Archive for dracula

Portland Horror Film Festival 2017: Short-Length Horror Shorts Part 2

Posted in Action, comedy, drama, Fantasy, horror, Movies, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 21, 2017 by aliciamovie

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‘Blackbird’

Country: UK

Director: Tim Fellingham & Charlotte Stente Nielsen

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

What happens when the one you think is your savior, turns out to have been your tormentor all along? Here on a lonely stretch of nowhere, a man with a concussion and severe memory loss, apparently from getting tossed from his motorcycle, goes to save a runaway maiden in a nightgown. The both of them hole up together trying to figure out what they’re running from, and through a series of dreams and flashbacks and one horrible “gotcha!” moment involving a blackbird tattoo, discover they really do know each-other, a little too well for either ones comfort.

The use of Memento-like timelines and flashbacks can be perfectly fine, but I thought a little too much emphasis was placed on atmosphere and not enough on the story itself. If a movie, either short or feature-length, has only two actors in it, it is very likely that the villain is one of them; it kind of lessens the potential shock value. Nevertheless, should the story be expanded, the short could have real potential.

‘The Dark Hunger’

Country: USA

Director: Anthony Williams

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

What to do when one discovers a supernatural cannibal terrorizing your neighborhood? No calling in the CIA or some paranormal equivalent, no, some sort of mafia-like gang kidnaps the man they call Dead Fred and stick him in a cell, to be fed their enemies. Because Dead Fred is a full cannibal and always cleans his plate, so there’s no evidence left behind. And when we meet up with our cannibal hero, it looks like he’s been enduring this setup for awhile.  His Dark Passenger, the actual cannibal vampire in his skull with the awesome deep voice, is content to stay in prison so long as the captors keep feeding it, but Fred has other ideas. Despite that not actually being his real name, Dead Fred decides to embrace the pseudonym and make a deal with his Dark Passenger to get out of this prison and find the man at the top, the real mastermind monster who put Fred here in the first place!

It’s never easy to combine a supernatural element with an attempt at Hannibal Lecter-like characters, and yet somehow The Dark Hunger manages it nicely. The short reads like a trailer for a film that I would certainly watch, and I sincerely wished the short was one of the longer short films, so I could pretend it was a movie. With even some of the better notes of 30 Days of Night thrown in, The Dark Hunger should make Director Williams an up-and-comer worthy of keeping an eye on.

‘Chateau Sauvignon: Terroir’

Country: USA

Director: David E. Munz-Maire

Review Rating: 7.5 out of 10 

If you could ever imagine what a winery run by Children of the Corn would be like, then the Chateau Sauvignon is for you. The stark landscape, dead animal skulls and eerie wine-making equipment that looks suspiciously like butchery pressings all serve to provide an atmosphere that screams Horror. And almost immediately, it turns out, the vitner equipment really does still make wine for the tourists and all, but is also being used in the butchery of at least some of those tourists, to keep Mom alive. (Whether Mom is a zombie, some kind of vampire, cannibal or anything else, is unclear.) But the meat juice is beginning to run out, Son is becoming concerned, and Dad is just trying to hold everything together, despite Moms condition. Two new tourists have come late to the winery and Son wants to give them the full tour, no matter what Dad says – here sample some of our wine, over here is some of the processes we use to make our vintages, and by the way, your son is a jackass, here’s a glass pouring beaker shoved into your skull. Because Mom needs to be fed, and wine isn’t cutting it anymore.

A very fine short, all kinds of atmospheric and moody, though I would have liked to have a bit more to the story. What kind of creature is Mom now, how did she get this way, what happens to all of them when the meat juice finally runs out? Perhaps for the next series of Horror shorts from Director Munz-Maire, or, he could turn the whole thing into a feature-length jaunt – I would watch it.

‘Death Metal’

Country: USA

Director: Chris McInroy

Review Rating: 7 out of 10

Dude man, I get you, hail Satan and Metal is God and all that, you bet. But if you’re handed Grand-dad’s axe (as in guitar), that he supposedly got from the Dark Prince himself, along with three important rules to follow when using it, you’d want to adhere to them and be respectful wouldn’t you? It doesn’t seem as though frustrated metal-head Lars gives two damns about any of that, and immediately goes off to break all three rules jamming in the afternoon at the park on the axe. Is it any wonder that the axe-head breaks off from the rest of the guitar and goes hog-wild?

I saw Lars and his dumbassery at another Horror film festival and thought it was hilarious then, as now. It’s always so cute to see the Metalheads tossing the horns and headbanging for all they’re worth, because of course Satan’s all kinds of into that. Just never forget, Lucifer has a very wicked sense of humor, too.

