Category Archives: Short Shorts
What do you get when you’ve got a wannabe vampire and an actual vampire living together? Well, in episode 2 of Vampz! you get a dead, coked up vampire hunter. Whoopsies! Not to mention a very drunk little brother who stumbles upon the scene.
I am totes digging on this web series – it’s fun, it’s quirky and it’s got so many things I love (like vampires!). Plus the special effects are pretty groovy for a (I’m assuming) lo-budget production. There’s not a ton of special effects, no over the top CGI or anything but the few they use feel very organic and really enhance the plot. Major kudos for that, guys.
I also really, really love the character of Ashlee (not to mention the actress that plays her). She’s adorable (like me! ;)). All the characters are fun but she’s definitely my fave.
I’m not sure how many more episodes are in this season (I know 3 is out and 4 is about to hit the net) but I’m excited and I really hope there’s a second season as well. Hmmm…I wonder if there will be new characters? Or bit parts? Ahem….
Check out Episode 2 in all it’s glory, y’all and let me know if you’re digging it as much as I am!
This was originally posted on Rogue Cinema back in February but now that the rest of the series has been going up, I’m reviewing the whole thing here, episode by episode. To read the original, go here!
VAMPZ!, written by Omar Attia and Lenny Buccellato, is about the supernatural hijinks & misadventures of Simone, a “wannabe vampire” and her ditzy cheerleader roomie, Ashlee. Described on their Facebook page as “a horror comedy webisode series that could be described as Fright Night meets Three’s Company (without even a whiff of Twilight)”, I’d say it’s exactly that (although Twilight is mentioned though only in mocking ;)).
Currently, there’s only the first episode of this web series up on YouTube and it starts out strong with Simone interviewing several people as potential roommates. As the view switches from potential roommate to potential roommate, their hilarious stories of roommates past and their interests (really? Tentacle porn??) overlap to create a hysterical montage that really drives home the fact that finding someone to live with is scary business. To add to that scariness, when the three potentials say to Simone, “Gee, you kind of look like a vampire…” she responds with, “I AM a vampire! Duh!”. Oh Simone, with your black hair and gothy ways…we’ll see how far that gets you in life…
After another day of hapless searching, Simone’s annoying fraternal twin brother comes over to cheer her up. Or something. Then arrives, Ashlee, who can best be described as one of those annoyingly cheerful, ditzy cheerleader girls that you always kind of wanted to kick in high school. Simone is full of “No effing way!” till her brother points out that she’s already said no to 30 something other people and can’t pay the rent herself. With a sigh of disgust, Simone agrees to let Ashlee move in.
So what happens next? Oh, but that’s much too fun to give away, dear reader, so you’ll simply have to watch for yourself. This is exactly the kind of web series I love – silly, irreverent and with a touch of darkness. The script is fun and I love the way this is shot – not sure what kind of camera they used but there’s a blur around the edges that makes it all a little dreamy (oh and speaking of dreams, wait till you see the dream sequence in this one. Ha!). All the actors do a fine job with their parts with the stand out being Louis Bacigalup as Simone’s annoying brother (seriously I kinda wanna give the guy a good kick to the shins).
So head on over to Youtube and check them out!
About a year ago, I reviewed a film for Rogue Cinema, that I absolutely adored called “True-D”, by an Irish director named Noel Brady. In it, people put on “True-D” glasses instead of “3-D” and are then able to see the histories of the people around them such as the bum on the street, the lady that is a bitch to everyone, etc. It was such a different sort of film than what typically comes around and I loved its message and its uniqueness. Not too long ago…okay, it was actually a couple of months ago but due to my schedule, I wasn’t able to get around to it till now and I truly apologize, Noel!…Noel sent me his latest film, “Alicia’s Mask”. This is a really hard film for me to review and I’m not sure what the best way to go about saying what I need to without devolving into something off-film-topic is, so bear with me. I’m going to say this first of all – this film is about rape so if that is something you’re not comfortable with or if it’s a trigger for you, you might not want to continue, okay?
