The Living Festival Poster

THE LIVING (2022): Cleo Handler is The Woman Who Made Brad Dourif a Vampire in Therapy

A Vampire in Therapy You Say?

When it comes to horror with a different spin, I’m always interested. Multi-Hyphenate director Cleo Handler (Chucky 2022) asked the question “What would a vampire be like in therapy” in her latest short horror comedy, ‘The Living.’

A new take on a vampire tale? Yes, please! I’m rarely skeptical when it comes to ‘new and different’ because I love to see the roads less traveled. 

So naturally, I read, ‘a vampire in therapy’ and was immediately intrigued. It’s the simple breakdown of Cleo Handler’s The Living. But there’s so much more in the 12:38 short film. Legendary actor Brad Dourif of Child’s Play and Deadwood fame, as the vampire Vlad, for one. The Living also stars Cleo as Vlad’s therapist Nicole.

A Vampire in Therapy – Cleo Handler as Therapist Nicole and Brad Dourif as the vampire Vlad.


Vlad’s had a number of habits over the years. But his most recent is also his most lethal, his bloodlust. In an attempt to kick the addiction, he seeks the help of a therapist. Vlad also discovers an old wound that needs healing, his broken relationship with his daughter. Therapist Nicole encourages him to reach out to her in hopes of reconnecting. Which, in itself, could potentially open up a whole other world of problems.

Can Vlad (Brad Dourif) self-help himself out?!

A Short You Can Sink Your Teeth Into

If you’re drawn to shows like Addicted or Intervention or if you generally find stories and experiences of the sort fascinating, you’ll dig The Living. If it’s not your thing, no worries. The dark and quirky humor keeps it all from being too heavy. Also, it really is a beautiful film to look at. I absolutely loved The Living’s aesthetic. Entertainment + substance + aesthetic = A+ in my books.

The Living is currently available to watch on Vimeo!

Therapist Nicole Burrows (Cleo Handler) anxiously awaits her next client.

A Bit About the Multi-Talented Cleo Handler

Cleo was so gracious to sit with me for a moment to chat about The Living, one of her prior mystery-thriller projects that’s an interactive limited series, and the wonderful world of horror.

Music credit: Robin Appelqvist, ‘The Lullaby,’ ‘Ominous Waltz,’ and ‘Red Riding Hood.’

To check out Cleo’s interactive series Life on Air that we were discussing, you can go to @life0nair on IG and just follow the posts, starting from the earliest. To listen to Cleo’s latest album, Gold, you can find it on Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora and YouTube Music.


About Tiffany Warren

Along with writing for PopHorror, Tiffany is a video editor and 3D rendering and animation enthusiast. When not writing, she's hiking and making photos, or loving on her precious furbabies.

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