This is a nearly complete overview of FrightFest '18's short-films lineup, though technical issues unfortunately prevented us from screening Catcalls, Puppet Master, and Right Place Wrong Tim.-Ed.
by Walter Chaw
SHORT FILM SHOWCASE 1
We Summoned a Demon ***/**** (d. Chris McInroy)
Funny how the coolest '80s throwback film that isn't It happens to be this short by Chris McInroy, which channels the light ethos of that era, with VHS nasties shock-effects scattered across its brisk, five-minute runtime. Idiots Kirk (Kirk Johnson) and Carlos (Carlos Larotta) attempt a little witchcraft by sacrificing a rooster and playing a record backwards on a plastic portable turntable. They're trying to make Kirk cool so he can ask out "Brenda" for tacos, but it doesn't work. Instead, they summon a demon (John Orr) from a neon-smoked Hell portal they can't control. Or can they? With its crackerjack timing, its tight script, and the effortless control and camaraderie of its leads, We Summoned a Demon works wonders in a short span. DP E.J. Enriquez's lighting schemes make the whole thing look like Michael Mann's The Keep, and, sometimes rare for shorts, the movie knows its length and absolutely murders its landing. Listen for composer Bird Peterson's smooth sax riff when Kirk finds his inner cool. Comedy is hard, guys; We Summoned A Demon is butter. (Scroll down to the end of these capsule reviews for an interview with Chris McInroy.)