[Review] Half-Cocked (Twisted Dreams Film Festival): Two Doctors Bring a Reanimated Corpse into an Awkward Situation

Two mad doctors — well, they may not be totally made yet, but they are well on their way — reanimate a corpse in the fun horror-comedy short Half-Cocked. The problem is, they chose the wrong person to try and gift with eternal life.

Dr. Grant Kirby (Pat Healy) and Dr. Gabriella Flores (Vanessa Benavente) rob a grave to procure their experimental subject, one Rudy Collins (Lundon Boyd), five days dead and therefore fresh enough to reanimate, by their estimations. Their experiment is a success, of sorts — Rudy wanted to die, even proclaiming so on his Facebook page. 

The three actors make for a terrific comic team, with great timing and plenty of snappy patter courtesy of writer/director Aaron Barrocas. Healy underplays the often scenery-chewing mad scientist role, and Benavente makes a for a fine comic foil and partner in crime in her portrayal of the closest thing to the voice of reason in the mess. Boyd is a blast as the hapless Rudy.

Barrocas is as strong at crafting comical horror scenes as he is at coming up with humorous dialogue, and he gets huge assists from special effects artists Joe Castro and Steven J. Escobar and makeup artists Unique Chung and Tffy DeJesus. There’s no shortage of gore gags, with plenty of the red stuff on display, and the numerous makeup effects for Rudy are impressive.

Half-Cocked takes a classic horror/science fiction premise (with nods to some of the short’s predecessors in that department) and plays with it in entertaining ways. Currently on the film festival circuit, the short is a rollicking good time and comes highly recommended.

Half-Cocked screened as part of Twisted Dreams Film Festival, which runs from October 1–4.

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.