‘As They Continue to Fall’

Country: USA

Director: Nikhil Bhagat

Review Rating: 8 out of 10

Whether you’re a fan of the Prophecy series, or saw the film Legion and the short-lived Syfy show it spawned, Dominion, Angels are fairly well-known these days as something other than the be-winged halo’d bringers of light and Gods love. What we have here is the somewhat now-familiar trope of the hobo hero hunting bad guys, in this case actual Angels, and it must be said, doing a fair job of it. From the looks of the feather trophies that line his coat, keeping him warm, our hobo hero is no-one to be trifled with. (Because really, depending upon which hierarchy of Angel you’re fighting, you could strap a nuke to the Angelic type and he’d laugh at you.) Our hobo hero has been dealing with Angelic visions all his life, but now after the apparent end of the world, has taken to hunting them down with vim and vigor. And who could blame him? What is an Angel, after all, but another Devil just waiting to fall?

Many of the minds who worked on this short have made major names for themselves elsewhere (Sinister, Deus Ex, The Thing, the NBC TV show Dracula, to name only a few), and they managed to cobble together a short awesome to watch. The future dystopian world where our hobo hero hunts Angels is clear and perfectly understandable, while much is still left open to audience interpretation and judgment, and in building a world like this, that is what we would prefer.

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Comic-Con International 2013

Posted in Action, Anime, Cartoon, comedy, Comics, drama, Fantasy, Foreign, Historical, horror, Kids, movie news, Movies, Musical, Romance, Sci-Fi, suspense, TV Movie, VG Movie with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2013 by aliciamovie

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Comic-Con International is one of those insane events that happens once a year, that everyone and their family looks forward to. Shwag is given out in spades, autographs are hoarded, lines are formed for miles, and cosplay is proudly displayed, often by folk who are considered completely “normal” otherwise. CCI is like it’s own world, with it’s own rules, and it helps to know them if you’ve never been to Comic-Con before. For example:

1. The FREE STUFF

Literally right across the street from the convention center, past the trolley tracks and the hordes of fan-atics trying to cross the street, is always set up as the ads and the FREE STUFF. Often new or returning TV shows are advertised with exhibit walkthroughs and at the end, you get a FREE something with the shows logo stamped on it. Clever geegaws, FREE photos with sets as backdrops, games and trivia and hotties giving out t-shirts, oh my! Someone this year was a genius, and for the Dracula walkthrough, the FREE thing given at the end was a chair. Now I grant you, it’s just a folding piece of cardboard with ads printed on it; the thing still supported my weight during those interminable lines for more FREE STUFF, so that’s awesome. All day Thursday, all I did was wander around the across-the-street area, didn’t even go in to the convention center itself, and yet I came home with a bulging bag of FREE STUFF. There was even a place giving out free half-pints of ice cream, advertising Elder Scrolls. I do not kid.

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1-A. TRIVIA PRIZES

Sometimes, not always, you can be in the right place at just the right time. I was in line for the Falling Skies trailer exhibit across the trolley tracks, when a Volunteer came out with t-shirts over one arm and announced to the line he was doing FS trivia, and asked who on the line was a fan?! …*crickets* Really? Well, I’m a fan! After gleefully giving some trivia about the latest show, I was handed the last in a lot of only 200 made, the Volunteer said, of an official Falling Skies hoodie, with a patch and a logo and thumbholes in the sleeves. This happens to me, as a rabid fan, often, and who knows, it may happen to you too!

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1-B. CCI BAG LOADOUT

Several years back, someone else was a genius and started giving out these high-end bags to hold shwag as part of the Comic-Con package when you pick up your badge. Everyone gets one, they usually have some sort of theme, and this year is no exception. This years CCI bag featured Warner Bros. (of course) and CCI on one side, the other side reserved for ads for shows like ARROW, Retro Batman, The Vampire Diaries, The Big Bang Theory, and many others, also featuring double arm straps so the bag could be a backpack, thank heavens. But that wasn’t the highlight of this years bag, oh no. Along with the CCI bag and it’s helpful lugging-stuff goodness, each bag came complete with a detachable ad cape. I grant you, it’s this cheapo piece of fabric with a logo screened on it and neckties, but come on. Now everyone can Cosplay at Comic-Con!

