Ghastly Grinning Proudly Presents Wicked Women: Scary Shorts by Fierce Females (March)

There is one theme I followed through this month’s 5 short films. I went for one word film titles. These films have been directed by well known actresses (Karen Gillan) down to a woman who was hand selected by Ava Duvernay for the “A Wrinkle In Time Visionary Filmmakers Contest” and won $100,000 among other prizes (Ciara Boniface). Each of these shorts are all unique and beautiful in their own way. As always, I couldn’t recommend them enough.

Consomme (Catherine Fordham, 2015)

This is the kind of short film that makes my heart flutter by the end. A woman has an argument in an apartment and leaves on her own while her anger musters. As she walks down the dark and baron streets of Brooklyn, she is cat-called and is followed by creeps. These scenes are juxtaposed to the woman waking up in her apartment bruised and battered. We know something is going to happen but we just have to wait. A man jumps her, and we see her rage fueled demeanor take over. It’s refreshing to see a woman go off on someone and it feels empowering. The end needs to be seen without spoilers because it’s just that good. Couldn’t recommend Consomme enough!

Ink (Ashlea Wessel, 2016) 

Ink made me sit back and take a deep breath after it ended. It is extremely dark and haunting and encapsulates a difficult time for a woman. The female lead in the film is dealing with trauma from her past through her new tattoo. From beginning to end, ink is everywhere. It’s on the woman’s body with her new addition reading “Mother of Monsters”, on the walls in sketches, on paper from a book in her handwriting mimicking her tattoo, and represented from tentacled sea creatures. As the woman blurs the lines of reality and her perception of things, we see her fears take over. Ink is a wildly terrifying depiction of pregnancy and the mental state of a woman and is one hell of a debut from Wessel, whose work I cannot wait to see more of!

Conventional (Karen Gillan, 2015)

Karen Gillan’s directorial debut short is absolutely a 180 degree turn from how people are used to seeing her in the MCU. Conventional is about a washed up b-rated horror actress, whose claim to fame was a horror movie sequel, is dealing with her insignificance by appearing at a horror convention for extra cash. Sitting next to a star of the genre with fans fawning over her, Rachel (Gillan) deals with cosplaying men who are creepily eyeing her up like meat. Rachel doesn’t take her fall from stardom easy as she loses sanity throughout the day. Her monologue of what horror means to her is quite thought provoking for any star in the genre, or any genre, dealing with what she dealt with. The humor and snappy script that Gillan creates is a dark comedy with laughs and despair. Keep an eye out for some interesting cameos!

Skintight (Ciara Boniface, 2018)

When you’re new to a town, it can be a struggle to fit in. In just 16 minutes, writer/director Ciara Boniface depicts that and more. Robyn (Morgan Calhoun) moves to a small town in Texas to start a new. Since moving there she has been receiving odd messages with a double triangle symbol on them and realizes the white townsfolk are acting extremely peculiar. Once we find out that the people behind the symbol are part of a cult, that’s when the horror comes out. Robyn is kidnapped and tied up by a chain tightly wound around her. Blood seeps out of her body as she struggles for freedom. Skintight is has strong thematic elements and is easy to follow with a dash of uneasiness. Boniface taps into racial tension in a small town and leaves you with an open ended ending making you want more.

Candy (Sage Hall, 2010)

One of my favorite things is when a short or feature takes place on Halloween. The most sacred of days for horror fans. Candy is set on Halloween night when a mother is prepping to hand out treats for the night with her son. However, her son has something else in mind and invites a friend over to “enhance social interaction”. His mother is surprised when a young girl shows up. The mother is jealous of her son’s date and tries everything to butt in until she is the center of attention. Jenny and mom hit it off and eventually bake a cake together. Jealousy peaks and the son tries to win his mother’s attention back. Brash words are exchanged revealing an ending you’re not ready for. Just don’t ever piss off mom. Candy isn’t the best quality visually. It’s kind of hard to watch through the black and white hazy quality of the short, but it’s a fun little watch for Halloween’s sake.