Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Indie Horror Shorts: Two from Producer-Director Nathan Suher

Indie producer-director Nathan Suher takes horror-fusion cinema in new directions in two new shorts. Both are currently on the festival circuit. The first reconsiders the relationship between horror and the psychological thriller. The second reimagines the approach of a 1980s cult classic to horror comedy. It also makes a significant contribution to the Christmas horror subgenre while being outrageously funny at the same time.

NEXT/DOOR (2015)

Theatrical poster for Nathan Suher's NEXT/DOOR (2015)
Image courtesy of IM Filmworks.
Clocking in at 17 minutes, this horror-thriller focuses on an unusual menage a trois. The triangle links its two men and one woman together in an unexpected and twisted way. One of the men expresses his love for the woman through dark and demented means. In an added twist, the woman does not requite his feelings for her -- or even know about them.
David Ryan Kopcych is perfect in both appearance and behavior as Otto, a schizoid voyeur. The object of his obsession is Patty, who's the "girl next door" in a literal sense. Lindsey Elizabeth Cork more than overcomes the challenge of this somewhat difficult role. Gio Castellano is Hector, Patty's live-in boyfriend. He's attractive compared to Otto, but what dark impulses lurk beneath his normal-appearing exterior?
This twisted tale owes its existence to Brian Pickard, who penned the script. Pickard's story involves the internal and psychological as well as the external and physical. Suher handles the shifts between these two points of view in a subtle and effective way. There are no pauses in the film's rising action caused by detours into the mind of a character. Suher's editing supports this trajectory, in particular through the use of montage.
NEXT/DOOR will make its festival premiere soon. Catch it at the SENE Film, Music & Art Festival in Providence, RI, during the week of April 19th-24th. Find out more at the film's page on the IM Filmworks website.


SCARY LITTLE FUCKERS (A Christmas Movie) (2015)

Theatrical poster for Nathan Suher's SCARY LITTLE FUCKERS (2015)
Image source: IMDb
With a runtime of 23 minutes, this short horror comedy packs a lot of action and laughs. Part homage to "Gremlins" (1984), SCARY LITTLE FUCKERS is also a spoof of the Spielberg-produced feature. Upping the comedy ante, Suher and writer Lenny Schwartz take Joe Dante's PG-rated creature story deep into R territory.
Instead of "never feed them after midnight," it's "never put them in the same cage." Guess what happens? I'll give you a hint: they're like rabbits -- rabid rabbits. 
The creatures -- called "Fookahs" -- are a Christmas present for teenage Kyle (Josh Fontaine). His alcoholic father (Rich Tretheway) brings them home on Christmas Eve.  Deadbeat Dad hopes the gift will mend their faltering relationship. 
Under the sway of his girlfriend Peggy (Anna Rizzo), Kyle does the one thing he's not supposed to do. As a result, Fookahs turn out to be devilish and disgusting creatures. They wreak hilarious havoc, causing everything from Herpes to Armageddon.
The Fookahs are particularly well done in look, action, and voice (Mark Carter). The absolute killer, though, is the music over the closing credits ("Go Fuck Yourself for Christmas"). The film is full of over-the-top touches like this one. I just wish I could have seen this short during the winter holidays, which (for me) matched the mood of the song (and the film). 
SCARY LITTLE FUCKERS made its festival premiere in late 2015, at the Rock and Shock Film Festival in Worcester, MA. The filmmakers await its next festival acceptance so they can show it again to the public. Check the official movie website for future dates and locations.

Disclosure: Nathan Suher provided TFK with access to online screeners of the films for review purposes only. This website and its author received no monetary compensation for this review.