A scene from The Legend of Beaver DamMidnight Mania – Creepy is an international collection of six short films that recount scary stories around the campfire, snuff video, violent impalement, gross body fluids, and abominations of the natural and unnatural worlds. It is an official selection of the Worldwide Short Film Festival, screening Friday, June 3 at 11: 59 pm at Bloor Cinema.

The Legend of Beaver Dam
When a campfire ghost story awakens an evil monster, it’s up to nerdy Danny Zigwitz to become the hero and save his fellow campers from a bloody, musical massacre.

Having seen this Canadian short for the first time at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, it doesn’t lose any of its entertainment value on second viewing. The singing serial killer and subsequent battle remains hilarious. There’s the standard amount of blood for any slasher narrative, as well as nasty injuries. However, the film’s conclusion remains one of its strongest assets.

The Circular Glance
A typical nuclear family spends an idyllic day at the beach. The kids frolic in the water, the parents relax on the sand — until two silent men in overalls arrive. A mash-up of genre clichés and documentary footage provides a reminder of what true horror is: actual death.

This Spanish short begins as a thrilling horror narrative: the children return to find their parents in distress and then try to escape their would-be captors. What starts as a terrifying account of two children becomes a sickening statement that may make you reconsider your diet. Two variations of graphic violence, this short is a surprising but powerful inclusion in the program.

Ella
Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) stars as a gun-toting man with blood on his hands, a dead wife on his floor, and a daughter loose in the woods. Who is the hunted and who is the hunter in this seriously sinister reworking of Little Red Riding Hood?

This UK picture is intriguing as it begins by presenting one impression and then replacing it with a new realization shortly after. The cat-and-mouse chase in the woods is gripping and creepy. Head displays a fearful determination that carries the film’s momentum forward. In this case, the only problem with a short is its inability to provide the story’s background.

The Adder’s Bite
A coven of grotesque creatures devote themselves to an aberrant ceremony. Inspired by Nietzsche, this wet dream of bodily fluids, phalluses and decapitation delivers both poetry and perversity.

Another Canadian offering, this short can be a little difficult to digest – particularly at a late night screening. Those familiar with the source from which it is adapted may have more insight into the film, but the mix of strange occurrences and bizarre ambient sound is disconcerting.

All Flowers in Time
Director Jonathan Caouette (Tarnation) takes us on a terrifying tour of the psyche in this paranormal play on memory. Chloë Sevigny plays a skin-crawling game of peek-a-boo with her little boy after setting their eyes ablaze watching a TV spot.

The Canada/U.S. short is slightly more sci-fi than horror, with the characters’ bright red eyes resembling the original Schwarzenegger terminator after his facial mishap. The link between the red eye that occurs in photographs and her affliction adds an interesting element to the tale and Sevigny is more than adequate in her role.

Ninjas
A good cop isn’t afraid of anything. A good cop courts death. A good cop does terrible, unspeakable things. Today Jailton becomes a good cop. Part ghost story, part torture porn, Dennison Ramalho delivers the most visceral, affecting and hard to watch portrait of a crooked cop in the process of being bent.

As stated in the film’s description, this Brazilian picture is a brutal portrayal of a cop’s conscience manifested. The title is somewhat confusing, but the film itself makes a fairly strong and clear point about corruption. It’s understandable that this picture was positioned at the end of the program as it would be difficult to follow.

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