Working with the theme "10 Minutes to Live," the writers and filmmakers contributing to The Collective, Vol. 3 have created an intriguing, one-of-a-kind indie horror short film collection comprised of 10 films with each featuring a different female writer or director. A project started by Jason Hoover and JABB Pictures, The Collective has quickly become known amongst fans of indie horror for its uniquely themed films and the distinct artistic voices who contribute to the collections. While all the films were required to work around the central theme of "10 Minutes to Live," each filmmaker/writer came up with their own unique way of approaching the theme with results ranging from horrifying to deeply touching. Here's The Independent Critic's brief reviews of each of the 10 films in The Collective, Vol. 3:
Written and directed by Kate Chaplin, Home Security centers around a home security salesman who tries to beef up sales by breaking into people's homes to scare them. The film stars L.E. Bradford, Emmanuel Carter and Sarah Moore. While Home Security isn't exactly a fresh idea, Chaplin pulls it off well thanks to her solid ear for dialogue and a terrific cast. It's an intriguing and frightening idea - that those we're trusting to protect us might have ulterior motives. Chaplin takes the basic concept and creates a suspenseful, intelligent film that ends up just about perfectly. The film also includes excellent music from Nick Cappelletti and Kevin MacLeod.
The directorial debut of Scream Queen Vanessa Romanelli (Mr. Hush, Dead Collections), Conclusion is a disturbing 10-minute short film in which four strangers check into a specialized medical treatment center not realizing that there's only one way you check out. The film features Steve Dash (Jason in Friday the 13th, Pt. 2) and Kevin Van Hentenryck (Basket Case),though the film's stand-out performance may very well come from Goldie Zwiebel as Edna. There's an underlying psychological drama in Conclusionthat adds a tremendous heft to the goings on, with each character having key life moments that have brought them to this place. Zwiebel, in particular, is heart-wrenching to watch the more you watch her story unfold. However, the remainder of the ensemble cast is strong including the film's eerie nurse (Nam Holtz). The film is also written by Romanelli, who manages to give each character a front-and-center moment that stays with you. D.P. Zafer Ulkucu's camera work maximizes the use of angles and constantly gives the film a sense of instability. If Conclusion is Romanelli's debut, I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. The KeyThe Key was, at least for this critic, one of the weaker entries for The Collective, Vol. 3. This isn't necessarily because the film's a bad short film, but because it feels as if it's meant to be a part of a bigger project. The film, written and directed by Anderson University graduate Christy DeBruler, never quite gels and by film's end feels as if there are missing pieces yet to be revealed. The action centers around a young woman, Sophie, whom we are introduced to while she's sitting on a park bench talking with her grandfather. She has only 10 minutes to get key questions answered. While not answering her questions, her grandfather points her in the right direction then we flash forward and Sophie is awake surrounded by individuals demanding to know if she discovered the secret. Of course, she denies it but she leaves that place believing she possesses the key. The Key feels as if it should be a longer than 10-minute short, though it could potentially work in the 20-25 minute range. The action, rather than suspenseful, feels forced and the heightened drama portrayed by the film's characters feels unnaturally developed. PactWithout question, writer/director Amy Carmical's Pact is the highlight of The Collective, Vol. 3. Too many filmmakers are under the mistaken belief that tenderness and heart have no place in the world of horror, when quite the opposite is true. It's the heart and authenticity of The Pact that makes it such a beautiful and haunting film that will stay with you longer after the closing credits have rolled. The Pact, beautifully photographed by Jason Hoover in b&w, is hauntingly companioned in the film's opening minutes by Death Cab for Cutie's "I Will Follow You Into the Dark." This eerie yet poignant musical companion provides just the right tone for a film that is sensitive, respectful, blunt and jarring in the way that it deals with the loneliness of youth, a sense of abandonment and the permanent solutions too often chosen for temporary problems. Dakota Meyer and Taylor Simmons capture the intimacy, innocence and wonder of a youthful friendship while Meyer heartbreakingly personifies a tragic young figure as the young man whose grief is unsoothable. Everything and I mean everything about this film works, and it says much about Carmical's abundant talent that she's able to construct such a powerful, meaningful film and bring it in under 10 minutes. Stay Another powerful and socially relevant entry from The Collective, Pt. 3 is writer/director Shelby Vogel's volatile and suspenseful Stay, a 10-minute short that looks inside the abusive relationship of your typical perpetrator (frighteningly portrayed by Richard Elmsworth) and the woman he "loves" (Lacey Fleming). It's a remarkable challenge to build up a believably abusive relationship within the framework of a 10-minute short film without having the entire scenario feel unnecessarily histrionic and forced, yet Vogel does it by wisely focusing on one particular set-up within the relationship. Our angry young man returns home from work, immediately becoming explosive when his dinner isn't ready. The verbal volleys begin being spewed as he corners his cowering partner, quite literally, while weaving back and forth between "You know I do this because I love you" type sentiments and his unfathomably vile rantings. Fleming wisely plays her character straightforward, neither too much as "victim" nor over-the-top dramatic. The end result is a film that unfolds with such stark realism that the ending leaves you gasping and, I admit somewhat guiltily, a bit relieved.Stay is photographed with a claustrophobic sensibility, with much of the action taking place in confined spaces that heighten the drama considerably. Suffer Well Written and directed by Robbin Panet, Suffer Well is billed as a "surreal journey into the life of one obsessed man and his sanity." Panet, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2008, explores the dark side of the human experience with her shorts/features and this exploration is on full display in Suffer Well. The film is not for the timid nor the closed minded, as Panet creativity and without hesitation explores that incredibly thin line between where fantasy and reality meet, dance then beat the shit out of each other. While the film is dark, its beautiful lensing and production design work together to create a visual journey that feels like Hitchcock meets Ken Russell. In case you're wondering, that's a compliment. Suffer Well is well acted across the board and, much like Pact, is a short that grabs from its opening scene and never lets go. He Who WatchesShot in Indianapolis and Carmel, He Who Watches was co-directed by Kylee Wall and Katie Toomey and written by Wall. The film is centered around Laura (Sarah Hoback), a young woman who has been diagnosed with an incurable illness. Lingering between life and death, Laura becomes increasingly haunted by her recent past and a mysterious figure (Eric T. Schroeder). The strength of He Who Watches lies in Kylee Wall's creatively nuanced script and in the foreboding performance by Schroeder, who embodies this mysterious figure as, well, mysterious. He Who Watches flounders a bit due to a hit-and-miss sound mix that occasionally gives Hoback's increasingly dramatic performance a bit of tinniness, but overall Wall and Toomey accomplish quite a bit with this low budget psychological thriller. Snapped Judging from the tone of some of these films in The Collective, Vol.3, all I can say is I don't advise crossing a female filmmaker. Exhibit A for this argument would be Snapped, a film written by Jamie Thomas and directed by Jason Hoover. The film is a fairly straightforward thriller about a woman's discovery that her man has been cheating on her. The key action takes place over the course of eight minutes, a period of time that flashes back and forth, as the woman (Jamie Thomas) discovers the truth and her increasingly rage-filled mind contemplates her options with her man (Mitchell Thomas). The main obstacle for this film is that given the already known theme, that of "10 Minutes to Live," it becomes obvious fairly quickly exactly where this entire production is going. While it's dramatic watching it unfold, the film lacks the suspense that one would like to see and experience in this kind of production. It may be important to note that this film was a late entry into the collection after a filmmaker dropped out, perhaps contributing to the sneaking suspicion that this is a film that just needs a bit more work before it's ready to hit the festival circuit. That said, Thomas shows tremendous promise as a writer here with a solid ear for dialogue. Jog Athena Prychodko (You're right, Athena! I have no idea how to say your last name) contributes this incredibly dark thriller about a jogger named Uni heading out for a routine jog that ends up being anything but routine as they start to have eerie, death-like visions and this foreboding sense of being followed. The beautiful thing about Jog, other than its absolutely beautiful color palette, is the way that Prychodko patiently yet intentionally keeps building the film's suspense over the course of its 10-minute running time without ever spoon-feeding the viewer exactly what's going on. Has the jogger stumbled into a post-apocalyptic scene? Is the jogger potentially a madman (It probably didn't help that I watched this film shortly after the Chardon, Ohio school shooting)? Is the jogger just plain psychotic? All of these things are completely possible, and Athena wisely refuses to answer questions for the answer instead, quite brilliantly, allowing the film's colors, sounds, scenes and music to surround the viewer into a full-on sensory experience. If I had to pick a favorite "idea" for a short film on The Collective, Vol. 3 it would belong to Jog and Athena Prychodko. PalindromistWritten by Taylor Simmons and directed by Jason Hoover, Palindromist is an experimental short film about the cyclical nature of life with all its redundancies, repetitions and obscure and unnoticed moments. The film stars Michelle Feaster as a woman whose actions, at times moving both backward and forward, quietly illustrate the ebb and flow of the life cycle. Rather than playing a character responding to this cycle of life, Feaster seems to actually be living out this life cycle in a way that seems to make each moment interchangeable with the next. The film is aided by Hoover's excellent accompanying music along with camera work that is neither too intimate nor too distant, yet always seems as if there's a wall between it and Feaster's character. Palindromist is the kind of film that leaves you thinking about it and talking about it long after leaving the theatre, its character lingering in your psyche' and its images filled with meaning that is open to interpretation. © Written by Richard Propes The Independent Critic
Over the last couple of years we’ve seen Jabb Pictures become a force on the independent horror scene with their collections of shorts simply known as “The Collective”. Considering I’ve felt for years that there have never really been any unique and interesting ways to package short films for genre fans, it’s been a blessing for many filmmakers of the independent kind. Outside of film festivals there really weren’t a whole lot of ways to watch short films. Now sure, you could go on Youtube and find a ton of them, but I’ve never been big on watching stuff on my computer and I know a lot of other fans that have the same attitude as me. Now that’s been changed with the introduction of “The Collective” and it all seems to be rolling downhill with its momentum as this is the third volume in the series. If you are unfamiliar with “The Collective” series, you’ll want to know that it’s a collection of shorts films (that are all at least 10 minutes apiece in their running time) that all have a basic theme in common. This time it was “10 minutes to die” and each and every filmmaker (except for Jabb Pictures Jason Hoover) are of the female variety. Let’s take a look, shall we?
The first short that we have here is not only one of the more impressive of the bunch, but it’s the one short that features the most in the way of star power. Featuring Kevin Van Hentenryck (Duane from cult director Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case movies) and Steve Dash (Jason in Friday the 13Part II and Night Hawks) “Conclusion” features four people placed in a medical facility in which there is only one way out. Each of them had strange circumstances in their lives that disturbed each of them and they are all forced to confront it. Strange in nature and disturbing in execution, “Conclusion” is a pretty exceptional short film. The name actors do a great job here as do the other players who you may not be that familiar with. There’s an older woman in the group played by Goldie Zwiebel that has a lasting impression as well. Overall this one is a winner and a more than welcome addition into the world of “The Collective”.
Second up in “The Collective Volume 3” was Home Security, written and directed by Kate Chaplin brings us to a man walking around a neighborhood trying to sell home security systems to anyone who will listen to him. As people slam doors in his face and him they aren’t interested, he works with his coworkers on breaking into the homes and scaring the owners into purchasing their security systems. This time around he may have bitten off a bit more than he can chew. Certainly “Home Security” has been done before, but here I thought it was done extremely well. There are a few plot devices here that provide a few twists but this one is pretty straightforward for the most part. It’s not going to reshape the world, but I found it to be a solid entry into the short film series.
Next up was “Stay” which will immediately have independent film fans attention as soon as it starts because they’ll recognize the “Toe Tag Pictures” logo that appears on screen. That’s right, “Stay” was brought to you by the same minds that gave the world the “August Underground” series as well as “The Redsin Tower”, although this time around it’s Shelby Vogel getting in on the act. Stay is the story of a relationship gone wrong and opens with a woman being beraided by her husband/boyfriend. It’s a disturbing relationship to say the least and it’s a pretty powerful exhibition overall. My only complaint about it is that it felt a bit too short and even like it was supposed to be something more, as a lot was left in the open. Now it was very well executed, but it just felt like something else was missing to me. Personally I would’ve liked to have more backstory on the whole distructive relationship here, but in a ten minute short, you simply just aren’t going to have that. But with all that being said “Stay” is one of the more solid entries in “The Collective Volume 3”.
Without a doubt the best and most effective film in “The Collective Volume 3” has to be Amy Carmical’s entry “The Pact”. From the mesmerizing beginning to the follow through I was taken in by this one. “The Pact” is incredibly haunting, well shot, and just overall a powerful short film that will stick in your mind well after you’ve seen it. Especially in this day and age of a hefty amount of media coverage shown to teenage suicides and bullying, this short is clearly reflecting the society that we currently live in, in America. Something else that impressed me about this one was all that it had managed to say in about 10 minutes. Personally I find short films to be either too artsy or restrictive for my taste, but “The Pact” shows that isn’t always correct when coming to a short film.
For me, out of all of the short films in “The Collective Volume 3” I personally felt as if “The Key” was the weakest entry here. The reason isn’t necessarily because it was made poorly, I just thought it didn’t work as well as other entries with the time allotted. Frankly it would’ve worked a bit better if it were about 30 minutes or so. The short just felt incomplete to me and it felt more like I was just watching a portion of something and because of that it just seemed to be missing something. The short is based around Sophie, a woman who’s sitting on a bench at the park talking with her grandfather attempting to get some questions answered. Of course, it’s all wrapped up in a neat little package, but it just feels like there were a good 10 minutes or so that we (as the viewer) missed. It’s not terrible, but it’s just nowhere near the strongest short in “The Collective Volume 3”.
One thing needs to be said about “Suffer Well” before I get into details and that it’s one hell of an impressive looking short film. I don’t wanna say that it’s style over substance (especially because it’s a short film, how much substance could there possibly be anyway?) but that’s probably the easiest way for me to explain it. From the first frame that appears on screen you’ll find yourself at least curious as to what the hell it is you’re watching. It manages to hold your attention throughout weather you understand it or not. Written and directed by Robbin Panet, it’s a unique and interesting short to say the least. Not only do I think it’s good, but I think it rightfully deserves it’s place here with other ladies involved in the genre, but it deserves the attention that I think it’ll get from being included in “The Collective” series.
He Who Watches
Out of all of the shorts included here, I have to say that I was extremely impressed with “He Who Watches” especially because of what it conveys with the time given. It honestly manages to tell a story with a beginning, middle, and an end. Now this is a bit unconventional for a short film (at least in the traditional sense) but Kylee Wall did a great job with the way she wrote this one. It’s all about Laura, who has recently been diagnosed with an incurable disease. As this occurs, she seemingly has issues with several events in her past as well as a unknown figure. Of course this one isn’t perfect, but it manages to be an effective little thriller.
Out of all of the shorts in “The Collective Volume 3” “Snapped” is the one that uses it’s central theme in the most conventional way. It’s actually a minute for minute account of a woman finding out that her man has been fooling around behind his back. This shows the time span of about 8 minutes you see the entire thing transpire and it’s quite the cool approach. It might be what you think of when you first think of the “10 minutes to die” theme here, but I found the simple approach used to be an effective one. Something else that struck me as special about this one was how unlike most short films, this one is actually all centered around dialog. It’s all spelled out and layed out in front of you and it works. Overall, this one is a just a big solid job well done.
One thing I love about the horror genre and the films that it turns out is that sometimes things are just not spelled out for you. I find that to be one of the most effective and creepy tools of a horror filmmaker/writer. So after I watched “Jog” I have to say that overall I really enjoyed it and was pretty impressed as well. The short starts out with a jogger heading out of the house for a run, pretty simple right? But then the jog goes from normal to abnormally insane in a short period of time. As Uni (the jogger that you witness running around in first person….so you are in turn the jogger) starts to see creepy images you are left wondering what’s happening and weather or not what you’re seeing is actually real. Not only that but what you end up with is a stylishly shot, suspenseful short film that works incredibly well. Frankly, I’d say that this is some of the best usage of time that I’ve seen in a short film period. Not a second of time is wasted here and you’ll find yourself almost wanting to watch it again almost immediately. This to me is the mark of an excellent short film (and that’s coming from someone who isn’t too keen on shorts in general).
Although “Palindromist” was probably the most unique short in ‘The Collective Volume 3” it was probably my least favorite of the bunch. This one was more art house cinema than anything and although it looked and sounded good, it just didn’t work for me. There’s not much of a story or anything of the like here, but it’s clearly a statement on the cycle of life. Now, this probably would’ve worked better for me if it were longer, but the ten minute running time didn’t do it any favors to me. Overall I have to say that I found “The Collective Volume 3” to be quite the collection of short films. Now I’ve been the type of person who isn’t really the biggest fan of the short film, but I think the way they’re presented in “The Collective” might be the most interesting and entertaining presentation of the short film that I’ve ever seen. I remember attending conventions years ago and noticed filmmakers trying to sell their short film for $10 or so, on DVD-r. I was never a fan of that and honestly woundn’t spend the money to watch them. But after hearing of “The Collective” (There are two prior volumes that are worth checking out too) and the idea behind it, I thought that someone had actually found a cool way to present short films on DVD that would actually make me consider buying it. It’s a nice way to sit there and watch shorts as it’s basically like a short film festival that you can have in your own living room. I say kudos to Jason Hoover, Jabb Pictures, and all of the ladies involved in creating these because it’s a job well done. RECOMMENDED.
Rating - ***
Illinois’ Jason Hoover and JABB Pictures over the past year have delivered two extraordinary short film compilations with "The Collective" Volumes 1 and 2.
Each collection features 10 shorts by 10 different filmmakers, each based around one concept. Volume 1’s theme was the phrase “The Meat Eater,”
while the second’s was “The Box”. This third volume’s theme is the phrase,
“10 Minutes to Live.”For this third entry in the Collective series, Jason and the JABB crew have gathered 10 short films from the minds of 10 very talented female filmmakers.“Conclusion” from Vanessa Romanelli and Mysterious Mansion
Productions is about four people (including genre stars Steve Dash of
"Friday the 13 Part 2 and Kevin VanHentenryck of "Basket Case") entering a
futuristic 'self-termination' facility which helps in assisted suicides.
