The 2019 Buried Alive Film Festival kicks off today with its Sinema Challenge screenings. Four days of feature and short film programming commence tomorrow with the “First Shovel in the Grave is Always Best!” Shorts Block and the hits just keep coming after that. In anticipation of BAFF, MMC! offers ten great reasons to get Buried Alive this Thursday and Friday. Laughs, scares, and some stomach-churning content awaits, so don’t miss it!
1. VFW (Joe Begos, 2019)
Full disclosure: I haven’t seen Joe Begos’ VFW (2019). That might make it an odd place to start for recommendations, however reviews for VFW have been uniformly positive. This throwback action film pits a collection of war veterans (and an innocent teen) against a drug dealer and a horde of mutant junkies. Recalling John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13 (1976), Begos offers a intricate plot and a bounty practical effects, creating a gory, siege film spectacle. Word is that VFW is best seen with a crowd and one will surely be waiting at the 7 Stages Theatre on Friday at 8 pm.
2. Budfoot (Tim Reis and James Sizemore, 2019)
Opening for VFW is Tim Reis and James Sizemore’s Budfoot (2019), a hilariously trippy short featuring indie toymaker Joe Carver’s Looney Tunes-esque battle against his latest creation: a four-armed, stop-motion, 12-inch tall, demonic weed monster. The short takes its inspiration from James Sizemore’s designer toy company, Wonder Goblin LLC, and its utterly fantastic figures. In a just and loving world, Budfoot would serve as some kind of proof of concept that results in a stop motion series utilizing Sizemore’s wonderful creations. If not, we at least have this day-glo tribute to stoner humour and wacky violence. Alright, alright.
3. Hellbound (Ben Winston, 2018)
Holding down the midnight slot on Friday is Ben Winston’s supernatural biker film pastiche, Hellbound (2018). Shot on black and white 16mm, Hellbound concerns a pair of reckless bikers (along with one’s girlfriend) who stumble upon a coven of witches in their travels. Winston’s lo-fi exploitation experiment is an impressive achievement in tone and texture, perfectly capturing the inelegant and amateur charms of the period and the genre to which it pays tribute. Grindhouse homages can be tricky, but Winston carries it off on to wheels.
4. The Procedure 2 (Calvin Lee Reeder, 2019)
Returning to the topic of films I haven’t actually seen, Calvin Lee Reeder’s The Procedure 2 (2019) is surely a must-see short at this yesar’s BAFF. Given that Reeder’s sequel clocks in at a mere 3 minutes, one can only hope that he is continuing to find new and unusual ways to contract to pink eye. I dare you to watch The Procedure (Reeder, 2016) and not want to see its sequel.
5. Hellevate (Dusty Brown, 2019)
The 2019 BAFF has plenty of great horror-comedies scheduled and MMC! is particularly fond of Dusty Brown’s Hellevate (2019). Combining the horror of being stuck in an elevator with the frustration of falsely agreeable customer service representatives, Hellevate is a quirky 4-minute masterpiece that reaches great heights while bringing its main character to unforeseen lows.
6. Unholy ‘Mole (David Bornstein, 2019)
The BAFF schedule neatly notes that David Bornstein’s Unholy ‘Mole (2019) involves a selfish man who “sells the soul of his unborn child to Satan in exchange for forcing his wife to make guacamole for him.” It’s a ridiculous set-up that proves to be quite funny and exceptionally gross as “thing go wrong.” Expect to opt for the queso dip after seeing Unholy ‘Mole, although you’ll probably giggle while asking to substitute the guac’.
7. Five Course Meal (James Cadden, 2018)
Keeping up the theme of disgusting eating is James Cadden’s Five Course Meal (2018), a short about a couple who take part in a mysterious experiment that keeps them too well fed. Five Course Meal seems to land somewhere between Saw and Society and offers its own take on body horror for your guilty pleasure, body-shaming amusement. I laughed. I gagged. It became a part of me.
8. Deathyard (Daniel Ballard and Tyler Hellhake, 2019)
Sure, we all love agrarian horror slashers with families of murderous inbred hicks hunting down teenagers, but who has 90 to 120 minutes to watch a whole movie? Thankfully, Daniel Ballard and Tyler Hellhake have given us Deathyard (2019), a promotional tie-in to North Carolina’s The Haunted Farm attraction that condenses the terror of two young thrill-seekers into a brisk 7 minutes. Ballard and Hellhake create something that is surprisingly coherent, atmospheric, and affecting in its brief runtime, leveraging horror tropes to their maximum value while still providing something full of dread and consequence.
9. Violence (Christian Meola, 2019)
I usually rankle at the slightness of some horror shorts, particularly where they prize atmosphere over story and narrative resolution, however there is something so engaging and unnerving about Christian Meola’s Violence (2019) that I have no quibble with it. There is a wonderful irony in its title, being so matter-of-fact, like its mundane photos and middle-class settings, and also being so absent, with so much of the film’s terror being alluded to and unrepresented. Violence is thoughtful, fearsome filmmaking.
10. Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (David Amito and Michael Laicini, 2019)
In fairness, the trailer for Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made (David Amito and Michael Laicini, 2019) suggests that the film is a documentary on a cursed film, however the documentary portions actually bracket the subject film and make up for only a small portion of Amito and Laicini’s overall movie. Truthfully, I think I’d have preferred this story be told as a documentary, digging deeper into the subject film and building the horror of Antrum through its only piecemeal representation, always denying a full view (perhaps even suggesting that the entire film is being purposefully withheld for our safety). Still, Antrum is not without its charms as it is and it does offer its share of creeps, scares, and fluffy, fanged, stop-motion squirrels.