It’s been an insomnia inducing start to Fantasia’s thirteenth year. The opening night screenings had no noteworthy horror entries, so Paul and I spent the evening reconnecting with festival regulars, watched some non-genre movies, and plotted the next three weeks of cinematic mayhem. On Friday, after a rest-free three hours of sleep, we soldiered through a painful midnight screening, and are already feeling delirious, just two days in. This is going to be our sixth year covering the fest, and frankly, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
First, a little bit of bookkeeping. In addition to this blog, you can also follow us on Twitter, under @dreadfantasia. Also, if our under slept ramblings don’t satisfy your taste for intelligent movie writing, we recommend you check out Kier-La Janisse’s official Fantasia blog. She’s also doing “whatever the verb of twitter is, and I refuse to say ‘tweet’” under the moniker @FantasiaFest.
Now, getting to the films. While it doesn’t fit into our genre, the first movie we saw this year was a great little one hour documentary titled Thief of Times Square. We don’t normally mention the non-horror titles, but this one is worth tracking down, especially if you’re the kind of fan who has a misplaced nostalgia for the oft mythologized 80’s era Times Square. The film follows the director, in his attempt to track down the author of a found diary, which, recounts the destitute and desperate lives of the residents of the legendarily ramshackle Times Square Hotel. The movie is unexpectedly tender and un-exploitative, the polar opposite of what one would expect, given the subject matter.
Our first horror film of the fest may turn out to be one of the most enjoyable of the year. Andreas Schaap’s film Must Love Death may have single handedly created a new sub-genre that blends romatic comedy and torture porn. One can only hope that Schaap’s “traumantic comedy” signals the end of the dark, post-Hostel days of horror cinema. The less you know about Must Love Death the better, but if you just can’t wait to see it for yourself (and I’d be shocked if this didn’t get picked up for wide distribution, it’s a legitimate date movie), you can read Paul’s Must Love Death (review here).
We followed up this sick-chick-flick with the far inferior, though, come to think of it, oddly similarly themed Lesbian Vampire Killers. The midnight Fantasia crowd is rowdy and appreciative, and to give the film credit, a lot of people showed up, and had a good time. However, this is popcorn horror movie of a variety I find particularly distasteful. It’s a movie predicated on exploitation cinema that has only the strictest commercial aspirations. It’s slick, and watchable, but it has more in common with Pirates of the Caribbean than Vampyros Lesbos. Read the Lesbian Vampire Killers (review here).
Finally, we’ve got to mention Richard Gale’s (Fantasia 2008’s Criticized) astoundingly crowd pleasing and hilarious The Horribly Slow Murderer With The Extremely Inefficient Weapon. This faux-trailer is all the way up there with Hobo with a Shotgun, in terms of “gosh I wish they’d make that movie for real”, and is likely the most epic mock horror trailer ever made. In THSMWTEIW, a cadaverous grim reaper in a black hoodie chases the tortured protagonist, whacking him repeatedly with a spoon. The fact that Gale is able to make being beaten to death by cutlery over an interminable period of years, both believable, and immensely enjoyable is amazing. Try to see this one if you can.
Tomorrow we’ll be seeing the alien bug invasion film Infestation, and the Canadian rape/revenge movie Sweet Karma, and maybe, just maybe Sion Sono’s extravagantly lengthy Love Exposure (4 hours!).
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