Hey genre film fans, if you find yourself in the Greater Seattle Area during a stretch of time that includes the 5th, 6th, or 7th of October, do yourself a favor and drop in on the Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival. MIFFF, now in its fourth year, is a frenetic blend of action, horror, sci-fi, fantasy, animation, and crazy cool mayhem that you won’t find anywhere else. Over three days the fest is set to screen five features and 40 shorts, broken into nice, easily digestible blocks.
The whole weekend flashes past in a fast-paced blur. And this year promises even more fun and surprises. For instance MIFFF just moved into new digs at the Seattle International Film Festival, which allows them, for the first time, to hold midnight screenings. It just wouldn’t be a proper genre excursion without some late night madness.
Check out MIFFF.org for the complete schedule, ticket info, and more. Tickets are only $10 a pop, or $60 for a full weekend pass. You have no excuse.
Here’s the globe-spanning slate of films. There’s vengeance, action, monsters, robots, and everything you could possibly want out of a single weekend. You even get a healthy dose of LARPing.
“Alter Egos” is a comedy about a superhero in the midst of an identity crisis who is summoned by his partner on a mysterious mission to an off-season resort, where revenge, duplicity and romance collide.
“Lloyd the Conqueror”
Lloyd hasn’t conquered much in his life, but he really needs that C average. Unfortunately his classical literature professor is Derek the Unholy and the extra credit he needs involves defeating his dark army of Orcs in the local LARP (live action role-playing) tournament.
Two friends try executing their ‘get-rich-quick’ plan by kidnapping their boss’s daughter and holding her for ransom. But when the plan falls apart, they must scramble to fix the situation and repair their friendship.
“The Big Black”
20-year-old Jack hunts the nightmare of his past and crosses paths with mysterious Eve. The beautiful girl who is either his Guardian Angel or his Final Doom.
“Akerbeltz, las Brujas y el Inquisidor” (“Akerbeltz: Witches and the Inquisitor”)
The gloomy dungeon of the Santo Oficio gaol in Logroño (Spain) is packed with prisoners accused of witchcraft. The sound of mystical chanting drifts out through the bars. It is a desperate cry for help that travels through valleys and mountains until it reaches the hamlet of Zugarramurdi. A young boy wakes up suddenly in the middle of the night…
“Alchemy and Other Imperfections”
A dark fable about a Man and Woman who have completely lost touch with the outside world, until the Woman takes one last desperate measure to erase the pesky memory that ruined their lives.
“Amour Robotic” is a short stop-motion & 2D animated film which was shot in New Zealand by two young Australians with an over abundance of imagination and a Nikon DSLR. The story is an allegorical account of the trial we face in life and death. The robots on the shelf are brought to life by a supernatural force and, through interacting with each other and their life bringer, explore themes of jealousy, isolation, love, anger, fear, joy, and loss. These trials reflect those the unique experiences that we all have gone or will go through during the course of our lives.
A little girl is afraid of the wolf living with her in the house.
Dreams and premonitions lead a mysterious homeless man to frantically race against time through a busy metropolis. When he finally arrives at his destination, the life of a young woman is forever changed by her encounter with the enigmatic man. “Appntmnt” is a short film about the inevitability of destiny set against a bustling urban backdrop which reminds us of how interconnected the lives of strangers really are.
“Bedtime for Timmy”
Night falls, shadows creep out, and the time has come for little Timmy to go to bed. But can he brave the ominous gaze of his closet door?
Four lost souls stuck in a rut are hit hard with a life-altering experience, through the power of dance.
A gothic-western set in the badlands of Alberta where two outlaws anxiously wait to deliver a cryptic package to their mysterious employer.
“Blood On The Game Dice”
Time runs out as Jack tries to escape the demons of the waste lands in order to find redemption.
In a world torn by a war between vampires and angels, a human vigilante on the hunt for her missing sisters is lured into the den of a vampire.
