Regular readers of our site (and I surely hope that’s most of you that are reading the site right now) may recall that I reviewed writer, director, & producer Blake Vaz’s “haunted house meets modern technology” short film L.U.N.A. back in January of this year. If not, now would be a perfect time for you to go back and read our positive review of that film, especially before it gets expanded into a (planned) feature-length at a later date. Don’t worry! We will wait for you to finish reading that piece before progressing any further with this one.

(Yeah, we aren’t actually waiting for those folks.)

Now, I’m thrilled to present you with another, albeit older, short film from this talented up-and-coming filmmaker. No, this is NOT a REVIEW for another of Vaz’s films. For this entry, we’re thrilled to present you with the actual film itself.

From 2018, the award-winning* Blood Stains tells the story of Laz (Hansel Ramirez, who appeared on “Penny Dreadful: City of Angels” and “Mayans M.C.“), a struggling Mexican musician desperate to get his big break and make it big. The monotony of continuously having to play at the shittiest of venues finally takes a toll on his bandmates, leading to their calling it quits and returning to normal lives and normal jobs. Laz’s determination to succeed also begins to impact his personal life, with his girlfriend (L.U.N.A. star Fernanda Romero) even conceding that it may just be time for him to let his life-long dream fade away.

Undeterred, Laz sets out on the road to take his final shot at finding fame in the entertainment mecca of Los Angeles, a city where dreams are made… and more than often, broken. While stopping at a small gas station, he meets a strange American man (Aaron Gaffey – The Jackhammer Massacre, Dust Up) attired in a business suit and sunglasses, who offers to pay for Laz’s gas and cigarettes in exchange for a ride to the City of Angels. Laz quickly agrees to the deal, but soon begins to question this decision once the stranger begins to reveal that he knows more about Laz than he rightfully should.

Blood Stains is a fun little ride with something of a modern-grindhouse vibe that builds its suspense slowly, but quickly escalates into a tense scenario for its protagonist. The film features solid camerawork and editing, as well as a soundtrack that feels very befitting of its plot and themes. As with L.U.N.A., acting is quite respectable across the board, but Gaffey undoubtedly steals the show. His turn as the nameless stranger manages to be both charismatic and somewhat off-putting at once, building into a subtly, but unquestionably menacing presence. His performance also frequently reminded me of a fairly unhinged Bill Hader, both comedic and somewhat intimidating.

But why should you sit here and read my opinion of the film when you can now watch it for yourself? Let us know what you thought of the film in the comments section below! (Also, you can learn more about Blake and his films at blakevaz.com)

Without further ado, Horror and Sons now presents Blake Vaz’s Blood Stains!

(*Blood Stains won awards at the Best Shorts Competition (2018), Independent Horror Movie Awards (2018), the Official Latino Arts and Film Festival (2018), Oklahoma Cine Latino Film Festival (2019), as well as a few other film fests.)