Films that are more strange than spooky for Halloween

PREVIEW The short films showcased at Independent Exposure's "Halloweird 2008" are mostly more bizarre than they are spooky, but that doesn't mean they're not holiday appropriate. There's something deeply unsettling about many of the offerings, which offer a more lingering impression than your standard scares. Loka "Tabernacle 1" is haunting precisely because we're given so little of the overall picture. As the camera glides gracefully alongside gorgeous violins, we find a glowing, floating man, with no explanation. By the Kiss is similarly devoid of context: a woman pressed against a wall greets a sequence of suitors who — quite literally — smother her with kisses. It's hypnotizing but wholly unpleasant. Of course, with 17 films on the agenda, there are bound to be some clunkers: Mama, which features a ghoulish woman crying "mama" for two-and-a-half minutes, might be disturbing if it weren't so annoying. Kaltes Klares Wasser is also overlong. But hey, "overlong" is a relative term here, and it's worth zoning out for a few minutes to make it to the best films. Here, the real standouts are firmly planted in the comedy genre: Transrexia, a short but sweet stop-motion animation about a T-Rex's love for a pterodactyl, and Fantaisie in Bubblewrap, in which individual Bubble Wrap bubbles are alive and rather chatty. That is, until they're popped.

"Halloweird 2008"

Wed/29, 8 p.m., $6

Bollyhood Café, 3372 19th St., SF


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