Chattanooga Film Festival: High Horse (2022)

“There’s a room where the light won’t find you. Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down. When they do, I’ll be right behind you.”

Writers, directors and stars Addie Doyle — who plays Bob — and Lee Hurst — who plays Joe — have survived the end of the world only to battle over who rules the world, whatever is left of it, and then one of the last living mice on Earth gets killed and the two fight it out.

Basically, if our current apocalypse has taught me anything, the armageddon in this movie is much more likely than anything in Mad Max. 

I really liked how this all came together. It took me a bit of time to get on board, but by the end, I wanted this to be a much longer film.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Birdwatching (2021)

By a stream in the woods that exists between between worlds, two women — played by Amanda Seyfried and Sharon Washington — meet one another as they stand ankle deep in the water. It is a time of letting go of where they have been and discovering the world that is to come in this meditative and beautiful short film.

Directed by Samantha Soule and written by Daniel Talbott, who also worked on the upcoming films Midday Black Midnight Blue and Ain’t It Though together, this was a nice moment of zen amongst the normal blood and sleaze that runs in this home theater.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Hell Hole (2022)

This is not Hellhole, a movie where Ray Sharkey and Mary Woronov menace poor Judy Landers.

Nor is it “It’s better in a hell hole. You know where you stand in a hell hole. Folks lend a hand in a hell hole. Girl, get me back to my hell hole.” in the words of Spinal Tap.

Instead, it’s a blue collar guy who just happens to be guarding the gate to Hell screwing up royally and cracking the doorway to Satan’s Hollow and a big bad smoke cloud-looking hundred-some-odd foot high demon busting through and wanting to stomp on his work truck.

I don’t know where this came from but I want to live there.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Every Time We Meet for Ice Cream Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes (2022)

Based on the Carlton Mellick III novel Every Time We Meet at the Dairy Queen, Your Whole Fucking Face Explodes, this movie lives up to its title because there’s a cute boy named Ethan and there’s a cute girl with strange eyes and spiders in her hair and they go on a cute date and then her face fucking explodes. It lives up to the title and then some.

This whole movie is the sweetest of ice cream, jet age Americana and Disney Channel-looking teenage daydream glitter-coated make your heart flutter romcom and then, you know, faces fucking explode.

There aren’t enough stars to rate this movie.

Plus: Anthony Cousins, who directed and wrote this, also made “The Night He Came Back Again! Part IV: The Final Kill” in the near-perfect Scare Package.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

 

Chattanooga Film Festival: A New Day (Brought to You By Horizon Research Systems) (2022)

Horizon Research System has changed the world.

And they’re sorry for that.

In my advertising life, I’ve had to make corporate videos — one for Snausages had a client say the most amazing phrase I’ve ever heard in my career, “You’ll use Smashmouth in the video and you’ll fucking like it!” followed by the phone getting slammed like a cartoon bad guy — and I’ve had to make apology statements, so this stock footage driven short, brought to you by Horizon Research Systems, who wants to help you achieve the life of your dreams as well as the life you deserve feels like something I’ve had to make. Like the thank you for working for us videos with Starship’s”We Built This City” or the new year kickoff video about all the new oceans ahead that started with the Titanic getting launched and we couldn’t talk any of the creative directors out of it or explain to them why it was a bad idea.

This, however, is a very good idea.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Charon (2022)

Man, this movie looks gorgeous, as an astronaut drifts through space in a ruined spaceship, sifting through both space and memory in order to better understand his place in the universe. It’s all imagery with words over top, a lament for a dead world, achieving near poetry in both visual and audio form.

Director and writer Casey T. Malone has made nearly twenty projects in the last ten years; this is the first that I have seen but I am now hunting down the rest. I also love that the character in the story is called The Space Man. His voice is from Mario Andre Alberts and it’s perfection to these ears.

You can see more of Malone’s work here.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Take Him Down (2021)

A super soldier that in no way is just a ripoff of the Winter Soldier and a cybernetically-enhanced and mech armored bear are on a mission to save the world, but things get screwed up when their communication game isn’t up to their gun shooting and head ripping off abilities.

This was all made in Unreal Engine and looks just like a video game, but I kept waiting for the joke and…well, maybe that was the joke. It seems like it could be something great and then, well…

Maybe there’s something more?

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Pretty Pickle (2022)

Samuel (Brennan Urbi) is getting closer to his girlfriend Samantha (Whitney Masters). And in between all the great sex — she’s GGG for more than even he may be ready for — he wonders what she’s all about. I mean, we all have our strange little things and part of the new relationship journey is discovering and living with those quirks. So after Samuel hacks her iPhone by getting her Netflix password, he starts looking through her private photos. Mostly, it’s photos of Larry the cat (played by a cat named Captain Pancakes, who has his own IMDB, Facebook and web pages). But then he finds something else.

Director and writer Jim Vendiola has made something strange and wonderful here. This is something I’ve never had happen to me and I thought I had truly seen it all. I guess now I have. Wow — you can still be shocked.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Cruise (2022)

I worked in a survey research telemarketing place before I got into advertising and it’s the kind of job that still gives me nightmares. We had a set script that we had to follow, a mysterious room had people listening to us and you didn’t even get to call the number. It would just ring, you’d ask someone if they got their sample of laundry detergent, then they would call you an asshole for ten seconds, then you’d start all over again for ten hours at a time. Often, one of those mystery people would tell you that you were off script and take over and show you how. The worst was if you made a human connection at any point, they would terminate your call. I still wake up thinking that I’m late for my job there, a room of cubicles and no windows and people plugged into headsets as blood for the machine.

Cruise, directed and written by Samuel Rudykoff, finds telemarketer after telemarketer trying to sell a cruise and failure means death.

These days, when scam likely comes up on my phone, I don’t get mad or rude to the people on the other line. I was once them. It was not fun. And, as this movie will show you, you may end up getting them shot right in the head.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.

Chattanooga Film Festival: Break Any Spell (2021)

Break Any Spell impacted me more than nearly any other film I’ve watched at Chattanooga, as it made me think about the deteriorating mental condition of my father and how lost we become thanks to dementia and Alzheimer’s and just plain age.

Directed by Anton Jøsef, who co-wrote the film with Lisi Purr, some will watch this and laugh at the Live Action Role Playing (LARP) that the heroine falls in love with, but it seems like that’s her tether to keep her going in the world, as her mother begins to disappear and become someone else due to early stage Alzheimer’s.

The moment when the magic spell she’s been saving and all the work of her team means nothing in the face of a big man from out of nowhere with a sword? That’s life. That’s exactly how this life feels.

This movie feels like it needs more, that it could be part of a longer tale, but for what it is now, it is supremely powerful.

The Chattanooga Film Fest ends tomorrow at 11:59 PM EDT. To get a Last Gasp Pass for just $32, visit the official site now.