The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival or BHFF, which is what we will be calling it for the remainder of the article, has been in full swing featuring horror of all shapes and sizes for viewers to enjoy. My personal favorite genre premiered on Sunday at noon in the IFP area of the festival, and I am talking about the horror-comedy block of shorts called “Laugh Now Die Later.” I got a chance to watch these bite sized horror shorts and they are truly a delight to watch. Let’s dig in.
THE BLOODY BALLAD OF SQUIRT REYNOLDS
If that title doesn’t interest the hell out of you, then you may already be dead because it drew me in immediately. It was directed by Anthony Cousins and written by Cousins and John Karsko. It follows campers (or counselors) sitting around a campfire at Camp Nawgonamakit. After singing some songs using a surprising number of instruments, they tell the tale of Squirt Reynolds (played by Tim Herkenhoff), a camp urban legend, but unfortunately for them, it may not be a legend after all. This short is so funny. It’s hard to tell which time period this is supposed to be in (everyone looks like they belong in the 70’s or early 80’s except the goth girl and while goth existed in the 80’s, it was the trad style but I digress), it is silly and gory and I enjoyed it immensely.
HAIR WOLF was written and directed by Mariamo Diallo and stars Kara Young as Cami, Taliah Webster as Eve, Madeline Weinstein as Rebecca, Trae Harris as Janice and Jermaine Crawford as Damon. This is a funny and strong politically and socially charged short film on cultural appropriation and oppression of African Americans. Rebecca or “Count Beckula” is roaming the neighborhood with an insatiable need for “braaaaaaaaaids” and leaving disaster in her wake. This short film wasn’t as funny as others, but it was very enjoyable and makes viewers really think in an entertaining way.
ATTACK OF THE POTATO CLOCK
This cute little tater tot of a film was directed by Victoria Lopez and Ji Young Na and is voiced by Margaret Manning. It is very reminiscent of the zombie carrot Halloween special of Monsters vs Aliens but with a little more blood. While it was so short that it ended right as I was getting invested, it was adorable while it lasted.
This short film was written and directed by Izzy Lee and stars Brea Grant, Steve Johnson and Adam Egypt Mortimer. It follows a woman and her boyfriend as she tries to explain that something keeps visiting her at night, but it would seem that it only wants her blood…and some affection. Sometimes the music overpowers the talking aspect of the film but it’s only a short while so it doesn’t take away too much from it. MY MONSTER would benefit being a longer film because the story is a little confusing but the action is silly and the concept even sillier.
CRYING BITCH was written and directed by Reiki Tsuno and touts itself on being based on a true story. It stars Hinako Saeki, Sho Mineo and Miko Terada and follows a dog of a man who just can’t stop cheating on his wife. When she starts acting strange, he may need to start rethinking his choices. This has such a classic supernatural J-horror feel that it was nostalgic for the days when Ju-on and Ringu were huge in the U.S in the early 2000’s. The special effects are in line with Asian horror-comedy styles and rests nicely right up my alley.
This short film hails from the UK and was written by Sam Steiner and directed by Ian Robertson. It stars Ross Armstrong, Olivia Sawbridge, Tom Cawte, Neil Stewart and Emma Beattie and is about a man’s unfortunate fate, infidelity and a teenage boy who is somehow in the middle of it all. This is the only film in the bunch that I didn’t find funny at all. Most of the time I sat watching the short feeling intensely uncomfortable and ended the film with no cathartic release that is usually given to the audience.
HELSINKI MANSPLAINING MASSACRE
I’d like to introduce you to my favorite film of the “Laugh Now Die Later” block of BHFF. It was written and directed by Ilja Rautsi and stars Anna Paavilainen, Kari Lietalahti, Leo Honkonen, Ella Lahdenmaki, Vesa-Matti Loiri, Iska Strang and Pekka Strang. A man and woman get into a car accident and she suddenly finds herself in a bizarre situation when she regains consciousness. She must try and survive a wild group of men with delicate egos who keep trying to explain things to her and it’s about to get bloody. This is quite the representation of what women deal with on a regular basis and a creative way to tell the story. The cinematography is GORGEOUS and I can’t get over just how pretty it looks. HELSINKI MANSPLAINING MASSACRE is hands down my favorite of the block and women especially won’t be disappointed.
I enjoyed the horror-comedy block of BHFF so much. There are so many entertaining and smart short films that it made the time fly by and left me wanting more. For those attending BHFF, be sure to check this block out and for those that aren’t, please find a way to watch them. You’ll thank me later.