A Vampire Mockumentary: “What We Do in the Shadows” (2014)


What We Do in the Shadows” is a mockumentary film that takes the classic vampire tropes in horror and sheds a little bit of humorous light on them.

I recently watched this film for the first time (can’t believe that I haven’t seen it earlier considering my taste in movies) and I thought this film was amazing.

I am a big fan of the classic horror monsters such as Dracula, Nosferatu, Wolfman, Frankenstein, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon…just to name a few. And I loved that this film really pulled from the different classics.

There is a Dracula-esque character, Nosferatu, and the Victorian vampire (I am thinking like Louis from “Interview with the Vampire“). Not only did the creators pull from classic vampire tropes but new popular ones as well such as the young vampire bad boy and the pitting of vampires vs. werewolves which have become more prevalent in the last ten years.

Image result for nosferatu

Nosferatu” (1922)  source: Flickr

A few key aspects that stood out to me while I was watching the film includes the use of the documentary style (acting as if vampires are real and giving them cultural credit), the relevance of the ending and how it critiques the “usual” endings in horror films and lastly the popular pairing of werewolves and vampires in a single story that has taken off since the infamous “Twilight” phenomena.

Talking about the cultural phenomena of vampires in the form of a documentary fits the trend in horror and suspense films of “found footage”. A popular style that really began to pick up with the “Blair Witch Project” (1999). It is refreshing and at the same time provides the audience with the “behind the scenes” look at vampires, making them more silly and relatable than I think audiences would care to admit.

It was great to watch vampires have to fight about chores and see them deal with the mess of murder. I appreciated the Master/Slave dynamic that was used in this film as well (the old concept of vampires having human slaves that take care of them in the daylight). I get the impression this little detail among others when it comes to the vampire tropes have been neglected in recent years.

Although this mockumentary provides a lot of laughs it doesn’t actively seek to paint vampires in the popular morally-conflicted-“good”-guy-who-kills-people light. There are no blurring of lines, the vampires in this film talk about killing and we see them kill brutally. We get glimpses of their terror (and love for torture) and can imagine just how horrible it would be to come across a vampire. Overall, great movie and I would highly recommend it to anyone that wants a laugh and isn’t repelled by vampires.

Side Notes: The special effects for transforming, flying, and werewolf stuff was not that bad. I was impressed by the quality and effort that was given in making these little details “good”.

Alina’s Rating: 5 out of 5 Bats

“What We Do in the Shadows” is available for free with AMAZON PRIME


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Announcement: What to expect this month and next…

Here’s what I’ve been thinking about doing during September,

  • One to three short stories (expect Horror and Mystery, Halloween is upon us!).
  • Short reviews/reflections of a handful of newly released movies (right now I am thinking, Ingrid Goes West)
  • A compilation list of my favorite Halloween movies!
  • A review/reflection of a select Musician.

Basically through September and all of October Halloween and related themes (Horror, Mystery, Thrillers, select Sci-Fi) will be the main subject of my posts. Halloween is my favorite holiday out of the entire year and I would love to take this opportunity as the first Halloween with my blog to show my love for it.

Any suggestions, and/or comments are welcome!



Featured Image is Original Artwork by Drazen Kozjan

iZombie: Why the Living Dead matter

iZombie Poster

(photo source: imdb.com)

iZombie is a series based on the DC comic of the same name originally released in 2010. The TV show began in 2015 and is still running. There are currently four seasons out but I will be covering just the first three. The main premise of the show is about an underground existence of zombies in Seattle, Washington. Their existence was the result of a energy drink (similar to toxic sludge) at a 4th of July boat party turned massacre.

