Final Girls Berlin Film Festival: Queer Horror Short Film Block

Queer horror is something I can appreciate, even if the nuances of it may go over my head sometimes. One of my favorite aspects about Final Girls Berlin Film Festival is how it gives a voice to the filmmakers who typically wouldn’t get a chance to spread their message. Our genre has always been the lead in spearheading representation, and it’s beyond refreshing to get new looks into the myriad of subgenres we have. Without wasting anymore time, let’s jump into the next block of shorts: queer horror.

Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You

Written/Directed by Rioghnach Ni Ghrioghair

Title card for Don't Go Where I Can't Find You, purple handwritten looking text spells "Don't Go Where I Can't Find You" overlayed on a black background

Before Tár there was Margaret (Marie Ruane). When a composer’s girlfriend dies by suicide, she starts to feel connected to her through her newest haunting compositions.

Music/aural horror is a subgenre that hasn’t been tapped as much as it really could have. Films like Tár and Berberian Sound Studio have taken a dip into the aural horror pool, but there’s still so much more that can come of it. Don’t Go Where I Can’t Find You creates a composition of emotional horror, taking us on an auditory adventure. The composition created by Margaret is off beat and  idiosyncratic concerto of chaos. Honestly I just love strange music.

Horror wise Don’t Go succeeds between supernatural and psychological horror, as well as creating a horrific rift between two lovers. This short film conducts its way deep into your soul, leaving you feeling empty and heartbroken.



Written/Directed by Siobhan Paterson

Title card for Apostasy, red heavy metal text spells "Apostasy" overlayed on a black background

Two girls, Tula (Maddison Dell’Aquila) and Kennedy (Erin Kenworthy), battle burgeoning feelings, while under the strict eye of the [Catholic?] church. Tula will be tested with a [personal] battle for the ages, and maybe even her life.

Religious horror has always been hit or miss for me. For the most part the idea and execution of Apostasy was a hit for me, but visually it felt a little off. I wish there would have been a little more pizzazz to the visual aspect of this short film. The substance though is really on point. This is a type of short film that will really hit close to home for some people, and I truly hope this finds the audience that would benefit from its contents.



Written/Directed by Daviel Shy and Valerie Whitehawk

Title card for Ricochet, a piece of paper has the word "Ricochet" on it

My synopsis: two people eat some raspberries in the desert, and then it gets violent for some reason. Their synopsis: a honeymoon turned violent with acid-dipped raspberries.

Shot in two days on one roll of Super 8 film, Ricochet is a victim of its own circumstance. It feels rushed and unfocused, but it’s also only four minutes long. I think visually it looks great, and has a great style behind it. It just left me wanting a little more of…something? I don’t know what, but it feels like a blink and you miss it short. For an experimental piece of genre, it’s solid. At least, unlike a large amount of experimental art, it was quick and interesting.


It Takes A Village

Written by Sarah Squirm and Glamhag, Directed by Glamhag

Title card for it Takes A Village, flame filled text spells "It takes a village" overlayed on top of the face of a woman

In an Omega Mart-esque world, one person must help someone who is in labor get to some sort of cult. Using various means of transportation their timeline ticks down with the baby nearly here.

I wish I would have realized how lucky I was with Ricochet. After watching this, I would have taken a feature length version of Ricochet. There’s a difference between attempting something avant garde, and trying too hard to just be weird for the hell of it. Besides the overall unaesthetic nature of this, this short is just frustrating inside and out. There is not a single redeeming quality here. The acting is atrocious, the sound design is abhorrent, and I was glad when it was over.


Plastic Touch

Written by Mikele Grande, Directed by Aitana Ahrens

Title card for Plastic Touch, purple '70s-like text spells "Plastic Touch" overlayed on a black background

A sex doll comes to life, only to realize there is more to the world than being a plastic object for people to use. Using a television as a conduit, Lucy (Alexandra Pino) envisions the lives she could live with Mina (Cinta Ramirez). Sad, sweet, and stunning.

Rico-what? It Takes A-who? It’s all about Plastic Touch. THIS is how you make weird. THIS is how you tell a strange ass story and make it mean something. Two sex dolls watch TV together, while one pictures the different lives she could have, if she wasn’t a literal plastic object for people to come use at their wanting. With a very depressing ending, Plastic Touch tells not just a story about two dolls falling in love, but a feeling that so many women have been forced to feel throughout the majority of history.

I wish I could have one opportunity to have my memory wiped so I could watch this again for the first time. Plastic Touch is truly a special piece of, not just genre, but film as a whole.


Violet Butterfield: Makeup Artist for the Dead

Written/Directed by Brooke H. Cellars

Title card for Violet Butterfield, yellow stylized text spells "Violet Butterfield: Makeup Artist for the dead" overlayed on a still of Violet's fingers working on a corpse's face

Rob Zombie meets Tarantino meets Rose McGowan in ’60s. A mortician beautician, Violet Butterfield (Michelle Colon), spends her night with a fresh body, hoping to take care of her. But when client after client calls, Butterfield must work her magic on their rotting body parts.

Part comedy, part body horror, part genuinely beautiful and heartfelt story. Visually I was expecting this to turn supremely bloody and violent, but I appreciate and respect Cellars’ restraint. Violet Butterfield is a fairly self-contained story about love and acceptance, with a really good amount of gross and gore thrown in. Enhanced by Colon’s performance, and Christine Peirce’s score, Cellars has created a remarkable, and really just great, piece of accessible horror.


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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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