ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Shorts take three

Here are some more shorts from the Another Hole In the Head Film Festival.

Ringworms (2022): A sinister cult looks to gain occult power through cursed worms and find the perfect host within Abbie, a young woman with commitment issues hours away from receiving a marriage proposal from the boyfriend she doesn’t even think she likes. Faye Nightingale, who plays the lead, is absolutely supercharged awesomeness; so is the direction by Will Lee. A splatter relationship movie that ends with a double blast of garbage disposal and black vomit mania, then topped by a head graphically splitting open to reveal a hand? Oh man — I loved every moment. I want more. So much more.

The Sound (2022): Two years ago, Lily (Sabrina Stull) experienced an incident that caused her to spontaneously start bleeding and lose her hearing. Now, two years later, she attempts to relax with her sister Alison (Emree Franklin, War of the Worlds: Annihilation) but worries that the strange phenomena that impacted has come back.

The Sound is a quick film that has some really well-done camera work and builds suspense nicely, even if it doesn’t let you in all that much on what’s happening. That said, the ending is definitely something and I’d like to know even more of what’s going on.

Directed by Jason-Christopher Mayer (who edited the films American ExorcismThe Doll and Coven; he also did “The Devil You Know” video for L.A. Guns) and written by Mayer and Emree Franklin (she was also in War of the Worlds: Annihilation) from a story by Gage Golightly, this short makes the most of its locations, runtime and budget, leaving you begging for just a little bit more.

Spell on You (2021): Salomé is ten years old and has a wart on her nose. This — and the way her father treats her — leads to her being disgusted by her own reflection. At night, she spies on her parents through the keyhole. And there’s weirdness all around her. I was surprised — I should have studied that English title as this was originally called La Verrue which means the wart and doesn’t spell it out — to discover that Salomé is destined to be a witch and escape the pain of her childhood, the ways that her father treats her — shoving her from his embrace and screaming that she’s infectious with her wart — and embracing who she is truly meant to be. Director Sarah Lasry has created a gorgeous looking film that stands between our real world and the world of the occult.

While Mortals Sleep (2022): Susan’s (Carie Kawa) has had her career as a cold case writer fall apart, so she’s hiding out at a friend’s remote vacation house. When she gets there, she meets Eddy (Will Brill) and Abby (Grace Morrison). He’s digging sludge out of the backyard; she makes a spot of tea a strange and not altogether pleasant affair. They’re the caretakers of the home, or so they say, but then Susan hears a baby cry a room away.

Trust me, that’s no normal baby.

Director and writer Alex Fofonoff may only have two other sorts on his resume, but this tense and well-acted piece points to him as a person of interest. If this was longer — it totally could be — it would be a movie plenty of people were talking about.

Alchemy (2016): Director Brandon Polanco said of this film, “The title, Alchemy symbolizes a cinematic concept designed to give a person who watches this film his or her own experiential transformation. We want our audience to ask themselves how they see the world and their own reality. There is a magical aspect to our film that reflects the viewer’s own personal experiences as they engage with our narrative journey. The film is not meant to be a piece of realism. Through sound and emphasizing color in the production design, we’ve created a visceral and symbolic film to help broaden the audience’s interpretation about the reality of life around us.”

Ian Kevin Scott plays a man who starts with a job interview and ends up discovering a place between multiple worlds, both familiar and otherworldly, exciting and terrifying. It’s really gorgeous and actually quite mind expanding.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Swallowed (2022)

Directed and written by Carter Smith, Swallowed starts with the last night together of friends Benjamin (Cooper Koch) and Dom (Jose Colon). Benjamin is leaving for California to be a porn star and Don is convinced he’ll forget him and their friendship when he’s gone. To make sure his friend has enough money — he doesn’t trust the porn company who promises to pay for everything — Dom makes a stop to set up a drug run that’ll get his friend some money.

Except that Alice (Jena Malone), who they are to get the shipment from, seems off. The drugs seem weird, having to be kept at a specific temperature. And swallowed, because they need to cross the border to Canada with them. They try to back out, she sticks a gun to their head and the decision has been made.

Whatever is now inside their bodies is making Dom fall into a state of pain mixed with pleasure. The platonic love between two men, gay and straight, is tested in this film and along the way, they deal with deadly situations. And that’s before they meet the dangerous crime boss on the other side of this adventure, playing with snarling menace by Mark Patton.

