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Fantasia 2010: Day 1 – Opening Party

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Weeeee’re baaaack. The fourteenth year of Fantasia, and our seventh year covering it for you twisted lot who for whatever reason STILL haven’t come to Montreal for what Quentin Tarantino calls the most important and prestigious genre film festival on the continent. Sure he was pimping Basterds at the time, but I’m sure he really meant it!

Speaking of bastards, this year we’re adding a new member to the Fantasia coverage team: Pierre LaRouche, who I’m sure is a great writer and all that, but the real reason we brought him on board is because of his ability to perfectly mimic Crispin Glover’s dance from F13 part IV. If you see him at the festival, make sure to ask him to do it, he has to, it’s part of his contract. Of course, old stalwart Paul McCannibal is still around, hating pretty much everything he watches and generally being miserable. Will he like anything he sees this year? Stay tuned!

Fantasia 2010: Day 1 - Opening Party with Mitch DavisWe were forced to bring Pierre on board because this year’s festival really is the most gargantuan one yet. I know this to be true because when the Fantasia catalog comes out, I traditionally beat Paul around the head and neck using it as a barrier, police interrogation style. There are so many movies, spoken word, off-site events, plays, and other happenings this year that this is the first time Paul’s tender skin wasn’t bruised! Bravo to Mitch Davis (pictured right), and the rest of the programming team, the sheer amount of content is a true accomplishment!

The expanded scope has allowed the Fantasia team to continue with their unique documentary and short programs, while having even more “spotlight” programs and special events than ever before. This year’s festival is focusing on “Between Death and the Devil” a program focusing on the disintegration of faith, demonic possession, and exorcism, “Camera Lucida” a series designed to showcase innovation in genre cinema, and a retrospective of the films of Ken Russell. But the program everyone is talking about is “Subversive Serbia”, a block of films emerging from a republic that conjures thoughts of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and war criminals. It’ll be interesting to see how movies like A Serbian Film, an experience that many in the know are declaring one of the hardest movies ever made (both in terms of content and watchability), affect those perceptions. We’ll let you know, if we don’t run flailing from the theatre (an apparently not uncommon occurrence).

Mitch also tells us that the must see films of the festival are Black Death (Christopher Smith’s medieval plague meets necromancy flick), Centurion (Neil Marshall’s supernatural-free sword and sandal epic), We Are What We Are (Mexican cannibal fiesta), and Feast of the Assumption (BTK serial murderer documentary focusing on family aftermath) amongst a slew of other non-horror, but insanely interesting sounding films like Lemmy (yep, that Lemmy!), Life and Death of a Porno Gang (Serbian traveling porno-cabaret shenanigans), and Fatso (Norwegian sex comedy, without the Americanized hangups).

And we haven’t even gotten to the special events! This year there are two really noteworthy happenings. The first is a staging of the Edgar Allan Poe play Nevermore, created by the team behind Re-Animator, writer Dennis Paoli, director Stuart Gordon, and actor Jeffrey Combs! All three will be in town for a special 25th anniversary screening of Re-Animator and will be presenting their play at Montreal’s Rialto Theatre. How cool is that? The second big event will be a screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, restored with 25 minutes of recently unearthed footage, and a 13- piece live orchestra accompaniment, all at Montreal’s hoity-toity Place des Arts. Shit, do I have to wear a suit to this thing?

Tonight we’re going to see Phobia 2 the sequel to 2008’s popular Thai anthology film 4bia, and the Herschell Gordon Lewis documentary Godfather of Gore with the man, the marketer himself in attendance. Finally, if we can tear ourselves away from the allure of a midnight beer, we’ll hit up Rubber, the story of a serial killer tire in love. Ya, as in a rubber car tire. That kills people.

And is in love. I told you this film festival rules…

Dig on some images from the first night below!

Fantasia 2010: Day 1 - Opening Party
“The opening party is on fire!”

Fantasia 2010: Day 1 - Opening Party
“A look inside.”