2. The LINES

In Comic-Con, there are lines literally everywhere. For the panels, for the Halls, down in the shopping mall, and don’t forget the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. (We’ll get to that.) The lines in the Exhibit Hall, where we do all the shopping and yes get more FREE STUFF, are often girded by Con security and hapless Volunteers with signs that don’t really work. Usually after Friday, the lines for the really swell FREE STUFF become impossible unless you attended such-and-such panel beforehand and received the postcard that entitled you for a FREE t-shirt advertising their movie. The Exhibit Hall frankly, has needed for years traffic signals and cattle prods, and not necessarily in that order. You were warned.

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2-A. The MAIN HALL LINES

The LINES for Hall H and Ballroom 20 need to be addressed as well. It’s been years since I’ve bothered at all trying to get into either one of these rooms, and with good reason. Hall H and Ballroom 20 are the largest venues at Comic-Con and therefore have the coolest panels shown there. Hall H in particular gets insane, due to the fact that the overflow line is outside (someone finally put up tents a few years ago to shield the line from the sun, hooray) and these days people will often camp out overnight to ensure getting in to Hall H the next day. I’ve heard stories of die-hard fans camping out there three days before the Con was to open, just to see their favorite star in real life. And I think that’s why these lines are so insane: most of these people get to see a real-life celebrity once in their miserable lives, here at Comic-Con. Even the lines for the smaller roomed panels are getting interesting, so nevermind what the website says. If you want to see a panel, any panel at all, come early for the line.

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3. The FULLFILLMENT ROOM

CCI some years back instituted this sort of reward program that gives away yet more FREE STUFF advertising various programs shown at Con. At a lot of the panels, while you’re sitting there listening to Noah Wyle crack wise about Falling Skies or whatever, Con Volunteers will pass out along the lines of Con-goers these little faire-type tickets. What not everyone knows is to keep these tickets, they’re not for a raffle you’ll never win or anything, it’s for the FULLFILLMENT ROOM. Next door to the convention center is the Marriot Hotel, and here is where the FULLFILLMENT ROOM is set up. What they don’t tell you, is that the ROOM is set up in the very back end of the Hotel, and the place usually only has Volunteers with signs for the ROOM about halfway through the Hotel, if at all. Also, inevitably, there are lines of eager Con-goers already in the know about the ROOM. However, if you’ve kept your non-raffle tickets (I store mine in the back of my Con badge, that always works) and walked huffing and puffing all the way to the ROOM, stood in the interminable lines and tried to be nice to the harried Con volunteers, you can get yet more FREE STUFF. Bags from everywhere under the moon, posters and comics and booklets oh my, in previous years I got full-on video games with unlockable content, bracelets and pins and don’t forget the t-shirts, all with the logo of your favorite movie or show!

4. The COSPLAY

A lot of people go absolutely apeshit insane trying to do Cosplay for Comic-Con. I tried it once or twice a few years ago, and truly, it does not mesh with wandering the exhibit hall with a bag stuffed full of free shwag. But there are a couple of things I’ve learned about the Cosplayers and their ways. One, they always prefer to be asked before you start blinding them with a camera flash and effectively block their way to wherever they’re going by mobbing them with picture-taking. Two, very few of them actually mind if you come right out and ask where their costume is from, if you don’t know. A lot of those Anime Cosplayers can get downright obscure, and they know it, so if you don’t know, ask already. Three, after you take their picture and thank them for it, say something nice about their costume already. It costs you nothing to say, “Love the shoes” or “You look just like the Khaleesi”, even if you don’t mean it. And who knows what it cost the Cosplayer to make that costume; show some appreciation for their fan-aticism and love, if nothing else.

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5. FINAL THOUGHTS

Comic-Con International is an event like no other in the whole world. Every year people from all over the planet come here to San Diego in massive hordes for this four-day insanity extravaganza. Yes, the lines are terrible, the crowds are massive, and the heat is stifling. Yes, there are always disappointments: I didn’t get in to the Doctor Who panel, I didn’t get that geegaw from thus-and-such retailer I really wanted cuz’ they sold out on Thursday, I missed the pirate ship walkthrough because they closed it a day early, et cetera. But what you do get in exchange for all the headaches is an experience like no other. I saw Travis Fimmel from Vikings live and in person, I came home with four free bags of shwag, I spent all the money I studiously saved just for this event in the exhibit hall on fan things, and overall I had a blast. Comic-Con brings together people from all over, who all have one thing in common: I’m a fan. In a lot of cases, we’re all insane fan-atics, and Comic-Con connects us all for those four glorious days of squees, cheers, and die-hard unabashed and unapologetic geekdom!

Ranted & Photographed by Alicia Glass

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