Powerful. Beautiful. Raw. Those are the first three words that came to mind after I watched this for the first time. This film packs a hell of a punch in 6 minutes. I had to take a few days after to step away from the film and what it personally brought me and then come back to it again. So I re-watched it this morning and had the exact same reaction as the first time around. I think you know you have a winner when you can elicit an emotional reaction so profound that it takes days to process.
Alicia is making an introduction video for her new online dating profile. As the film starts we see her curling her hair, putting on makeup, prettying herself up. On the flip side we see an older man in front of a computer, searching for dating sites. Then Alicia sits to start filming. She starts with the norm – “Hi, I’m Alicia. I’m a Pisces and I love long walks in the rain.”, only to be interrupted by a phone call from a friend. We hear her reassuring her friend that yes, she is making the video now and yes, she is still up for that party later tonight. It’s then we notice the bottle of wine on the table – perhaps our Alicia is a wee bit nervous about making this video? It would seem so because next we see her start again…and again…and again…only to never get by the words “Hi, I’m Alicia and I’m a Pisces.” before breaking into tears and going back to the table for more wine…and then pills…And on the flip side we see the older man, viewing her video…then we see Alicia having flashbacks, fuzzy and unclear so we only get a hint of what’s happening…till finally Alicia starts filming again with the words, “My name is Alicia Heart and I was raped a year ago today.” And on the flip side we realize that the older man is a cop, a detective. And not long after that the film ends with a shot of an arrest warrant. There is more Alicia says after she states her name and what happened to her. It’s only about two lines and that’s where more than half the emotional impact comes from.
The film is beautiful, not just in how it was shot but for how it handles this girl’s plight. The way she breaks down over and over again with the words, “I’m Alicia and I’m a Pisces…” is heartbreaking and too real, too raw, too honest. If you’ve been her and you’re watching, you know. You know exactly what she’s feeling, what she’s thinking – the pain captured here is accurate. And if you don’t know, I imagine you’ll have a very good idea after this. The use of black and white helps immensely, I feel that color would have just distracted from the story (though the flashbacks have hints of color, hints of red in particular that add another layer to the beauty and pain).
I can’t praise Doey Mulligan enough for her portrayal of Alicia. She is utterly pitch perfect – vulnerable and lovely. And high praise for Noel Brady here – he’s taken a subject matter that is difficult, controversial and so much more and handled it with aplomb and a delicate touch. There’s nothing graphic to be seen here. It’s simply a girl trying to move past a trauma who is drowning in the murky waters, calling out for help before it’s too late. And it’s the simplicity here that hurts the most.
“Alicia’s Mask” is currently on the festival circuit so it’s not out for public consumption just yet but I do highly recommend it.
Also you’ll notice comments are closed, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before. I’m doing that due to the subject matter. It’s been a hot topic for debate lately and more importantly, it’s personal for me, so comments are just not something I want to deal with. Sorry, guys. Comments will be back on for Bad Milo, coming up next!
If you’re a long time reader of this site, then you’ve heard me mention Jeremiah Kipp a few times. His short films were one of the first things I ever reviewed here and I’ve also interviewed him for Rogue Cinema. I also may or may not have repeatedly begged him to cast me in something because I really love his work and I may or may not have completely embarrassed myself in doing so….ahem…anyway….
The latest thing he’s working on is something that is very exciting for me not only because it’s a horror thing but also because in the “About” video on Indiegogo they mention Hansel & Gretel which means it’s kind of a horror/fairy tale mesh which totally hits my sweet spot cause we all know how I feel about those two things! I mean, we do all know, right? I have made that pretty clear on this site, right? *giggles*
Anyway, they ARE running a campaign on Indiegogo so if you are so inclined, hit them up with a couple of bucks or if you have a friend you think would dig on this, give them the heads up. Because if this doesn’t get made, I might cry. :( You wouldn’t want to see me cry would you???
Coming Up Next on Cinema Schminema: Bad Milo, The American Scream, Velvet Elvis, interviews and more!
Eroticide is the latest offering from Sinema Saliba, the film company run by Matthew Saliba, a fellow writer over at Rogue Cinema, and my first foray into the Saliba world. His 7th film, Eroticide tells the story of a young man named Yan (Jocelin Haas) and how his addiction to erotic humiliation sets the course of his life on a downward spiral when his ex, Kendra (Lisa Di Capa) comes back into the picture, forcing him to choose between a future with his loving girlfriend, Elise (Stephanie van Rijn) or one of empty sexual gratification with Kendra.
