Concert/Film/TV Reviews

ATL Horror Film Festival 2021 Day 1: Animated Trauma, Body Gore and Merciless Wolves

Recap of the first day of the Atlanta Horror Film Festival


For those who like their horror gross and sticky, this was the block for you.

Don’t Touch (Craig Low, USA)

The world would be a much better place if there were dire consequences for touching someone else’s laundry. This short handles that perfectly by showing us how a monster living in an apartment’s communal laundry room handles laundry violators. Considering the subject, this one doesn’t take itself too seriously and makes great use of lively colors and a cool monster reveal.

Barnacle Face (Jean David Le Goullon, Australia)

While you can certainly view this as a teen angst short about the anxieties of body changes, let’s face it — we all get super self-conscious about face blemishes like pimples. You feel like everyone is staring right at it. In this short, the poor kid actually has a living barnacle growing out of his face (on his birthday no less). Love the special effects here. Word to wise — never pop it!

$700+ (Tom Aspy, USA)

Rent’s late, no options on the table — how far would you go for money? An Eastern European girl recently moved to LA answers a strange flyer and finds herself playing cleanup to a murderous organization. Lots of potential here for a full-length feature and you’re left wanting more.

Minimally Invasive (Adam Harvey, New Zealand)

A routine operation becomes anything but when an obscenely large parasite emerges from the conscious but drugged patient. Could this all be a drugged-induced operation dream from patient? Possibly, but all that blood splatter tells me different.

Let’s All Go To the Lobby! (Nolan Barth, USA)

Always leave the cursed films alone. The well-known cartoon characters from the famous lobby jingle come to life as bloodthirsty monsters intent on punishing two unsuspecting movie theater workers. Why are the puppets upset? We’ve abandoned them during the pandemic. I’ve seen these characters used in other shorts but never in a “cursed film” format, so that was a cool innovation. The puppets look menacing enough during a few bloody exchanges to still take the threat seriously amongst all the humor.

Teratoma (Jano Pita, Spain)

If you’re looking to have your mind messed with, look no further than this short. Two young lovers find themselves ravaged by an unknown venereal disease shortly after an intense lovemaking session. Bulbous tumors break out. They scream in agony as blood spews from every orifice. The most effective technique from the director is mixing their current cries of trauma with scenes from their passionate sex, to the point where sounds intermix but you’re still hit hard by the contrasting imagery.

With our biological need for sex, this should hit home for most since we all have experienced fears of disease, unplanned pregnancies etc. The isolated room where the couple suffers remind me a bit of Eraserhead with how that creature began to dominate the room (in this case, it’s the unnamed disease).

The director is on record as saying he aimed to “give birth to a beautiful nightmare.” Mission accomplished

They Salivate (Ariane Boukerche, France)

Keeping with the relationships commentary, this story focuses on the devastating results of a saliva-filled kiss. Yes, you read that right. After kissing, a couple throws a party where one of their guests drinks a glass containing the couple’s saliva. He then appears to lose all inhibitions and go after the woman, prompting her male partner to intervene. Soon, others at the party get “contaminated” from the saliva, causing a dancing stupor and body parts to burst with fluids.

Yes, a lot is going on. This is abstract enough where a few interpretations could work. I took it as how an affair and betrayal amongst friends will eventually “infect” the dynamics of the entire group.

Scared Shitless (Mike Fly, Canada)

Christmas Eve becomes a nightmare for two plumbers called to unclog a toilet. Instead, they find a Tremors-style worm that loves to dine on house cats. Absurd fun and I’d like to personally thank the creator for not going with a giant scat monster. Make sure to tip your plumber!

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