TASHA AND FRIENDS (2013)
Written and directed by Greg Kovacs
Screened at Grimmfest 2014 Preview Night
After filming an episode of Tasha and Friends, a children’s TV show that features Tasha and a group of puppets, a disgruntled Tasha threatens to quit the production unless one of the puppeteers is sacked. Annoyed that her threats have fallen on deaf ears, Tasha steals the puppet stars and takes them home with her. Putting up her feet for the night, she forgets about the day’s drama, but not everyone has as the puppets come alive to stop her from cancelling the show.
If you mix The Muppets with bloody horror, you’ll get Tasha and Friends. This 15 minute short film is packed full of laughs, gore and bundles of fun with the cute but deadly puppet characters of Boppy, Spew, Jingles and Groopa. When diva human host Tasha throws a tantrum at work and threatens their very existence, the puppets know this must fight back and stop her from getting rid of them, by getting rid of her instead!
Much hilarity ensues as each of the puppets take it in turns to dispose of Tasha, with each puppet’s trait being used as a weapon or turned against them. It may start off as a kids show but with the swearing and splatter of blood, it turns into a more adult affair which the kid in you will more than enjoy.
Stephanie Christiaens stars as the self-centred host of the TV show, whilst Raven Cousens, John Cross, D. Campbell MacKinlay and writer/director Greg Kovacs voice the puppets. Jingles (Raven Cousens) is the pink female puppet who’s covered in bells, Greg Kovacs voices the bumbling puppet Spew who likes to shoot stuff out of his head and John Cross stars as giant puppet Groopa who’s mouth is as huge as his thunderous voice. Leading the entire puppet gang is the cunning Boppy (D. Campbell MacKinlay), the brains behind the assault on Tasha and the victim of Tasha’s hatred.
There’s some great sequences in the short film, from the type of assaults between Tasha and the puppets and, of course, the death scenes. Like we’re used to seeing in cartoons, Kovacs uses crosses on the eyes to signify the death of a puppet and even though you’d think that the puppets would be full of stuffing, this short shows that these animated puppets can bleed just like you or I. One of my favourite scenes involves Jingles as she’s trapped outside a bathroom door, trying her best to get to Tasha who’s inside. Another scene, involving Groopa (who reminds me of McDonalds’ character Grimace), mimics one I’ve seen recently on the internet that involves a hungry mascot at a NFL match and provides much amusement.
With terrific character design and puppetry, coupled with bloody entertaining deaths and humorous fight scenes, TASHA AND FRIENDS will appeal to the big kid inside of you, with just enough of the red stuff to appeal to the adult horror fiend.