Each individual has given up on life due to horrible decisions they made which
have stayed with them. Each is dressed up in a hospital gown and locked in
an individual room where they are given the implements with which they will
end their lives. Apparitions of people who have died as a result of their decisions
appear to mentally torture them one last time.“Home Security” from Kate Chaplin and Karmic Courage starts with a man from KCP Security going around a neighborhood
trying to sell new home security products. Facing rejection after rejection,
he comes to the home of a young woman with a girlfriend who visits her for free booze.
It is soon revealed that the salesman is a thief working for a crooked businessman who stages burglaries in neighborhoods to force people to buy their products. After we learn things got out of hand with a previous set-up in which a woman was raped and
murdered in a home invasion, this crook salesman is demanded by his higher ups
not to screw up again. When he goes to the home of the woman he met previously
to carry out his job, he learns he may have messed with the wrong person.“Suffer Well” from Robbin Panet and One Stepp at a Time Productions is the story of a guy with a job driving a hearse. He is assigned to pick up a dead body that a girl finds in a dumpster.
There appears to be a mystery behind the finding of the murdered body, which is
gradually unraveled.“He Who Watches” from Katie Toomey, Kylee Wall and
Pants Cannon Media is the story of a girl suffering from a disease. With a short
amount of time left to live, she continually speaks of “He Who Watches.” “He Who Watches” turns out to be a dark figure of a man. Is he the reaper or is he life itself?
As the girl makes contact with him in some threshold, we learn that “he” is always watching us.“Pact” from Amy Carmical with JABB Pictures is a teen angst drama that focuses on events in the lives of a teenage boy and girl who end up committing
suicide in a pact.“Stay” from Shelby L. Vogel at Toe Tag Inc. (makers of the August Underground series, The Redsin Tower, Murder Collection V.1, Maskhead, and Sella Turcica) is the story of a woman treated like a dog by her abusive husband.
After being told to “stay” by her husband, he soon comes to find a nasty surprise in the dinner she was preparing for him.“Snapped” from Jamie Thomas and Death Hug Films
is a “time overlap” story in which we start out with a shot of a dead man being doused in gasoline on a bathroom floor; we then cut to a woman who finds out with the help of a girlfriend that her husband is cheating on her. We then focus on the events leading
up to the demise of the cheating husband.“The Key” from Christy DeBruler and Chanemmabelle Pictures stars Heather Dorff and Marv Blauvelt and is a
“making contact with the dead” story in which a girl named Sophie (Dorff) is trying to unravel a mystery. After learning from her dead grandfather Darren (Blauvelt) in a
dream that a past childhood event may be key to solving it, she awakens to a group of experts in a doctor’s office who want answers. She returns to the place from her
past where she uncovers a box. What consequences will opening of the box bring?
“Jog” from Athena Prychodko and Silence in the Dead of Light Productions is
a film noir-ish black and white short filmed from the main character’s POV in
which a jogger walking through town listening to music finds bloodied dead
bodies on sidewalks, in alleys, and in yards scattered around. While the massacre
looks like the work of a gang, it also could very well be the work of flesh eating zombies. Neither scenario is explored as we watch the story unfold through the sight of the main character up till the end.“Palindromist” from Taylor Simmons and Spiral Filmworks
is an art house-style short with a focus that seems to be based on the cycle of life itself.
We watch as a woman goes out and night and walks the cold, dark streets of the city.
Scenes are played in reverse repeatedly at times. The result is an atmospheric piece
with symbolism as its main objective."The Collective" Vol. 3 is another splendid
collection from JABB Pictures. The best are Romanelli’s “Conclusion,” Chaplin’s
“Home Security,” Carmical’s “Pact,” Toe Tag’s “Stay,” and Simmons’ “Palindromist.” Romanelli and Chaplin wrote us the best storylines, and Carmical and Simmons created
the most avant-garde and artistic ambience. Shelby and Toe Tag made the grittiest
and most grueling films. The filmmakers have gone the extra mile to give us stuff
that’s chilling, dazzling, and entertaining.JABB Pictures is possibly on its way to
becoming the next Cinema Abattoir (a French-Canadian company that’s released
some art house/horror short compilations, for those unfamiliar).
Click the image for the full review
After giving us the “Meat Eater”-themed The Collective Vol. 1 short film compilation, Jason Hoover and the fine folks of Illinois’ JABB Pictures bring us another mind-bending collection of 10 short films from 10 different production companies,
this collection being centered around the theme “The Box.” Yes, “The Box.” The Collective Vol. 2 proves that boxes can be an interesting thing.
They can be mysterious, hold special powers and sometimes be deadly.
We take a look at what gives them these characteristics
in the following shorts:
1. “Fertility 2.0″ from David Ross and Liberty or Death Productions is a black and white story about a couple who are dealing with the fact that they can’t have a child, that is, until the husband comes across the “Fertility 2.0″ website which provides him with a special box he can use to fuse his DNA with the home computer so they can have their own “cyber-made” baby. Unfortunately, obtaining this artificial cyber fertility comes with a price.
2. “Illusion” from Dakota Meyer and Red Panic Button Films is the story of a woman who sees a box sitting atop a mailbox near the post office while driving one day. She sees the box appear, then disappear and reappear over and over again, in mirrors, on television, etc. The box begins chipping away at her hold on sanity, leading to a shocking conclusion.
3. “Snapcase” from Eric Schneider and Graphik 13 Films concerns what happens when young man truly “snaps his case” so to speak. One day he comes across a package in his mailbox that contains a mysterious small box. He opens the lid and it suddenly turns him into a homicidal maniac who goes after people on a list entitled “People Who Have It Coming.”
4. “It Crawls Back In” from Jay Mattingly (who Toe Tag fans may remember as Gromer in the “Bullied” segment of Murder Collection Vol. 1) and his production company Grue Opus Films is the story of a young man who finds a box with an eyeball in it. He starts to have a weird recurring dream in which he sees the body of his sister laid out on a table in the woods and wakes up occasionally spitting up blood. He also has visions of a mysterious assailant wearing a potato sack over his head. The dreams and visions appear to lead him into something terrifying.
5. The fifth short, which doesn’t appear to have an onscreen title, from Jason Hoover and Death Hug Films is about a boy who finds a box while digging in his backyard. He’s sick of a bully constantly throwing him off the basketball court while he’s playing with his toy soldiers. The box reveals a bizarre scheme to get back at the bully in which the bully is in an interrogation room with a man and a box and the man keeps repeating, “We need you to open this box. If you do so, you will die. If you choose not to, you will die. We need you to open this box.” He repeats it over and over again slowly driving the bully into a state of madness.
6. “2 Guys 1 Box” from Edward X. Young and Suzie Does Horror is the story of two junkies who kidnap a prostitute and hold her for ransom to obtain a box that will help them complete a bizarre ritual. Needless to say, the ritual doesn’t exactly work to their liking.
7. “Exile” from Cameron Scott and Quattro Venti Scott Productions focuses on a homicidal mental patient isolated in a disgustingly filthy bathroom with crayon and colored pencil drawings hanging from the walls. A female doctor comes in with a box, seeking to get behind the cause of his madness.
8. “Boundary” from Jason Hoover and JABB Pictures is a black and white short story about a serial killer who finds he has come across another killer’s stomping grounds when he discovers a box and a note. He brutally kills a woman in her home. He then finds another message from the other killer in a convenience store restroom. The question remaining is what will happen when they finally cross paths?
9. “Keepsake” from Shannon Feaster and So-So Pix is a story of a couple haunted by the ghost of a little girl who the husband accidentally killed with his car years ago. The appearance of a keepsake box and the head of a child’s doll first signifies the return of her spirit. The couple is consumed by madness.
10. “Pulse” from Jason Hoover and Spiral Filmworks is a nifty sci-fi short about a scientist creating a box to open up wormholes. He wires the box up to a car battery, giving him the ability to move to different positions in time and space. This story has a very Twilight Zone feel to it.
The Collective Vol. 2 is another highly enjoyable shorts compilation with a wide array of gruesome, bizarre, and twisted shorts. One of the best segments is “Fertility 2.0.” It has a very Japanese cyberpunk look to it with the black and white picture and the Tetsuo-esque imagery. “Snapcase” is very over-the-top with some Kevin Smith inspirations in its ending.
“Pulse” is a very cool and intelligent sci-fi story and is an interesting take on a subject that has been explored by scientists around the world and what a person could do if they possessed such powers.
“Boundary” is probably the best short as it features Jason and JABB Pictures’ expected brutal and artistic styles and would make for an interesting feature film should one ever come to fruition.
“It Crawls Back In” from Jay Mattingly was a welcome addition as well.
I look forward to seeing more projects from him in the future.