This is a film about sex, desire, control, fetishes – all stuff I love to watch and discuss (seriously my Netflix queue is kind of embarrassing, lol) and the subject matter is handled quite well. Too often films of this nature turn either cheesy or just downright pornographic but Eroticide avoids those tropes with the intriguing use of seen fantasies and excellent cinematography. Our story starts with Yan and Elise discussing their 9 month anniversary and meeting (when Yan hit Elise with his car) over dinner when Kendra, Yan’s dominating ex, suddenly appears. In she walks and instantly Yan is fawning over her while Elise looks on in disgust. Kendra begins questioning their relationship, asking about their sex life only to discover that Elise and Yan haven’t yet had sex. This is remedied later that night but the only way Yan is able to perform is to imagine humiliating scenarios featuring Kendra (and sometimes Elise). We see his fantasies played out, intercut with scenes of him and Elise making love and the result is lovely to behold. From there the film moves into Yan’s betrayal of Elise and Elise’s ultimate sacrifice for the man she loves with Kendra in the background, the whole time keening with delight.
Eroticide is one of those little independent short films that packs a punch, hitting you hard right where all your dirty little secrets hide. It takes a look at the darker side of love and lust and manages to accomplish an in-depth look in just under 40 minutes. Honestly, I’d love to see this script fleshed out into a feature. While I dug the movie, it did feel a little short and a little incomplete, mostly with the feeling that the viewer doesn’t get to know Elise as well as Yan and Kendra.
And speaking of Elise, she’s my favorite one here, not so much for her character because really none of these characters are what you’d deem likable as they’re much too self-involved with their own flaws (although Elise does step out of that and looks beyond herself) but because of the actress playing her, Stephanie van Rijn. Stephanie is fragile, emotive and delicate without being completely downtrodden (plus she’s a redhead and we redheads stick together! ;)). Lisa Di Capa as Kendra was only okay – while she had the look for Kendra down and was fabulous at playing the icy bitch, she seemed to be holding back and her monologue at the end felt stilted.
Ooohhh, just realized another nice touch – having Elise as a redhead because she’s the fire on one side while Kendra is the ice on the other. Nice!
Jocelin Haas as Yan does a fine job but doesn’t overwhelm. He’s emasculated, weak and full of self-loathing but the performance didn’t make me want to stand up and cheer. He is naked for about half the film though so there’s a plus. ;) Again, I’d love to see this fleshed out into a feature – I don’t think the characters have time to fully develop but there’s amazing potential there.
Altogether, I have to recommend Eroticide, especially if you’re a fan of movies such as 9 1/2 Weeks or Boxing Helena. This film is a wonderfully done, though slightly underdeveloped look at the psychological war fare of love and relationships and the very real physical wounds they inflict.
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Okay, okay, I know what you all are thinking. The girl’s finally gone made with her hectic lifestyle and no sleep and she’s gone soft. It’s true, I don’t often review adorableness on here – I like my movies dirty and hard. But today I make the exception as I introduce you to Logan Starks.
Logan is your typical nine year old boy except for the fact that by the time he was 8, he’d already made TWO films. Yeah, don’t you feel under accomplished now, huh? I think my biggest accomplishment at age 8 was reading things like Edgar Allen Poe…but I digress. Not only is Logan your typical boy but he’s also a big brother. Into the World 2: A Toddler’s Tale is the follow up to the first film he ever made when his little brother, Connor, was about to be born. Now, it’s two years later and here Logan takes us on another funny, quirky and often heart felt adventure through the eyes of an eight year old trying to be a role model, protector, friend and brother.
The short film (roughly 20 minutes) chronicles the days leading up to Connor’s 2nd birthday and explores Logan’s feelings about being a brother and the boys’ relationship. Obviously, Logan did have help making these films in the form of his father, filmmaker P.j. Starks, but Logan was completely in charge – he decided on the shots and how the shots should be edited. It truly is his film.
