Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Short Film: Dracula’s Coffin

This is a 26-minute short from 2018, directed by Stephen Wolfe and – at the time of writing – is doing the festival circuits and it is a comedy… and (bearing in mind the subjectivity of comedy) I’m happy to report it is one the genuinely amuses.

What is nice about this – as well as cramming the entire thing in a limited set, mostly a living room and basement with some limited external street shots – is the fact that it wears its 80s homage on its sleeve but also channels an inner “Carry On” – yes the smut and innuendo abounds, but avoids falling into it too deep.

Josie and Abe
So, Josie (Sarah Pohl) pitches up at an abode, tells a caller (boyfriend Freddy (Tim Robinson)) that she’ll text the address and rings the bell. The owner, Abe (Matt Baca), enquires as to who is there and she says she is the house sitter (he double checks she isn’t the escort he ordered). Letting her in (and with plenty of unchallenged and even rejoined smutty comments) she sees the place has plenty of antiques (and garlic by the door). He is going hunting in Transylvania and she must not, under any circumstance, go into the basement.

coffin contents
Left to her own devices she starts hearing a ghostly whisper calling her name from said basement but then there is a knock at the door. She opens it, no-one is there but then Freddy jumps out and scares her. After a full on 80s music moment, with dance, they are soon exploring one another but more voices from the basement leads Freddy to explore and he finds a coffin and a compulsion to reference a master and open it! More than that he has a compulsion to remove the stake wedged in the ribs of the skeleton within…

Drac and hiss brides
It isn’t a spoiler to say that a couple of female neighbours come around to complain about the noise and, with Josie, that would be three vampire brides for Dracula ( Justin Herman). As a round trip LA to Transylvania seems to only take a few hours Abe will be back in the fray but will he succeed in closing the coffin lid on his ancestral foe? And what will the brides make of it all? The short amuses greatly as we move towards those answers.

Justin Herman as Dracula
The actors all seem to be having great fun, Sarah Pohl chews the scenery with aplomb and Matt Baca somehow channels an inner Johnny Depp whilst throwing out lines Sid James would have been proud of. The sfx are the right side of cheesy (when it comes to skeletons with glowing eyes) but are effective when necessary. This is worth tracking down if you can and, hopefully, it’ll get a wider release when its festival circuit is completed (The short does seem to have been in an anthology called Evil Deeds: Full Circle from 2016 before being released in its own right, so you might track it to that too).

The imdb page is here.

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