Zombie in a Penguin Suit

Over the course of the year, curating the Short Film of the Day feature has given me a deep and affecting appreciation of the art form. Before, I hadn’t given much thought to the little bastards, but the truth is that they are incredibly versatile and representative of the boundaries that film can break. They can be jokes told well or human dramas driven home. They can be a perfect bite or demand to be expanded into a full meal. They can feel classic or break out into the long, strange realm of experimentation. They are so much more than movies with short runtimes. There’s one difficulty in judging them, though. With such variation, pinpointing how one can be better than another gets to be tricky. So, no matter the order, the one constant is that all the movies listed here are outstanding at what they do. The other (small) problem is that sometimes short films spend a long time touring festivals and otherwise being unavailable online. Thus, eligibility here is based solely on when a movie hit the web for us to digest. In that way, it’s the best short films from 2010-2011, but I have a feeling that that trivia won’t matter once you sit glued to the screen at the talent on display here.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column currently perpetrating a home invasion on yo’ behind. It’s going to tie you up and make you watch while it plays video games in your living room. Also, it will tell you the news… We begin with my favorite thing of the night, the Halloween special episode of Community, “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps,” yet another brilliant display of the playful and unfathomably intelligent writing behind this show. Something broken down quite nicely in Todd VanDerWerff’s review at The AV Club. And for those of us with simpler tastes, there’s a Community BINGO drinking game now. Coming soon to Reject HQ…

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Why Watch? Perhaps the most stunning, deeply-felt zombie short film of all time. Everything here from the cinematography to the effects to the storytelling shines like the finest brains offered up on a silver platter while a gorgeous rendition of “Mara’s Lullaby” plays in the background. What seems silly on face – following a man dressed in a penguin costume who has recently turned undead – becomes truly affecting. It’s one of the few zombie films to deliver a haunting sadness and crucial empathy for the infected. Simply put, it is mind-blowing. (And the end credits hit even harder.) It’s the best zombie short film you’ll see all year. What does it cost? Just 7 minutes of your time. Check out Zombie In a Penguin Suit for yourself:

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