The main character is Olivia, a med student who is newly engaged to Major (Major what? No, his name is Major) after being scratched by a zombie on the boat. Olivia’s (also called ‘Liv’, lol pun on Live) life dramatically changes as her skin and hair loses color and her craving for brains (dowsed in hot sauce) becomes more voracious. Liv becomes a medical examiner, coroner, for the police department allowing her access to fresh brains which she consumes in secret. Her partner, Ravi, also works as a coroner and quickly discovers her eating brains. Ravi’s reaction is the first of many markers in the show that makes it unique for the zombie genre. Ravi is intrigued by Liv’s condition and begins researching the cause for her zombification as well as a cure which is the overall goal for the entire series.

The next character that plays a major role in the series is Clive Babineaux, a detective at the police department. This is where it gets interesting. In this story, after a zombie eats a humans brains they have spontaneous visions belonging to that person. So, after Liv eats the fresh brains she finds in the morgue, suddenly she begins to have visions that relate to the victims death. She is compelled to help solve mysteries relating to homicides and soon teams up with Babineaux who is led to believe she is a psychic with incredible accuracy. The duo begins to solve mysteries, some of which are related to the mysterious energy drink that caused this secret zombie outbreak. Along with Ravi’s help, these three find themselves getting closer to the truth.

Other Key Characters:

Peyton, Liv’s best friend who works for the legal system, learns that Liv is a Zombie.

Major, Liv’s ex-fiance that struggles with a changed Liv and later learning of her Zombification.

Blaine, a ‘Spike-like’ character reminiscent of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show, who is refreshing, evil (at times), and highly manipulative. An admirable adversary for Liv.

These characters are interwoven throughout the story and play out their own particular story lines that contribute to the overall story as a whole.

Key aspects that bring something new to the Zombie genre:

Eating brains gives you visions.

There are zombies already among us, living in secret.

There are zombie-led organizations that influence the lives of humans and zombies.

Zombies are presented as individuals, or together as a minority group under attack by humans. For the most part the zombies try to blend into society in fear that their discovery will lead to their death (‘death-death’ for the living dead: beheading etc).

Although some of these aspects may already be in other comics/movies/tv shows, I believe it is the approach that gives iZombie its uniqueness.

Key aspects about the show that stand out:

There are comic-book qualities to the show, for instance, the memorable intro that is presented as comic book panels, chapter breaks that are marked by a still of the last shot which morphs into comic-like art, and the precise structure of each episode that is form fitting to a comic in a series.

iZombie possesses qualities that can mark it as a meta-show, the show’s ability to be self-reflexive. For example when characters discuss zombie movies/shows within itself while hinting at a critique of iZombie (I noticed this more often in Season 3).

A killer soundtrack, often songs are sung and performed by the character Blaine throughout the series. They are mostly classic rock hits among others but the songs add a little more ‘art’ to the show. Often the songs are sung/played at the end of each episode to gain an emotional effect from the audience while also reflecting what just happened.


iZombie ranks #3 on imdb’s list of “Most Popular ‘Based on Graphic Novel’ Titles”.

This show has high ratings and a lot of admirers for its style and subject matter. I among them find this show to be very well put together and genuinely intriguing to watch. I look forward to watching Season 4, especially after the the end of Season 3 which left me aghast.

(Note: Contrary to professional movie/tv show reviews, I did not include the actors/actresses names after introducing the main characters. I have included the link to imdb.com that possesses all this information. This is just me writing informally.)


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Flash Fiction #7 (Hospital Stay)

Hospital Stay


Alina Happy Hansen

He sits propped up on some pillows. The sick smell of bleach and antiseptic is inescapable. His neighbor groans in pain behind the curtain partition. The TV flickers every other minute, the signal weak. A voice calls to him from outside the opened window. His heart beats furiously. The voice of his dead mother reaches him, getting louder as he reaches for the call button. “Why did you say you wanted me to burn in hell?”


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Free Hand #37 (Hitchcock’s Frenzy)

Frenzy Poster

photo source: imdb.com


Last night I watched Alfred Hitchcock’s FRENZY with my boyfriend Dallas. Really good movie but it’s about a rapist/murderer that kills a bunch of women…had some pretty graphic scenes and social commentary on/about women hmmmmmmm. Here’s a small poem I did today in reflection of it.


