On the surface, Mary Ellen appears to have a normal life. A mother to beautiful twin babies and doting wife to husband Josh, Mary Ellen couldn’t ask for anything more. Appearances are deceiving, however, as Josh is an extremely violent abuser. When all hope seems lost Mary Ellen meets Bella. Bella is a strong, confident woman who has survived her own abusive relationship. Is Mary Ellen ready to take Bella’s advice to the bloody end? Or have things already spiraled past the point of no control?
Bella is a short dramatic thriller written and directed by Charlene Jeter. Charlene also stars in the film as Bella, along with Heather Fairbanks as Mary Ellen and Jeremy Evitts as Josh. Bella is a film that has some great elements, but also many questionable ones. First we’ll start with the positive.
When it comes to setting the mood, Bella truly shines. In the beginning, we visit the back story for Bella’s character. The cinematography, costuming, and acting were so on point that I actually thought I was in 1980’s Detroit. Charlene Jeter does an absolutely spectacular job portraying Bella and is in a class all her own. The drama in this first half was captivating and I wanted to see what was next.
In the second half we return to Mary Ellen’s story after getting a glimpse of Bella’s early years. This is where the story begins to break down. Without giving spoilers some plot twists occur that were confusing and didn’t seem to fit with the motivations of the characters. Despite the confusion, I was continuously entertained and never bored.
Bella is a tale of two movies for me. The first being the enjoyable beginning that highlighted Bella’s backstory. This section had incredible drama that was tense and gripping to watch. The second half, while still interesting to watch, had some questionable plot twists and confusing motivations. Despite these moments, I recommend giving Bella a watch. It is now available on YouTube for your viewing pleasure.
First and foremost THANK YOU to everyone who submitted their short films for our consideration! We received a great number of short film and microfilm submissions, and as one of 3 jury members (with August Aguilar, and Mark Kelly) I must say, IT WAS NO EASY TASK!
For those filmmakers whose films were not selected at this time, KEEP AT IT!! The fact you you completed a film project, and submitted it to a film festival is an AWESOME accomplishment! And we hope to hear from you again at one of our other film festivals down the road.
For the dozen films that we have the selected for the first ever SUDS & CINEMA – Knoxville: We’re honored to be showcasing your film at our event!!
Hunted – 0:52
Cheetos – 0:41
Tennis – 3:00
Don’t Die – 3:19
Drop Frame – 6:58
Foreword – 7:53
Back to the Drawing board – 11:18
Voice in the Radio – 9:24
I will not Disappear – 9:20
Papa – 14:37
The Workout – 3:10
Self Checkout – 4:00
Congratulations to all of the Official Film Selections!
Join us at Brickyard Bar & BBQ in Knoxville, TN on Saturday, Sept 28th to check out these films on the big screen– grab a craft beer, check out some live music, and stick around to the end of this FREE event to see what films win the official festival film awards!
Bailiwick is the story of John, a lonely and quiet man, who is ignored by his co-workers, and bullied by his boss. One night he is given a magical gift that changes his life and the lives of everyone he encounters…
See the CinemaSlice Reel Review of Bailiwick HERE.
Gary Cowden (Mike Neider), AKA: The Bicuspid Killer, is the next subject examined in the hit crime series Investigation: Death. In this episode, titled I Dated a Serial Killer, they look into Gary’s techniques as a murderer. He enjoys luring women on dating websites in order to meet with them. Meetings in which Gary has murderous intent. On one date he meets Karen Davies (Dawn Marie Hughes), a woman whom Gary plans to take home. He has noticed that Karen has beautiful teeth. Gary soon finds out, however, that Karen Davies isn’t like his other victims. In fact Karen may be much more disturbed than even Gary himself.
Written and directed by Jeremy Allen, Investigation: Death is a short horror/dark comedy. Leaning into both genres, Investigation: Death will have the viewer grimacing one minute and chuckling with laughter the next. Switching genres is also Investigation: Deaths strongest element. It subverts the audiences expectations of what they are watching, moving from genre to genre with an exceptional directorial hand. The writing is well done with the comedic bits being a highlight. The acting is also noteworthy and the entire cast does an exceptional job. Mike Neider is outstanding as Gary Cowden, a creepy villain that will stick with the viewer long after watching.
