Bobi Morgan Wood
The bag of Halloween candy always gets divided out to who likes what, right? The best bag has got a little something for every taste. Some people like the chocolate-nut mini candies, but other people want the wax vampire lips you chew until you accidentally swallow some, the powdery stale confectioner’s sugar-flavored candy necklaces, or the plastic straws filled with sour-sweet sugar dust that you just know is going to rot your teeth, but you don’t care.
That’s what the international collection of shorts Laugh Now, Die Later reminds me of. If you don’t like one, you’re sure to find something else you like, and each short has a very particular flavor, likely playing off of familiar movie tropes to get you into the mood with very short to no time.
In “Crying Bitch”, made in Japan by director Reiki Tsuno, a philandering boyfriend gets his comeuppance. There are steak knives. There are women lying in wait. It’s got mystery characters with rubber necks. It’s got spurting geysers of blood. Two thumbs up for this film is like the heart-shaped red hots which you’ll find in your candy bag if you’re lucky.
“Helsinki Mansplaining Massacre”, made in Finland by Ilja Rautsi, is like the individually-wrapped chewing gum eyeballs you bite into, to release a gush of sweet fake blood into your mouth. Yum! This movie has got an uncompromising feminist bent /revenge flick groove which goes down well in these women-hating times, when real life is starting to seem a little bit too much like a horror flick IRL.
Pay careful attention when watching “Attack of the Potato Clock”—or you might end up like me, and not get how the potato even got turned into a clock. Although I didn’t catch the potato/clock meld, (a CGI potato with clockworks hanging off of him struggles to liberate his “people” from a cook who looks suspiciously familiar, almost a doppelganger for the evil Mrs. Tweedy in Chicken Run.
To draw out my candy bag metaphor further, this movie would be something crunchy. A Butterfingers! Or a Tootsie Roll pop. Why, you ask? You’re going to have to watch the movie—by USA directors Victoria Lopez, and Ji Young Na, to find out!
“Hair Wolf”, appearing early on in the line-up, is made by the Brooklyn-based Senegalese American writer and filmmaker Mariama Diallo. A rising star in the Indy film world, Diallo’s 2016 short film SKETCH premiered at the New York African Film Festival, and won the FOX Inclusion Emerging Voices Award at the BlackStar Film Festival.
Picture a late-night beauty parlor in the ‘hood’, one that specializes in Afrocentric styles and natural hair care. Where the staff believe in the juju thing about being able to work hoodoo with a piece of somebody else’s hair.
Now picture the salon breached by a culture-vulture white woman who comes asking for box braids in the middle of the night. Except she’s maybe a zombie? Or the walking dead or something?
This film short is the Almond Rocha in your Trick-or-Treat bag. It’s got the crackling bite of nuts on the outside, and a chocolaty-amaretto mouthfeel.
“The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds” opens around a campfire at night, where scary stories are being told. Featuring two girls kissing in the woods, and death by guitar strings to the face, this short horror film directed by Anthony Cousins is those wax bottles filled with sugary green, pink, or yellow sap. Once you bite the top off of the bottle you either spit it out, or chew it up, mashing the syrup into the wax with your tongue. Gross, but fun.
“Laugh Now, Die Later” shows at the IFP Made in NY Media Center on Sunday, October 14, at 12 P.M.
Learn more about the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival here.
Photo courtesy of Karen Zhao