THE FAMILIAR is a 22-minute short from Canadian filmmaker Kody Zimmermann, and Buffalo Screams honored it with Best Horror Short and Best Screenplay (competing against shorts and features). It is the hilarious and somewhat heartbreaking story of the relationship between a vampire’s assistant (played by the remarkable Torrance Coombs) and his tyrannical, undead master (the highly charismatic and entertaining Paul Hubbard). THE FAMILIAR is the best vampire film I’ve seen in years, and was made with all the polish of a slick Hollywood movie. It has more than enough material for an entire feature, and I hope Zimmermann and his cast and crew manage to go that route. Regardless, this is a not-to-be-missed film.

I couldn’t help but notice, to my utter amazement, that the film currently has a very low user rating on IMDB. I think most of us are sharp enough to realize that these ratings are largely meaningless, but the rating nevertheless raised my eyebrows. THE FAMILIAR should appeal to horror and mainstream audiences alike, and the audience at Buffalo Screams – maybe 100 people – LOVED it. I can’t help but suspect that Zimmermann or someone else involved with this film pissed off some petty individual who then made a point of sabotaging the film’s ranking. The fact is, anyone who pours their blood, sweat, tears, and financing into a labor of love like this is completely at the mercy of such a loser.