Not many criticisms come to mind as I had an entertaining time with this film. With such a creative team it would be interesting, however, to see this idea revisited with a larger budget. This may not be possible, but it would be neat to see Investigation: Death with an overall polish that a larger budget could bring.
Overall Investigation: Death was an awesome watch. Both deeply disturbing and funny it hit all the notes of a good short. Although a little rough around the edges, it was fantastic in terms of direction, writing, and acting. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys serial killer horror and hilarious dark comedy.
A portrait handed down through the generations. A portrait of a doctor who is widely known across the globe. A doctor obsessed with giving life to his own creation. His name was Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his family tree has grown large. His legacy has spidered along the branches of this tree with certain family members continuing his vile experiments. Each believes they have perfected the techniques of the past. However, can the perfect solution be found to a question that was never intended to be asked?
Directed by Donald F. Glut, Tales of Frankenstein is a collection of four short horror tales. Done in the style of great anthologies such as Creepshow and V.H.S., Tales of Frankenstein connects each tale with a through line. All of the stories were interesting, because each was done in a unique style that represented the location and time period where the short takes place. The through line is the weakest element of Tales of Frankenstein, but I’ll get to that later. First we’ll visit each story and I’ll give my reaction to each.
First is My Creation, My Beloved which tells how Dr. Gregore Frankenstein (Buddy Daniels Friedman) attempts to bring back his former love, Irma. With Irma’s brain and the additional help of local morgue worker Herr Hussman (Tad Atkinson) and prostitute Helga (Lilian Lev), Gregore hopes to carry out this task. I felt like this was the weakest story of the four tales. It wasn’t as unique as the others and seemed to stick to a more traditional storytelling approach. It was well done technically, however, with good direction and great gore effects. Also I felt this had the strongest acting ensemble, with a very creepy performance by Tad Atkinson as Herr Hussman.
Second is Crawler from the Grave where Vincent (John Blyth Barrymore) becomes obsessed with his neighbors, Lenore Frankenstein (Tatiana DeKhtyar) and Helmut Frankenstein (Len Wein). Vincent’s obsession stems from his love of precious and rare gems. A recently deceased Helmut owned such a gem, which he wore on his finger. Vincent then proceeds with a grave robbing plot that may give him problems due to Helmut’s experiments. Experiments intended to give himself everlasting life. With a strong story, awesome special effects, and very creepy visuals this was my favorite of the anthology. No criticism for Crawler from the Grave as it was solid from start to finish.
Next up is Madhouse of Death. Private Detective Jack Anvil (Jamisin Matthews) takes shelter at an old house when his car breaks down right before an approaching storm. It’s there that he meets Dr. Mortality (Mel Novak) and his butler, Mogambo (T.J. Storm). Dr. Mortality has a plan for Jack, a plan that may involve Jack losing his mind. The most funny and absurd of the four shorts. It was a delight watching as the characters came out, each more odd and eccentric than the last. The serious noire style really worked and was a great juxtaposition to the craziness. The mixing of crazy characters and different genres won’t be for everyone, but was very effective nonetheless.
Lastly is Dr. Karnstein’s Creation in which Dr. Heinrich Karnstein (Jim Tavare) recruits local bar fly Carl (Justin Hoffmeister). Carl needs money and will do anything for Dr. Heinrich. Even if that involves creating a bloodthirsty unstoppable super soldier. Like the last three tales Dr. Karnstein’s Creation is a quality short in all departments. What makes this one stand out, however, is the ending. For all the creature lovers out there this short is for you. The abomination at the end is a sight to behold.
As mentioned earlier, my biggest criticism with this anthology is the lack of a more substantial through line. Essentially the Frankenstein family lineage and the handed down portrait are all we get. While this is in no way a deal breaker it was a bit of a letdown. Each short was really good though, with a great mixture of different genres and film styles. I love a good anthology and I believe this one stands right along with all the classics.
Molly has a very curious hobby. She obsesses over everything Bigfoot. News clippings, video sightings and first hand accounts swirl around her brain. When she hears that Blue Ridge Adventures is sponsoring a contest in her area, she jumps at the opportunity. Ten thousand dollars to anyone who can find proof that Bigfoot exists. So Molly grabs her somewhat skeptical friend, Devon, and they begin their journey. A journey that will show Molly to always follow her dreams, despite the pitfalls that may occur.
Big and Tall is a heartwarming comedy/adventure short directed by Clint Till. Emi Otsuki plays the smart and spunky Molly. Emi does an outstanding job in playing Molly as an instantly likable character. Emis portrayal would make any girl watching Big and Tall be drawn to Molly’s adventurous spirit. Devin McCracklin also does a fantastic job in a supporting role as Molly’s friend Devon. A good script and a nice comedic performance by Devin develops Devon’s character nicely. He has his own unique personality while also not overshadowing Molly.
The directing is another standout in Big and Tall. Clint Till gets performances from Emi and Devin that, in my opinion, rival other famous films with child actors. IT: Chapter 1 and Stand by Me come to mind. Every shot is purposeful and every scene helped to forward the story in a meaningful way. My only criticism is that it was too short. I realize it’s a short film, but I feel this could be made into a full length feature.
I thought Big and Tall was a great film. A fantastic script delivered by amazing child actors shot by a director that respects his audiences time. It’s comedy and adventure mixed together with a little suspense added in. I recommend this to anyone that enjoys feel good, well made movies.
Zach Evans is attending a panel at the 2019 Festival of Play. The topic of discussion is Ziggo Mania 5, a video game that Zach adores. One of the panelists is Jesse Blackwell, who is the lead programmer on the project. Once Zach gets a chance to ask some questions he finds out from Jesse some unfortunate news about Ziggo Mania. News that will light a spark within Zach and lead to a series of sinister events. Jesse is now in danger and will have to use all his unique skills to save himself.
From Mania to Obsession is a short suspense/thriller directed by Andrew Brantley and Kevin Shirka. It stars Kevin Shirka as Zach Evans and Randall Williams as Jesse Blackwell. From Mania to Obsession is a very enjoyable film on multiple levels. One thing that stood out for me was the overall concept of the movie. Another was this concepts execution in terms of the escalating suspense. Similar to Stephen KingsMisery, this film tells of one individuals demented fixation on an individual. In this case, Zach Evans compulsion for Jesse Blackwell. Unique to From Mania to Obsession is the use of modern technologies, which makes the story more relatable. Kevin Shirka does a great job in taking this concept and applying it to the actions and mannerisms of Zach. It’s very entertaining watching Zach steadily descend into madness throughout the film.
A criticism I have with From Mania to Obsession is with using Ziggo Mania 5 throughout the short. Although it was creative using a video game that appears exclusively made for the film, Ziggo Mania 5s quality didn’t fit with the story. Ziggo Mania 5 looks like a mobile game, something that would appeal to younger children. As a gamer I have to admit this threw me off a bit. A non-gamer, however, probably wouldn’t notice. I feel this could have been fixed by providing a more realistic motivation for Zach’s anger. One suggestion could be that Ziggo Mania 5 is now introducing micro transactions. Another could be that the game has taken a dramatically deep dip in quality.
From Mania to Obsession is full of great suspenseful moments. The modern take on the concept is excellent and Kevin’s portrayal of Zach is frightening. The quality of Ziggo Mania 5 is a little confusing, however, which is distracting. I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys thrillers that don’t resort to jump scares or excessive violence.
The ‘Slicer August Aguilar from Strange Films is hosting SUDS & CINEMA film festival in Knoxville, TN this September at Brickyard Bar and BBQ. In staying with the formula that makes SUDS & CINEMA awesome, CinemaSlice will be showcasing short independent films from multiple genres, while drinking craft beer!
The twist on this particular event is the inclusion of LIVE MUSIC! That’s right, Slicers! After all of the short films have shown on the big screen, you can kick back, grab a cold one, and enjoy the original musical arrangements from live bands!
If you’re an indy filmmaker with a short film that goes well beside a cold one, click the link below to submit your film for consideration.
– June 11, 2019 – Opening Submission Date – July 1, 2019 – Earlybird Deadline – July 21, 2019 – Regular Deadline – August 18, 2019 – Late Deadline – August 24, 2019 – Notification Date – September 21, 2019 – Event Date
As always, this SUDS & CINEMA event is FREE to attend– But space is limited.