Halloween Horror Nights 2009-Chiller Scary Good Film Competition

Hurry! The voting for this competition closes on Friday, September 25, 2009.

I’m sorry to toss in my two cents so late in the contest with only two days left to cast your vote. I wanted to write about the Halloween Horror Nights 2009-Chiller Scary Good Film Competition* as soon as I watched all of the Top 10 films on September 17th, but I just haven’t been able to get to this post until today.

Please enjoy my recap of the Top 10 finalists, in the order in which I’d award prizes. I rate on a scale of 1 to 5 stars, with 1 star being the worst and 5 stars being the best. Don’t forget to vote for your favorite!

# 10 – CHINESE CHILLER (Directed by Christopher Baker)

Chinese Chiller by Christopher Baker

And they tell us not to believe fortune cookies. Welp, I stayed awake through Chinese Chiller, but I wouldn’t say I was into it…at all. First off, I didn’t like the guy. I’ve worked in the food service industry and his type is quite common. Second, the delivery girl telegraphed the twist. And third, did I mention I didn’t like the main character? Lastly, I also had issues with the sound quality. More info. Therefore, I generously award Chinese Chiller 2 stars.

# 9 – SHADOW PUPPET (Written and directed by David Schneider)

Shadow Puppet by David Schneider

I watched Shadow Puppet and I was reminded how much pugs rock! Seriously though, shadows have always been creepy to me…all that darkness following you everywhere *shivers*. I wonder, was the score meant to give it a comedic feel? Or was that an accident? More info. I rate Shadow Puppet 2.5 stars.

# 8 – DO NO HARM (Written and directed by John Gehrke)

Do No Harm by John Gehrke

It took watching Do No Harm four times before I knew for sure what I thought about it. And to be honest, I’m still slightly confused. Is Carrie a med student or a new surgeon? Did she kill someone during surgery? Or, is she just over-worked and sleep deprived, and this film is a nightmare from which she can’t escape? *shrugs*

I do know one thing for sure: I haven’t known a single person who, when startled by something whilst in their bed, didn’t switch on the lamp immediately. Why in the world would you open a drawer, search for a mini-flashlight and shine its quarter-sized beam on an unidentified liquid, when you could just turn on the light? I guess I’m a little nit picky with such small universal details. I get the motivation and the intent behind that shot, I just don’t agree with its use in this case. More info. I rate Do No Harm 2.5 stars.

# 7 – STRANGER DANGER (Written and directed by Luke Nelson)

Stranger Danger by Luke Nelson

I thought Stranger Danger was good but it would’ve definitely been better had it run a smidge longer. Extra minutes would’ve allowed the filmmaker time to build adequate suspense and anticipation. I knew too much, too fast. Oh yeah, I did not like the flashlight under the face lighting technique used on the stranger during the bedroom scene. Actually, there were a number of lighting issues, for me anyway. There’s plenty of potential here though. 3 stars for Stranger Danger.

# 6 – SAMARITAN (Directed by Charles C. Wills)

Samaritan by Charles C. Wills

I found that Samaritan improved as the film progressed. I’m not sure the editing was the best it could’ve been. But I do love me some zombies! Even the kiddie-munchin’ kind 🙂 More info. 3 stars.

# 5 – THE NIGHTMARE (Directed by Jeff M. Breyer)

The Nightmare by Jeff M. Breyer

*scratches head* Really, you just have to watch The Nightmare for yourself. I don’t even wanna attempt to wrap my brain around it. Is this The Nightmare of someone like Norman Bates or Leatherface? If so, this movie is brilliant. I felt like I was in the mind of a madman. More info. I’m not sure there’s really a ranking system for this sort of film so I’ll give it 3 stars.

# 4 – APPETENCE (Written and directed by Brian H. Robbins)

Appetence by Brian H. Robbins

After I finished watching Appetence, I wondered which came first, the killer or the artist? I’ve read a couple of not-so-great reviews online and those reviewers felt the story was better suited for a full-length film as opposed to this short film format. I disagree.

While I almost always prefer a 90 minute film over a two minute one–simply because I like to dig into a story and really feel its world–I found Appetence worked beautifully as a short film. I think the key to its success is the score. There’s no dialogue, but that music speaks a thousand words. Without dialogue, my imagination was given full rein to mold what I watched into anything I wanted to make it. Brian H. Robbins said this is “[a] short film based off a piece of [his] writing.” I wonder if what I created in my head is anything close to what Brian envisioned showing his audience? More info. I give Appetence 3 stars.

# 3 – MOCKINGBIRD (Written by Drew Daywalt, Directed by Marichelle Daywalt)

Mockingbird by Marichelle Daywalt

Mockingbird is the only film of these Top 10 finalists that truly disturbed me. As soon as the front door handle started to jiggle, I felt squirmy and uncomfortable. At that moment in the movie, I realized the ending would not be happy and it would not make me feel good. Yuck. As a mom, my worst fear is something happening to my daughter. I think this deep-rooted emotional connection is the secret to Mockingbird and as such I rate it 4 stars. More info.

# 2 – LAMAZE OF THE DEAD (Written by Whitney Baltz, Directed by M. Shawn Lewallen)

Lamaze of the Dead by Whitney Baltz

Lamaze of the Dead is SOOO my sentimental favorite. My heart beats for zombies! I replayed it like 5 times…okay, you got me. It was more like 10 but in my defense the movie is only three minutes long. Should I point out that Whitney Baltz is a woman? Yes, I think so, especially after my request at the end of All Boobs, No Brains? Me Thinks Not. I proudly rate Lamaze of the Dead 4.5 stars. More info.

# 1 – BEDFELLOWS (Written and directed by Drew Daywalt)

Bedfellows by Drew Daywalt

Tagline reads, “Sometimes at night the person you are laying next to, isn’t the same person you went to bed with!” Well, I survived Bedfellows. Consequently, I wish I’d had a Depends on or something because I tinkled a little bit during the last shot. But what a surprise! This film actually scared me, and in under three minutes, not bad. From the hypnotizing tick of the clock to the jolt of the ringing cellphone to the realization on Rachel’s face after she answers the telephone…great build up and a worthy pay off. I award 5 stars to Bedfellows, my favorite of the Top 10 finalists. More info.

I guess genuine, pee-inducing scares beat zombies . . . at least this time 🙂

Now what are you waiting for? Vote for your favorite and support these horror filmmakers.

* Chiller, the recently-launched channel from NBC Universal, is the only network devoted to delivering viewers round-the-clock scares. Chiller’s eclectic slate of adrenaline-fueled, soul-stirring entertainment includes classic drama and anthology series (Tales from the Darkside, Twin Peaks, Nightmare Cafe), international programming (Spine Chillers, Strange) and a broad offering of films, including feature-length premieres on the first Friday of each month. Chiller is currently available in nearly 34 million homes. To learn more, visit: www.chillertv.com. (source: HHN press release)

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