In director Konstantinos Koutsoliotas’ Minore (Greece, 2023), sailor William (Davide Tucci) comes to a small Greek coastal town while on shore leave, searching for someone who has been missing from his life. He befriends tavern server Aliki (Daphne Alexander), and soon the pair must join forces with the rest of the townspeople to battle against strange creatures coming from the sea. This is a winning horror comedy with a strong Lovecraftian vibe. It boasts a sizable cast whose members all give fine performances, and the characters — the screenplay is by Koutsoliotas and Elizabeth E. Schuch (The Book of Birdie) — are written so well and in such an endearing manner that viewers will want all of them to survive the invasion. That’s a rarity in horror and horror comedies recently, with so many unlikable characters in many movies of late with no one to really root for. The creatures look pretty cool and get plenty of screen time in the second half. Minore has many different ideas going on, with Koutsoliotas balancing everything marvelously, resulting in a big-hearted creature-feature comedy that comes highly recommended.
Take a dive into the valley of the uncanny with writer/director Evan Marlowe’s horror outing Abruptio, which is a labor of love that began with voice recording in 2015 followed by around five years of work filming the lifesize puppets that are the characters in the film. Les Hackel (voiced by James Marsters) still lives at home with his parents — he appears to be around thirtysomething, give or take — works at an unfulfilling job, and has just been dumped by his girlfriend. To make matters worse, he learns that a bomb has been surgically planted in his neck and if he doesn’t do the increasingly sick bidding of whoever is behind the bomb, they will explode it. Featuring a voice cast that includes such horror icons as Sid Haig, Robert Englund, and Jordan Peele, Abruptio is a disturbing but fascinating work. The puppetry is top-notch, and some of the facial designs are unnerving. There’s gore galore in this sometimes Kafkaesque tale of a recovering alcoholic going through a nightmarish odyssey. The ending doesn’t stick the landing for me, but the film is such a fascinating work that I give it a hearty recommendation to fear-fare fans.
Minore and Abruptio screened as part of Fantaspoa, which took place in Porto Alegre, Brazil from April 13–30, 2023.