Tag Archives: Short film


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This post covers two programs of nine shorts each, Things That Go Bump in the East  and Small Gauge Trauma, so technically it’s an octodecuple feature—a word so fine that our spell-checker does not even recognize it. Without further ado, here are nine pairs of shorts for you to try on.

“Things That Go Bump in the East” program

Chewing Gum (dir. by Mihir Fadnavis; 18 min.)—Getting in the spirit of this horror short, my cat Goose  appeared at the door to my left. After some minutes of creepy video, I looked left again, and Goose had materialized in the same position, six feet closer. That’s the kind of unsettling occurrence you’ll find here. Classic black and white visuals, killer foley, and minimal dialogue. Of the eighteen-minute run-time, seventeen are perfect. Dark subway, dark roads, and an eldritch entity in black demanding chewing gum from the adulterous protagonist had me riveted. But when the monster took her (?) dues, it was more “uhh…” than “AGGH!!!”

Carnivorous Bean Sprout (dir. by Seo Sae-rom; 5 min.)—An animated PSA-by-way-of-advertisement, Carnivous‘ greatest strength is the no-nonsense newsy narrator discussing the thrilling, new, titular phenomenon. Looking rather similar to sperm with chompy heads, these aquatic sprouts are a hit tourist attraction: people gather in boats, are rowed over to nest, and then handlers rustle the beans, which jump up and bite you. This craze extends to a new variety of monkeys (which rise from the water and scratch you) and elephants (which extend their noses to throttle the happy spectator). Strange things, people are.

Juan-Diablo-Pablo (dir. by Ralph Pineda, Dyan Sagenes; 15 min.)—I nearly dismissed this out of hand when I realized it wasn’t done with puppets. (How this notion got in my head, I am uncertain.) However, J-D-P does something very impressive by traveling seamlessly from confusing, to mundane, to humorous, to wrenching. All available clues suggest that “Juan Diablo” is Death, and he happens happens to be living in a ratty, newspaper strewn apartment, receiving corpses from a pair of disfigured opera archetypes. His young neighbor Pablo introduces himself with a note hucked through a hole in Juan’s wall, and their wordless encounters at Death’s door have an amusing and wholesome tonality, incongruously achieving Hallmark Card levels of “adorable.” The tone shift at the end is sudden, but not misplaced, poetically bringing attention to the tragedy befalling the Philippines from rampant crime and extra-judicial murders on the part of the police.

Huh (dir. by Kim Tae-woo; 12 min.)—Huh was a Korean mask-maker of legend, and this is a cartoon tribute to his art. Kim Tae-woo mixes curvy animation of chalk-looking drawings with the occasional hip-hop number to bring the ancient carver to life. A mountain spirit drops some beats as he instructs Huh on how to overcome the tide of spiritual possession plaguing the villagers. I expected this to be cute, and it was; but I was not expecting to heave a sigh of relief when the errant spirits barely made it back into the moon.

Koreatown Ghost Story (dir. by Minsun Park, Teddy Tenenbaum; 15 min.)—I wondered what Margaret Cho was up to. It was quite a pleasant surprise to see her show up in this little horror comedy. Hannah, a young painter who works by day at a hardware store, visits the venerable Mrs. Moon to inquire about the contents of a puzzle box and is quickly whisked to a massage table and poked with needles. After some remarks about Hannah marrying Moon’s dead son, the matriarch mystic disappears and a spirit corpse boy pursues the girl around the house. Another cute Korean story, also with a focus on masks and the Autumn festival (gotta do me some research now). I laughed, I jumped, and I reconsidered the possibilities of acupuncture.

Night Bus (dir. by Joe Hsieh; 20 min.)—Great art design, but unfortunately the amateur animation style does this little tale of wronged spouses, wronged passengers, and wrong monkeys no favors. The jarring sequences all unfolded with squicky violence undone by the “Happy Tree Friends” excess and awkwardly arranged narrative reveals.

Seen It (dir. by Adithi Krishnadas; 12 min.)—Gather ’round the fire and learn of the horrible eenampechi, the hovering and easily confused arukola, the mystical thendan, and others in this animated cryptocatalogue of wonders. This wry little black and white squiggle ‘toon is based on some of the innumerable supernatural anecdotes of P. N. K. Panicker, a tall-tale teller of some renown. Its easy-going style makes this the only “kid friendly” pick from Things That Go Bump. The raconteur’s advisements come to life before your eyes, Continue reading FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL 2021: CREEPY SHORTS DOUBLE FEATURE


The North Bend Film Festival opens today and runs through July 18. Online ticketing is available, but is geo-locked to residents of Washington, Oregon or Idaho. In the future, these movies may be available through alternate venues—stay tuned to this website for updates.

Below you will find not-quite-twenty reviews for three of the short film blocks that caught my eye. But you may be one of those unfortunate many with “time constraints” and with a job that isn’t “reviewing movies.” Heed, then, the following three recommendations that on their own are almost worth the price of admission: Stuffed, a taxidermy musical (and future feature film); Skinner 29, in which podcast fun turns sharply unsettling—part of an immersive narrative experience; and A Tale Best Forgotten, five minutes of quiet dream-horror that left me going “gaahhhhh!”

“Something Strange?” shorts block

The Nipple Whisperer (d. Jan Van Dyck; 15 min.)—”All those bubbles adore you… because your surrender is so complete,” coaches the director. “It’s just fucking soap” retorts the actress. Before this exchange, two men meet furtively in a café: David is entreating Sandy to, once again, “Be the guy!”… because Doris is asking him. Sandy reluctantly agrees, and through his powers, the crew is able to film a soap commercial of Wagnerian grandiosity. Though communicated indirectly, a lot of characterization and backstory is crammed into its fifteen minutes; a ridiculous concept conveyed with impressive gravitas. Closing on a reunion of sorts, Whisperer goes one further in boldness and humanity as Sandy does his “thing” for Doris, who we see has endured a double mastectomy. 

You Wouldn’t Understand (d. Trish Harnetiaux; 9 min.)—There may have been no good way to end this film. The setup, however, was wonderful. A man idles with a book, enjoying his own private picnic, when in the middle-distance two men clad in white sally towards him, before disappearing behind some shrubs. One emerges, clad in a Prussian-style ensemble, and asks for “Horsey Sauce” for his hundred (then hundreds, then thousands) of friends to share. Before you can say punchline, things are made clear. Perhaps too clear; perhaps too jokey. The first two acts build a whimsical menace; the final act elicits an, “Oh, okay. Sure.”

Grab Them (d. Morgane Dziurla-Petit; 12 min.)—You know what you cannot un-see? A Trump-faced woman masturbating with a vibrating dildo. Like the rest of Grab Them (short for “Grab them by the pussy”), this is actually done with considerable restraint. This mockumentary chronicles the experiences of a middle-aged Swedish woman whose face is exactly the same as that of the former president. Taking its subject seriously (as these things must), we’re told how her marriage hit a road block around 2016, that she lost her job at the small company she worked for, and Continue reading NORTH BEND FILM FESTIVAL 2021: THE BIG SHORTS COMPENDIUM


Filmed by Karl Whinnery of www.hotkarlproductions.com , this is an excerpt of our own Alfred Eaker‘s performance of his Brother Cobweb character at The House of Shadows in Gresham, Oregon. “Brother Cobweb” is the title of Eaker’s forthcoming novel.

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