“The Eyeslicer,” one of independent television’s boldest players, is hitting the road this fall with a new Halloween special chock full of great mind-blowing short films, including the Sundance award-nominated “Great Choice,” starring Carrie Coon.
Featuring shorts from the festival circuit by over a dozen American filmmakers, creators Dan Schoenbrun and Vanessa McDonnell, with the support of Sante Fe-based artist collective Meow Wolf, will be bringing the feature-length creation to theaters in 15 cities for “a chaotic journey through the liminal space of the Halloween season” (per the official release), hosted by “nine amateur Elvira impersonators we found on CraigsList.”
“There are so few opportunities for short films to play on the big screen and be released in a loving and holistic way,” Schoenbrun told IndieWire via email. “We’re core believers in DIO (‘do it ourselves’) instead of DIY, and we hope that this is the main thing the filmmakers get out being a part of the Special: a sense of community, and the comfort of knowing that their work has a longterm home alongside the work of so many other incredible artists.”
The official description of the collected shorts is as follows:
From an X-rated Halloween party hookup to a coming of age story set on the eve of Ted Bundy’s execution; from a documentary about pumpkin carving and misogyny to a supercut about the gendered dangers of the bathtub; from a cursed stand-up comedy set to a woman (Carrie Coon) trapped inside a Red Lobster commercial; from a John Carpenter homage (featuring a cameo by Carpenter himself) to a sequel to The Eyeslicer’s now infamous Gwilliam, The Eyeslicer Halloween Special is an experience like no other – a deranged, proudly transgressive anthology carving out a bold new space in the Midnight movie genre.
Schoenbrun told IndieWire that in curating the Halloween special, the most important thing was making sure that it “provided a different kind of Halloween experience from straightforward genre stuff. ‘The Eyeslicer Halloween Special’ is about a lot more than just jumps and scares, psycho killers and David Lynch-style surrealism (though don’t worry: there’s all of that in there, too). We were really interested specifically in work speaking about the horror genre (and everything we as a culture consider ‘spooky’ or ‘Halloween-y’) from a new and challenging perspective.”
The list of shorts featured in the special is as follows:
- “Great Choice” (Dir. Robin Comisar) – a desperate woman (Carrie Coon) attempts to escape from inside a Red Lobster commercial.
- “Fry Day” (Dir. Laura Moss) – On the night of Ted Bundy’s execution, a young girl embarks on a dangerous adventure.
- “Steve’s Kinkoes” (Dir. Emma Debany) – A man travels to a 24-hour copy shop to make missing posters for his dead cat. Will he ever leave?
- “Crow Hand!!!” (Dir. Brian Lonano) – If you see a cursed crow hand on the ground, do not pick it up.
- “Nothing a Little Soap and Water Can’t Fix” (Dir. Jennifer Proctor) – a frenetic supercut exploring the role of bathtubs throughout film and horror movie history.
- “All the Witches” (Dir. Nellie Kluz) – this observational doc takes us onto the set of a new horror movie.
- “Pumpkin Movie” (Dir. Sophy Romvari) – in this non-traditional documentary, two best friends Skype for their annual Halloween tradition – carving pumpkins and sharing stories of misogyny.
- “Underbelly Up” (Dir. Joshua Yates) – a ghost reflects on the 2015 South Carolina Flood.
- “Allen Anders – Live at the Comedy Castle (Dir. Laura Moss) – a stand-up set takes an unexpected turn.
- “Gwilliam’s Tips for Turning Tricks Into Treats” (Dir. Brian Lonano) – everyone’s favorite trashcan goblin is back with some tips guaranteed to result in a fun and safe Halloween night.
- “The Puppet Man” (Dir. Jacqueline Castel) – a dreamy tribute to the slasher films of John Carpenter
- “Ghosting the Party” (Dir. Carlos Lopez) – two best friends drop acid and hit on a ghost during a Halloween dance party.
Not only are the majority of these shorts female-directed, but Schoenbrun said, “An investigation of the male gaze as horror cinema convention is the through-line for the entire episode. We hope the experience of watching the Special is super festive, super fun, and totally overwhelming, but also challenging and intellectually rewarding in ways that horror anthologies rarely are.”
The first season of “The Eyeslicer,” which debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2017, was an effort by Schoenbrun and McDonnell to create a space for short films outside of the festival realm.
The Halloween special will be released digitally as part of “The Eyeslicer” Season 2, but as that’s not set to premiere until 2019, your best bet to experience the horrific fun is find a screening from the list below.
9/27 – The Nitehawk Cinema – Brooklyn, NY (world premiere)
10/2 – Parkway Theater — Baltimore, MD (additional shows October 3, 16, + 22)
10/5 – The Apohadion Theater — Portland, ME
10/11 – Voyager Special Benefit Screening — Brooklyn, NY
10/11 – Texas Theatre – Dallas, TX
10/13 – The Nickelodeon – Columbia, SC
10/15 – Alamo Drafthouse – Raleigh, NC
10/16 – 10/22 – The Loft Cinema – Tucson, AZ (one week run)
10/17 – Brattle Theater — Boston, MA
10/18 – Circle Cinema — Tulsa, OK
10/18 – Knoxville Horror Film Festival – Knoxville, TN
10/18 – 10/20 — New Orleans Film Festival
10/20 – Cannonball Roarers — Kansas City, KC
10/21 – Rag Tag Cinema — Columbia, MO
10/23 – Austin Film Society — Austin, TX
10/23 – Music Box Theater – Chicago, IL
10/25 – 10/30 – Cinema Detroit (four screenings)
10/26 – 10/31 – Ithaka Fantastik — Ithaca, NY
10/30 – Clinton St. Theater — Portland, OR
11/14 – Buried Alive Film Festival — Atlanta, GA
Not playing near you? Schoenbrun said, “If people are interested in bringing the show to their town, they can hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.” For more details and updates on the tour schedule, go to eyeslicer.com.