Oh, Midnight Shorts. How desperate you are to shock and disturb me. Last year's group of after hours short films actually did a pretty good job of that; there are images ingrained in my mind that no amount of therapy or pharmaceuticals can erase. This year the gross out factor is certainly present, but for the most part, neither the quality nor the disturbing nature of the films gave me anything than a "meh" feeling. The selections could be described as the good, the bad, and the weird.
First, the good: the final film in the program, The Voice Thief, is adapted from a story by director Alejandro Jodorowsky and directed by his son Adan. This short reminded me of Perfume: the Story of a Murderer, but more operatic, surreal, and drenched in acid. Welcome to Dignity Pastures isn't great, but it goes for Grade-Z 80's schlock and succeeds somewhat. Not great, but no offensively bad.
The bad: Yield is a bunch of stills of roadkill edited together in a lightning paced montage. The end. It sucks. Wawd Ahp tells the heartwarming story of a white gangsta rapper who cuts his own head off then rapes it, followed by a bunch of weird animation. If that's your cup of tea, pax vobiscum. There's a lot more of the bad, but all just lean toward the mediocre.
And the weird: I can honestly say that Pineal Warriors is the strangest thing I've seen in recent memory: an intentionally jakey retro superhero television show. It defies description, so if you want to have a five minute WTF explosion, look for it online. Perfect Drug feels like what The Raid would be like if it were a drug fueled nightmare, and has a certain kinetic energy that works.
The Midnight Shorts screen again next weekend. If you're the type that enjoys extreme cinema, by all means attend. For the squeamish, I recommend you steer clear. For screening info visit the Florida Film Festival website. All my reviews from the fest can be found here.