- Mario Dominick, Horror Society
Click the image to read the full review
The Collective Vol. 2: The Box (2011)
Review by Jude Felton
When it comes to independent filmmakers they generally fall into two distinct categories. First you have the talentless hacks that are more than happy to rehash the same old tired crap, then butter it up with nice shiny artwork in the hopes of duping the public. Then you have the artists who try to add something to the genre they are working in. They aren’t content with the predictable and unoriginal, instead they try to feed our fears. Budget is not a concern, fresh new stories are.
With this in mind I will tell you that JABB Pictures fall squarely into the latter category. Through their short movies Polly and Spike and most notably their release of The Collective Vol 1: The Meat Eater. This collection of ten short movies, all of which ran to ten minutes with the same synopsis, impressed me throughout. In fact one of the shorts contained, Snow Angel, is one of my favorite shorts of the year. That being said all were very good and just showed what a little imagination could come up with.
Now, the Illinois based company have returned with a second collection, or Collective if you will, with the synopsis this time being a small box. As you can well imagine there is plenty of scope to take this idea in many directions, and many directions it is taken.
The companies involved this time are a mixture of those we saw before in the first collection, and some fresh new faces. I will say though that all have delivered the goods, and no I will not be revealing the plot of any of them. Part of the joy of watching these collections is not knowing where the filmmakers are going to take the idea of the box. Did I have favorites? Yes I did, more than one this time, but it is the originality of all that stood out most for me. There may be the odd camera faux pas here and there, and the acting may not always be the best, but that really isn’t where the enjoyment is garnered from. As is always the case it is the stories themselves that sell the product, and sell the product they do here.
My personal favorites, as I am sure you really want to know, were the segments from Grue Opus Films, Death Hug Films, So-So Pix and Spiral Filmworks. But even now when I type I think about another film that I really dug, and another. You get the idea, there really is something for every independent loving genre fan out there. Each film has its own identity and style, yet all work together to bring this collection to life.
The full list of companies behind the films are as follows:
Jabb PicturesDeath Hug FilmsGrue Opus FilmsSpiral FilmworksSo-So PixQuattro Venti Scott ProductionsSusie Does HorrorGraphik 13 FilmsRed Panic Button FilmsLiberty or Death Productions
All in all I most definitely recommend you check out The Collective Vol 2: The Box. If you dug the first one you will really dig this one. There are a few familiar faces that pop up in some of the movies, if you are familiar with the early collection, and some startling performances too. It’s always easy to criticize acting in independent movies, but I really should also give credit where it is due as well.
The Collective Vol 2 is what independent genre filmmaking should be, it’s original, fresh, sometimes scary and always keeps your attention. A great job done by all.
The Collective, Volume 2 - The Box is a one-of-a-kind short film collection featuring 10-10 minute short films all based on the same object. The object is seemingly innocent enough, a small cardboard box, around which each filmmaker involved in the collective had to find a unique, interesting and cinematically viable way to incorporate the object into their own 10-minute short film. The resulting films range from simple to intimate, absurd to insane and beyond. This unrated 110-minute collection isn't for the squeamish, but it's definitely for the true fan of ultra-indie horror and fantasy.
Fertility 2.0 - This intriguing short film weaves together glimpses of horror, sci-fi and fantasy all wrapped around one of the most intimate of human desires - that of parenthood. A young couple face being unable to conceive, a fact that is becoming increasingly distressing for our young woman while it seems our young man would be just as happy adopting. Challenged to do something about it by his increasingly frustrated partner, this young man stumbles across a website offering a unique approach to fertility problems. Yep, you guessed it. Expect the unexpected. Filmed in mood-setting black-and-white, Fertility 2.0 is written and directed by David Ross and stars Brian Boyd, L.E. Bradford, Andie Noir and L.E. Bradford. The film is from Liberty or Death Productions Fertility 2.0 is creepy and effective, a film that leaves lasting images in your brain long after its credits have rolled by.
Illusion - Illusion is a tale of obsession gone wildly awry. A woman (Michelle Shields) spies a small cardboard box atop a mailbox. It's just sitting there. Why? Even after a man comes up and mails something, the box just sits there. What begins as a seemingly trivial inquiry quickly spirals into a mad obsession that impacts our woman and her boyfriend (JABB's own Jason Hoover). Illusion also seems to begin another "theme," if you will, for this collection as it seemed a good number of the couples within the films were obvious mismatches almost to an absurd degree. In this film, the madness that begins to take control could be as much circumstantial as it is triggered by this not so trivial box. Illusion is created by Red Panic Button Films and comes from young filmmaker Dakota Meyer, who's probably not going to have Heartland knocking on his door anytime soon.
Oh. That's a compliment, by the way. Illusion is chilling in its impact, and Shields gives an unsettling performance as our young woman.
Snapcase - Snapcase, somewhat to my surprise (as I sit here looking at a painting on my wall called "Dysfunctional Family"), is one of my favorites of The Collective, Part 2. The ensemble cast here is outrageous and humorous in the darkest of ways. Written and directed by Eric Schneider, Snapcase takes the old "ordinary joe goes crazy" theme and spins it like a dreidel upon an ever-increasing number of corpses. The film centers around a seemingly ordinary guy whose woman is one serious nagging b****. When a mysterious package arrives, our ordinary "whipped" joe becomes a major psycho-killer knocking out anyone in his way until he runs across one seriously fucked up family unit not too far removed from the Leatherface gang. The film stars Josh Schneider, Angel Hilts, Travis Rhiner and others. Snapcase also features a rather kick-ass musical accompaniment that fits the mood perfectly but occasionally dominates the action.
It Crawls Back In - This production from Grue Opus films is directed by Jay Mattingly and centers around yet another "ordinary joe" type character (Bradley Mattingly) who digs up a small box in the woods, takes it home and discovers inside a human body part. He becomes consumed with figuring out the mystery, but by the time he figures it out he may wish he hadn't. This film is one of the collective's more suspenseful offerings, with Mattingly perfectly suited to act out the slow-building chills and thrills. While some of the offerings in the collective feel a tad too short or too lengthy, this offering feels just about right.
5 Minutes - If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die. If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die. If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die. If you read this review you will die. If you don't read this review you will die.
Co-written and directed by Jason Hoover, 5 Minutes adds a bit of vengeance toThe Collective definitely gets into a bit of overkill on the repetition scale but still manages to be one of the more interesting stories of the collection if you can be patient with it. Hoover and co-writer Bill Hardesty manage to construct an interesting film that feels like part childhood fantasy as a bully gets what he deserves even if it's actually a tad irritating for the audience, as well. While the framework may irritate at times, the production quality is solid here and 5 Minutes definitely has a place in this collective.
2 Guys 1 Box - From Susie Does Horror comes 2 Guys 1 Box, a simple yet effective short film featuring a terrific performance from John Link. The film starts off with two men kidnapping a prostitute, who is subjected to all types of brutal torture. When a third arrives, the entire scenario changes into something far greater that has far deeper impact. One of the films with a pretty solid core value, 2 Guys 1 Box is directed by Edward X. Young and stars Young, Sammy Clark, Nancy Rodriguez and, of course, John Link among others. The strength of 2 Guys 1 Boxmay very well lie in its well developed characters, a remarkable achievement given a mere 10-minute running time for the film.
Exile - Without question the most powerful and impactful of this collective's short films, Exile was directed by Cameron Scott and involves a man who has been institutionalized for the murder of his family. There's one doctor who believes he's still reachable, and she seemingly spends day after day trying to peel away the layers of trauma and drama that led to the killings. She may regret it.
With Exile, Cameron Scott manages to build both compelling characters and a terrific story contained within the confines of a 10-minute short. It's impossible to not finish the film thinking "I want to spend more time with these characters," no matter how horrifying the situation. Quattro Venti Scott is the production company behind this unforgettable and even heartbreaking film. Dennis Lamka and Michelle Shields are tremendous here, while Shannon Feaster and Jason Stewart also do a great job. Exile definitely is also one of the best of The Collective, Part II.
Boundry - Written and directed by Jason Hoover, Boundry is yet another winning (if freakishly disturbing) short film about a man (Shannon Feaster) who murders a woman (Michelle Feaster) but, in so doing, manages to piss off yet another killer whose territory he's apparently entered. Who knew that serial killers could be so territorial? Darkly yet beautifully acted, shot and edited, Boundry is filmed in black-and-white, the perfect choice to set a tone deceptively plain against the backdrop of relentless brutality. Tech credits are remarkably solid here, with an excellent original score adding to the impact of the top notch camera work. Truth be told, Boundry is my personal fave from this collective.
Keepsake - Keepsake comes from So-So Pix. Telling the story of a young man who is released from jail after serving time for the accidental vehicular homicide of a little girl, our young man finds himself haunted by the memory, and possibly more, of the little girl. The film is written and directed by Shannon Feaster, but it's young Sara Bowman (in her film debut) who really leaves the strongest impact here. Having watched Part 2 of The Collective before seeing its predecessor, this film leaves me anxious to see more of Feaster's work.
Pulse - Yet another entry that has strong potential as a feature film, Pulse takes a time travel theme and takes it in a rather remarkable place considering writer/director Jason Hoover's obvious limits within 10 minutes. Pulse is very much a director's film, a film made better of Hoover's helming the project and the obvious clarity with which he constructed the film. As a filmmaker, it's clear that Hoover knows how to get the maximum result out of even the lowest budget project. It'll be exciting to watch him continue to grow as a filmmaker.
