In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Night Shift.

I took in The Night Shift, a mammoth Worldwide Short Film Festival programme of genre short films that screened at The Bloor last Saturday. It was three ninety-minute sections, mercifully broken up by small intermissions.  Oh, did I mention that this began just before midnight?  Yes.  Night Shift indeed.  Here’s a rundown of the films I enjoyed the most.

The short I was most looking forward to was former Rue Morgue magazine editor Jovanka Vuckovic’s debut film The Captured Bird and it did not disappoint.  With stunning visuals and a fantastically grotesque creature designed by Paul Jones, Vuckovic shows great potential as a filmmaker.

Skyler Wexler in The Captured Bird

One of the longer offerings was the Swedish zombie tale The Unliving, which I really dug.  It immediately immersed me in its universe by showing blue collar workers of an undead apocalypse functioning day to day.  There was so much material squeezed into its twenty-eight minute running time, that I really kind of wished it was a feature.

It's a living.

I was very happy to see a former ABC’s of Death contest entry show up onscreen.  Adjust Tracking aka T is for Tracking was one of the best offerings of the hundred-and-seventy-one and am glad to see it living on. Brimming with VHS era nostalgia, it should be no surprise to THS readers that I am a big fan of it.

Speaking of contest entries, there were also two solid Canadian films representing Bloodshots, the 48-hour-film challenge out of BC.  The first was Requiem For a C.H.U.D, which had remarkable creature effects and several great gore beats – for a normal production, let alone a timed one! – and the second was Children Of The Dark which was kind of like The Road with zombies.

Requiem for a C.H.U.D.

Nicolas Bacon’s film Odette was also very entertaining.  I found the dialogue to be crisp and the ending is that which I’m sure everyone watching is hoping for.

But, nothing, NOTHING was better than Bobby Yeah. I’d been hearing about this short for sometime now, but I wasn’t prepared for just how bizarre, how batshit loco it was.  The amount of imagination on display from UK animator Robert Morgan was astounding, as was the amount of expression he got from his puppeted subjects.  Every subsequent creature that popped up had me reeling with just how one would even conceive such things.  Morgan clearly functions on another level than the rest of us.

In fact, there were many strong animated shorts in the programme, including the darkly beautiful Black Doll, √úlo Pikkov’s Body Memory and Moxie from the creator of a past favourite of mine, Black Dog’s Progress.

All of these shorts made the event a successful endeavour, but overall, four-and-a-half hours in the dead of night was a bit much I’d say. It was an admirable experiment, but I wager a really solid two-hour programme would be a better way to go. Well, that and not asking everyone to “get up and dance” at 3 a.m.


Anonymous said...

Here's my tangental Bloor Cinema story. I can't say I go there much, or have been there for years, but I do remember is as being a repository theatre when it was harder to come by places that showed older films, and before widepspread DVD reissues.

Back when I was in high school I enjoyed Kubrick movies and took the chance to see the Shining on big screen, as the Bloor was running it that week.

In my semi dyslexic way, I wound up on Dundas instead of Bloor and didn't find the theatre. I tried stopping in a convenience store to get directions, and what I think I ended up asking for was directions to a porno theatre from gauging their reactions. Back then it made no sense for someone to be looking for a rerun movie in the middle of the night, and the only thing someone could be looking for in the middle of a rainy night in the wrong side of town was smut.

FWIW, the Shining looked about ten times better on screen than it did on VHS, when I eventually realized I was in a different part of downtown.

Jay Clarke said...

Thanks for the story! Yeah, The Bloor was recently bought by Hot Docs, so now it plays 95% docs instead of repertory unfortunately.

The theatre you were most likely being directed to was The Metro, which is about five blocks west of The Bloor.

Agreed, all Kubrick is best viewed on the big screen.