Hitchcock’s Frenzy


The empty body floats

across the water. Devoid of soul

just decaying matter. What space

does the eye occupy? As it fixes

on the body, the bystander helpless

and in shock. The magnetism of

the loss and the pain. The image

seared within the brain.


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Short Story Sample: The Bump

This is a rough draft of a short story I’ve been working on for a while.

WARNING: Graphic details and gore elements.


The Bump

by Alina Happy Hansen


Alison touched the back of her head. There was a tiny bump at the base of her skull. She pretended to scratch her head just so she could feel it. Yes, it was still there. Was it a bug bite? An ingrown hair? A pimple? A cyst? Alison wore her hair down; worried that someone would notice the bump. She tried multiple times to see it by positioning herself in front of her bathroom mirror with her compact angled behind her head but there was nothing visible that she could see just golden brown hair and the delicate curve of her pale neck disappearing into the collar of her blouse. Absentmindedly she found herself throughout the day touching the bump, trying to pick at it with her perfectly manicured nails which only ended in scratches and a red patch were the skin had been agitated.

The first night after noticing the bump she laid on her back in bed as usual but quickly felt an irritating itch where the bump was. After adjusting her pillow and realizing she was only comfortable sleeping on her side, she finally dozed off and proceeded to sleep like this the nights after. In the mornings she would get up, jog about three and a half miles then come home and take a shower. She lathered new shampoos into her hair till it was thick and foamy and then rinsed it out for a few minutes careful to make sure there was no soap left. Unsettled by the bump she had bought a slew of conditioners as well as scalp treatment products but nothing worked. Eventually her hair became dry and brittle and a soft down of dandruff began to appear on her pillows and shirts. Frustrated, Alison threw out the multitudes of bottles she had bought and began to ……

It was a couple months until Alison noticed the bump had grown. It was no longer the size of a mosquito bite but a lump. Again, positioning herself in front of her bathroom mirror, she looked for it, whatever it was. Feeling it out, she left her finger right on top of it then tried to see it in the reflection, again she could see nothing but the lump felt like it was the size of a ping pong ball. Alison attempted to look up information on the internet about skin growths but eventually drove herself into a state of self induced anxiety. Afraid someone would notice the lump on the back of her head she gave herself a perm and fashioned her hair into a large set of curls thick enough to hide the mysterious lump.

Alison looked up local dermatologists and started scheduling appointments. Alison would call on a Monday morning and schedule an appointment at the end of the week but by the time the appointment would come up she found herself driving home and walking straight into her bathroom. Sitting on the closed lid of her toilet, she would convince herself that the lump was nothing. The dreaded word ‘cancer’ surfaced occasionally in her mind but she would quickly dismiss it. Unable to see the lump in the mirrors reflection Alison tried to convince herself that the lump simply was not there.

At night Alison had to put a movie on to distract herself from the presence of the lump. Positioning herself up on a couple of pillows behind her back she fell asleep her neck strained resting against the wall. Alison noticed that she was getting frequent headaches now and her neck was stiff. She stopped jogging and began drinking a lot of water, reluctant to start taking aspirin regularly she tried eating more to cure the headaches but they only got worse.

Eight months passed and Alison had gained twenty pounds. She got a new perm every month and refused to cut her hair. She began to measure the lump on the back of her head. It was now about three inches long and half an inch wide. She could now spot a small outline on her scalp when she checked her reflection and in response bunched her curls together with pins to create a poof where the lump was. Alison didn’t want to go to the doctor and had not revealed the lump to her family or friends. She didn’t want to draw attention to herself. If she ignored the lump maybe it would go away.

Aware that she had gained a few pounds, Alison began eating only red meats and fresh greens. Her worry surrounding the lump had made her self-conscious. She had not been on a single date in months. The last date had ended horribly. She still remembered how Mark’s head had disappeared under her dress, his roaming hands feeling every curve of her back and buttocks, the slim dip of her belly, squeezing her full supple breasts. He had pulled her dress off and came up to kiss her neck. Then her heart began to pound as his fingers got closer and closer to the back of her neck. She jolted up and pushed him off. After that date he never called her back and she decided not to go out again until the lump was gone.