Fans of indie horror or those who simply want to do what you can to support indie filmmakers will definitely want to get ahold of this stellar example of ultra-indie filmmaking.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
Beyond The Realms
Movie Review - The Collective Volume 2: The Box- Written by Scott Ruth
I'll start this review out by saying that The Collective Volume 2: The Box manages to best Vol. 1, which is a pretty impressive feat.
In The Collective Vol. 1, 10 independent filmmakers were charged with creating a ten minute film with only one rule; they had to be built around a common theme which was something called The Meat Eater. What was the meat eater? Well that was entirely up to each filmmaker to decide. This idea led to 10 very unique films, all of which had the blood, sweat, tears and guts of each respective filmmaker poured into them. If you'd call this idea "an experiment", it was a very successful one.
The folks at JABB Pictures have returned with an all new edition of The Collective, titled The Collective Vol. 2: The Box. Once again the rules are the same; 10 filmmakers, 10 films, 1 synopsis. As you can see by the title, the synopsis this time around is The Box. What's the box, you ask? That was up to each filmmaker. And each did indeed come up with a very unique idea of what The Box is.
The filmmakers involved in this volume of The Collective are as follows:
* Liberty Or Death Productions
* Red Panic Button Films
* Graphik 13 Films
* Grue Opus Films
* Death Hug Films
* Susie Does Horror
* Quattro Venti Scott Productions
* JABB Pictures
* SO-SO Pix
* Spiral Filmworks
Each film has it's own unique look, and take on the synopsis of The Box, but one thing that each has in common, other than the synopsis, is that each filmmaker has proven that it doesn't take some huge Hollywood budget to make a great horror film. Quite the contrary actually as each film in this collection outshines 99% of the stuff being churned out by the Hollywood studios.
Rather than simply highlight the films that I preferred most, as I did with my review The Collective Vol.1, I've decided to write a short review for each film from Volume 2.
Off we go. (I'll try to keep things fairly spoiler-free but don't shoot me if I screw up a bit.)
Fertility 2.0 (Liberty Or Death Productions)
A couple struggling with the all too common issue of fertility difficulties seems to be at their wit's end when the husband stumbles upon a website offering a new and revolutionary way of solving fertility issues. He downloads their free information kit and ends up with far more than he had ever bargained for. The entire film is shot in black & white, adding to the eeriness of the story. Fertility 2.0 has a Tales From The Crypt feel to it, with it's morality lesson being not so vague. Fertility 2.0 was written & directed by David Ross and stars Brian Boyd, L.E. Bradford, Robbin Panet and Andie Noir.
Illusion (Red Panic Button Films)
In Illusion, a young woman sees a box laying atop of a mail box on her drive home. She notes that no one else seems to notice it there. As a matter of fact, a man walks up to the mailbox to mail a letter and it's obvious that he doesn't even notice that the box is sitting there. Letting it go, she makes her way home but cannot seem to get that damned box out of her head. Soon, she becomes totally and completely obsessed with the little brown box. A tale of obsession and the depths that one can sink to when allowing said obsession to rule their lives. This film was the brainchild of Dakota Meyer, a 14 year old filmmaker with more talent than many of his quite older contemporaries in the world of filmmaking. You may not expect for a filmmaker so young to seemingly channel the likes of Rod Serling, but Illusion would fit in nicely as an episode of The Twilight Zone. The film stars Michelle Shields and JABB Pictures' own Jason Hoover. I have to admit that although I am very aware of Ms. Shields, I hadn't seen any of her work until now. She's a very gifted actress with a bright future ahead of her.
SnapCase (Graphik 13 Films)
A seemingly normal (not really) married guy, who seems to be the bitch for his woman, gets a mysterious package in the mail. What's in it? A box. What's in the box? Not Gwenyth Paltrow's head, that's for sure. So what IS in it? We're not sure but whatever it is makes this brow-beaten man go from working class zero to homicidal maniac as he sets out on a violent killing spree, going from place to place killing anyone he sees. Then he makes this mistake of choosing the wrong house. Oops. Poor bastard! Fucked Up Family Unit is written and directed by Eric Schneider and stars Josh Schneider, Angel Hilts, Travis Rhiner, Sonny Tedder, Daniel Danger Abbott, Tara Abbott, Hailey Hilt and Erin Bollman. It's an interesting take on the maniac running amok story. My only real complaint or issue with it is the score. The metal music, which I usually love, is just too much in this case. It's too loud and frankly not very good. If I were to offer one piece of advice to filmmaker Schneider it'd be to replace the score. Other than that, job well done, Mr. Schneider.
It Crawls Back In (Grue Opus Films)
An average Joe digs up a small box in the woods and takes it back home. Inside is a human body part. Soon after he begins to have disturbing nightmares. As the nightmares worsen and intensify, the man's health begins to wane. He begins to wonder "what do these nightmares mean?". Much to his dismay, he finds out what they mean soon enough and his life will never be the same. It Crawls Back In is directed by Jay Mattingly and stars Bradley R. Mattingly, Ashley Grimes and Justin Pratt. Mr. Mattingly does a fantastic job of slowly building the suspense, something not very easily accomplished when your film is only 10 minutes in duration.
5 Minutes (Death Hug Films)
In this film we take a trip back into our childhoods where bullies ruled the playground and basketball courts. We've all be told to "scram" by some bully while we were just trying to have some fun playing with our toys, or shooting hoops. What if? What if we could teach that bully a lesson? Better yet, what if we had some adults that'd be willing to help us? Still better, what if those adults worked for us as a part of some elaborate super secret corporation? Bet he would have thought better than to fuck with us to begin with. That's what Jason Hoover allows us to experience with 5 Minutes. And you know what? It felt good! The film was co-written (along with co-star Bill Hardesty) and directed by Hoover and stars Noah Hoover, Dakota Meyer, Bill Hardesty and Shannon Feaster.
2 Guys 1 Box (Susie Does Horror)
In 2 Guys 1 Box, two lowlifes abduct a prostitute and take her back to their room. There she is beaten and tortured by the men as they await a visitor. A knock at the door and suddenly this torture scenario becomes a supernatual thriller where the blood runs red and bodies are strewn across the room. Directed by Edward X. Young and starring Young, Sammy Clark, Nancy Rodiguez, Lance Morgan, Leee Black Childers, Vanessa Romanelli and John Link, 2 Guys 1 Box is one of my favorite shorts of this entire anthology series. It's story is a simple one; a timeless horror tale of greed and the price of it all. Plus the performance of the great John Link makes this a must see!
Exile (Quattro Venti Scott Productions)
In Exile, a man who's been institutionalized after the murder of his family is visited by a doctor who wants to help him come to grips with what he's done. She's perhaps the last person to believe that there may be hope for this lonely man who seems to survive in this asylum by making juvenile charcoal sketches. As she tries to peel back the layers in his mind, she may not be prepared for what she finds. Exile was directed by Cameron Scott and stars Dennis Lamka, Michelle Shields, Jason Stewart and Shannon Feaster. Not only is the film itself a compellingly dramatic one but the scenes during the closing credits, which depict just what this man did to his family, are truly heart-wrenching.
Boundry (JABB Pictures)
When a man (played by Shannon Feaster) brutally murders a woman (Michelle Feaster), he infuriates another (David Ponton) who claims that this is his territory. What happens when one psychopath crosses paths with another? Well, it ain't pretty and someone just killed their last victim, and became the latest notch on the proverbial bedpost of another killer. Shot entirely in black & white, Boundry is indeed a brutal little film that's sure to please fans of the exploitation genre. The b&w aspect instantly won me over (I have always been partial to modern films where the filmmaker had the balls to shoot in black & white) and it's unapologetic brutality only added to my love for this film. Not only is the film beautifully atrocious, but the score is simply perfect. Whenever a filmmaker scores a violent film with seemingly inappropriately pleasant music, it only adds to the uneasiness of the viewer, who is already feeling guilty about being "entertained" by scenes of brutality. Boundry was written, directed, shot & edited by Jason Hoover. Yet another one of the best of this series.
Keepsake (SO-SO Pix)
After serving his time for the accidental vehicular homicide of a young girl, a man is released from prison only to find himself being haunted by the memory of the little girl he killed....or is it more than just her memory? Keepsake is written and directed by Shannon Feaster and stars Jason Stewart, Heather Brinkman, Karen Bowman, Michelle Feaster and the debut of young Sara Bowman. In The Collective Vol. 1, Mr. Feaster's film, Snow Angel, was easily one of my favorites and once again he's come up with one of the stand-outs here in Volume 2. It's creepy, with a wonderful score and is a cautionary tale that leaves the viewer to perhaps better rethink the idea of texting while they're driving. One additional note regarding Keepsake: Sara Bowman is phenomenal as the young girl and if she wants a career in acting, I believe it's hers for the taking.
