Shorts Round Up of the Week: October Terrors

I hope this year has been merciful to you, as October is now in full motion. After such a terrible, bizarre year, feel free to lose yourself in five short horror films for our October festivities, which are no in full swing! Warning: Some of the reviews include the short films for your viewing pleasure, while others are just the teaser.

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

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Vampires vs. The Bronx (2020)

While many of the influences for SNL are apparent, director-writer Oz Rodriguez has a great eye for unfolding some great horror that’s absolutely entertaining but also socially conscious (like his contemporary Jordan Peele). “Vampires vs. The Bronx” is a surefire amalgam of “The Lost Boys” and “Attack the Block.” It’s a creepy, fun, horror flick with an all Latinx and African American cast that’s also very clear cut condemnation of gentrification.

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“The Lost Boys” and the Allegory of the Male Role Model

1987’s “The Lost Boys” is often examined as a film with heavy overtones of homoeroticism, and the idea of embracing the vampire mythology in a broader scope. It somewhat re-invented vampires, and even influenced many a creator in modern vampire fare. One of the reasons why I absolutely adore “The Lost Boys,” among many others, is because of its commentary on male models and debasing the antiquated idea of the nuclear family. While “The Lost Boys” is a play on the term from “Peter Pan” about a group of boys that never age, the title is also a play on the recurring theme of male role models and lack thereof.

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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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TV on DVD: Forever Knight: The Complete Series (DVD)/Supernatural: The Complete Fourteenth Season [Blu-Ray/Digital]

From Mill Creek Entertainment comes the perfect Halloween treat, The Complete series of “Forever Knight.” If ever there was a nineties series, it’s a show that takes a procedural cop drama and pairs it with vampires. One of the precursors to cult shows like “Angel” and “Blood Ties,” the syndicated series lasted for a total of three seasons and became obscure for many years after its run. This is shocking considering the series has its faults, but is genuinely a fun and Gothic vampire series. This was the decade where a lot of radical concepts were posed for television (Ahem—“Cop Rock”), but “Forever Knight” plays the whole premise with a straight face.

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Shorts Round Up of the Week: Halloween Horror Month Edition

It’s October once again! Finally! It’s our favorite time of year, a time where we can drown in horror and genre cinema without coming up for air. For the return of “Shorts Round Up of the Week” I bring you the Halloween edition, where I review short films of the horror, thriller, and dark fantasy variety. Hopefully we can dig up a second edition of this column before the month is up.

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

Happy October, boils and ghouls.

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John Carpenter’s Vampires (1998): Collector’s Edition [Blu-Ray]

“They don’t sleep in coffins lined in taffeta. You wanna kill one, you drive a wooden stake right through his fuckin’ heart. Sunlight turns ’em into crispy critters.”

I love John Carpenter. I love John Carpenter just as much as Spielberg, and that’s saying a lot as anyone who knows me knows I’m a big Spielberg nut. In either case, even Carpenter’s lesser efforts in the late nineties to early aughts are somewhat entertaining, if only because even when he never quite sticks the landing, he’s at least going for something different. With “Vampires,” Carpenter tries his best to rethink and remold the modern vampire and make them terrifying again. While the movie isn’t great, its ambition and ability to make Vampires primal monsters again is admirable and worthy of an audience.

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