It’s that time of the year. For whatever reason this is the time of the year that I receive quite a few requests to review shorts. Whether it has to do with festival season, the Halloween pre-season or whether I just start posting more about shorts because I judge the Killer Film Festival, the influx of short film review requests hits my inbox. This makes me an extremely happy reviewer. Disclaimer: I truly enjoy short horror films. I’d say it began with Creepshow and Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors. I got Creepshow from Dad; Dr. Terror from Mom. Both stuck, and one, became my namesake (which I did not give myself I assure you). What could be better than the encapsulation of a creepy idea or shocking concept with a 20 minute window? Tell your story. No filler. The more filler, the more we know you don’t know how to scare us. If the short sucks, you only wasted 20 minutes, and if that short is a part of a portmanteau picture ala Amicus, you get a second and third and often fourth chance to be entertained. That’s enough about me enjoying shorts and anthologies. Let’s talk about Dream Seekers Productions, a company that is putting out some truly excellent, high quality short horror and fantasy pictures.
In their own words:
“Dream Seekers Productions was formed by Peter and Aubrey Dukes in order to bring unique, challenging and innovative films to life, when they might not find life elsewhere. In a time where formulaic cookie cutter projects have become the standard, Dream Seekers aspires to return audiences to the roots of the film going experience. To remind them how inspiring, thought-provoking and wonderful cinema can be”.
It’s a bold mission statement. Peter Dukes writes and directs short films. He’s done about fourteen total and what looks to be a full length version of one of his successful shorts, The Beast. While some of the early work from Dukes could use a little polish, it’s obvious that he has honed his craft, able to tell a sophisticated story with a group of actors that feel organic, natural and embody the roles they are to play. These shorts are creative with good effects and twists of fate that will leave you guessing. In short (no pun intended), yes, Dream Seekers Productions actually accomplishes their goal of creating innovative films that can challenge an audience. They’ll make you think. I’d like to walk you through a couple favorites.
Synopsis from Dream Seekers:
The grim reaper’s difficult teenage daughter and how she must take over her father’s duties for one day. Chaos ensues.
This is a playful short; It is fun and modern though shot in black and white with a message for today’s youth. This is horror that let’s you know it’s okay to laugh, but also looks great and performed well. Too often horror and comedy are smashed together and come out feeling like Abbott and Costello Meet a Bad Script. This is not the case. The twist or morale or finish made me chuckle. I immediately reminded my daughter that she’s not getting a cell phone anytime soon. This was the first short I watched from D.S., and it’s my favorite.
Synopsis from Dream Seekers:
A goblin comes to life from the pages of a storybook, forever changing the life of a young girl (the owner of the book).
Wow! This film has some creative make-up design. I really enjoyed the entire visual expreience and the fantastic quality. Less horror and more dark fantasy. It has hallmarks of Guillermo Del Toro without the Spanish Civil War or mistreated children. It’s more playful than Del Toro, but do not underestimate it. A Goblin’s Tale may feel lighthearted by it has a dark side and a moment of real panic when it turns on. This is all accomplished in a very short period of time, but an appropriate period of time. I left this one feeling uneasy. Unsettled. Rattled. I think I’ll stick to watching movies for awhile. Guts and gore are safer than the pages of goblin fare.
For every movie I watched the production value was superior to its predesescor. You can actually see Dukes’ progression as a filmmaker and storyteller as you get closer to the present. Not all of these shorts were a good fit for me. Some were more abstract and others were less action more dialog. Still they are all dark works of fiction, and some have a more positive outcome than others. You may not feel positive after each one, but you won’t feel bad. You feel creeped out.
I’d like to invite you to go visit with Dream Seekers Productions at their website. Here’s a list of ways in which to explore Dream Seekers on the web:
I encourage you to follow them and see what more they have in store for you. If you’d prefer you can check out on YouTube. Here’s a link to subscribe to them on YouTube.
I’ll leave you with my first experience from Dream Seekers, Little Reaper though I strongly recommend checking out A Goblin’s Tale, The Beast and Lanrette: