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Soaked in 'The Blood of the Dinosaurs'

The Blood of the Dinosaurs is a surreal horror comedy short film from filmmaker, Joe Badon. Starting with a discussion about the film itself between the director and an actor, this unusual behind-the-scenes launchpad sets the scene for a self-aware, eclectic, provocative and sensational short film that pushes boundaries.

Centred primarily at a Mr Rogers-style children's show, where Uncle Bobbo leads a lesson on where oil comes from, the genre-bending horror comedy branches out to equally unsettling sequences as if moving by association. Opting to straddle genre, reality and twist perceived target audience, The Blood of the Dinosaurs has a pitch black sense of humour and a destabilising effect on its audience as the nightmare continues unabated.

The Blood of the Dinosaurs stars Vincent Stalba, Stella Creel and Kali Russell whose unflinching performances contribute to Badon's off-kilter and warped vision. Stalba recalls Matthew Goode, delivering a bold yet controlled performance that channels the insanity of everything around him. Creel makes this her third short film with Badon, adding some much-needed innocence to counterbalance and inform while Russel's take as an older Purity finds her thrust into sixth gear.

Moving at a frenetic pace in its cutaways, it returns to the creepy Uncle Bobbo who seems to control proceedings, generating an extra layer of slime by slowing things down as if you were trying to get the hidden message from a pop tune. Immersing viewers in a kiddies show environment that leans into its adult themes, the stark contrast between naive and world-weary creates a rich tension from the inbetweens.

The Blood of the Dinosaurs Review

This mix of horror and comedy is reminiscent of Monty Python's playful yet barbed sketch shows. Keeping a straight face and pushing through the dark comedy craziness, their campy undertones keep us distant enough to know it's for our amusement yet disturbed by the psychotic implications of the illusion. This is also the case for The Blood of the Dinosaurs, which uses montage and a tonally obscure treatment to toy with its audience using its apparent frivolity to underscore its much darker residue.

While the nightmarish quality, use of slowed down language, artful appeal and warped TV show formula may draw some comparisons with David Lynch, the madcap bizarro comedy is much more forceful here and more play when it comes to channel-flipping, mixed media and the precarious balance between reality and unreality.

This mind-bending short is not for the faint-hearted and is designed to leave you guessing. Possibly tapping into some There Will Be Blood allegorical world-building, the story has flow even if the overall feeling is more poetic. Switching between strict form and primal instinct, the appearance of things is bent to infer a much more sinister undercurrent.

This modest production is densely packed with the stuff of nightmares, outperforming itself in reaching its interdimensional currency. While there are some incongruencies and bits that seem more polished than others, the sketch show spectrum and campy undertones excuse these fluctuations, which however intentional work for and against.

Based on its corrupted children's show and reference to oil as it relates to the dinosaur apocalypse, The Blood of the Dinosaurs seems to be grappling with issues relating to pedophilia and environment. While these inferences could serve as straightforward metaphors with a direct reference to Psycho, the short film could also be a moral representation of our lackadaisical and unconscionable treatment of the earth's resources.

A thought-provoking and surreal thrill ride that ventures boldly from one maddening moment to the next, The Blood of the Dinosaurs somehow manages to keep a lid on things. As diverse, divergent and disturbing as it becomes, Badon gives himself permission to play and tease out story concepts with flair.