A madman claims an eerie pond near a cabin in the woods called ‘Blue Hole’ can bring back the dead. Inspired by a true story and a real place in New Jersey.
A cadaver wakes up to say a last goodbye to his wife,! but discovers a truth in death he didn’t know in life!
A new terror strikes the Pacific NW. Is it deforestation? Is it a tsunami. Is it a rash of politeness that borders on insanity. No…It’s CHOMPERS 3D!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
“Choreography for Plastic Army Men”
An animated music video created to the instrumental track ‘Ohayoo Ohio’ by the band ‘Pink Martini’.
“Crossbow: Ano Uno” (“Crossbow: Year One”)
Víctor, a young comic collector is about to discover a message from the past that will change is life forever.
An astronaut returns to Earth after a fatal accident on a distant planet.
A washed-up detective’s imagination runs wild, as he tries to solve the most critical case of his career.
A fake psychic has been performing bogus seances for years. One night she receives a visitor, a young woman, who has come for a reading. However, the young woman has entered under false pretenses. And soon the psychic discovers that you can’t con and rob the loved ones of the dearly departed… and not pay a price.
A genius scientist contacts another dimension to save the woman he loves, summoning a flamboyant rock n’ roll superhero.
The demented song of a demon-possessed girl echoes around the decrepit dwelling where she holds two clowns hostage. There is no escape and no reasoning with her, the only way to break free of this nightmare is to somehow make her laugh, just like a good clown should. Unfortunately, the only thing Dorothy finds funny is blood, terror and despair.
Join this lovable crew of droids as they solve their differences the only way dubstep robots know how.
David goes on a date with Hannah, a young woman, who isn’t quite what she seems.
“A Fistful of Sandwich”
An unassuming car park security guard is faced with the dilemma of whether to confront two martial arts enthusiasts whose samurai sword-fight has interrupted his enjoyment of the break-time sandwich he has just lovingly crafted.
A young couple trapped in a remote estate of empty houses and shrieking foxes are beckoned from their isolation into a twilight world. A world of the paranormal or perhaps insanity.
“The Gold Mine”
Betina, a lonely spinster, meets what appears to be the man of her dreams online, and in the course of time he proposes to her. After quitting her job and selling her apartment, she makes the arduous trip to be with him. What awaits her is a wholly unexpected fate.
Best friends Jeff and Tucker have grown up like most boys: playing video games and causing mischief. Now, late into their 20s, Jeff’s new job promotion is moving him out of the country and away from Tucker’s immaturity forever. With one last night together, they have to break into the UP-Ex shipping facility to steal back a package – a mysterious golden box – and hope their friendship can survive the adventure.
One astronaut’s journey through space and life ends on a hostile exosolar planet. Grounded is a metaphorical account of the experience, inviting unique interpretation and reflection by the viewer. Themes of aging, inheritance, paternal approval, cyclic trajectories, and behaviors passed on through generations are explored against an ethereal backdrop.
A lone wanderer scavenges through what remains of civilization. He comes across a building that was once a safe haven for survivors of the zombie apocalypse. Inside, he discovers a young girl being attacked by zombies. He dispatches her assailants with methodical, brutal prejudice. The girl looks to her savior thankfully, but you wont believe what happens next.
“HENRi” is a sci-fi short film starring Keir Dullea (“2001: A Space Odyssey”) and Margot Kidder (“Superman”), which tells the story of a derelict spaceship that becomes self-aware, and builds itself a mechanical body to feel alive.
Year 2210. Scientific and technological development has stopped ageing, turning death into an isolated phenomenon. A woman works at an undertaker’s and misses how mortality in the past used to give sense to life. Because, in an almost inmortal world, what will be left for those without a future?
“It’s Such a Beautiful Day”
Bill finds himself in a hospital struggling with memory problems, in this third and final chapter to Don Hertzfeldt’s “Everything Will Be OK” trilogy.
“The Last Photo”
The Last Photo follows a young girl’s desperate search for her soldier father through a land torn apart by war.
