Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Viscera 2007 Short Film Festival DVD (2008)

The Viscera Film Festival is entering its second year as the place for female horror filmmakers to showcase their work. It allows women a place to be celebrated and recognized for their contributions to a genre that is so male dominated. While this year’s festival is already accepting entries from female filmmakers, horror fans are finally being treated to last year’s entries on DVD. The Viscera 2007 DVD includes the Go Ask Alice short that started the Viscera experience, as well as eight other short films, filmmaker bios and other goodies.

The Viscera 2007 selections on the DVD include The Cleaner, Wretched, The Snake Pit, Out of Print, Brains, I’m A Little Teapot, When Sally Met Frank and It’s My Birthday.

The strength of the DVD lies in the variety of horror offered and the fact that so much female-driven talent is conveniently found in one place. Three of the productions were made strictly using an all-female cast AND crew (I’m A Little Teapot, Out of Print and It’s My Birthday), while the rest were directed/produced by females but utilized males in the cast/crew. If these films are any indication, then these female filmmakers are ones to watch in the horror community!

There are some amazing shorts contained on the disc. I’ve already had the pleasure of viewing and reviewing Wretched, by Heidi Martinuzzi and Leslie Delano, and The Cleaner by Michelle Fatale, but I was impressed with the rest of the entries as well! At under 30 seconds, I’m A Little Teapot by Sallie Smith is the most jarring and shocking of the bunch, while It’s My Birthday by Shannon Lark (who is also the organizer of the festival) is a gory and vividly colorful film with a hauntingly discordant soundtrack. Out of Print by Reyna Young (which won the Viscera Award in 2007) is a surreal and visually unsettling short film. The Snake Pit by Brandy Rainey is a pretty straightforward, backwoods horror short with a nice twist at the end. Brains, from Amber Steele and Shannon Lark, is a fun zombie spoof on Liam Sullivan’s infamous “Kelly Likes Shoes” music video. One of my favorites of the bunch is When Sally Met Frank by Victoria Waghorn, which is a satirical look at plastic surgery. The film is shot beautifully and has a dark, dank atmosphere that adds to its ominous feel. Also, the special effects are amazingly realistic! When the doctor is scraping under the patient’s skin and then stitching her back up, I couldn’t help but cringe!! It was almost too realistic! The disc also includes Go Ask Alice, the women-only production that sparked the idea for the Viscera Film Festival.

The acting, directing, cinematography and special FX were above and beyond what you see in most low-budget short films. Whether it was the nightmarishly vivid Go Ask Alice or the grainy, grindhouse-looking Snake Pit, each film expertly captured the ominous feel of horror. It’s about time someone showed that women can do horror just as well as the good ol’ boys, and this group of women filmmakers definitely represent the “new wave” of horror. Being a woman in horror, it is always refreshing to see a new perspective on the genre, especially one that comes from a fellow horror-loving female! And while some of the films address feminist issues, they are never heavy-handed and never try and force the issues down your throat.

Each and every Viscera film had something unique to offer and I was impressed with each and every film. All of these films show that women can make films that are just as scary (if not more) as the horror films men make. Hopefully Viscera will encourage women of all ages that love the genre to make their own horror films.

Check out Viscera’s Official Site!

Get your own copy of the Viscera 2007 selections at The Slaughter Shop!

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