Shot often in close up, which jams up the tension, director and writer Carter Smith has made a story that can be taken as survival or body horror, depending on the time of the story, but the idea that a drug that might be a living thing going inside — and needing to be pulled outside — of your body is beyond upsetting. This is a movie that really gets into your head and I want Smith to keep making more personal and smaller films like this other than the only of his movies I’ve seen, the mainstream horror movie The Ruins.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Regicide (2022)

Regicide was inspired by The Thing, Night of the Living Dead and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Directed and written by Daniel McLeod, it was shot in nine straight days, almost entirely in and around an abandoned farmhouse with no running water. How rough was it? A single portable toilet was brought to the set for the entire cast and crew.

Daniel (Steve Kasan), Caleb (Michael Masurkevitch), Seth (Kevin Reitzel), Jamie (Nicole Marie McCafferty), Ruth (Esther Rogers) and Sandra (Ashley Sametz) are trying to start their lives over as their work in a remote farm. But when they’re confronted by The Stranger (Mark Starratt), they come face to face with an entirely new terror that they may not survive.

Regicide has an interesting take on science fiction horror and I love how the cast and crew came together in difficult circumstances to make something different.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Dickhead! (2022)

When his daughter is threatened by kidnappers, a deadbeat detective (Joseph Graham) sets out to investigate a cryptic note left behind, one that finds him investigating a case that involves time, space and a kitchen sink. Directed by Justin Perry (Nothing Really Happens), who co-wrote it with Amy Anderson — who also plays Jane — this movie is quite simply a ton of fun. Setting itself as a time, teleporting or magic kind of thing, this creates a Schrödinger’s cat situation out of that strange note and messages delivered to people saying things like “Don’t buy a sword.”

It’s strange in all the best of ways and moves at a rapid clip that never gets tired or plain. In fact, I kind of want to watch it again right now.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: The Profane Exhibit (2013)

This film started when producer Amanda L. Manuel approached director Michael Todd Schneider to direct her first short film, which is the chapter “Manna” in this movie. Manuel had other story concepts and brought on other directors, including a few who did not appear in the final movie like Richard Stanley (who supposedly was never part of this), Andrey Iskanov (whose segment was complete but needed new sound and some new footage which was too expensive to go to Russia for) and José Mojica Marins (who left the project).

After years of this movie getting press, it finally debuted in August of 2022. There were screenings of some parts of it and the reports were that the film was no good. Yet nine years later, here it finally is.

The film begins in a Paris nightclub that houses a secret society and The Room of Souls, a private gathering place for the world’s richest and most evil people. Madame Sabatier allows each of them to tell a story and attempt to impress one another.

The first segment is “Mother May I,” directed by Anthony DiBlasi, has Sister Sylvia abusing the girls in her halfway house for sins both real and imagianry.

Yoshihiro Nishimura (Meatball MachineKyûketsu Shôjo tai Shôjo Furanken) brings the next movement, which is entitled “The Hell-Chef” and is a quick cut artistic tale of two young Japanese women eviscerating and devouring a man. It’s quick, to the point and well-made, even if there’s no rhyme or reason, which is the point one figures.

The third chapter is “Basement,” directed by Uwe Boll. This is based on the Josef Fritzel case, which was also made into a documentary, Monster: The Josef Fritzl Story. It’s short and well-made, shockingly among the best of the entire film. That said, if you want to watch Clint Howard have sex with his character’s daughter, well…this movie may just be for you.

It’s followed by the part I was most excited about, “Bridge,” directed by Ruggero Deodato. Sadly, it’s only three minutes long and just when it seems like it has some steam, it quickly ends.

Marian Dora, which is a pseudonym for an anonymous German creative, contributes “Mors in Tabula,” which is the same title as another Dora short. This one has a boy being operated on while his father helps the surgeon in a sequence that shows plenty of surgical nightmares over an Aryan rally soundtrack. There’s no real story, just shocks, which is pretty much the Grand Guignol feel of this entire enterprise.

“Tophet Quorom” is directed by Sergio Stivaletti (Italian special effects master and the director of The Wax Mask). It’s pretty wild and is has some incredible gore, like a jaw being ripped off, a practical werewolf transformation and infant sacrifice. Now, as you can see from that description, this tale of a woman looking for the missing twin baby she’s just given birth to might not be for everyone — again, a running theme.

Ryan Nicholson (GutterballsHanger) seems like the perfect person to be part of this and his segment “Goodwife,” in which a woman learns her husband is a killer and joins him in his depravity, might be the limit for some people. There’s no humor in this, just shock upon shock, the kind of madness that seems like someone working out more than just a horror film if it wasn’t so well shot. Apply liberally every trigger warning ever.