Pulse (Spiral Filmworks)
Possibly my favorite film of Vol. 2 of The Collective, Pulse is likely to not be a favorite of many other viewers. Not because it's bad, or weird, or even hard to understand, but simply because it involves the idea of time travel and really doesn't show much of anything. This is such a hard film to review because even what I've just written may seem as if it's a dig at the film, when in fact it's quite the opposite. With only 10 minutes to work with, it'd be impossible to deal with time travel in any kind of detail yet writer/director Jason Hoover has managed to lay the ground work for what could be a fantastic feature length time travel film, were he interested in expanding on what he's done with Pulse. I'm a sucker for time travel movies, so I was immediately, and deeply, focused on this short, from start to finish. Although we only see glimpses of this man building his time travel device, and then a short look at said device in action, I found it compelling and was left wanting to know, and see, so much more. It's funny that one of Mr. Hoover's entries in The Collective Vol. 1 was the one film of that edition that I truly disliked (If you want to know, and understand, why I didn't like it, click HERE and read my review) yet now Pulse is my favorite this time around. Why? Simple. Jason Hoover is a very talented and versatile filmmaker.
Well done, sir. Well done.
Anytime we have an anthology film, we're each going to have our favorites, and I'm sure it's obvious by what you've read above that I certainly did prefer some of the films in The Collective Volume 2: The Box better than others, but I want to make sure that I am crystal clear on the fact that I did enjoy each and every film in this collection. The filmmakers, editors, producers, stars and entire production crews on each of these 10 films worked their asses off to bring their visions to life, and for that I congratulate them all equally.
I began this review beating up the Hollywood studios pretty badly, (as I usually do) but I want to make one more thing clear. I did so to illustrate an important point. In the event that the point I was making wasn't as obvious to every reader as it is to me please allow me to put it this way....Are all mega-budgeted (studio) films total trash? Nope.Most but not all. Are all indie movies always superior to their studio counterparts? No, sorry. Wish they were, but it's not always the case. Are the films of The Collective, each, proof that great movies can be made on a shoestring, or even practically non-existent, budget? You bet your sweet asses they are. Also, these 10 films have something that very few studio films possess.......heart. These filmmakers make movies because they love making movies, not because they know it's a guaranteed way to make millions, if not billions, of dollars, which is what the studios do, for the most part.
Be sure to visit the site below and order your copy of The Collective Volume 2: The Box. While you're there, take a look at the other titles, including The Collective Volume 1: The Meat Eater, and consider checking out a few of them. You won't be sorry. This is filmmaking the way it was always meant to be. For the love of the art.
- Written by Scott Ruth
Click the link above to watch the video review
The Collective Vol. 1
The Lair of Filth
The Collective: Vol 1 The Meat Eater (2011)
Review by Jude Felton
The two previous releases from Illinois based JABB Pictures were Spike and Polly, both impressed and resulted in my being eager to see what they would come up with next.
With The Collective, JABB Pictures have come up
with a cracking idea and one that works incredibly well.
Ten filmmakers were given one synopsis, or a central idea if you will, which is The Meat Eater and then sauntered off and made their films.
The end result being a collection of unique movies which, on the whole, really impressed me.
The filmmakers included here are JABB Pictures, Jason Hoover, Quattro Venti Scott Productions, The Cult of Moi and Vous Films, Darkrider Studios, Over Analyzed Productions, Graphik13 Films, Liberty or Death Productions, So-So Pix and 13 Year Old Dakota Meyer.
I really wouldn’t want to spoil too much in terms of the plots of each individual short as I feel that would take away from the enjoyment of seeing what the filmmakers came up with.
Needless to say there is a real variety here. Some are more light-hearted than others, pretty much all of them have a good showing of claret and one in particular is pitch-black, yes I am looking at you Mr. Hoover!
What really shines here though is the diversity and passion that has obviously gone into the creation of these short films. The fact that they are all together on one disc is a bonus.
One of my personal gripes with short movies, or their releases should I say, is that you pop the disc in and 10/20 minutes later you are done, you have to get up off your ass and change the disc.
Collecting them together like this is a great idea as you get the best part of 2 hours entertainment in one shot.
I wish more short films would get released in this manner.
My personal favorite on The Collective, and no disrespect to the other filmmakers here as there wasn’t one that I didn’t enjoy, was So-So Pix quite superb Snow Angel.
Director Shannon Feaster manages to encapsulate atmosphere, tension and some black humor into a movie that is one static shot (aside from the intro). I wasn’t sure where it was going but it worked so well.
We also get to see Shannon exercise his acting chops elsewhere on The Collective.
The Collective just goes to show the versatility and talent that is out there. If I am not mistaken I believe that at least one of the short movies contained herein is presently being worked into a feature length movie and The Collective Vol 2 will be heading our way in the not-so-distant future.
If Vol 1 is anything to go by I would suggest
you get excited right about now.
The Collective is an excellent release that
I wholeheartedly recommend to fans of quality independent cinema.
Mail Order Zombie Podcast
Listen to the Podcast review by clicking the image
Recently released by JABB Pictures,
the folks who gave us the horror shorts Spike and Polly,
is this entertaining short films collection DVD with 10 shorts from 10 filmmakers all based around the concept of “The Meat Eater.”
The first short from Thomas Berdinski and the Cult of Moi and Vous is Sascratch vs. Afrodesious: The Giant Rubber Monster Movie. This one is the funniest of the bunch and features the same spoofy touches found in Berdinski’s The Italian Zombie Movie Parts 1 & 2. The short pits Berdinski as Sascratch against a giant Godzilla movie style monster wreaking havoc across the winter landscape of a small town. This one’s sure to satisfy fans of sci-fi and monster movie spoofs.
The second short from Chris Jay and Darkrider Studios (Lethal Obsession, Mother’s Blood) stars Marv Blauvelt and Kitsie Duncan and is a Blair Witch style “found footage” movie about what happens when a group of rednecks get together and decide to hunt down an alleged bigfoot creature supposedly lurking around in the woods. Needless to say, the hunt doesn’t end well.
The third short Whistling Past the Graveyard from Eric Schneider and Graphik 13 Films concerns what happens when two dudes cross paths with a psycho who offs the mother of two babies and steals the van which she was driving earlier with the babies still in it. The two had a bit of road rage earlier with the mother and after they make a quick stop to smoke a joint, things take a turn for the worse when the hammer wielding maniac causes one of the guys to have an unfortunate “accident.”
Zracne Vile from James D. Mannan and Liberty or Death Productions (Wannabe) dabbles in the concept of witchcraft as a bartender tells two beer guzzling buddies about a woman with marital problems who enlists the help of a witch to help her remedy the situation with her husband. The end result as a part of this agreement turns out to be rather extreme to say the least.
Snow Angel from Shannon Feaster and So-So Pix is a very eerie piece set against the backdrop of a winter landscape. We are shown a sped up montage of the snow covered streets of a small town over the opening credits. We then find ourselves staring straight ahead down a snowy country road where we see a small black figure in the distance getting bigger as it comes closer and closer to us. The audience sits in tremendous suspense as we wait to find out who or what is coming toward us and what exactly is going to happen. The end result is a very creepy art film short with beautiful scenery and good music to go along with it.
Graveyard Blues from Cameron Scott and Quattro Venti Scott Productions is a dark, gory and bleak supernatural horror story taking place in a churchyard with Lovecraft style sceneries and images reminiscent of ‘70s nunsploitation horror and some touches of Karim Hussain (director of Subconscious Cruelty, Ascension and The Beautiful Beast). Fans of gritty old school Euro horror will find much to enjoy about this one.
The Meat Eater from Jason Hoover and JABB Pictures is a zombie attack survival story as a man on the run from a flesh eating ghoul seeks refuge in the basement of a house and tries to escape the “meat-eating” madness.
The eighth short from David Bonnell and Overanalyzed Productions concerns what happens when a jealous boyfriend calls a “Revenge Radio” station for assistance in getting back at his cheating girlfriend.
Corn-Fed from Dakota Meyer and So-So Pix focuses on the sinister, savage actions of a seemingly normal-looking man who wakes up and makes himself breakfast. It quickly turns into a gruesome story of murder and captivity.
The last short from Jason Hoover consists of old slaughterhouse documentary footage and is what you could call Hoover’s own little 10-minute version of Food Inc. as it focuses on a message about eating meat and provides some interesting social commentary about on the subject. It’s one of those pieces that are likely to turn some viewers into vegetarians.
The Collective Vol. 1 is an all-around terrific shorts collection and the various shorts featured contain elements that are humorous, disturbing, surreal, and creepy.
The best ones are Whistling Past the Graveyard, Snow Angel, Graveyard Blues, Hoover’s The Meat Eater, and Meyer’s Corn-Fed.
These are easily the most shocking, creative and disturbing of the bunch.
Graveyard Blues is something almost worthy of Mitch Davis’s Small Gauge Trauma Fantasia shorts line-up.
The Giant Rubber Monster Movie is easily the most humorous of the line-up and is a must see for those who enjoyed The Italian Zombie Movie Parts 1 & 2.
I look forward to seeing what Vol. 2 will bring.
JABB Pictures presents The Collective,
a compilation of horror shorts that share a common theme.
