Portland Horror Film Festival, ran June 17th – 21st, virtually this year, due to the pandemic. I continue my coverage with Day 4- A whole afternoon of horror shorts, a Saturday Night Demonic Double Feature, and a late-night Shorts Gone Wild block.
This is my review of the films on Saturday, June 20, 2020.
The Horror Shorts Extravaganza was quite the show! Over 3 hours of horror from all over the world. 15 films in total. From sea monsters to serial killers, and sirens to feral humans, these films had it all.
My top favorite flicks from this group, in no special order, were: Camp Calypso from director Hannah May Cumming and Karlee Boon, Deep End from director Anthony Sellitti, Ferine from Italian director Andrea Corsini, Lonely Hearts from director Dennis Cahlo and Let Me Play from director Andrew Bell. This was a hard group to pick favs from since there were so many great films.
Camp Calypso is about a summer camp in the ’70s. OK nothing new there, but this camp has a terrible history of misogyny. As a female, I had to love the man-eating siren that lives in the lake. Karma is a bitch Mr. Camp Director!
In Deep End, we find out why even though it is a hot day, you shouldn’t jump into a neighbor’s pool without permission.
Ferine, brought to us from Italy, was amazing. Who is the strange gaunt lady lurking around a parking lot? She is not like most women, and one man finds out the hard way why she wants to take him back to her forest home.
Lonely Hearts is one of my favorite shorts from the whole film fest! Using an App to find friends is not always a great idea, but this woman finds more than she ever hoped for on this blind date! I loved every minute of this funny film and laughed out loud so many times. Great flick!
In Let Me Play young Grace meets a ghostly little boy who lives in the closet at her Grandma’s house. Listening to him at first, since her big brother is such a pain, the new boy turns out to be an unbelievably bad friend indeed.
Since it was Saturday, the audience got a double feature starting with Uncle Peckerhead directed by Matthew John Lawrence from the US, and The Curse of Valburga directed by Tomaz Gorkic, brought to us from Slovenia.
Uncle Peckerhead has become one of my favorite horror comedies. I cannot play an instrument or sing, but I dated a guy in a rock band for many years, was their photographer, and helped sell T-shirts at the shows. I had visions of being the wife of a rock star- but sadly that never happened. So, I can relate to much of the Rock n’ Roll backstage action in this hilarious horror gross-out.
In Uncle Peckerhead we meet the band DUH. The band is made up of a trio of very likable and goofy characters; Judy- lead singer and bass player, (Chet Seigal) Max- the guitarist, (Jeff Riddle) and their snarky drummer Mel. (Ruby McCollister) This punk band has everything going against them. They have no money; their van was repossessed, and they just never catch a break. So, when they get a chance to go on tour- they take it and the next step is to find a van to get them there.
They think their luck has changed when they meet Peckerhead (David Littleton) or Peck as he goes by. An older dude with a great personality, he seems perfect to be their new roadie and driver. Too bad he has one little problem- he turns into a man-eating monster at midnight- something he forgot to tell them before they hit the road.
This film was done really well and with so much heart. The script is super funny, the acting terrific, the SFX the best, and I love, love, loved the music. (Most of it by Jeff Riddle who played Max)
For slasher fans- this film is ultra-violent with some unique and creative deaths, that even includes a spine being pulled out of a body, and some very liquid poop. Campy and laugh-out-loud perfection, Uncle Peckerhead will make you gasp in horror at all the disturbing deaths and then make you dance in your seat to the catchy music. The film is also filled with a bunch of over-the-top characters they meet on the road. Even the smaller characters were written to be remembered. I loved that!
As the tour goes on and the body count rises, the band realizes the problem they have and try to fire their monster buddy. This was not a good idea and the road to stardom, in this case, is paved in blood, that takes them all straight to jail for a while, except of course for Peck, who gets away.
I loved the comradery of the band; it felt so real. This is a film I need to own. I feel like it could be an extraordinarily successful midnight movie when we can get back into movie theaters! If you have a sensitive stomach, watch with care, but watch this film if you can. Maybe bring a barf bag!
The second Saturday Night feature film was The Curse of Valburga. Another campy comedy- this time from Slovenia. I did not connect with it as much as Uncle Peckerhead, but it still packed some comedy punches.
Two brothers, Bojan (Marko Mandic) and Marian, (Jurii Drevensek) are always in the market for a get rich quick scam. Since they have a friend that works at an abandoned castle rumored to have been owned by Count Dracula’s cousin, they decide to start a tour company and take unknowing tourists on a tour of the supposed evil house.
Too bad these guys didn’t know more about what they were taking people to. Unbeknownst to them, there are some cannibals living in the basement who are helping an undead creature that lives in the castle. Things go wrong quickly, with a guy literally removing heads right and left with a contraption that shoots saw blades.
The Curse of Valburga is funny, and fast-paced, and very gory, but there is not much to like about any of the characters, which makes it hard to care if they live or die. We have our criminal bros, goths, porn stars, antiquity hunters, and a German couple who just drink a seemingly unending amount of beer out of the wife’s purse. These stereotypes did not really work too well, but overall, the film was entertaining and worth seeing.
Late Night: Shorts Gone Wild
There were 6 short films in the Shorts Gone Wild block.
My favorite was a super short little comedy called Unholy Mole by director Davie Bornstein. A dad-to-be is jealous of his upcoming baby. Being selfish, he sells the soul of this unborn child to Satan in exchange for the guacamole that his wife does not feel like making for him anymore. A total gross-out of a film- I must admit I laughed a lot, and I would love to have the newborn green baby for my very own!
Portland Horror Film Festival- Day 1
Portland Horror Film Festival- Day 2
Portland Horror Film Festival- Day 3
Portland Horror Film Festival- Day 5
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