And oh what a film it is. Connor is a little bundle of cuteness and Logan has a level of maturity about him that isn’t often found in a kid his age. Yes, he occasionally fights with his little brother but he also knows when to apologize to him and seems to spend a lot of time entertaining him. The film covers all kinds of ground (including my personal favorite scene – a discussion of whether the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are superheroes or not) and features a few adults as guest stars. Honestly, it’s a thing of beauty. It’s adorable, it’s honest and it’s incredibly well made. This ain’t your typical “home movie”.
I know some of you guys have kids and if you do, I think they’d really dig this. Even if you don’t have kids (like me), check it out and see the world through the eyes of a child, a dreamer and someone who at the age of 8 has already accomplished more than some of us (seriously, I still can’t get over that – it’s amazing). You can watch the entire thing below for free!
The latest issue of Rogue Cinema is up, y’all!! w00t! So what’s on tap for this month? Well, this time around I got to interview Brad C. Hodson, horror author, about his newest novel “Darling”. It’s very Stephen King’ish so if you’re into that sort of thing, check it out!
Next up is a review of Benny Loves Killing, a meta-love note to film kind of flick that’s visually beautiful.
After that we’ve got The Feed, another sci-fi dystopian cyber punk body modification flick (seriously, when did this genre get so big??).
And last but not least (and personally my favorite), On The Horizon, a stunning short with which I fell madly in love.
There’s tons of other cool stuff in this issue too AND in case y’all didn’t hear, our very own Mike from Mike’s Film Talk is now writing for Rogue as well!! High fives all around!!! :) So go check it and I’ll be back later today with another fun-filled post! (Yes, that is the sound of the Horsemen coming, obviously the apocalypse is nigh if I am posting twice in one day… ;)).
This isn’t even a review – this is just me sharing something that I find hilarious and AMAZEBALLS. ENJOY!!!!
THE SMALLS FAMILY is an experimental comedy based on the timeless lyrics of THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G.
Biggie Smalls is considered by most to be one the great lyricists in the history of hip-hop music. His untimely death on March 9 , 1997 changed the face of hip-hop and left a legacy behind that has yet to be duplicated.
In the past, many great works of classic writers and poets have been reinterpreted over the years…most notably the works of Shakespeare.
In similar nature THE SMALLS FAMILY strives to pay homage to Biggie’s incomparable language….while refreshing it to a new audience.
If you hated Repo! The Genetic Opera, then you will hate The Devil’s Carnival. Why? Because they were both created by Darren Lynn Bousman. I, however, LOVED Repo and also LOVED The Devil’s Carnival – in fact, I might’ve loved this one just a tad bit more (just don’t tell Anthony Head because he is wicked hot even if he is way older than me). Part of it was the music here – I can’t think of a single song I disliked in this film and have had one on frequent play since I watched the first time (yes, I’ve seen it twice now!). This one actually:
The premise is three people die and they all wind up in Hell. From there we get three of Aesop’s Fables (another reason I loved this – fairy tales and mythology may be my big two things but I’m also a fan of Aesop!): The Scorpion and the Frog, Grief and His Due and The Dog and Its Reflection. Add to that the carnival setting, the quirky and sometimes frightening characters plus the stage and theatre setting and this girl was in love at first glance.
There’s a lot of the same actors in this that were also in Repo – Alex Vega, Paul Sorvino, Bill Moseley, Nivek Ogre. I didn’t even notice Vega was here until I saw her name in the credits, then I had to google to find out which character she was. This also only clocks in at 55 minutes so it’s kind of something light and airy to have on while you’re doing other stuff…and by light and airy, I mean kind of morbid and grotesque…eh, we all have our own definitions for stuff. ;) No nudity or sex to be found here (well, there’s a naked woman who is whipped during one of the songs but they don’t really show anything other than her back), just good clean devilish fun, so enjoy!
Normally I don’t promote my Facebook page on here other than in the sidebar but the rough draft of the title sequence for “When the Lights Go Out” has been cut and unfortunately I couldn’t embed it here so I shared it on the Cinema Schminema Facebook page so if you’d like to have a look (it’s only 10 seconds long), head on OVER!