Thursday, August 20, 2020

Short Film: The August Club

The August Club comes in at 42 minutes and I considered classing it as a short feature, rather than simply a short film. It is the opening of a series, directed by Daniel Richardson, concerning “the Crimson Man”, but this is designed also to be a standalone.

I read the August Club it refers to as the coming together of our primary characters in August – traditionally the school summer break month in England. The film opens with a narration (by Alexiel De Ravenswood) about the Crimson Man. Before the credits we see a corridor and a room (interesting lighting is used) and a chained coffin.

Noah and Jack
After the credits we meet Jack (Lucas Byrne) and Noah (James Grainger) who are in detention. The two lads studiously ignore each other. When the headmaster (Wayne Thompson) comes in, he wants the situation resolved as quickly as possible as the school has broken up for summer. He forces Jack and Noah to shake hands and sends them on their way. Outside Noah’s mum (Michelle Plews) is waiting for her son and asks where he’s been. His excuse draws Jack in and mum assumes they’re friends and insists jack comes to tea.

Jacob Anderton as Varias
Having been forced together they have no choice but to hang out until the meal is over and done with. They head to the park but run into local bully Kyle (Ben Roberts) who is there with sidekick Stoogey (Jack Johnston) as well as a girl, Sarah (Victoria Monaghan). After some back and forwards (with mention of Jack’s alcoholic dad) the bully dares the pair to go to a house and get a cross. They tell them the tale of vampire Count Varias (in black and white sequence played by Jacob Anderton, in colour sequences played by David Lavery). He was a vampire ages past (like, maybe 50 years, the young bully opines) and we get a sequence where he terrorises the village (now the city). He fed on children every full moon until stopped by a priest with a special cross and placed in a coffin, that was chained with the cross upon it.

the coffin
So, they do go and get the cross but that, of course, releases the vampire who chases Stoogey that night. The bullies assume Jack and Noah have set someone dressed up after them and the two lads – rapidly becoming friends – realise they have to go back and trap the vampire again. Of course, vampires are not so easily trapped. Other bits of lore we get is that the vampire can’t go out into the sun, garlic bread is not an apotropaic and holy water from a super-soaker doesn’t seem to work either.

the vampire
This was fun – reliant mostly on the young actors; Lucas Byrne especially stood up to the plate. The vampire, being monstrous in visage, looked a tad rubbery but that was forgivable. The power dynamic absolutely didn’t work (the lads should have been dead in seconds) but again this is forgivable. There was some exceptionally nice lighting in the house. Worth catching as, at 42 minutes, it doesn’t outstay its welcome. At the time of writing there was no IMDb page.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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