From the zany and irreverent minds of writer-director James Ristas and his fellow filmmakers at Metro Film Produktion come two low-budget, artistically tongue-in-cheek short films: JEHOVAH’S COBRAS and SOME LOVE FROM ABOVE (both from 2014). These indie shorts combine irony, religious satire, and sci-fi/fantasy tropes with a lo-fi vibe that belies carefully-done production and post-production (especially editing, music, and visual and sound effects). Both showcase the same ensemble cast. Both will leave viewers laughing and scratching their heads at the same time.

JEHOVAH’S COBRAS: Snakes and Lions and Legbreakers – Oh My!

The only thing standing between a down-on-his-luck gambler and the loan shark coming to break his bones…Jehovah’s Cobras!

James Ristas directs Stacie Seidl in JEHOVAH'S COBRAS (2014)

James Ristas directs Stacie Seidl in JEHOVAH’S COBRAS (2014) – image source: Metro Film Produktion

The satire in this short takes dead aim at snake handling, a religious ritual at a small number of mostly rural Pentecostal churches. A Holy Sister (Stacie Seidl) doing door-to-door evangelism uses her charismatic gifts to help Levi (Kevin Geezil, who also composed original music for the score). He’s a baseball-loving gambler with a childhood neurosis symbolized by an Evil Umpire (Matthew Bendis). Levi’s on the run from a leg-breaking bookie (Scott Nadeau) after his wacky father (Dan Greenleaf) and mother (Mary Fleming) refuse to help him pay off his gambling debts. The resulting comedy (replete with a cinematic story-within-the-story) has a bit of a dramatic edge.

Jehovah’s Cobras from James Ristas on Vimeo.


SOME LOVE FROM ABOVE – Not A Heavenly Intervention

Angela is a sheltered young woman who pines for a life beyond the clutches of her psychotic uncle. Little does she know that her wish is about to be granted by a visitor from beyond the stars. But is this creature here to set Angela free? Or will she just wind up another jealously guarded possession?

Stacie Seidl as Angela in SOME LOVE FROM ABOVE (2014)

Stacie Seidl as Angela in SOME LOVE FROM ABOVE (2014) – image source: Metro Film Produktion

Seidl again takes the female lead (this time with a moustache) as Angela, who is tired of serving her uncle (Greenleaf), a crazy astronomer. She latches onto the lawnmowing man, Clint (Nadeau), whom she convinces to marry her. Little does she know that both her uncle and a visitor from outer space — the Spacebeast (Geezil) — are about to intrude on her plans for a quick wedding. Just in case that you think there’s no religious satire here: a TV Preacher (Bendis) makes an important contribution to the story.

Some Love From Above from James Ristas on Vimeo.

Disclosure: Loud Green Bird provided this review at the request of James Ristas, who provided links to his films on Vimeo. No financial considerations were involved.