Joseph’s Reviews (Another Hole in the Head Film Fest): Horror Shorts — Patina, Playtime’s Over, and Zombie Debt

An intimidating humanoid robot, a preteen horror movie fan bent on terrorizing her babysitter, and a woman pursued by a debt collector during a zombie apocalypse were the subjects of three fantastic short films that recently screened at Another Hole in the Head Film Fest in San Francisco. 


★★★★ out of ★★★★★

ATMOSfx! Woo!

In science fiction/horror short Patina, writer/director Alan Maxson also stars as the titular humanoid robot that John (Matt Kelly) brings home as a surprise for his girlfriend Alexa (Annabel Barett). John shares the simple instructions for making Patina follow orders and dashes out the door, leaving a creeped-out Alexa who wants nothing to with the robot alone with it. As her frustration, anger, and terror grow, Alexa finally blurts out a command that Patina is more than happy to follow. Patina follows a tried-and-true formula reminiscent of the classic The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits TV series, and the big reveal of the short will instantly call to the minds of many viewers a particular episode of the former series. The short looks great, and Maxson’s performance as Patina is eerie indeed thanks to unnerving facial expressions and a steely glare. Barett does a fine job of heightening the tension as her character goes through a series of powerful reactions. Kelly also does a solid job in his supporting, more comical role.

Playtime’s Over 

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Winner of Another Hole in the Head Film Fest’s Best Thriller/Suspense Short Film award, director Tony Reame’s Playtime’s Over finds babysitter Laurie (Haley Leary) in charge of young Dee (Evan Reames, Tony’s daughter) for the first time. Dee is a huge fan of horror movies, much to her mother’s dismay, and not wanting to be babysat, she sets up a series of elaborate games based on scare-fare cinema classics to make Laurie’s night miserable. Playtime’s Over is chock full of set pieces and Easter eggs that will have fear-fare fans smiling throughout the entire running time of this fun, great-looking short. Todd Jacobs’ screenplay, with Leary receiving a story credit, cleverly plays with the source films, adding humorous variations and punch lines. Leary gives a terrific performance that pays homage to some well-loved scream queens, and Evan Reames shines as the impish horror buff. Tony Reames helms the short wonderfully. For more information including a trailer and upcoming film festival screenings visit the short’s official website.

Zombie Debt

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

Director Ash Blodgett’s horror comedy Zombie Debt finds Stacey Jones (Brittany Joyner of The Return and Soul’s Midnight; both 2006) holed up alone in her home trying to make outside contact with anyone, when suddenly there is a knock at her door. The visitor is named Damien (Ryan Stroud), and he is there to collect on Stacey’s outstanding student loan debt in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. Blodgett mines Rose Meza’s screenplay for maximum laughs, and the result is a fun, highly relatable short film. Joyner is a blast as the bewildered Stacey, and Stroud gives a winning turn as the self-professed “Loan Ranger.” The practical effects zombie makeup is well realized. Zombie Debt next screens at Women in Horror Film Festival, February 27–29 in Atlanta, Georgia.

These short films screened at Another Hole in the Head Film Fest, which ran December 1st –15th at New People Cinema in San Francisco.

Reviews by Joseph Perry

Categories: Festivals, Reviews, ShortsTags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: