Shorts Round Up of the Week: 5/26/20

It’s the return of Shorts Round Up of the Week! And this week, Emilie Black steps in to the driver’s seat bringing readers some reviews for four of the latest short films from very unique indie film voices.

If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers. 

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Let’s Scare Jessica to Death (1971) [Blu-Ray]

I’ve come to appreciate “Let’s Scare Jessica to Death” more and more over the years, as it’s managed to separate itself from the other vampire films in the sub-genre. While other of its ilk manage to flaunt the concept of the vampire without much substance, John Hancock and writers Sheridan Le Fanu and Lee Kalchiem take an opportunity here. Here, the monster is brilliant used as a means as a dread filled allegory for paranoia, fear of unraveling sanity, and our latent fear of infidelity.

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Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory (Lycanthropus) (1961) [Blu-ray/CD]

There’s a ghoul in school! And “Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory” is one of the weirdest and darkest werewolf movies I’ve ever seen. It’s tough to believe a movie from the early sixties is filled with such dread, violence, and sexual implications that becomes the backdrop for the narrative. Despite being a werewolf movie, Paolo Heusch’s movie carries with it a lot of giallo vibes, focusing on a mostly obscured villain that stalks and strangles their victims. Although there is the stalk and chase of the sub-genre, Heusch relies on a whodunit mystery that feels much in the vein of Argento.

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Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High AKA Volume 2 (2017): 2 Disc [Blu-ray]

It’s too bad when you go in to a Troma movie and know that this isn’t them at their best. While you can kind of blame it on lack of funding, “Volume 2” of the “Nuke Em High” movie series leaves a lot to be desired and never quite sticks the landing in regards to its slew of sub-plots and sidebars. Director Kaufman spends a lot of the first twenty minutes of the movie catching us up to what went down in volume 1 (with the help of narration by the late Stan Lee) and this gives the movie a chaotic pacing that’s tough to focus on.

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Scoob! (2020)

I’d be lying if I said that I’m the biggest Scooby Doo fan around. Hell, I’m still stunned that Hanna Barbera has placed so much stock in the franchise for so many decades, but I digress. I had high hopes going in to “Scoob!” as every generation is introduced to Scooby Doo once again in some new form, and “Scoob!” seemed like the right avenue. Not only does it give us a new vision of Scooby Doo, but it makes tweaks to the mythos that I liked, while also establishing a shared Hanna Barbera universe. And yet, at the end of it all, I’d still rather have seen “Scooby Doo on Zombie Island” or “Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost,” again.

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Time Warp: The Greatest Cult Films of All-Time Vol. 2: Horror and Scifi (2020)

The idea of the cult movie and the birth of the cult phenomenon is a tricky concept that can’t be answered in one shot. While Danny Wolf approaches film fans with a three part feature length look at some of the best and most controversial cult films of all time, there isn’t a lot of examination of the cult film. Despite a round table of people like host Joe Dante, and guests John Waters, Kevin Pollak, and Illeana Douglas, “Time Warp” is a lot more a celebration of cult and indie films. If you want something more cerebral that discusses the whole idea and anomaly of cult films then you may probably want to look elsewhere.

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Blood & Flesh – The Reel Life & Ghastly Death of Al Adamson (2019) [Blu-Ray]

Severin Films has done an amazing job showing movie fans and collectors the generally colorful and interesting body of cinematic work that Al Adamson left behind. While he’s more generally known for his unfortunately terrible murder, Adamson was also, by all accounts, a very nice man who was creative, innovative and had a genuine love for filmmaking and the people he worked with. “Blood & Flesh” successfully takes us inside the life of the man who had a sincere love for entertaining people, and then digs in to how sometimes our good hearts can put us in the company of the wrong people.

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Blood Quantum (2020)

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SHUTIN

I’m stunned that in a world where we have no shortage of entertainment about zombies, and the zombie apocalypse, that there has never really been a movie surrounding indigenous people. Zombie movies are almost always about fighting for land, dominance, and or resources, so it seems only natural that we’d have at least twenty by now featuring indigenous main characters. “Blood Quantum” is the first of its kind centering on indigenous characters, all of whom are facing a world where they’ve inherited the Earth, and have to figure out where they stand in it.

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