Joseph’s MidWest WeirdFest Shorts Reviews: “Fred Crisman: Cave of the Space Nazis!”, “Bellingham’s Belief,” and  “The Rise”

Fred Crisman Vol 1: Cave of the Space Nazis!

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

🩸🩸 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸 for comical animated evisceration and both stalactite and stalagmite impalement

Directed by Bryan Shickley

Fangoria! Woo!

Most enthusiasts of UFO and 20th century Fortean lore and conspiracy theories have heard of Fred Crisman, whose wild claims and real-life incidents range from being involved with the Maury Island UFO incident to having a role in President John F. Kennedy’s assassination —  if you haven’t heard of Crisman before, give yourself time to go down a few rabbit holes when reading about him. This blast of an animated short film is a take on Crisman’s claim that he battled with cave-dwelling creatures in Burma during World War II, as his letter in the June 1946 issue of Amazing Stories claims. He is portrayed here as a comical egotistical heroic type — well, heroic in his mind, at least. The animation looks great, the laughs are plentiful, and there’s a surprise appearance at the end by another fringe adventurer who found infamy in the pages of Amazing Stories. Director Bryan Shickley hints at a second installment, and I hope he’s not toying with me, because I would love to see one! Fred Crisman Vol 1: Cave of the Space Nazis!  Won Best Animated Short at MidWest WeirdFest, and for good reason.

Bellingham’s Belief

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

zero out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸

Directed by Tom Salvaggio

In March 1954, residents of Bellingham, Washington noticed cracks and pits mysteriously appearing on their car windshields. Residents in nearby towns start to find them, too. Within weeks, thousands of similar reports from across the United States and in Canada pour in. Authorities are baffled, as theories range from the scientifically possible to the supernatural. Director Tom Salvaggio’s black-and-white short-film documentary provides a captivating look at this phenomenon and the likely reason behind it — but no spoilers here, seek this one out and support your local film festivals. 

The Rise

★★★★ out of ★★★★★

🩸🩸🩸 out of 🩸🩸🩸🩸🩸 for suicide cult depiction and the wrath of an occult presence

Directed by Lorenzo Fassina

It doesn’t get much more neo-Lovecraftian than this Italian short that finds the sole survivor of a mass cult suicide (Alessandro Melito) attempting to finally be taken by the old gods, with the help of a young woman (Alice Pintus) with an interest in Aliester Crowley. Shot in both black-and-white and color, this eerie film delivers an impressive climax.  

Reviews by Joseph Perry

“Fred Crisman: Cave of the Space Nazis!”, “Bellingham’s Belief,” and  “The Rise” screened as part of MidWest WeirdFest, which took place in Eau Claire, Wisconsin from March 3–5, 2023. 

Categories: Festivals, ReviewsTags: , , ,

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