In the midst of a brilliantly busy Saturday in Toronto, including the annual Zombie Walk and the Grand Opening of the iconic comic book store The Silver Snail in its new Yonge Street location, I settled into the balcony of the Bloor Cinema to watch the shorts program of this outstanding festival.
Featuring 9 shorts of various genres and styles, it was a mixed bag. While there may be something for everyone not all of them were for everyone.
First up was a rather odd film called Caterwaul that focused on man/crustacean love which did feature some nice creature effects but didn’t real catch my interest.
Decapoda Shock, however, was a fun little Spanish film featuring Martian crustaceans, an infected astronaut, satanic worship and an illicit affair. Fun, and featured a nice mix of live action and animation.
There was the very short short and laugh out loud funny Dialogue which featured a strange growth on a man’s arm. Very funny.
Family Nightmare didn’t inspire. It was shot on video, with voices changed, augmented and dubbed, and while it was dark, there was no real hook for me.
Bobby Yeah, showcasing some exquisite stop motion animation and some very disturbing looking characters is just an odd creation featuring a titular character who can’t seem to resist pushing big red buttons.
Odokuro is a lovely stop motion piece from After Dark favourite Voltaire.
And that brings me to my three favourites of the collection, Henri, Numbers and Vicki.
In Henri a lovely sci-fi film featuring Margot Kidder (Superman The Movie) and Keir Dullea (2001: A Space Odyssey) a neuro-tech research vessel with a human brain transplants itself into a robot it has created all while struggling to recall its own lost human memories. Gorgeous.
Numbers is a fantastic slice of Asian cinema featuring a world where some people have the ability to see numbers over people’s heads. In some cases it’s their age, money in their bank account, lies told, or days left to live. Wonderfully bittersweet.
Finally there was Vicki, an homage to the late 80s as well as Stephen King’s classic book and John Carpenter’s film Christine. As the film’s lead falls under the spell of his possessed car he himself embraces and recalls the fads, music, catchphrases and styles that are inherently 80s. So much fun!!
The festival has not disappointed yet – keep it coming Toronto After Dark! We’re loving it!!