Alison stayed at home and found herself in the kitchen or bedroom unless she was at work which had become an increasingly uncomfortable environment since she had to leave to go to the bathroom and secretly check her lump multiple times a day. She wrote down the size and shape of the lump, scribbling doodles of the lump. She kept track of her water intake and details of what she ate and how long she slept, what positions were the most comfortable and which ones irritated the lump and gave her a headache.

It had only started happening recently that she would wake up and there would be a large spot of greenish ooze on her pillow near the back of her head. Her hair crusted and sticky, she searched the lump for a secretion but it looked unchanged only the mysterious fluid on her pillow would appear. She would wash her pillow cases daily and began to wear her curls wrapped up in a large handkerchief. She doused herself in perfume when she began to notice that her hair had begun to smell. It was constant and stagnant the smell of something molding. She would wash her hair before work, after and a couple more times during the night but the smell remained.

Regardless of Alison’s new diet she continued to gain weight, at the end of the year she had gained fifty pounds and the lump had grown to the size of three golf balls in a line on the back of her head. Alison found it harder and harder to sleep. She tried soothing ocean sounds, whale calls and even rain but nothing would do the trick. Whenever she did wake up she was tired, her head a massive throbbing weight on her shoulders. She had finally begun to talk herself into telling her mother about the lump. At the end of the week she would call her mother and ask her to go to the doctors with her. She collected all the pictures, notes, and drawing she had made of the lump into one folder as well as her eating and sleep habits.

Alison woke up the next day to the foul smell of the lump. It had permeated her room, her bed, her house. She lighted scented candles and opened the windows in an attempt to get rid of the smell. Instead of jogging, Alison now went into the bathroom every morning for a few hours to check the lump and wash her hair. She had gotten a magnified mirror and brighter bulbs to help her see the lump.

The Door

It swings open slowly.The house is empty and the creaks keep her awake at night. It opens and there is only darkness beyond.During the day, the tea kettle screams. She takes it off the burner, pouring the hot water into a cup, tea bag floating to the top. The groan of the floorboards under weight, echoes from down the hall, she is still and waits, will it shut or open? The door lets in or keeps out, the darkness just beyond. 

An Encounter (warning: contains profanity and gore)

Here is a short story I wrote for a writer’s club competition that was declined. I’ve been thinking about this story a lot recently and was considering rewriting a few parts and expanding. I decided to post the original here, in case I post ‘An Encounter: Version #2’ when I make edits. This is to show readers the creative process involved in writing and the decisions that I make as a writer.


approx. word count: 1,200


An Encounter 

by Alina Hansen (original work, all rights reserved)


I brought Mark here so I’d get fucked in a haunted house. He was too scared; too freaked to even kiss me. This is why I should’ve brought Josh instead; Josh was down for anything. Doesn’t matter now. I’m screaming, Marks screaming and there is something cold attached to my arm. I look back and there is the woman in the corner holding onto each of us. I feel her nails digging into my skin and with a shudder and snap I hear the bone break in my arm.

Should’ve brought Josh, he carries a gun and I left my pepper spray in my purse in the car. I fall and I’m in something wet; it takes me a moment to realize it’s that girl’s blood. Her body is only a few feet away, her neck is torn out. I think Mark pissed himself, he’s curled up, face down and shaking. I’ve had broken bones before, comes with being an athlete and even though it fucking hurts I scramble to get up. The woman hasn’t moved she is just staring at us. She looks sickly with her face and dress covered in blood. This psycho’s gonna kill us too.