Fantasia 2010: Day 1 - Opening Party
“Kevin, Nicole, Anna from the Boston Underground Film Festival, and Brenda from the Calgary Underground Film Festival.”

Fantasia 2010

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Brennan Went To Film School

Brennan Went to Film School: Unlocking the Hidden Meaning in Insidious: The Last Key

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“Brennan Went to Film School” is a column that proves that horror has just as much to say about the world as your average Oscar nominee. Probably more, if we’re being honest.

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS FOR INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED.

Blumhouse had quite a year last year, didn’t they? In addition to having three number one hits on their hands, the racial satire Get Out is their first horror entry to get awards traction thanks to its deeper themes. Now that everyone is starting to take the company and its work a little more seriously, it’s time to bring out the big guns and dive right into some deeper analysis into a much more unlikely subject: Insidious: The Last Key. The fourth entry in their tentpole haunted house franchise might not seem like it at first glance, but it’s the Get Out of the Me Too era, telling a story of women’s struggles while predicting the downfall of powerful, abusive men that started to occur during its production process with eerie accuracy.

No, seriously. Let’s start by taking a look at the villain. Unusually for this franchise, the baddies are both paranormal and human: halfway through the film it is revealed that the haunting victim who has called Lin Shaye’s Elise and her crew is also a sadistic killer who has chained up a woman in his basement. This is also revealed to be the very same thing Elise’s father did many decades before. The film implies that both men are being influenced by the key-wielding demon that inhabits the house.

Key imagery is very important to the film as a whole (I mean come on, it’s literally in the freakin’ title), and its themes of Elise arriving to her childhood home to unlock the secrets of her past. But there’s more than one meaning to that imagery, and understanding those meanings is the key to unlocking the subtext of the film, if you’ll allow me a really obvious pun.


The demon KeyFace might be influencing the men, but they’re still receptive to the idea. That’s because he’s awakening something that was already inside them. Keyface represents the pure male id; the unconscious, animalistic desires and drives that lay buried in the psyche. He’s not forcing them to behave in this way, he’s just unlocking their darker impulses.

It’s no coincidence that the demon’s lair is the bomb shelter basement. The house has now become a road map of her father’s mind, with his strongest emotions (and the literal place where he keeps his abused women secreted away) hidden in a sublevel that isn’t visible from the surface. This is the very same basement where he locked up Elise while punishing her for insisting that her visions were real. He wanted her to keep her psychic gifts locked away, probably so she wouldn’t discover his own submerged secrets.

Elise encounters a variety of keys during her journey that allow her to penetrate deeper and deeper into The Further, the house, her past, and the hideous truth about the men in her life. These keys unlock doors, suitcases, chains, and cages, but the most important unlocks the truth… and turns the attention of the evil upon her and her two nieces.

The probing of these women ignites the fury of Keyface and he takes her niece Melissa into the basement (another buried sublevel that must be unlocked), inserting a key into her neck and rendering her mute, then stealing her soul with a second key plunged into her heart. He is only vanquished when Elise and her other niece Imogen team together and use a family heirloom – a whistle – to summon Elise’s mother’s spirit.

On the surface, this seems like an inspiring story of three generations of women helping each other to face a great evil. This is certainly true, but now we have the key to understanding exactly what’s happening here. When a young woman discovers the abuse being perpetrated in her house, the figure of pure, wicked male desire literally steals her voice, silencing her. In order to restore that voice, another woman who knows the truth must very literally become a whistleblower.

…Did I just blow your mind?

At its heart, Insidious: The Last Key presents a world where women must rely on other women to provide them a voice and their very survival in a world dominated by powerful men and their ugly, dirty secrets. Secrets that they will do anything to keep locked away. There may be slightly more ghosts in Insidious than in real life, but that’s a frighteningly close parallel with the ugliness currently being revealed in Hollywood – as well as the world at large. It probably won’t tear up the Golden Globes next year, but this film is just the next important stepping-stone after Get Out in Blumhouse’s use of the genre to dig deep into the real life horrors plaguing our society.