Volume 1, "The Meat Eater," contains ten ten-minute films that use that title as a starting point for anything from sci-fi spoof to art-house experimentation. It’s a great premise for a project, giving low budget filmmakers a solid footing to explore in a limited but fertile running time. The results are varied, but each offers something unique.
In Thomas Berdinski’s “The Giant Rubber Movie: Sascratch vs. Afrodesious,” an alien boy teams up with a genial serial killer to battle a Godzilla-esque monster. Everything about the film is ridiculously over the top (and more often than not, quite annoyingly so), but if you can catch some of its goofiness, it’s an energizing way to start off things off. With its purposely (I hope) awful effects, it has the lightest mood of the series.
On the black and white ‘artistic’ front comes “Snow Angel” and “Graveyard Blues.” Shannon Feaster’s “Snow Angel” is an odd little experiment, as hauntingly effective music (composed by Kevin Macleod) tracks an empty winter road about to be occupied...but very, very slowly. It doesn’t quite pay off to justify the minutes of near nothingness, but it's an interesting attempt at creating something new.
Cameron J. Scott's “Graveyard Blues” is more of a slog, with dull narration dragging us through a nose-ring wearing teenager's saga with a monster and religion. There are some interesting visual touches and a well-done massacre, but the rough audio and slow pace ultimately drag it down too far.
Things lighten up with Liberty or Death Productions’ “Zrachne Vile,” a horror comedy told through the colorful ramblings of a seen-it-all barfly. Written and directed by James Mannan and Robbin Panet, “Zrachne Vile” has some fun with married life, fortune tellers, and most importantly, a very specifically carnivorous feline. The story keeps moving for its short running time and provides a light but rewarding payoff.
Jason Hoover provides two segments. The straightforward last-man-standing-against-the-zombies tale “The Meat Eater” is well-presented as a survivor story.
His other entry, “A Mark of Wholesome Meat,” is far more ambitious. Using a 1950s ‘educational’ video on the quality of the American meat industry, Hoover edits in real footage of modern factory farming. It’s easily the most terrifying part of The Collective, telling a heavy-handed message in a brutal, angry, and a tad over the top manner.
David Bonnell’s “Revenge Radio” follows the breakup (via text message, ouch) of two fairly obnoxious people and the fallout that comes with it. It’s not overly interesting, but the ending packs a great punch.
Dakota Meyer’s “Corn-fed,” on the other hand, starts strong but tips its hand too early, telling us its twist without a strong enough tease. Since Meyer is billed as a “13-Year-Old-Filmmaker,” it’s a forgivable offense that will hopefully be considered in future projects.
Another mixed offering is Eric Schneider’s Superstition, a dense little tale that juxtaposes two pals taking the death of their unlikable friend lightly with a serial killer slicing his way through town.
Considering we’re watching a horror film made in the 21st century, you can bet your smartphone that a found footage yarn finds its way in. Chris Jay’s “Dr Mea Tea” surprisingly enough comes off as one of the stronger shorts, complete with strong performances from the ensemble cast. A group of country hunters gather to hunt a local monster, but a jarring twist ending bends the question of who the real villains may be.
Fans of low budget horror shorts might enjoy The Collective’s first effort. Though none of the films are perfect, each seems to be made by an enthusiastic group of filmmakers learning their craft.
Jabb Pictures so far has brought us two short films, “SPIKE” and “POLLY”, each film showcasing an enormous amount of talent from the rising independent film company. On the heels of not being able to secure a budget that they needed for a “choose your own adventure” horror film, Jabb kept the creative ball rolling and got to work on a project that would bring several filmmakers together for one collective project. THE COLLECTIVE brings together ten different short films from nine different filmmakers, each with a different idea of what “The Meat Eater” is, a name in which Jason Hoover of Jabb Pictures passed along to all involved and asked that they make a short film based on that name and what it is to them. I must say, this idea is unique and it shows a unity within the independent film community that isn’t witnessed too often.
From the artistic stylings of “Snow Angel” to over the top sci-fi chaos of “The Cult of Moi and Vous”, the films contained within THE COLLECTIVE offer about everything you could possibly want: horror, blood, giant fighting monsters, serial killers, witches, and a slaughterhouse! If you can’t find something to love about this set of short films then you might as well quit watching movies. Another aspect about this collection is that I thought all of the films brought something to the table with none of them coming off as filler just to reach ten films. Some were certainly better than others but all of them held my interest and I wanted more when it was over.
With all of the films having merit and a purpose, here is a brief look at a few of my favorites:
The Cult of Moi and Vous: This was one wild ass sci-fi ride that I would LOVE to see turned into a feature length film. It had giant monsters battling through neighborhoods smashing houses and anything in the way. It also has lasers, space ships, and complete over the top acting, all encompassed in a package that would make Ed Wood proud!
Corn Fed: Directed by 13 year old Dakota Meyer and this entry shows that this kid’s talents are far advanced for his age. Showing a strange man who kills, eats his victims and keeps them logged in a notebook, Dakota definitely has one of the better entries in THE COLLECTIVE.
Whistling Past The Graveyard: Coming to us Graphik 13 Films, this interesting short showcases a serial killer that is tied in with certain urban legends as he literally gets away with murder in broad daylight
Untitled By Jason Hoover: This is a disturbing, but yet sometimes funny, look into what goes on at a slaughterhouse. Taken from stock footage, Jason has chopped up the footage for a look that will turn your stomach, disgust you and may even make some people look deeper into going vegan. I couldn’t possibly mention this short without saying that I’ve never seen the 90’s hip hop hit “Rumpshaker” used quite so disturbing and effectively. Once you see it, you’ll know exactly what I mean.
With THE COLLECTIVE, Jabb Pictures continues to prove that they are one of the best and most interesting independent film companies going today. This is a very original and fresh idea that I think a lot of people are going to enjoy. Bringing people together in the independent film world can be no easy feat due to competitiveness and some filmmakers having the false belief that their shit doesn’t stink but Jabb Pictures has shown with THE COLLECTIVE that it can be done. THE COLLECTIVE will make its public debut in two weeks at HorrorHound Weekend Indianapolis and I’m sure that not only fans of their previous work will be impressed but Jabb -and all involved for that matter -are sure to win over some new fans. I’m already looking forward to Volume 2!
Watch the video review by clicking the link below
"Spike" begins innocently as we see a normal, everyday looking man in a button up shirt and khaki pants that's strolling through a park with his dog named Spike, on a beautiful sunny afternoon. Diverging from the park and into a nearby wooded area, Spike's sniffer latches onto a scent and eventually leads him to what he was smelling, a corpse hidden under a pile of downed branches. The man, upon the discovery, is visibly shaken and after contemplating what to do for a minute, he high tails it back to his car and quickly leaves the park.
Driving away, the man frantically beats on the steering wheel and at one point even picks up his cellphone like he may be considering calling the cops but decides against the best and sanest thought, opting instead to go back and get the body, take it home, and make it his secret, special friend.
Hiding the body away from his wife in a storage shed outback of his house, the man talks to the cadaver, confiding to his lifeless friend his darkest desires and pent up thoughts of all of the depraved things he has done in his life but never had a friend to tell them to ... until now.
As the days go by, the man's need to spend time with his friend consumes his life, eventually boiling over into a horrific and shocking ending.
"Spike" is a welcome surprise from first time director Jason Hoover and Jabb pictures. Hoover has created a highly captivating and compelling short film that has introduced his company with a resounding bang. In this day and age where anyone can grab a camera and take a stab at making a film, "Spike" is one of the rare occasions where a no budget film hits all of the right marks; it's simple, yet well thought out, it has no budget, but loses no value because of it and the acting by lead actor Bill Hardesty is top notch.
Hardesty really hits it out of the park with his performance as a troubled man that hides his obvious mental illness under the guise of an average everyday American male. For the entire first half of this 26 minute short, there is no dialog whatsoever and with facial expressions, movement and pure emotion, Bill's performance is superb and then, once he begins talking to the corpse, it becomes very clear that his character is mentally ill and Bill sells it so well.
The underlying tones and social commentary in "Spike" are done in a subtle, more hidden type of way that doesn't necessarily jump right out at you, like the part in the film where the man is carrying the body in a golf bag back to his car and there are people all around but no one notices. This scene would be easy to think of as an overlooked flaw in the film making process because how could these people not notice that something is not right with this man and his obvious heavy bag that he is struggling to carry, but I would beg to differ. Too much thought and skill went into this short for this to be anything less than a calculated commentary on how things can go on right before people's very eyes but they are too wrapped up in their own world and/or lives to even notice, or maybe to even care at all!
There's also some commentary going on in this film that speaks about the seemingly perfect suburban American neighborhood. This deranged man lives in the perfect looking, cookie cutter suburbia, you know a neighborhood that goes up in a week and your thinking 'where in the hell did all of that come from so quickly'? It's as if Jason Hoover was trying to convey the fact that sickos like our lead guy can be anywhere, even stemming from the Utopian, Leave It To Beaver type of surroundings.