There’s a table leg on the ground a few feet away next to some broken beer bottles. I get on my knees and crawl with one hand, my broken arm useless. I’m waiting for her to come up behind me, to grab me again but I keep moving hoping I have just enough time to get that table leg. I fall forward, my face hitting the floor, my fingers wrap around the wood, and I pull it towards me. I can see a few nails sticking out of the end.  I stumble as I get up. I brace myself against the wall and turn around. The woman’s now crouched over mark and I hear him whimpering. I can’t see her face but her hand is poised in the air, her nails long and sharp. I take a breath and scream, lunging at her. I swing the leg at her head and she looks up just in time for connection. The woman howls and jumps back from Mark. The table leg stuck in her head, the nails digging into her eye and forehead. She grasps the wood and scuttles into the next room.

Shit shit shit shit shit shit shit shit I’m going to die! I’m going to die and I had a chance to fuck Jenny! Fuck fuck fuck fuck it hurts! That thing broke my arm! Is that blood? Oh my god it’s blood! I’m lying in blood! Should’ve convinced Jenny to go back to my place, why’d we have to come here?! I can’t look; it’s staring at me, those eyes, those dark eyes like an animal. Like the time we went to the zoo and the new exhibit had a black panther. The panther was just pacing, its eyes on the kids, big black eyes just glued to the little bodies and everyone could feel the hunger just emanating from it and they all laughed nervously pointing at the caged killer.

Jenny grabbed my hand, put it on her tit and told me to kiss her. Then the sound of someone walking up the steps, outside the house, opening the door; sound of girls giggling. Jenny said, ‘Be quiet and we’ll scare them.’ We waited we waited until the kissing stopped then she asked why I was breathing heavily. I wasn’t. There was a muffled cry and a crunch. We saw the woman her face buried in the neck of the girl and then the blood, the blood, all that blood. I looked at Jenny and her eyes were glued on them. I grabbed Jenny’s face and forced her to look at me. I tried to mouth the words, ‘We’ve got to get out of here!’ but she tore her face out of my hand and whispered, ‘Where’d she go?’ I looked back and the woman disappeared; the girl’s body motionless on the floor.

I hear a scuffle and scream then a howl right above me. I look up and there’s a club stuck in the things head, I can see nails in its eye. It moves back into a dark room.

“Mark get up! GET UP!” Jenny’s pulling me up and we’re running out of the house.

The car’s about a mile up the road. Jenny’s running ahead of me, she’s in better shape. Jenny’s yelling back at me, “Run! Dammit! RUN MARK!”

That little bitch blinded me! I want her dead! I want her and that little worm of a man! They ruined it! Ruined my night! I don’t want their blood, I want them dead!

I see the car. She’s opening the door and getting in, starting the car. I get in. The car tires squeal and we speed away. There’s a loud crash on top of the car, the car jerks to the left almost veering off the road.  I look up and the hood’s dented inward almost touching our heads. Jenny’s yelling at me to call the cops. She’s speeding up and I’m screaming as I see the long claws of that thing reaching down over the windshield.

Blood pools like sweet honey around the edges of my mouth. It overflows and I feel like the sun is inside me and I’m radiant, glowing with life. Her hair falls softly to the side as her head slumps against my chest. Her hair is so beautiful, looks like gold. I push her aside and she falls to the ground. My dress is stained with blood. How could I resist her? My affections have always been toward fresh young women with a glimmer of innocence, a shine behind the eyes; a heart not yet broken. Oh how sweet! Yes! I can still taste her on my mouth. I can feel the rush of heat spreading from my stomach to my arms and legs.

This house is dilapidated and shudders with every movement I make. A wonderful abandoned home on the edge of town to attract teens for sex, drugs and spiritual encounters. I hear a rustle in the next room, a scuffle of feet and whispers. I slip into a corner. I can hear them now; I think it’s a boy and girl. They’re muttering to themselves, I smell dirt and a hint of sweat. In a rush, there is a crash and a stampede of footsteps running for the doorway beside me. The house trembles in excitement. My instincts take over and I snatch them in the darkness, their screams bellow in pure terror hurting my ears. I tighten my grip, breaking one bone then another. I release them and they fall to the floor.




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