In a world that experiences everything 4 to 5 minutes at a time you may be hard pressed to find entertaining material to fill that short attention span. That’s why I have begun a series of reviews in which I will discuss upcoming film-makers that seek only to occupy your brain, if only for a few moments, in the hopes of lingering there eternally. One of those visionaries is Jose Pedro Lopes (IMDB, HOME PAGE, VIMEO).
Jose calls Oporto, Portugal home and is a film journalist for C7nema.net . He’s also an adept filmmaker whose been producing and directing commercials and instructional videos since 2006. He’s continually involved in creating short fiction films including his work as writer, director, and producer of the three horror genre shorts being discussed here.
A NOIVA (The Bride, 2007): “Deep in the Douro river there is a legend about the ghost of a dead bride, who haunts the area. Regardless, a couple of lovers go to an abandoned house near the river, where they are attacked by the undying bride” (IMDB).
According to Jose and IMDB “A Noiva” was written and produced by Jose Pedro Lopes and directed by his partner in crime Ana Almeida. He also refers to it as “a European slasher movie, in the style of the 70s and 80s Italian horror cinema but with the typical Asia villain.” From what I see he knows what they created. It’s also a very interesting combination of spirit culture at work (Japanese/Eurpoean) and the cinematography is brilliant – from the picturesque view of the countryside to the blood splattered car window through which we see our female lead go all glassy eyed. The only concerns I have is they may be to much misdirection when it comes to story. First the guy jokes about nobody being able to find them out in the countryside not even her stupid boyfriend. It’s hard to tell if he’s joking or not and poses questions as to why what happens to them does. Was it because of a jealous boyfriend or vengeful spirit that punishes infidelity? In the ruined house the guy seems to be making up a story about a girl who once lived there but went crazy which leads one to believe it’s the ghost of the girl. Finally, by the end we know there are actually two forces at work here, the ghost of the bride who watches, and the actual killer (since they both appear on screen at the same time). So maybe the killer is the girl, but other than the fact that female Asian spirits have been known to be the harbingers of death and not necessarily the cause, I haven’t quiet figured out her significance. Or maybe that’s just it and I’m looking for to many answers. One thing for certain is it has inspired me to watch more Gallo and Japanese ghost stories! All questions aside this is an excellent example of combining two distinct horror film styles. To prove it this movie has played in over 40 film festival worldwide. Most notably, it has been featured for several years in Women in Horror Recognition Month festivals such as the Viscera Film Tour, the Jennifer’s Bodies Film Festival and the Stilletto Film Festival.
O RISCO (The Line, 2011): “On a remote road, two friends try out a magic chalk that was bought online. According to the site, if someone crosses a line drawn with that chalk, his head explodes. They draw a line and wait for someone to come by… but are they ready to face the consequences if this turns out to be true?” (IMDB)
The concept of this two minute mind blower is “what if that stuff advertised in the back of a comic book or online was real?” and the end result is hilarious! According to Jose it “is a slasher comedy, based on the gag joke between friends, made in a very lo-to-no budget style.” As for the low budget style its obvious that most of the money was spent on chalk and brain matter, which is fantastic! It’s one of those two minute films that delivers everything it promises – humor, a be careful what you ask for because you just might get it moral, and gore. It works so well on delivering these three things that it has won several awards, and was featured in the Bicycle Film Festival world tour. It’s also been sold in 4 territories for VOD distribution. What brought it the Creepercast’s attention when Cheryl Compton announced it is a part of the pilot of The Dark Cinema live on the Creepercast!
SURVIVALISMO (Survivalism, 2011): “A man wakes up with a bag over his head and a rope around his neck, he finds himself in a chair, in a situation where a sudden movement can leave him hanging. Abandoned in a basement, will he be able to survive?” (IMDB)
According to Jose, this film “is an experimental horror movie, based on the 5 Stages of Grief of the Kubbler-Ross Model. Designed to be the total opposite of the torture horror movies.” Knowing that, this one requires repeated viewing! At least for me, the first time I saw it the film seemed to test my patience. But when it got to the end of its eight and half minute run the payoff was so intense I needed to watch it again to truly appreciate what had brought it to that point. The lack of background music and attention to small natural sounds actually puts us into the head of the guy we are watching. We also picture his surroundings much as he does and all of those little details make it that much more creepy. As he goes through his five stages we learn more about him, and that in the end he is quiet possibly the worst friend anyone could have. Then the twist comes, which actually made my eyes pop wide open while I declared “Holy Shit!” I have no intention of ruining this one for you all so please, do what ever it takes to see it. It also comes as a horror festival surprise having been featured in some major fantastic festivals such as Yubari Fanta Film Festival, (Japan), and The Abertoir Horror Film Festival Melies D’Argent Competition (UK).
Keep checking back for more independent film makers you should be paying attention too!