I loved Nacho Vigalondo’s Timecrimes, so I was excited for his segment “Sins of the Fathers.” A son has recreated the room he grew up in to place his elderly father into the same mindset he was in while the man abused him. It’s an intriguing idea that could make up its own film.

“Manna,” directed by Michael Todd Schneider goes from BDSM club to that most unimaginable — and impossible of fetishes, vore. That means that someone gets off from being consumed and what follows is a man being treated like he’s the Old Country Buffet for an entire room of latex clad women who break him down and make a meal of him.

“Amouche Bouche” is directed by Jeremy Kasten (The Attic Expeditions) and shows more human meat being prepared and eaten, which seems like how this movie should finish.

This is a movie made for extreme horror fans featuring some of their favorite directors. As such, people who think Hollywood horror is disgusting should probably stay home or keep this out of their streaming device. For those with a sicker bent — and I say that lovingly but also you never get to play with my dog — this is for you.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: TRAP (2022)

Director and writer Anthont Edward Curry told the Asbury Park Press, ““I always felt that TRAP was a story that needed to be told,” Curry said. “It was a movie that found itself over years of production because it was constantly morphing — because the real-life characters, they were evolving before my eyes. So I was constantly re-writing. Every day I was changing because the characters are changing in front of me.”

The title means The Real Asbury Park and it’s a story that Curry originally wrote when he was 17. How true to life is the film? Curry made national press when a video confession from former Neptune High School classmate Liam McAtasney was secretly recorded in 2017 was a key piece of evidence leading to McAtasney being found guilty of murder.

According to the New York Post, “In December 2016, artist Sarah Stern, 19, went missing and her car was found abandoned on a bridge in Belmar, NJ. In the aftermath of her disappearance, Curry remembered his high school friend Liam McAtasney, who was close with Stern, pitching an idea for a movie in which he killed a girl. He came to the shocking realization that this wasn’t a tale that simply lived in his friend’s imagination — and he went to the police, who helped him set up a sting. Curry filmed McAtasney’s chilling confession — leading to his conviction and a life sentence.”

With a cast made up of some actors, some real street people and the director himself, TRAP tells the story of a young criminal about to face life in prison and the dark path that got him there. It’s really uncompromising and if it feels lived in, obviously it is. It might be playing in this festival surrounded by horror genre films, but it truly might be one of the more frightening movies playing.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Pig Killer (2022)

Robert William Pickton is a Vancouver-born serial killer and former pig farmer who may be the most prolific serial killer in Canadian history. He left a butcher’s apprenticeship to begin working full-time at his family’s pig farm and eventually inherited it. He started killing in the early 80s and may have killed as many as 49 women before he was arrested in 2002.

Why did he become a killer? One theory is that he was strangely devoted to his mother Louise despite her loving the pigs more than he and his brother David, sending them to school in clothes that smelled of pig feces. Once their parents died, the brothers stopped worrying about the farm and more about their charity, the Piggy Palace Good Times Society, which really was just a front for raves and parties in a converted slaughterhouse that were filled with Hells Angels and sex workers.

In 1997, he was charged with the attempted murder of Wendy Lynn Eistetter, stabbing her multiple times before she could get the knife off of him. He was eventually cleared of charges. The police started watching him at this point, noticing that some women never came back from the farm. Today, they think that he may have fed their bodies to his pigs or worse ground them up and sold them to the public.

He wasn’t convicted of first-degree murder — I mean, the cops found a gun that had a dildo with a hole in it so he could literally shoot a cock gun and videotape testimony of Robert talking about injecting washer fluid into women — but was convicted for second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for 25 years. This was the longest possible sentence for second-degree murder under Canadian law at the time he was sentenced. Canadian courts also decided not to charge him for the other murders and stayed his case.

Pig Killer has Jake Busey as Willy and Lew Temple as his brother David. We meet Willy as he unwinds at a bar, then picks up an Asian hooker (Bai Ling!?!), kills her and then has sex with her. The film does not pull a single punch, including showing male members but not in any way that anyone normal could be turned on by. While he’s doing this evil deed, he imagines his mother (Ginger Lynn Allen) berating him.

Seriously, if the title and that intro and the above paragraph didn’t stop you, turn back and run.

Two cops, Oppal (Michael Paré) and Scneer (Robert Rhine) are on the trail of this serial killer but can’t connect the dots. While they’re searching, Willy is planning a big party and also killing women left and right, ending up on a colision course with Wendy (Kate Patel), a runaway who has already overdosed, barely survived and left her family for the streets.

