Sunday , May 19 2024

Anthem Film Review: Funny Vampyres, Aliens, and Dealers

Spooky, scary, and bad can also be funny as three short films demonstrated recently at the Anthem Film Festival. The Anthem Film Festival, part of FreedomFest, has become one of my favorite venues for finding challenging, fun, and important films. It ran this year from July 12-15 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The films which made me laugh most included The Vampyre, An Alien Proposal, and Baby Formula Drug Deal. They not only shared humor, but included thoughtful observations on political and personal freedom.

The Vampyre

The Vampyre won the Anthem Film Festival Best Comedy Award for screenwriter/filmmaker Paul Guay (The Little Rascals, Liar Liar).

Paul Guay accepting the Anthem Film Festival Best Comedy Award

In the film, we meet the classic character Van Helsing who, armed with hammer and stakes, hunts a very persistent bad guy. His efforts at putting down evil arouse a group of cult-like devotees of the bloodsucker, who seem to have a memory problem when it comes to the results of supporting their hero.

The conclusion delivers a sad but funny observation on the reaction of many people to collectivist political ideas. The Vampyre is not available for viewing yet, as it still is on its festival run.

An Alien Proposal

This film, directed by Patrick Reasonover, combines sci-fi and parents’ efforts to rein in a rebellious teen spirit. It’s vacation time for an alien family. Parents and their daughter Sass come across the planet called Earth. This blue spec in the universe has been declared a “doofus civilization” because an elite uses centralized government and force to control the inhabitants.

Sass’ father decides Earth should be “photon sealed” to prevent Earthlings and their bad ideas from spreading across the universe. Before he can act, Sass feels sympathy for the people of Earth and beams down to try and help them.

On Earth, Sass tries to offer Earthlings unlimited energy and a chance to join the Galactic Community of Free Individuals. Despite her happy-go-lucky, positive attitude, she ends up in a police interrogation room. Then the Department of Homeland Security gets brought in.

Will Earth enter a new age, or will the doofuses prevail? An Alien Proposal will be available for viewing in December.

Baby Formula Drug Deal

The baby formula shortage during COVID was a terrifying experience for many new parents. Although shelves now are mostly full, what did parents go through during the crisis?

Stand-up comedian and filmmaker Lou Perez, long known for We the Internet TV, explored the possibility that mothers had to make nefarious deals to get baby formula. In Baby Formula Drug Deal, Perez plays the role of a dealer, secretly selling formula out of a warehouse off an alley.

Scary (and funny) negotiations between the moms and Perez’ bad guy ensue. Find out what happens in the video at end of this article.

Let’s Talk About It

Guay, Reasonover, and Perez discussed their films at an Anthem Panel and answered questions from the audience.

Guay started off by telling Reasonover that he thought Sass was the best-looking Alien ever. Reasonover gave credit to his crew and explained that the alien’s head alone cost $150.

Questions from the audiences involved the difficulties of making films during the COVID lockdown.

Guay recalled that he did three audition calls during COVID and got 5000 submissions. “We had live auditions and people thanked us. But people don’t submit comedy stuff. There was very little comedy and very few leading men.”

Lou Perez answered with a smile, “For me it was really cheap because I didn’t have to pay myself. And I knew a guy with a garage, and I had our director directing me on zoom. You find ways to make this stuff happen”.

Another audience member asked about the balance between message and satire.

Guay said, “I think it’s important to take a metaphor and beat people over the head again and again.” He said he wasn’t into subtle, and his favorite movie line was from Dr Strangelove: “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room”.

Reasonover explained that in An Alien Proposal he wanted to show a successful, anarchist alien civilization. He shared about the main character, Sass, “We wanted to make her as cute and sweet an alien as there ever was.”

Perez, currently working on a new series called Comedy is Murder, said that it is all about taking a chance. “In our world we spend all this time complaining about Hollywood. Take a chance and put stuff out there. If you make people laugh, something is working.”

You can find out more about Anthem, including info on all their films, at their website and Facebook page.

About Leo Sopicki

Writer, photographer, graphic artist and technologist. I focus my creative efforts on celebrating the American virtues of self-reliance, individual initiative, volunteerism, tolerance and a healthy suspicion of power and authority.

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