Thursday, February 02, 2017

Short Films: Phobia (web series)

Phobia was a web series created by J.R.S. Storch and made up of (sometimes interconnected) short films that ran for three seasons – though Amazon Prime only carry two episodes for the third season. The YouTube channel has episodes that are not in the Prime listings.

There were two definitively interrelated vampire shorts (and I did like what was done with them) plus another episode that falls within energy vampirism and I decided I’d look at them all in one article.

Shadow Puppets

the man
In the Season 1, Michael Storch directed, Shadow Puppets we see a man (Nathaniel E. Barr) who is walking around what appears to be a building based on a ghost house type attraction, or perhaps it is the real thing… Actually, the photography is nicely done offering a great atmosphere and it should be noted that on the whole the entire series did a really good job when it comes to atmosphere.

the vampire
The man seems physically sick and we see a conveyor of hooks with torsos hanging from it. Looking at that he doesn’t see the figure rising up behind him. The vampire (James Mount) has awoken. He chases the man; the prey running, the predator walking, until the man reaches an emergency exit. He struggles with the bolt and, just before the vampire reaches him, opens the door…

toy vampire
And here I spoil, as this was genius. The other side of the doorway is a bedroom and the man is now a little boy (Richard Storch) and the vampire is a toy upon the floor. His mom (Jessica Cortesi) comes in and asks if he has been playing in the closet, reminding him that he always gets scared when he plays in there. I think this was one of the neatest turnarounds I’ve seen in a vampire short all packed into about 4 minutes.

Don’t Look in the Closet

the boy
Don’t Look in the Closet is the 2 and a half minute sequel to Shadow Puppets, from Season 2 and directed again by Michael Storch, and starts with the boy being put to bed by mom (the only casting change and this time played by Elizabeth Williamson) but, as she leaves the room the toy vampire is still on the floor and becomes the vampire who enters our reality.

Come out fighting
However the boy will not be beaten by a mere vampire, as it approaches the bed the boy becomes the man and pulls away the covers revealing a cross with which to ward and a stake… All well and good but perhaps the closet is not the only place the boy shouldn’t go…

To Die For

Chloe and Charlie
This was a non-standard vampiric tale directed by Ryan Woebbeking but, unfortunately, I do have to spoil this to explain the vampiric aspect. It concerns Charlie who, at the head of the film, is in a bar with a friend. Girls are giving them the eye but Charlie isn’t interested – not after the last relationship. His friend approaches them and Charlie goes out of the bar for a cigarette. In the alley he sees a woman, Chloe, who has been mugged. He helps her and they go back to the bar together.

eating his soul
They hit it off and the only negative seems to be when the barmaid thinks she recognises her. Chloe reacts quite aggressively and suffers a nosebleed. However it is soon glossed over and the two go back to Charlie’s place and sex ensues – during which she becomes a blooded, corpse like creature and seems to suck the soul out of Charlie. This is confirmed through a radio show talking about the legend of the Ghost of Chloe White who is said to seek men who are looking for love, gets them to fall for her and “feasts upon their souls”. This soul eating makes her a type of energy vampire and the fact that she is referred to as a spirit makes her a vampiric ghost.

The short is embedded below but is not safe for work and contains scenes of a sexual and gory nature:

The series imdb page is here.

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