Growing Fangs Is Several Allegories In One Efficient Movie
Growing Fangs is a cute little special I stumbled upon in my search for Halloween media. It’s the story of a person who’s part vampire, part human, and Mexican American. From quick interviews I’ve read/listened to on the short, it’s a personal story about belonging explored through monsters.
And I’m in no position to say how well that metaphor works here. Using monsters (especially vampires and werewolves) to talk about identity is a common storytelling method that stretches back far into media history. Arguably back to Dracula. And it’s all over this plot (and represented visually) in the background, subtext, and main text. Most characters directly contribute to its multi-layered metaphors. But that’s about all I feel qualified to say.
What I can say is that, on a literal reading of the plot, several fun details made me smile. The concept of “spell sanitizer” was inspired, and the first scene involving garlic got a good laugh out of me. And I loved the joke about zombie cheerleaders just weakly shuffling around. I’m sure Halloweentown doesn’t hold up now, but it was a big part of my childhood, and Growing Fangs reminds me heavily of that mixed with Turning Red.
Growing Fangs Has A Well-Realized Monster World
The editing and pacing also help keep this level of fun. Our main character Val (played well by Keyla Monterroso Mejia) gets to further show of her personality through fourth-wall asides ala She-Hulk. Combining that with slick, indie movie-style editing gave unique energy to plot progression. I’ve seen a lot of movies/television lately that use bog-standard camera movements and cuts, and it was refreshing to have an alternative.
Sadly, at only about twenty minutes, Growing Fangs doesn’t get to expand on its broader world and character relationships fully, but its main message is heartfelt. I’ve come across plenty of comments boiling down to it needing a full series, and I see why. Even if that never happens, though, Growing Fangs is an easy choice for something short and Halloween-adjacent.
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