From writing, directing, editing and scoring the movie by himself, Mr. Hoover has busted down the doors of film making with a loud voice that demands to be heard. With "Spike", he has already made a better film than many independent filmmakers will strive for years to make, but never succeed. From simple camera shots like the low angle shot of the man washing his hands, to a changing score that ranges from intense rock, to a slap bass number, to a melancholy piano melody, to the man's psyche going into complete meltdown by the films end, "Spike" shows that Jason Hoover and Jabb Pictures have chops, paying attention to those details that much of the independent world over looks.
Many low to no budget films leave you with more to be desired and often times a lot more to be desired, but "Spike" is an exception...this dog sure knows how to bite!
5 out of 5 Paws
BY Jason Schneeberger
Recently I had the pleasure to check out independent filmmaker Jason Hoover’s short film titled “Spike”. Considering that short films are rather hit or miss with me I have to say I was a bit nervous about it, mainly because I know Jason personally and it’s hard when people you know make something less than stellar. Luckily that wasn’t the case here as I really did enjoy “Spike” as it’s well made and honestly one of the more humorous shorts I’ve ever seen of the horror variety.
“Spike” is about a man who one day while walking his dog runs across a dead body. Instead of doing what most people would do and call the cops, the man decides to take the body home with him and keep it in his tool shed. See the man is married and not at all interested in his wife. His life has driven him to loneliness and boredom which seemingly will change with this addition to his tool shed. The film features scenes where the man is speaking directly with the corpse and talking to it like it was another human being. The scenes are funny, sad and pretty thought provoking overall. To me this short does what all good shorts do to me and that’s make me want for more and wish that the thing was a feature length project.
It should be mentioned that Bill Hardesty did a wonderful job in the lead as the lonely man and is pretty damn funny in the film. He’s very natural which is something I think is necessary when you’re talking about acting. If anything comes of unnatural it doesn’t work and that’s not the case here at all. His scenes are filled with him just talking to the corpse and the dialog here is gold. I was laughing my ass off during it but it’s all very natural and none of it feels forced in the least.
Director Jason Hoover does a excellent job with the film especially with how it progresses. I mentioned earlier that I found the film to be funny but you should see how things change with the final frame of the short. I thought this was done very well by Jason and shows that he really knows what he’s doing when it comes to making a film. When a movie can take you in one emotional direction and take you somewhere completely different in a matter of seconds, I think that’s one of the marks of a great filmmaker.
Bottom line is as far as “Spike” goes it’s an interesting short film that does exactly what it’s supposed to. The DVD itself says that the film was made by someone without any formal film training and you would never know it watching this. It’s very professional, very entertaining and something I would definitely recommend to others. Look out for Jason Hoover folks because if he can make features like this one, we’re going to have a lot of great stuff to look for in the future. You can get a copy of "Spike" (for only $10!) and get more information about Broken Face Productions at http://brokenfaceproductions.com/
Rating - ***
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Gross Movie Reviews
Spike (2009) – “Spike”, where a man finds a dead girl in the woods and instead of calling 911, this man takes the dead girl home and it’s not for sex but something more interesting… The film runs about 30 minutes total and is wonderfully done. This film proves there is another up and coming independent horror filmmaker out there in my.
*** 3 stars
Spike was a very interesting film. At first glance I thought that this movie would be about a killer dog or something similar to that of Cujo, however, as the movie progressed I realized that it wasn’t what I expected. Not in the least bit. The film is about a man who discovers a body while walking his dog Spike. Spike uncovers the body and the man, later on in the day, takes the body home and stores it in his shed. Then, in a bizarre turn in character he begins to converse with the dead body, even to go as far as playing games with the dead body. This was a solid film with great acting but there were a few things that could have been tweaked.
First off, you’ll notice that this film is almost like silent picture with sound. There is barely any talking until the end scenes and even then it didn’t need to have talking. But, the performances by the lead actor were amazing. Given his role, he really made me care for the character and through the performance you begin to understand his plight. Here is a man who probably doesn’t care for his family that much, or at least doesn’t care about his wife that much because they don’t understand him. So, in effort to cope with his feelings he befriends the dead body. It’s a beautiful chemistry that is laced with dark humor.
Since it does go in this direction, I don’t think I could call this movie a horror film per say, but rather a drama. Not until the very end scene do we get some horror into the mix. The story is solid and it reminds me a little of Love Object or even May, tales of misunderstood people who find a way to cope with their feelings. However, there is a scene were the actor is hauling the dead body (in a garbage bag) through a park into his car. I found it a little hard to believe that nobody caught on to what was happening. Also, I wouldn’t call the movie Spike because it makes the audience think that it is about the dog… even though the dog was only in it for a few minutes. Who knows, I might be missing something.
Overall, give this movie a shot but just don’t expect a real horror movie… expect a really good drama with raw performances. Aside from a few minor problems, this movie isn’t bad at all. I would recommend it and give it a try, I thought I would be bored with it but I was really captivated by it’s eccentric story. Though it wasn’t what I thought it was, I’m glad that it wasn’t and it was a fresh new look at something that has been tampered with in so many other films.
Reviewed by FreddysFingers
Spike is a film that is difficult to define or describe properly by any viewer. As an independent short running a mere 25 minutes, it spends most of it’s time as a setup to one shocking final scene. As with many horror shorts, it does exactly what it should do. It gives you a basic setup with a central character and then builds a sadistic or weird scenario around that character.
In the case of Spike, the viewer is introduced to a lonely man who finds a corpse on his daily walk through the park. At first I thought he would contact the police as he seemed truly unsettled by finding the body. Within 10 minutes, the film takes you on a bizarre adventure in which the man goes back to the corpse, takes her body, and brings her back to his house where he hides the body in his storage building. Each night he returns to his storage building to have conversations with the young woman’s corpse and to even attempt to play board games with her. The final scene, although shocking and violent, does not seem to fit with the rest of the film, no matter how bizarre the subject matter has become.
In essence, the viewer is left confused and a little shaken by the events and will no doubt revisit the film at a later time. I would like to see what Director Jason Hoover could do with a full length feature that expands on this taboo subject matter.
The transfer and audio are both decent for a shot on video feature and added a sense of professionalism to this fledgling attempt at horror film making.
Reviewed By: Dana L. Estes
In the world of independent cinema it’s not often that you find a movie about a serial killer that’s really good, or even believable. But in my experience when you see one that’s really good it manages to have a lasting effect on the viewer for whatever reason. “Polly” is the type of film that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in, but after watching I think I can safely say that director Jason Hoover not only understands the concept well, but has probably sat through some of the lesser made films of this type to get to that understanding.
“Polly” is the story of a serial killer, a sick a depraved man who enjoys the misery of others. The man doesn’t discriminate as his victims range in age from 31 months to 31 years old. Killing and torture is his only motive and seemingly those are the only things that bring him satisfaction. On the surface he looks like you average everyday guy, but underneath the surface, he’s cold and calculating. But his latest victim is Polly, a girl he would keep captive for 186 days breaking her down physically and mentally. The thing is though is that regardless of the torture she endures at his hand, it does nothing but increase her will to survive.
First off viewers should know that “Polly” is a short film, which can be very dangerous territory for a filmmaker to travel in. A lot of times you get shorts that are either too short and are far from interesting, or they are too long with what seems like a ton of filler material. One thing that impressed me about “Polly” was that it was neither. I got the feeling that everything that needed to be done here was and things that weren’t included didn’t give it the feeling as if it was missing something. It has a great pace to it and manages to be interesting from the first shot to the final frame.
Another thing that I absolutely loved about “Polly” was the fact that director Jason Hoover clearly understands that filmmaking is a fine balance of strengths over weaknesses. The film doesn’t attempt to out do itself or it’s budget and manages to cover up it’s weaknesses very well. There is a lot of narrative in the film that is shown in text on the screen which works surprisingly well. It gives the film an aura that was created and put into the viewers mind visually which in my opinion is the mark of a very talented filmmaker. Jason works completely to his strengths here as everything that was done in the film felt natural and nothing feels forced.
Something else that made this one stand out to me was the acting performances. Considering this movie was made completely independent and didn’t featured name talent actors, Jason still manages to bring out good performances from what I understand are your average everyday people. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen directors use their friends in their movies and think it’s okay to give them dialog that would be difficult for Oscar award winning actors. Seriously, this is a major downfall of independent flicks but Mr. Hoover doesn’t fall into that trap. The actors in the film seem to be given material that they can handle and that is a great sign to someone like me that the director “gets it”.
But the biggest credit of all that I can give “Polly” is that it’s pretty damn effective as an overall project. It feels believable, it sounds believable and overall it’s an extremely solid project. I highly recommend people check out “Polly” as it’s actually a serial killer flick done right, especially on the independent level. RECOMMENDED.
Rating - ***
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Gross Movie Reviews
A 48 minute independent film from the brilliant and upcoming filmmaker Jason Hoover, about a woman named ‘Polly’ who is sexually abused, tortured, and raped continuously over a hundred and some days by a deviant of a man who gets off on it and has done it before. But when he gets bored with his victims he tends to end it violently… But ‘Polly’ is different; she finds a way to go on and eventually gets away. Jason’s film is disturbing, twisted, without going over the edge like some films have done in the past. I give it 3 stars as Jason is proving me right about him being the next great independent filmmaker out there for horror fans to look for.