Directed By: Mathew Perry and Stephen Zimmer
On occasion, we get the opportunity to check out some indie films here at CineGeek, usually of the horror genre. A lot of the most exciting innovations in the horror genre happen either in foreign films or in independent releases so anytime we receive a new indie horror film, we’re always excited to pop it in the DVD player.
Many filmmakers don’t ever give the art of making a short film a shot. They figure that there’s nothing to be done with a short film after it has played at film festivals but that’s not necessarily the case. With a little tenacity, a filmmaker can still find a way to get their short film out to the masses. In the 70’s and 80’s, anthology films were pretty common but there hasn’t been a great one in a really long time. Now a new series of films called “Indie Movie Masters” is bringing back the anthology film and offering filmmakers the opportunity to get their short films out to the world.
Indie Movie Masters: Festival of Horrors Volume 1 features two short films coming from radically different places in style and story offering a nice variety for this first installment. The first film titled Murderer is a stylistic take on a Tales from the Darkside type of story. A serial killer is incarcerated and decides to take his own life only to find that supernatural elements may not allow him to succeed. The film is well acted and as I said highly stylized.
The second film titled The Sirens a short about a group of guys that leave the wives at home for a night of partying. They make one mistake though. They decide to call up Persephone’s Escort Service and these girls offer up more than the guys could ever have expected. This one falls more in line with the classic shorts of Creepshow, offering an eclectic cast and some great horror moments.
Both films offer up the goods to horror fans and they’re straight from the filmmakers without all of the studio filtering. Stephen Zimmer, director of The Sirens previously brought us Shadow’s Light and with this short, he continues his unique take on the horror genre.
This is a direct-to-DVD release and it was completely created independently, so don’t expect any Hollywood actors or budgets here. Both of these films are down and dirty guerilla filmmaking. With that said, the lighting and editing of both shorts is solid and the special effects are quite good. Everything the hardcore horror fan wants from a horror film is here and then some.
Both films are shot on video and stylistically they look radically different. Both films did however take the best advantage of the video medium by lighting their films so that the contrast and detail is solid throughout. Colors were just a little washed out in Sirens but that’s a typical situation with projects shot on video. Both films are free of any major compression artifacts and digital edge enhancement.
The audio presentation here is fairly basic but dialogue, score, and effects all sound fine and are well mixed. Neither film is particularly immersive within a home theater environment but the audio is never a detractor during viewing of the films. It’s basic, but it gets the job done.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
This single disc release comes packaged in a standard amaray case with great retro artwork. The cover art is reminiscent of the 80’s films I mentioned earlier; Creepshow and Tales from the Darkside.
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot on the disc in the way of extras. There are some some storyboards, photo galleries, and trailers and that’s about it.
This first installment of Indie Movie Masters: Festival of Horrors offers two tales of the macabre that hit all of the beats that we horror fans want.
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10
The Movie 8.5/10
The Video 7.5
The Audio 7
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8/10