Prom Car ‘91
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Brian F. Otting
What an absolute blast the short film Prom Car ‘91 is! This horror comedy follows high schooler Carrie (McKenna Marmolejo) and her fellow-nerd boyfriend Donovan (Max Jablow) as they plan to lose their virginity together on prom night in his dad’s van, but when they find themselves hiding in the back seat from a pair of ruthless murderers, their plans change. This fast-paced, high-spirited ride is wonderfully fun, helmed with verve and aplomb by Brian F. Otting. The cast members all give spirited performances, with Marmolejo absolutely shining and bringing exuberance to her role. Prom Car ‘91 combines smile-inducing nostalgia, a sweet approach to its protagonists, and sudden, gory set pieces to make for a fun-tastic viewing experience. I would love to see this group work together on a feature film.
Warning: The trailer contains spoilers and gives a lot of the plot and fun away.
★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Directed by Ruwan Suresh Heggelman
Joggers in a wooded area are attracted by glowing mushrooms, only to be attacked by vicious gnomes who use elaborate, Rube Goldberg-like machinery to turn people into sausages: Is Dutch horror short Gnomes (2022) about nature taking revenge — albeit in an otherworldly way — or simply a horror story riffing on traditional folklore? Either way you wish to look at it, it is a jaw-dropping, creative display of gore courtesy of the twisted mind and outstanding skills of Richard Raaphorst, who handled art direction and animatronics duties here, and delivered loads of shocks and weirdness when he directed Frankenstein’s Army (2013). Seasoned short-film director Ruwan Suresh Heggelman is also highly adept at blowing minds and concocting gruesome visuals, as he not only helmed the short but also cowrote it with Jasper ten Hoor and Raaphorst. I’m not sure whether this trio could keep up the insanity for the length of a feature-film, but I would sure like to see them try.
Reviews by Joseph Perry
Prom Car ‘91 and Gnomes screened as part of Nightmares Film Festival, which took place in Columbus, Ohio from October 20th–23rd, 2022. For more information, visit https://nightmaresfest.com/.