Other Worlds Austin was last weekend, and I was fortunate enough to get to go. Now as it was predominantly a Sci-Fi festival, there wasn’t as much straight up horror, but there were definitely a few films that had some great horror elements. Here are the Audience Award Winners and a couple of my picks as well.
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Feature
When a neighbor goes missing, a 20 something loser couple and their loser roommate find something unbelievable in his apartment: a camera pointed at their living room that takes pictures 24 hours into the future. So naturally they start exploiting the images, until it all goes terribly wrong.
Time Lapse is more of a Hitchcock-style thriller. Incredibly tense and unpredictable, the film was far and away my favorite of the festival. Any narrative with a time element tends to fall apart or at the very least create some plot holes, but amazingly Time Lapse manages to keep everything together. That in and of itself is an impressive feat. The film does owe a lot to The Twilight Zone as well as Hitchcock, but it manages to take that influence and really do something amazing with it.
BLOODY KNUCKLES (2014) Directed by Matt O’Mahoney
An underground comic artist named Travis has a knack for offending people, and he finally offends the wrong person. He targets a Chinatown crime boss, and as a result said boss cuts off his hand to teach him a lesson. But the hand doesn’t get the message and comes back to help Travis exact revenge.
An incredibly goofy film, Bloody Knuckles is what we’d get if Idle Hands was made by Lloyd Kaufman. It goes overboard in that delightful Troma way, but manages to stick to a plot and not just get caught up in the gross out weirdness like the more recent Troma films seem to do. Although, if you want to see a man’s severed hand stick its finger up his butt, then put that finger in his mouth, Bloody Knuckles is the film for you!
THE WELL (2014) Directed by Tom Hammock
It’s been 10 years since the last rain. A once fertile farmland has been turned to dust, and the wells are running dry. A water baron has laid claim to all the water in the valley, and is slowly taking over, telling people that if they surrender they’ll be given refuge. A 17 year old girl has to decide whether or not to continue to surrender and be taken to the camp or to hold out and fight for what little she has left.
The Well isn’t exactly a horror film, but it is one of the better films of the festival. Hammock does a great job of creating his world, it really does feel as if there hasn’t been any rain for 10 years. The heroine of the film is a great actress for her age, and I really enjoyed the choice to make her so young. It immediately makes her seem more vulnerable, and thus makes her tenacity and strength that much more impressive.
In addition to the features, Other Worlds Austin had a great shorts program as well. Here is the winner of the Audience Award and a couple of my favorites
Winner of the Audience Award for Best Short
“What’s the box?” “Well it certainly isn’t a one-minute time machine.” “Then why does it have ‘one-minute time machine’ written on it.” “Dammit.” [presses button]
MARTIAN AMERICAN by Lee Criton
A Martian emigrates to Los Angeles to start a new life, and struggles to fit in.
SLUMPTOWN by Bryan Costanich
A coffee shop manager is tasked with training his robot replacement.
Other Worlds Austin had a very strong inaugural year, and by the looks of it they will only continue to grow and get better and better. Stay tuned for next year’s announcements, and if you are curious as to the rest of the award winners, go to WINNERS for a full list of the Cthulhies (d’aww).
— Eric Harrelson
Read the pre-festival blog on Other Worlds: “How’s ‘Bout a Little Horror in Your Cup of Sci-Fi?” READ ME
Other Worlds generously donated a percentage of wristband and merch sales from the festival to our friend, and co-founder of Housecore Horror Film Festival, Corey Mitchell. Corey suddenly passed after HHFF ended this past October and leaves behind a wife and two young daughters. The festival raised a couple hundred dollars, which founder of Other Worlds, Bears Fonté and his wife are matching. Thank you Bears and Other Worlds! If you’d like to give to Corey’s family fund, please visit the family’s FUNDRAISER site.