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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Shorts Special from iTunes and Shorts International

This was originally published on Film

Halloween Shorts Special from iTunes and Shorts International

by Melissa Silvestri

iTunes is offering a special collection of Halloween Shorts, courtesy of Shorts International, available October 19th in the US, Canada, UK, and Germany. Over 25 shorts are packed with stars like Emily Blunt, Jane Lynch, Eric Roberts, and John Simm. The films are available for $1.99 each, and as a bonus, Roar, a subversive thriller starring Russell Tovey (Doctor Who) and Jodie Whittaker (St. Trinian’s), will be made free for a limited time.

Daniel Persitz’s Alex’s Halloween, starring Jane Lynch, is a playful romp in the Halloween adventure of an imaginative little boy named Alex (Robert Ochoa) who pictures himself as whatever fantasy figure he likes, be it a knight, a wizard, or a superhero. It’s reminiscent of the 90’s cartoon Bobby’s World, where a child’s imagination can conflict with real life. Lynch appears briefly as Alex’s mother, who pressures her teenage son Matt (Connor Gramme) to take Alex trick-or-treating, to his sullen displeasure. All Alex wants is to hang out with his cool older brother, who reluctantly accepts when Matt figures they can sneak candy past their mother’s health-food regime. But when Matt’s plans change otherwise, Alex’s world is shattered. The short isn’t so much about Halloween, but the relationship between brothers, and bridging the age gap. It’s a delightful short and enjoyable to watch.

Toby Spanton’s directorial debut Curiosity, on the other hand, is a terrifying nightmare. The film stars Emily Blunt (who starred in The Wolfman for which Spanton was a assistant director) and Tom Riley as a young couple who suspect that a murderer may be on the loose. Their strange suspicions prove accurate when the murderer begins to terrorize them. In just nine minutes, an ordinary couple goes from tucking-in for the night to fighting for their lives against a killer, a radical change of pace from the previous film. Curiosity paces itself with an ominous, haunting feeling, and the final tight POV shot on Blunt’s face is surely to stick in the brain.

John Simm (Life on Mars) stars in Devilwood, written and directed by Sacha Bennett, about a mysterious stranger in 1700s England, by the name of Dante (Dylan Brown). He enters a small town looking for “papers” from a local gentleman. At the same time, a beautiful young woman also arrives, named Rossetti (Kate Magowan), in search of Dante. Neither are really who they say they are, and their presence in the eyes of Gabriel (Simm) signals an arrival of the Devil. This evocative thriller won several awards, including Best Horror at the California Independent Film Festival.

Shorts International is a major short entertainment movie company, holding the largest collection of short films in the world. They also run their programs on several channels, including ShortsHD on Dish Network, ShortsTV UK, ShortsTV France, and on TTNET in Turkey. More information can be found at