POPCORN FRIGHTS: 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.

I watched The Sound at Popcorn Frights.

GENREBAST FILM FESTIVAL: Gouge Away (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Gouge Away (2022): Tony the Stamper (co-writer Matthew Ritacco) uncovers a nasty secret when his mentor Stanley Pedious (Jacob Trussell) goes missing as a hazardous narcotic gas is unleashed upon the streets of the city. That’s a basic description for a movie that goes absolutely wild and eventually becomes nearly indescribable and I’m using that as a compliment.

Directed and co-written (with Ritacco) by Jeff Frumess, Gouge Away is the follow-up to Romero’s Distress and started life as another film, Wash Away. That movie also had Stanley, but in this story he was a therapist given the opportunity to get revenge against a former nemesis who ruined his life.

This movie is a real journey through whippets and stronger inhalants, as well as a neo-noir underground and yoga breathing, if that makes sense and I think it does. It’s definitely something different and works hard to create its own universe that you can’t help but sit back and watch unfold.

You can learn more at the official Facebook page.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: In the Shadow of God (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

In the Shadow of God (2022): Rachel (Sara Canning) has returned home after the death of her father and discovers that there may be something supernatural under the trap door inside their home.

Directed and written by Brian Sepanzyk, In the Shadow of God transcends its 18 minute runtime and low budget to deliver a film that could easily surpass so many modern horror films. There’s a real sense of absolute dread in this, as well as the rapidly deteroriating vision of her father on the series of videotapes that she watches. He didn’t just have a heart attack; his fingers were bruised and torn from what looks like an attempt to escape something with the house. Now, everyone that comes near it is overwhelmed by visions that can only be ended with death.

I really think this could be a full-length but if this is all we get, it’s still pretty great.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Lily’s Mirror (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Lily’s Mirror (2022): I loved every single minute of this short and it definitely deserves to be a full-length movie.

Lily (Linnea Frye, who directed and wrote this with Adam Pinney) has had a major setback. While on a dinner date, a man named Bart (Matt Horgan) uses a hatchet to chop off her hand. He calls for the bill and leaves her with the check, which is covered in blood. No one cares, which is a major theme of this movie, and she has to deal with her loss with only the help of Dr. Taylor (Mary Kraft) who gives her a therapeutic mirror box that will get her past the phantom pain of losing her appendage.

However, when Lily uses the mirror box, she discovers that it allows her to transform a photo of slain news anchor Maria Estando Cortez (Viviana Chavez) and help her prove that her co-anchor Tim Davis (Jamie Moore) has been murdering female news anchors for years.

This movie exists in its own world with its own rules, a place at once brighter and darker than our own, yet one that has the same issue with the same men getting away with the same crimes. Yet the end promises that Davis will soon be on the hand of some justice. Closure is fine; crushing your enemy feels so much better.

You can learn more about the movie at the official site.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: The Trunk (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

The Trunk (2022): A father and daughter — Marco and Cass (Craig Monk and Ashleigh Morrison) — have found an old trunk covered with chains in the woods. They wonder what’s inside and how much money they can make from what’s inside, but perhaps when you find a chained-up chest buried in the mud you should just leave it there.

Directed and written by Travis Laidlaw, this is a film that builds to its inevitable gory and effects-filled conclusion. It’s a very simple story, yet incredibly well-told and could be the start of a much longer movie that could explore these characters more. I loved the art direction of the poster and how the credits run backward at the end, too. Definitely worth a watch.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: I’m Losing You (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

I’m Losing You (2022): An alcoholic woman (Koko Marshall) — seen as she uses her computer and through the lends of Facetime and other apps — seeks the comfort of strangers on a video chat website. She’s lost her infant daughter, her parents (Kent Moran and Pearls Daily) keep calling and she’s going to be late for her AA meeting. But she’s close to the edge and even the self-help meditations (Natasha Lyonne is the voice) aren’t keeping her together. And then she meets someone (Catharine Daddario) very familiar on the other side of the computer.

Directed by Courtney and Mark Sposato and written by Courtney, this film uses its narrative technique of remaining online, as well as the visuals it shows, to the fullest. It allows you to get to know so much of its lead and learn how she got to this point. As to whether or not she escapes, the film doesn’t give any easy answers.

You can learn more on the film’s production site.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Get Out of There (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Get Out of There (2022): The Barber Brothers also made another short I’ve seen recently, Specter of Weeping Hill, and Get Out of There has the same gorgeous attention to look and detail.

After narrowly making it alive out of a fall down a hillside, Officer Jim Soul (Nathaniel Barber) can’t get back on his feet. Yet he knows that he’s not alone in the woods and only has his radio and dispatcher Maggie (Breanne Solis) for help.

This seems like part of a much larger story but it’s hard to complain when it’s so well made. I’d love to see where else the brothers go, as I’ve loved the first two shorts that I’ve seen from them.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Fame Fatale (2021)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Fame Fatale (2021): Michael (Michael James Daly, who also co-wrote this film with director Michelle Iannantuono and story consultant Maddox Julien Slide) has been acting for twenty years and trying to get his break. The role he’d been so hopeful to get has been awarded to someone else, so he heads off to a horror movie convention to try and get his mind off the loss.

The director said, “Michael and I have both spent a lot of time on the film circuit, and we’ve seen a LOT of indie horror movies. And while gay characters are certainly becoming more prominent in horror films, they are still often the first to be victimized, or they are villainized due to their sexuality. Often, their sexuality is their singular character trait that defines and motivates them – which is simply not a reflection of reality. On top of that, very frequently heterosexual actors are hired to play gay roles, making the pool of opportunity even smaller for struggling LGBT performers.

We wanted to create a horror film that stars a gay character, played by a gay actor, who is well-rounded, funny, and sympathetic. His identity is core to his portrayal, but his character is not motivated by it.”

With a strange interaction with Halloween Kills actor Michael Smallwood and an indie filmmaker panel that nearly destroys whatever hope for a career that Michael has, Fame Fatale does a great job at showing just how clique-ish the so-called horror fam of conventions can be. Yet there are still individuals that want to make it better, that know how to reach out to one another and not gatekeep. There’s still a reason to love fandom and push yourself to want to be a creator.

I really loved how Fame Fatale used VHS tracking to denote dream sequences and get inside the head of its lead. It made me consider the indie films that end up on the site and consider the lives and careers of every actor and crew member, no matter how small.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Our First Priority (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Our First Priority (2022): Directed and written by Ariel Baska, this short uses the lens of a horror movie to tell some truths about dealing with chronic illness. Hannah (Violet Gotcher) has to have a checkup and the doctor (Benjamin Frankenberg) only has so much time to spend with her — he’s reminded that he has another patient waiting more than a few times — and he can’t believe that she has such a strange list of medical issues. His only job is to check the boxes on his paperwork and move on to the next person.

But Hannah is followed by her adult self or guardian angel (Jamie Kirsten Howard) who will make this doctor pay for the way she was treated.

Baska dedicated this movie “to all the loved ones we’ve lost to medical bias” and started it while she was getting ready to receive brain surgery, referring to herself and her issues as a “medical unicorn.”

While quick and to the point, Our First Priority made me consider how every patient is treated and how when medical treatment is encouraged to add just one more minute of care to each patient exactly how short of time that is.

GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: Buzzkill (2022)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

Buzzkill (2022): Let me tell you, when you start your animated short off with a logo that says Canon Pictures and looks like Cannon Films, I’m going to love what comes next.

That said, it’s easy to love this movie, which is the story of Becky (Kelly McCormack, who is Jess McCready in the A League of Their Own Series) and Rick (Peter Ahern, also the director and writer), who return to her house after a date and their moment of romance is interrupted by an insect crawling out of her eyeball.

The animation is gorgeous, the story is amusing and I just loved the way that it all pays off. Buzzkill gets in more gross-out and laugh-out-loud moments in its short running time than most movies get in two hours.