Brennan Klein is a writer and podcaster who talks horror movies every chance he gets. And when you’re talking to him about something else, he’s probably thinking about horror movies. On his blog, Popcorn Culture, he is running through reviews of every slasher film of the 1980’s, and on his podcast, Scream 101, he and a non-horror nerd co-host tackle horror reviews with a new sub-genre every month!


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The Evil Dead Trilogy Cuts a 72-Minute Super Cut in Black and White

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Evil Dead Ash

While we wait on pins and needles for the third season of STARZ’s “Ash vs Evil Dead” to hit airwaves in February, we can take a moment to appreciate the original trilogy that led us to this incredible show. Starting in 1981, Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead, which Stephen King hailed as, “The most ferociously original horror film of the year,” began the journey of Bruce Campbell’s Ash Williams, an everyday kinda guy who gets caught up in a battle with demonic entities known as Deadites. Packed with humor, gore, and scares, the Evil Dead series has since become a cult classic and is a gem in the horror community.

Jorge Torres-Torres decided to pay his respects to the Evil Dead trilogy by creating Evil Dead Revision, where he took the first films and revised them, “…into a 72 minute, black & white ballet of gore.

If you need to catch up on the foundations of the Evil Dead universe before the return of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, this seems like a great place to start! Oh, and then make sure to binge the show on Netflix.

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Delirium Review – Bros, Cameras And A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On

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Starring Mike C. Manning, Griffin Freeman, Ryan Pinkston

Directed by Johnny Martin


When will these testosterone-overloaded frat bros with cameras ever learn that pissing off the evil souls of the departed all in the name of amusement won’t get you anywhere but wrecked? Same goes for filmmakers: when will they learn that found-footage exploits set in a house of pure sadism are something of a wrung-out affectation? Oh well, as long as people keep renting them, they’ll continue to get manufactured…which might or might not be to the benefit of the horror film-watching populous.

Delirium opens with a poor lad, strapped with a GoPro, running for his life through a labyrinth of haunted territory, praying for an escape…and it’s a foregone conclusion as to what happens to this trespassing individual. We then relocate our focus towards a collection of (ahem), “gentlemen” self-titled as The Hell Gang, and their escapades are about as profound as their grasp on the English language and its verbiage. The words “dude”, creepy”, and the term “what the fuck” are thrown about so much in this movie it’ll make your head spin to the point of regurgitation. Anyway, their interest in the home of the Brandt clan is more piqued now than ever, especially considering one of their own has gone missing, and they’ve apparently got the gonads to load up the cameras, and traverse the property after-hours, and against the warnings of the local law-enforcement, who surprisingly are just inadequate enough to ignore a dangerous situation. The cursed family and the residence has quite the illustrious and bleak history, and it’s ripe for these pseudo-snoopers to poke around in.

Usually I’m curb-stomping these first person POV movies until there’s nothing left but a mash of blood, snot and hair left on the cement, but Martin’s direction takes the “footage” a little bit outside of the box, with steadier shots (sometimes) and a bit more focus on the characters as they go about their business. Also, there are a few genuinely spooky scenes to speak of involving the possession of bodies, but there really isn’t much more to crow about, as the plot’s basically a retread of many films before it, and with this collection of borderline-douches manning the recording equipment, it’s a sad state of affairs we’re in that something such as this has crept its way towards us all again. I’m always down for jumping into a cold grave, especially when there could be a sweet prize to be dug up in all that dirt, but Delirium was one of those movies that never let you find your footing, even after you’ve clawed your way through all of the funereal sediment – take a hard pass on this one.

 

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Summary

Got about a half-dozen bros with cameras and a wanton will to get slaughtered on camera, all the while repetitively uttering the same phrases all damn day long? Then my friends, you’ve got yourself a horror movie!

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