Combustible Celluloid

Fangoria Blood Drive (2004)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Cut-Off Shorts

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Buy Fangoria Blood Drive on DVD.

Released by Koch Vision, this new DVD collects the seven best films from Fangoria Magazine's recent short horror film competition. The seven films total about 60 minutes. It seems that Lawrence, Kansas is now the most horrifying place on Earth, as the best two of the seven winners hail from there.

The Hitch
A killer is loose in Texas and a truck driver (Bryan Massey) picks up a stranded photographer (Luisa McDaniel). The ride is uncomfortable and neither one completely trusts the other -- with good reason. And isn't the trucker's wife sleeping a little too soundly? This okay, shot-on-video production has some nice visual touches. Created by Drew Rist. (12 minutes).

A Man and His Finger
My favorite. While chopping lettuce, a Lawrence, Kansas man (Cliff Starkey) accidentally hacks off his finger and finds that it has a mind of its own. It contains not a lick of dialogue and makes wonderful use of sound effects and music (by Pam and Ryan Jones). Obviously inspired by "Evil Dead II," this very funny film has its own gruesome magic. Created by Patrick Rea and Ryan Jones (8 minutes).

Shot in Northport, New York, this arty, experimental film packs a disturbing sound design and sudden, shocking images of maggots, blood, dead bodies, etc. It apparently has something to do with a mass suicide. Created by Christopher P. Garetano (8 minutes).

Shadows of the Dead
This well directed, but not terribly interesting or original, zombie story hails from Lakeland, Florida. It even has the usual radio report explaining the zombie rules that we all know so well (everyone who dies will come back to life; you can shoot them in the head, etc.) Created by Joel Robertson (9 minutes).

Mr. Eryams
Another well-directed film, this one comes from Los Angeles and is set in a haunted house. A sexy young woman (Laura Leigh Hofrichter) elicits help from a kind of supernatural advisor (Jesse King), but the tables are soon turned. It's a bit overwritten and/or overacted, and the punchline isn't exactly clear, but it has some good bits. Created by BC Furtney (12 minutes).

A young woman (Melanie Rashbaum) finds that her television doesn't behave. It keeps turning itself back on, turned to a bizarre news report. This is the collection's second-best work, also from our man in Lawrence, Kansas. Created by Patrick Rea (5 minutes).

Song of the Dead
Finally, a new take on a zombie flick. After a wordy opening crawl about mosquitoes and terrorists and government cover-ups, a couple of zombies deep in the woods break into song! Shot in Columbia, Missouri. Created by Chip Gubera (4 minutes).

This new DVD also comes with a couple of entirely unrelated extras: a 30-minute sit-down interview with creature maker Stan Winston (Aliens, Jurassic Park, etc.) and a 16-minute studio "tour" featuring Clive Barker. Rob Zombie appears and narrates the menu options. If you highlight Winston's glasses on the menu screen, you're treated to another 16 minutes with Winston, but this time you get a peek at his workshop and the various creatures he's created.

MPAA Rating: NR
Date: July 23, 2004

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