One Family's Monster Legend Digs Up a Halloween Prank with Bite
Adding another title to our Halloween Film Fest 2010 viewing list, FilmEdge recommends Sky Soleil's entertaining and family-friendly short film HOW MY DAD KILLED DRACULA. This simple but skillfully crafted short embodies the spirit of a good, spooky ghost story told on a moonlit Halloween night but with a modern sensibility which adds realism and fun to the tale.
A quartet of boys returns home from trick or treating with pillow cases stuffed with candy, ready to share their swag in sweet victory when Mark lets it slip that his father killed Dracula. Mark's cousins don't believe this absurd claim even though their Uncle Ronny insists he did slay the blood-sucking count many years ago. The boys' taunting continues until Ronny relents and offers to let them dig up the corpse of Dracula himself . . . buried right in the back yard.
Naturally Jason and Steven's doubts grow stronger as they happily grab shovels to dig into the yard to prove their Uncle is lying. Yet after a short span of shoveling under the moonlight, they hit a wooden box at the bottom of a shallow grave — it's a coffin! Jason and Steven believe their Uncle's story and beg him not to open the box, but Ronny says showing them the body inside is the only way to prove he actually did kill Dracula. A crow bar pries open the coffin lead, nails squeaking out of the wood as all four boys lean in for a closer look, their fear rising but unable to resist. Ronny flips open the lid and inside the coffin is a rotted corpse, deformed and shriveled by now, but its bulging eyes and fangs still visible amid the gooey decay.
This Halloween tale of trickery only begins there, but I dare not tell you more lest I spoil this film's surprises. Suffice it to say that what follows in this suburban backyard cemetery celebrates the comedic and spooky potential of a solid, enjoyable Halloween story. Writer/director Soleil invests the short with high production values, great ambience in the moody lighting and shot selection which build up believable if harmless suspense and dramatic tension as the trick unfolds. A solid cast across the board adds reality and humor to the tale, led by actor Daniel Roebuck (LOST, HALLOWEEN) as Uncle Ronny and the mastermind of the night's frightful festivities. Cameron Palatas and Maxim Knight are winning as his sons, as are Victor Bonavida and Cooper Green as Ronny's doubting nephews — all four young men doing fine jobs of not acting like child actors, which adds to the inviting reality of this family legend unspooled before our eyes. Nathan Lanier's original music hits all the right notes of humor, suspense and chilling frights as Dracula's (Neil Hopkins) moment of revenge arrives.
Whether young or not so young, if you grew up loving spooky Halloween stories of creatures in the night and remember awaiting the annual broadcasting of seasonal short films like IT'S THE GREAT PUMPKIN, CHARLIE BROWN, then you'll definitely enjoy HOW MY DAD KILLED DRACULA. With a bit more length added to its 14-minute running time, this film could easily fit right in with such seasonal TV fare as a perennial favorite for viewing. Soleil's delightful film enjoyably evokes that same mix of fun and fright unique to the Halloween season, yet its solid story and acting would make it enjoyable family viewing any time of the year. Now available for downloading at a very modest price from the film's official website, FilmEdge recommends you find out exactly what family secrets should stay buried in the backyard and treat yourself to this tasty morsel of good old fashioned Halloween mischief spiced up to appeal to today's audiences. Sample the trailer below for a preview.
How My Dad Killed Dracula (Trailer) from Sky Soleil on Vimeo.