Blood is a very serious issue. Blood, or at least the image of it, has been used in cinema for years. The image of blood has been depicted in a myriad of horror movies where we see an aggressor in the film extract the blood (and a lot more) from his or her victim, thereby bringing about death. But what about life?
Patricia Chica wrote and directed the short Crimson Dance as a dedication to her mother, who needed blood in order to survive during her struggle with leukemia. So, how does one write and direct a horror short illustrating how blood can save lives?
The 4 minute short film opens in a burlesque theater, possibly set around the turn of the century. We are witness to a crowd that is starving for something. In fact, you could almost say they are “blood thirsty.” Enter the theater’s host, played by scream queen Tiffany Shepis who introduces to the crowd the theater’s own burlesque dancer, played by fellow scream queen Tonya Kay. It is here that the crowd’s thirst for blood is more or less quenched as Kay engages in a very “sensual” dance while showing off the diseases that cover her body.
The description of this short possibly sounds more graphic than it really is. That is what makes horror such a wonderful genre to work with as it can be used to deliver a very powerful story narrative within the film, or it can even be used to serve more as a metaphor to help drive home its subject. It is within the latter that Crimson Dance absolutely dazzles, and while having a film that is entirely metaphorical could end up burying itself from the weight of its own symbolism, Patricia Chica uses the medium of a short film to get her message across, and as soon as I understood the symbolism I then immediately became completely engrossed in the film. There is an erotic sensuality to Kay’s performance that could symbolize life itself. Once I understood the point it became more than just a burlesque dance. Even within the broad definition that horror is, what I saw was not just a dance. It was a celebration.
This is an enormously powerful short, in both its subject matter as well as its artistic merit. Patricia Chica has once again shown what an enormous talent she is by directing a film that differs greatly from her previous work, and while some people may find the imagery really unusual in regards to the message of the film, it is in that same imagery that will cause people to remember Crimson Dance.
Crimson Dance is represented by Patricia Chica’s own PR organization, ChicArts Public Relations, and will be having its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival on Friday, July 22nd at 9:00 PM, with an encore presentation the following Wednesday, July 27th at 3:00 PM.
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