Here at LeglessCorpse, we’re always on the lookout for independent horror filmmakers who are working to get some recognition, pulling out all the stops to get their visions of terror and the macabre out to Fellow Fans all over — after all, these folks are typically fans themselves, and who among us wouldn’t want to share our own fearful fables with the rest of the horror crowd?
Gene Aversa recently hit me up to check out a couple of his short films (under the banner of his and his partner Andrew Santacruz’s production company, We Own Nothing Films), and I was happy to oblige — I was even happier when I found that his work brought some originality and cleverness to the table!
The first of his films that I watched is a little vignette called Dead Memories. It’s a zombie flick, but despite my original trepidation (another zombie movie??), I have to say it’s a tale with a nice little spin.
We open to a man in the throes of agony, his wife rushing to his side, only to find that not only has her husband expired, but he’s reanimated as one of the living dead. Shocked, the wife quickly falls victim to the unholy hunger of her undead spouse. However, as he wanders in a mindless stupor about his former home, memories flood through the flickering synapses as they fade, putting together a picture of life, love…and regrets.
This little film is well-shot, using black and white imagery to show the stark reality of the apocalyptic scenario, with full color coming in to highlight the living memories of the zombie. The script provides a very poignant and relatable reminder of how easily we sometimes take our families for granted — it’s almost a relief to we the audience when the husband’s memories finally give way to the single-minded pursuit of living flesh — the pain of his final thoughts is tough to bear. Rollin Blanton, as the husband, gives us a very good performance, both as the loving but all-too-career-minded husband in the flashbacks, and with the blank yet somehow regretful performance as the zombie. FX are minimal but visceral, wisely kept in the black and white portions to mask any budgetary shortcomings.
With thanks to Aversa, you can check out Dead Memories right here!
The next film I checked out is Aversa’s most recent short, a darkly comic look at the horror of bad dates, Valentine’s Prey.
Danielle heads up to her new boyfriend Thomas’ apartment; apparently, they’ve been out a few times, and have moved to a higher level of “getting to know each other”. Thomas pours them a couple of drinks, and the small talk turns to “what’s the worst date you’ve ever had?” Each of them recount some really bad experiences on the dating scene…but tonight will hold a far worse experience for one of the two than they could have imagined…
Again, Aversa shows some talent in his setups and movement through the narrative, using some nice editing and multiple locations to show some real production value for such a low-budget film. The performances of the two leads, Zan Poka as Danielle and Cruz Castillo as Thomas, give us some performances that, despite a few stilted moments, are overall pretty darned good. The overall vibe of the film is a good one, and although the twist at the end wasn’t as much of a slap as I had wished (in Aversa’s defense, with the number of horror flicks I’ve seen, I’m pretty tough to surprise), it was still handled well contextually.
Again, by the director’s good graces, we present Valentine’s Prey to you for your viewing pleasure!
Overall, I think Aversa does very well with his short films — although Dead Memories is my favorite of the pair. We’ll be watching for his name and We Own Nothing Films in the future!
My two cents.
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