film maudit 2 01

Film Maudit 2.0: The Shorts: Creature Feature

Written by Stephen McClurg

gnomes poster small Gnomes
Directed by Ruwan Suresh Heggelman
Written by Ruwan Suresh Heggelman, Jasper ten Hoor, and Richard Raaphorst

A gory little folktale explaining fairy rings. Gnomes also answers the question: What if Phil Tippett made the Fraggle Rock Doozers for Mad God? The animated credits chronicle how gnomes have affected cultures throughout history as “The O-Men” by the Butthole Surfers plays. Difficult not to like this one.

Baby Fever
Directed by Hannah May Cumming
Written by Hannah May Cumming and Alex Hartwig}

Nothing’s going to stop Donna Hartman from becoming prom queen. Neither her bizarre pregnancy nor her mutant babies can block her from that stage. Baby Fever is a high school horror romp that feels like a goofier Napoleon Dynamite lit by Mario Bava. The tonal shifts, from disturbing to disgusting to hilarious, are as intense as the lighting colors. A lot of fun, and a lot of references for horror fans to spot, including nods to Carrie, Night of the Creeps, and The Brood.

while mortals sleep poster small While Mortals Sleep
Written and directed by Alex Fofonoff

The short opens with an image out of Michael Whelan’s Lovecraft art taken to the cosmic level. This cuts to Susan (Carrie Kawa) arriving at a friend’s vacation house to get a break from her writing or a relationship or both. The juxtaposition of unearthly terror and the quotidian immediately puts the viewer on edge. Kawa’s exceptional acting and the foreboding, measured zooms allow the movie to breathe without feeling slow. While Mortals Sleep has some good acting all around and a tone initially like The Invitation, but then it takes a sharp turn into an Ari Aster Lovecraft adaptation. We’ll just say sometimes it’s okay not to hold the baby.

My only mixed feeling is about the puppet in this one. While exceptionally designed, it feels out of place within the visuals of the film.

mi criaturita poster small Mi Criaturita
Written and directed by Alvaro Laguna

Flor, a countrywoman, plucks a newborn growth she names “Gurumelo” from among mushrooms in the forest. She brings it home to her husband, Guido, who is annoyed about the bizarre offspring his wife has not only brought home, but now pampers like a baby. The opening plays like a pastoral Eraserhead, but the film becomes a dark fairy tale about the difficulties of sharing a life with someone else.

Written and directed by Nic Collins

Beached is presented as three episodes of an Adult Swim-style TV show, though I don’t know if that is because it’s going to be a show or is a commentary on television story structure. At times, I enjoyed how the episodes skewered TV and superhero tropes, but I’m not sure I understood the overall intent. It echoes Wilfred, the show where Elijah Wood talked to a man in a dog suit who was also somehow his neighbor’s real dog. In this case, Wilfred is The Wail, an absurd and creepy amphibious being that reminded me of Old Gregg from the British show The Mighty Boosh, but slightly more serious and mystic. Maybe an Older Gregg, who also looks like a cenobite in a trash bag. Given the cartoonish absurdity, I might need to see more episodes, if there are any, to get a better feel for the show.

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Stephen McClurg
Staff Reviewer
No matter how hard he tries to focus on music, Stephen always gets called back to horror culture. The inciting incident is likely the night his grandmother cackled through his wide-eyed and white-knuckled first viewing of Jaws at three. The ‘70s were a different time. Over the years, he has mostly published poetry and essays, but started writing with a review section for the Halloween edition of the sixth-grade school newspaper. He rated titles like Creepshow with a short description and illustrated pumpkins. His teacher loved it, but the principal shredded the final version before distribution since all the movies were rated R.
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