "Hills Have Eyes" and "Wrong Turn", but set somewhere (presumably) in England

Visually very impressive, which plunges you straight into the action with some real "Ouch" moments, this appeared to have been filmed like an intro for a much larger feature. 

As we had no idea who these characters were, where the were, or what they were doing there. Only that they were on the run and the fate that befalls them.
Would be interesting to see this developed into a much larger feature.
For more info Visit...
The Blue Door

The new home helper for an eldery lady, who's confined to her bed, is surprised to notice a strange blue door in the corner of the room which didn't appear to be there earlier. 

Even stranger, is when she goes into the next room, the door appears there too. But attempting to find out whats behind it may prove fatal...

This 9min feature from director Paul Taylor takes its time to get going, but proved the be an effective creepy little film, although I wasn't sure about the ending.

For more info Visit...


Set in some sort of Dysotopian society, not everyone is as they seem, as we see a mother and her young daughter being hunted by sinister government forces. But after the mother is captured her daughter battles to stay one step ahead of them.

Director Ashlea wessel's 13min short film seems to borrow a few ideas from "Underworld Awakening", in which the Government appear to be looking for Vampires hiding amongst them, 

It had some interesting ideas but it was like watching a scene in the middle of a film, so it took a little while to figure out what was going on.

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A young office worker, struggling to climb the corporate ladder, does away with her overbearing boss so she can be the one to give an important presentation, in the hopes of impressing the other company executives. 

But when she starts getting flashbacks about the murder, her presentation starts to go awry and comically dark antics ensue.

Loosely based on the old Edgar Allen Poe story "The Tell Tale Heart", Director Kevin Sluder's 12min feature was quite an amusing story, with some interesting gore. Though if you weren't familiar with the original tale you may be left wondering why she acted this way. 

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A young mother, played by Alice Lowe (Sightseers) is forced to battle demonic apparitions which have over run her house. Their only defense being to encircle the demons with a ring of salt, which traps them inside. 

But although the salt works, when she and her daughter attempt to flee outside, the weather may not be their friend

Director Rob Savages feature was not only the shortest of all the short films, clocking in at a mere 2mins, but actually proved to be the best of the bunch in my view. Which packed a hell of a lot of action inside its extremely short run time, with some very good effects.

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Definitely the most bizarre film in the short film section (and that's saying something), Lorenz Wunderle's 9min feature was a very weird, trippy cartoon about a Coyote who is mortally wounded by a pack of wolves, but then encounters a demonic buffallo, who brings him back to life.

He then takes on more human characteristics, gets drunk at a bar and starts a fight with a group of bikers, who appear to be the same wolves from earlier. 

Really didn't know what to make of this, very pschedelic. Not sure what meds the director was on, but perhaps he should reduce the dosage?

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And the Baby Screamed.

A father is unable to sleep as his baby son continually wakes up screaming throughout the night, only to settle down once he enters the room. But then resumes minutes later once he's left again. 

Unable to rest, he eventually turns off the baby monitor, thinking his son will eventually settle down by himself. Which is when we discover the REAL reason the child was screaming hysterically everytime his father left the room....

Dan Gitsham's 8min feature was most definitely the darkest in the short films section and as a result was my least favourite. Not that there was anything wrong with it, just I didn't like it. Impressive effects though.

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An old fisherman heads out to sea in his boat and proceeds to lure a mermaid in, who are really not the cute characters they're portrayed as in Disney cartoons. 

However, it seems he hasn't got a death wish, but has found an interesting way of catching fish.

Director Jorge Malpica's 8min film was like a breath of fresh air amongst all the other short films in this section, which starts seriously, then takes a darkly comic twist.

The audience clearly loved it and following the dark subject matter of the previous film, provided some much needed levity.

For more info Visit... 

A creepy guy trawls the streets at night in his BMW, flashing at young ladies (and I don't mean his headlights). 

But it seems he's picked the wrong girls to expose himself to, as they promptly show up at his door and he finds that he wasn't the only one out hunting that night.

Not sure if director Kate Dolan was trying to say that the female of the species is deadlier than the male, or simply that BMW drivers are w***ers, in this 8min short. But it was an interesting film, none-the-less.

For more info Visit... 

Crying Bitch

A Japanese buisinessman gets a major shock, when his wife finally gets sick of his philandering following a string of affairs, and proceeds to beat the living daylights out of him and his current mistress in Reiki Tsuno's  14minute feature.

The audience loved the cartoonish use of gushing blood and there was some real "ouch" moments in this exceptionally violent and darkly comic tale which proves "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".

For more info Visit... 


A young lad gets up in the night to get a glass of milk, only to find his mother is also up and about the house. But if this is his mother he's talking to in the next room, who is that calling out to him from her bedroom?

Director Santiago Menghini's 14min short was a bit of an odd one. From a technical viewpoint it was well made, but it didn't really come to any conclusion and the ending was just wierd. 

However, I have read that James Wan (Saw) is looking at adapting this into a full length feature, which might be interesting.

For more info Visit...  

We Summoned a Demon.

One of the funnier short films, a couple of high school losers perform a satanic ritual. Hoping the spell will make them cool. Instead they end up summoning a demon, who proves to be just as bad as the high school jocks they seek to engraciate themselves with.

Featuring plenty of slapstick humour and buckets of blood. Chris McKinroy's 6min short proved to be a crowd pleaser and the perfect film to end the short film showcase on.

For more info Visit... 
Chowboys : An American Folktale

This one was screened later on in the evening, prior to the showing of Demons, but decided to review it here with the other short films.

4 Cowboys sit around the campfire bemoaning the cold and lack of food. Unless they can find something to eat soon, they may have to consider resorting to cannibalism. Plus there's a whole sub plot about Santa Claus actually being an evil person who you probably wouln't want to meet on Xmas eve.

If this all sounds very bizarre, that's because it's by the notorious Canadian film crew Astron-6 (the guys who gave us The Editor), and is just as weird and wacky as their other short films. 

Needless to say, the audience loved it. This has been touted as being their final film. I certainly hope it isn't.

For more info Visit...

The Mayhem festival runs each October, at the Broadway Cinema - Nottingham.
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