Over the last weekend of January, I got to travel over to Kansas City, MO to check out their horror film festival, Panic Fest 2019. You can read up on my coverage of the schedule rundown here, my coverage of the features here, and my coverage of the World Premiere of THE LURING here, here and here. Here, I’ll break down each of the shorts I got to watch as well as what I thought of each film. Panic Fest delivered another great lineup this year. Here’s what I got to see.
This was a cute short about nostalgia and featured a pretty cool monster. A man is followed by a mysterious woman back to his home where a monster made of junk is trying to break in. This was a nice, feel good short. It didn’t overstay its welcome, and it made me smile.
This is the new short from Kansas City filmmaker Jill Sixx Gevargizian who was behind the critically acclaimed Call Girl and The Stylist. 2 friends hanging out make a disturbing discovery about the apartment they are renting. The film is short and effective. It’s got some good performances from the two leads as well.
I’M READY TO GO HOME NOW
This mini short clocks in under 5 minutes, and is about a couple who gets stuck when attempting a hike/camping trip. This one didn’t really do anything for me, but I appreciated how it told it’s story without any filler.
HERE THERE BE MONSTERS
When a bullying schoolgirl wakes up on her school bus after hours in a bus parking lot, she has to face a giant monster that won’t let her out. First, the monster looks incredible and original here. Second, our lead heroine gives a great performance. However, the movie itself is far too long for its subject. Also, it ends in a pretty unsatisfying way.
CRYPTINA’S SPOOK-TIME VARIETY SHOW
Wow, this was wonderful. A horror host hilariously stumbles through an episode of terrible mini-horror movies. I loved this short so much. This isn’t a new concept, spoofing horror host shows, but it works so well here. I smiled from start to finish and its just long enough to be wholly satisfying. Can’t wait to see more from this team.
Not a bad little short about a monster that comes after you if you take advantage of women. There’s not enough meat on the story’s bones, but it is very satisfying watching a gross date rapist get stalked by a cool looking monster.
Clearly inspired by the Twilight Zone, Look Twice is about an overnight security guard who sees some strange going ons during a shift alone. I’m pretty indifferent on this short. It wasn’t terribly long, but the actors weren’t that good and it’s a story we’ve seen a bunch of times before.
This short is about a grieving sister after the loss of her brother and the phone calls and messages she gets from him from beyond the grave. There’s some incest-y stuff going on here which should make fans squirm appropriately. Overall, this short didn’t rock me, but it’s not bad either.
An injured hiker encounters a monster who wants to play a game with him among the trees. This short is pretty creepy and fun. Plus, it has an awesome looking monster in it. Great effects and pacing make this one a stand out among the shorts here. Super cute!
This timely short is about two trapped Hispanic men and the white people both attacking them and trying to protect them. This is one of the first horror film responses to the MAGA era that I’ve seen. It’s a pretty savage and in your face satire.
Here’s another timely satire about 2 white racist cops who kill a black kid in a pizza place and do everything in their power to cover it up. This one’s pretty fierce and biting. It’s very well done and effective. This one won best short as voted on by the audience at Panic Fest and pretty rightfully so. It feels like a short that would fit right in a Tales from the Hood movie.
THE GREATER GOOD
Oof, I hated this short. A pregnant woman is visited by a police officer from the future who arrives with the grown daughter who has committed a mass crime. It’s up to the mother to decide if her baby should die for the greater good. The movie leans too hard into the melodrama for its own good. Also, every beat feels forced.
Here’s another short about killing a baby. A man is convinced his newborn baby is a monster. He is driven mad by how his wife treats the baby so kindly. This short features a really cool monster baby from effects master Gabe Bartalos. This short moves along nicely and has a wicked twist ending. I didn’t love this one, but it wasn’t bad either.
Now for something completely different. A girl is convinced the world has gone mad after the disappearance of her fish and a gruesome discovery in her roommate’s bedroom. This short is wonderfully weird. Fans of Adult Swim will find a lot to like here.