Busey is really great in this, creating a character that is in no way sympathetic but is riveting to watch. However, this movie in no way flinches from the violence of this story, whether that means feeding bodies to Willy’s prize pig Balthazar or injecting a victim in the eye with cleaning fluid while assaulting her from behind in a scene that had to make Fulci try to sit up straight in his grave and say, “Wow. Really?”

I haven’t had to take a shower after watching a movie in some time, so this is some kind of feat. Instead of the true crime films that we can just walk away from and not consider the horrors that have been committed, this shoves your face in the mud and blood and pus and starts stomping on it.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Logger (2022)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joseph Perry writes for the film websites Gruesome Magazine, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel and Diabolique Magazine; for the film magazines Phantom of the Movies’ VideoScope and Drive-In Asylum; and for the pop culture websites When It Was Cool and Uphill Both Ways. He is also one of the hosts of When It Was Cool’s exclusive Uphill Both Ways podcast and can occasionally be heard as a cohost on Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror: The Classic Era podcast.

In the mood for a highly visual, mind-twisting horror film that is short on dialogue and leaves viewers plenty on which to mull over? Then look no further than writer/director Steffen Geypen’s Belgian shocker logger.

Based on Jean de la Fontaine’s 1668 fable “Death and the Logger,” Geypen’s film opens with a logger (Pieter Piron) stumbling across a mutilated body in the forest, which makes him catatonic on the spot. A forester (Jurgen Delnaet) and doctor (Maya Sannen) investigate, a jogger (Mil Sinaeve) crosses their path, and Death (Mona Lahousse) comes calling.

Geypen shows the unfolding events from different perspectives, some of them free of or short on dialogue, leaving viewers to chew on the surreal occurrences and piece together what’s happening. The visuals range from gorgeous to graphic and unsettling — the latter includes some extreme close-ups of bloodletting — all captured marvelously by cinematographer Jens Vanysacker.

Aficionados of strange cinema — including those with a fondness for the work of David Lynch, Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel, and the like — and other adventurous viewers will find plenty to be keen on here. logger is a dark fable that unsettles and mystifies, and it is bound to stick with viewers long after it finishes.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Yuzo the Biggest Battle In Tokyo (2022)

Tokusatsu Kigeki Ooki Yuuzou: Jinsei saidai no kessen presents a strange situation rooted in the real world yet taken into the cinematic place of the kaiju: a monster is using the COVID-19 pandemic to take over Tokyo while only one man, the recently downsized Yuzo Ooki can save the world. Yet first he has to figure out his new office, filled with a furry dog person, a garbage thief, a gambling salaryman, a man who would rather be a fitness instructor than work in an office and a horrible boss. And oh yeah, his girlfriend has just dumped him.

The real joy of this movie is that the actual monster — and the alien drama that brings it here — are less important to the story than Yuzo overcoming the human drama that we all have to face, such as making new friends, reinventing your life after failing at a job and keeping one’s happiness even when it seems impossible. Dressing up like Bruce Lee? Well, that can help.

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.

ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL 2022: Alchemy of the Spirit (2022)

Director and writer Steve Balderson has created quite a story here. Aging artist Oliver (Xander Berkeley) wakes up next to his wife Evelyn (Sarah Clarke), ho has died in her sleep, and refuses tot live a life without her. He keeps her body in the bathtub, filled with ice, trying to keep her looking as she did in life. At the same time, her spirit continues speaking with him for just five days before passing to whatever comes after our world. Oh yes — he’s also been given the greatest art commission of his life by his agent Alex (Mink Stole, wow!) and must continue to create art while going through the greatest change of his life.

A film of magical realism that plays with time, sound, light and color to attempt to share an emotion and mental space that is unshareable, Alchemy of the Spirit was a rough watch — I mean this in a good way — as I try to navigate the loss of my father. Life is unlike it ever was and while the common and rote moments of it never stop, the joys of it seem muted somehow, the colors much more simplistic. I hope this can change soon and that I can take these moments of art and use them to grow and change. You’ll always miss someone. But can you honor them by creating in their missing space?

This movie was part of the Another Hole in the Head film festival, which provides a unique vehicle for independent cinema. This year’s festival takes place from December 1st – December 18th, 2022. Screenings and performances will take place at the historic Roxie Cinema, 4 Star Theatre and Stage Werks in San Francisco, CA. It will also take place On Demand on Eventive and live on Zoom for those who can not attend the live screenings. You can learn more about how to attend or watch the festival live on their Eventlive site. You can also keep up with all of my AHITH film watches with this Letterboxd list.