[Review] Mashed Potato Face (Mr. HoleHead’s Warped Dimension): Tater-Loving Terror Strikes a Hapless Family

Eating just before watching the mind-blowing horror short Mashed Potato Face is not recommended. Many readers can probably relate to the feeling of taking another bite of mashed potatoes when you’re already stuffed, and the queasy feeling that can accompany that decision. Well, that’s nothing compared to how viewers will feel while watching this short, and I mean that in the best possible way.

Daddy (Holiday Mahlow), his wife Alice (Jennifer Rogers), and their daughter (Jacqueline Cepeda) are having a normal, everyday, pre-dinner family argument about what’s about to be served as Alice lovingly peels some nice-looking spuds. Suddenly, their home is invaded by the titular villain (Lynn Miller Jr.) and the family is forced to sit down and consume mashed potatoes. The daughter has an aversion to them, though, and a defensive attempt on Daddy’s part leads to a sequence that will set jaws dropping and stomachs churning. 

Writer/director/editor Joseph Graham — who also composed and performed the perfectly fitting synth score — has concocted a wickedly weird horror short with some decidedly dark humor. There’s a retro Eurohorror vibe — with an emphasis on Italian fright fare and lighting to match — and an aesthetic reminiscent of 1970s and 1980s horror cinema. The cast is great, with Rogers as the mother trying to hold it together and Cepeda as the terrified daughter giving standout performances.

The practical effects and gore gags from Special Effects Makeup Artist Rob Zambrano and Special Effects Designer Michael Comeaux are terrific. No spoilers here, but suffice it to say that potatoes aren’t the only thing on the menu in this outré outing.

Mashed Potato Face screens in the September 26th “Rude, Crude, and Occasionally nude” shorts block of Mr. HoleHead’s Warped Dimension, an online only film festival that runs September 24th–29th. For more information, visit https://www.ahith.com/.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5.

He is a contributing writer for the "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" and “Drive-In Asylum” print magazines and the websites Horror Fuel, Diabolique Magazine, The Scariest Things, B&S About Movies, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Uphill Both Ways" pop culture nostalgia podcast and also writes for its website. Joseph occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right.

A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.