For seven years now, Jen and Sylvia Soska have teamed up with the Women in Horror Month movement to support a great cause. They bring together a group female filmmakers and stars to create short horror films encouraging people to donate blood. Each year has a different theme and this one is the campiest yet.
The (x) filmmakers all created rejected public service announcements in honor of the Red Cross’ inability to publicly champion the “Massive Blood Drive” movement. It’s not that the Red Cross doesn’t appreciate the help. The problem is actually using gore-soaked films with nudity, violence, and generally shocking and offensive imagery for a very all-ages organization.
This year’s “Massive Blood Drive” has a framing device. The Soska Sisters and a string of familiar collaborators do a series of talking head PSAs about “Massive Blood Drive” and donating blood in general. A historical villain shows up to wreck the PSA again and again, leading to other directors’ shorts. It’s a very twisted joke that sets the NSFW tone perfectly.
The standout short is “,” right after the introduction. Director Gigi Saul Guerrero presents the most original concept in the whole rejected PSA concept. A woman sets herself up to commit suicide in a bathtub. As soon as she makes the cut, the cut comes to life and lectures her on her wasteful choice to commit suicide rather than donate that blood. It’s pitch black humor, executed flawlessly, with stunning makeup work from Carolyn Williams.
Jill Sixx Gervagizian’s “The Luhrmanns” is the most beautiful entry. A pair of vampires share an intimate feast in a romantic setting. The candlelit dinner table is littered with glasses of all shapes and sizes filled with blood. The vampires greedily fill themselves before embracing as the camera fades to a big rejected stamp, the end of each short. Gervagizian’s sense of timing and design makes this the most effective of the vampire-tinged rejected PSA’s.
The Soska Sisters warn, nay promise, gratuitous nudity, and it’s more than delivered by Particia Chica’s short “Bloody Burlesque”. An audience arrives for a blood cabaret, featuring a sexy strip tease from a burlesque performer. She is covered in words like “suffering” and “cancer,” offering the PSA element of a woefully inappropriate ad for the Red Cross. This short, more than any other, feels like a realistic attempt at creating a viral PSA. There have been many activist groups who have submitted similar commercials to major events like the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards, only to have them rejected for falling ill of the censors and gaining more attention for it. Chica’s short is the most likely to cause a similar outpouring of support for blood donations.
From sadistic doctors to sex-crazed vampires, the new “Massive Blood Drive” short anthology offers something unique for every fan of blood and gore. The specificity of the theme really pushed these directors to create some disturbing shorts. They’re all the more upsetting for being so similar to the kind of positive pablum PSA’s live on.
The best part is the availability of this fine collection. You can watch it right now on YouTube, along with all the other Massive Blood Drive campaigns of years past. It’s a great way to kick off your own Women in Horror Month celebration and help bring attention to a great cause.