Director/screenwriter Pyle makes a very strong debut that channels the brutal essence of the best short story work of Jack Ketchum.
Pyle wisely cast the criminally underrated and underutilized actor Tim Abell in the film.
Mostly known for the late 1990s TV series Soldier of Fortune, Inc. and a lengthy resume of direct-to-DVD films, it’s a true mystery why the talented Abell did not show up in a major recurring role on Sons of Anarchy, Justified or any number of other more high-profile projects.
Pyle also directed the psychopath horror short Service and the darkly comic short Trust.
Ninjas Directed by Dennison Ramalho Written by Dennison Ramalho & Marco de Castro & Marcelo Velloso 2010, Brazil
Brazilian director of the critically acclaimed short film Love From Mother Only (2003) and co-screenwriter of the Coffin Joe film Embodiment ofEvil (2008), Ramalho delivers a brutal and disturbing tale of guilt and corruption. Not for the squeamish, Ninjas is easily Ramalho’s most accomplished work to date.
Ramalho contributed a segment to The ABCs ofDeath 2 called “J is for Jesus”-a savage indictment of persecution in the name of religion.
The Hell Within–a Ramalho-helmed horror feature originally announced in late 2010-is currently in pre-production.
Deus Irae Written & Directed by Pedro Cristiani 2010, Argentina
Deus Irae is the type of short film that comes off as the opening scene of a feature film. This classification happens to fit very well as director/screenwriter Cristiani intends to make a feature-length version of this ambitious, award-winning short.
Let’s hope he can make that happen because DeusIrae deserves to be a feature film.
While the concept for this particular supernatural short film cries out for a larger budget, Cristiani makes it work with the resources at hand despite leaving the audience a bit short-changed by the lack of a real ending.
Cristiani made another horror short film El HombreDe La Bosa (aka Man in a Bag) in 2010 that, despite being well-made, isn’t as memorable as his short debut Deus Irae.
Happy Birthday To You Written & Directed by David Alcalde 2006, Spain
Screenwriter/director Alcalde followed up his ambitious apocalyptic black-and-white short film Dr. Curry (1997) with this superb short about a meeting of individuals with very dark secrets.
Despite his obvious talent and a very successful career directing commercials in Spain, a feature film has eluded Alcalde, who in the past has been connected to the horror films27 Times (aka TheSeeing) and In the Playground-a remake of the 1976 Spanish killer kids classic Who Can Kill aChild?.
Both of these projects fell apart-Who Can Kill aChild? was remade in 2012 as Come Out and Play by another director-but it’s been announced that Alcalde is set to helm an unnecessary remake of the 2006 French home invasion film Ils(aka Them).
Else Directed by Thibault Emin Written by Thibault Emin & David Lucas 2007, France
Co-screenwriter/director Emin gives us a unique apocalyptic love story that combines body horror and sexuality reminiscent of such Clive Barker literary works as his classic short story Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament.
Little has been heard from Emin since Else won the Best Student Short Film Award at the 2009 Screamfest LA Film Festival but there’s no denying the talent and vision on display here.
Dara Written & Directed by Kimo Stamboel & Timo Tjahjanto
This directing/screenwriting duo known as “The Mo Brothers” delivers a demented piece of bloody goodness in their filmmaking debut.
The duo later made a feature film version of Daracalled Macabre (2009) and the pair directed a disappointing serial murder horror/suspense thriller feature film called Killers in 2014.
Tjahjanto wrote and directed the incredibly twisted and highly memorable segment “L is for Libido“ for The ABCs of Death (2012) that is one of that anthology film’s true highlights despite a distracting and unnecessary turn toward black comedy.
Tjahtanto returned to the short form very memorably in 2013 with a fabulous segment called “Safe Haven”that he wrote and directed for V/H/S 2.
Genesis Written & Directed by Nacho Cerda 1998, Spain
Director/screenwriter Cerda followed his gruesome, uncompromising and controversial short film Aftermath (1994) with another striking piece of work highlighted by the performance of Aftermath lead actor Pep Tosar and the visual style of the great Spanish cinematographer Xavi Gimenez.
Genesis, a story of shattering loss influenced by the Pygmalion story in Greek mythology, was nominated for a Spanish Goya award in 1999.
Cerda went on to co-write and direct the disappointing horror feature The Abandoned in 2006 and is currently in development on a film adaptation of the World War II-set horror graphic novel I Am Legion.
Genesis is available on DVD from Unearthed Films, packaged with Aftermath.
El Ciclo Written & Directed by Victor Garcia 2003, Spain
Accomplished special effects technician turned director/screenwriter Garcia makes a very strong debut with this award-winning, mind-bending short film.
Chilean director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza’s 2012 ABCs ofDeathsegment “C is for Cycle” and Dutch director Maarten Groen’s 2014 horror short film Rotor both tackle a narrative similar to Garcia’s but if you want to see the concept done right, look no further than El Ciclo.
The film industry attention Garcia received for this short film led to largely thankless jobs directing Return to House on Haunted Hill (2007), Mirrors 2 (2010), the Syfy Channel movie Frost Giant (2010) and Hellraiser: Revelations (2011). His most recent feature is the 2013 supernatural horror film The Damned.
Much has been written about how Stephen King was very impressed by Pavia’s zombie short film which led to Pavia co-screenwriting and directing the film adaptation of King’s Kolchak: The Night Stalker-influenced short story The Night Flier (1997).
The talented Pavia has since had difficulty launching another feature film but that is not for lack of effort as the screenwriter/director has made it into various stages of development on horror projects including Slice, an adaptation of the acclaimed zombie comic book series Deadworld and a 1980s-style killer Santa Claus film Sick Nick to name a few.
Pavia has recently announced he’s working on an anthology film based on four Stephen King short stories called The Reaper’s Image and is currently in production on a new horror film called Fender Bender.