The Phoenix Comicon film selections for 2016 offered a generous selection of locally made short films. Some of the films are screening for the very first time at Comicon, while a few have been around for a while. This years collection is a mixed bag of horror, suspense, sci-fi and comedy, with each film bringing a new flavor to satisfy anybody’s taste. Thick layers of visual FX, or heaping helpings of screwball comedy, there’s plenty of local film for your consumption at the 2016 Phoenix Comicon. Here are 5 Arizona made short films you’ll definitely want to check out.

Project Walk Again – Sean Oliver
After being paralyzed from the waist down in a violent robbery, Allen (Sean Oliver) turns his wheelchair into a time machine and travels back in time to prevent his injury. He quickly discovers that all he can do with his machine is venture into alternate realities, witnessing worlds overrun with flesh eating nomads and a light-less universe of slimey and deadly creatures. From the makers of the long running web series “Lucidity,” director Oliver and pals have created an enjoyably entertaining sci-fi short with the perfect blend of seriousness and comedy, practical effects and CGI that everyone can enjoy.

A Haunting on Butterscotch Lane Ryan Nelson
Two bungling brothers awaken one morning to find their cookie jar possessed by angry spirits. They track the source of the hauntings to a crazy hobo’s trailside memorial that they may have slightly desecrated. Unable to appease the pesky poltergeist they seek help from the only two experts in town: the local priest and the guy at the comic book store. The priest is no help but the nerd provides the perfect plan to capture the creature and send it straight to heck for all eternity. From the talented film team of Clydesdale Manhattan, director Nelson and crew create a hilarious, extremely well shot non-stop comedy full of sight gags and crazy characters in their signature comedic style, bordering on raunch and always firmly entertaining.

Show No Mercy – Scott Conditt
Bobby (Jesse Kove) sweeps up at the Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix as his mean boss Frank (Martin Kove) makes fun of him. After finding an enchanted game token on the floor, Bobby inserts the coin into the menacing ‘Show No Mercy’ game, and the two are teleported to a real life 8-bit battle as the video game pits the pair against each other in the Arizona desert with an arsenal of weapons and very few bonus lives. A terrific brand spankin’ new film from director Conditt that features the father and son acting talents of Jesse and Martin Kove. ‘Mercy’ provides a fun cocktail of 8- bit goofing blended perfectly with nods to the 80’s movies that helped make the decade the colorful big haired analog adventure that future generations simply cannot get enough of. A laser blast from the past that will leave you heading for the nearest arcade.

Wendi – Vaughan Grey
Detectives Morgan and Sullivan (Joe Jauch and Michelle Nakamoto) arrive at a sleazy hotel room and discover the body of a dead prostitute named Wendi (Sandy Penny) floating in the tub. As the detectives look over the crime scene, Sullivan makes a psychic connection with the spirit of the dead hooker who pleads with the cop to catch her killer. Telepathic images reveal Wendi haunting one of her clients, singing in the shower, and participating in a Satanic ritual involving black scorpions and samurai swords.The cops confront a suspect but leave him alone for lack of evidence, overlooking the handcuffs hanging from his bed and Wendi’s underwear strewn about his room. Created as the pilot episode for a web series,’Wendi’ has a great neo-noir look dripping with rich reds and a continuously dark soundtrack. The constant struggle for a dominant, CSI style technical cop drama and a trippy, mildly experimental supernatural thriller keep ‘Wendi’ firmly planted in the dark side and restricted from walking on the wild side. Great performances and groovy photography.

2016 Phoenix Comicon Film Challenge Screening
This isn’t a cheeky ploy to get you over to the film challenge screenings, this really is the Phoenix Comicon film event you don’t want to miss. This is your chance to see 12 brand new shorts made by local filmmakers and it is one of those rare opportunities in AZ indie to sample a vast array of creativity and interpretation. With just a few cues from the Comicon Film Challenge, the filmmakers have had 1 month to get their film ready to screen at Comicon. Some of the films from previous challenges have gone on to receive high acclaim and do very well in film festivals, while for some of the other films; this may be your only opportunity to see them before they are locked away…forever! Follow this link for a complete list of films selected to screen at the Phoenix Comicon Film Challenge.