“Last Seen on Dolores St.”
In a hard-boiled town, a heartbroken woman says goodbye to an old pet and hello to a new nightmare. Sometimes, life’s a real bitch.
Claudia, a ten-year-old girl, leaves with her family to spend the weekend out of town. During their car trip, they decide to take a short rest at an abandoned gas station. The appearance of a strange woman will reveal her true fate to Claudia.
A Collector repairs a vintage cine camera unlocking the hidden terror of LOT254.
Paris, 2020. A beautiful couple, a city over-saturated by holograms and digital stream. A Polaroid camera. Tomorrow will never be the same.
A short film about a girl’s journey to feed an illusive monster lurking in the woods.
“Night before Christmas”
A dark comedy/horror short about a homeowner, Charles Heston, who accidentally kills Santa Claus on Christmas eve.
In this obvious retelling of the Phantom of the Opera, Alessandro Corrêa created this beautifully opulent, and colorful animated short rightfully dubbed “Phantasma”. The theatrical and bizarre look and feel is reminscent, in my opinion, to Cirque du Soleil; a visual mind-f*ck that’s difficult to look away from. With an essentially borrowed story, the short seems to be more about displaying Corrêa’s beautiful art style, that looks modern with a slight vintage edge.
Kathy is a mature, professional woman who still sleeps with her cuddly teddy bear Vincent. One night, when a burglar invades, Kathy’s home comes alive with magical surprises. To his horror, the intruder learns that not everything is as it seems and Vincent may not be so cuddly after all.
Set in an adrenalized future of espionage, assassins, and out of control super science, “PostHuman” follows a genius hacker and his dog as they help an enigmatic young woman to free the remaining test subject of a black ops ESP test lab.
One dull day a greedy salesman (Gavin) murders a badger for food. For some time an animal cult have been watching him collect and eat road kill, but now he has crossed a line. His actions that day set off a weird chain of events culminating in a visit to a seemingly gentle elderly customer. However, Gavin has been lured into the clutches of the animal cult who are intent on bloody revenge. This is what happens when the hunter becomes the hunted!
“Shhh” is a fantasy/horror short tale about a young boy, Guillermo, who uses his imagination to overcome his monstrous bully. Tired of being scared, Guillermo eventually takes matters into his own hands. It’s only then that we realize the monster might not be as fictitious as one may have thought. Inspired by the lucid dreams of director Guillermo del Toro during childhood.
Shinobi, great ninja, who after being dishonorably discharged from his dojo is trying to find a job in the modern world in order to take care of his daughter. Due to years of extensive training, Shinobi has the skills of a trained assassin ingrained in him and is desperately trying to integrate them into his new line of work. He attempts to fit into a contemporary society, but that proves to be unsuccessful as he is too stuck in the past. Consequently, he gets fired from many jobs over a small period of time. One night, after another disappointing turnout at a new job, he returns to find an intruder holding his daughter hostage. Shinobi must find the great ninja within him to be the hero he was always meant to be.
“Tous les hommes s’appellent Robert” (“All men are called Robert”)
A naked man, his body covered with bruises, is running in the woods. He stops suddenly: who is this mysterious woman calling for help? And who are those men who are trying to shoot him
“Tren de Lavado” (“Car Wash”)
A couple and their daughter arrive with the car to a service station. She is engaged to mobile to console the girl and decide to spend the vehicle by the car wash.
In the racially charged South of the 1960’s the black population of a small town is blamed for the spread of a virulent plague. Bobby, a white mechanic, is racing through the countryside with his wife Carolyne. She was bitten by one of those infected and is fading fast. Awakening in a wrecked car with Carolyne missing, Bobby follows a trail of blood down the road towards a fateful encounter and an unthinkable choice.
Day in, day out, Mr. Grimm is busy with his job as the Reaper, harvesting people’s lives. One day, his monotonous existence is interrupted by the door bell…