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Fantasia 2010: Days 5 Through 9



It’s been five days since we last checked in, and despite watching movies every day, there’s been little to report. Maybe it’s just the exhaustion talking, but this thought just keeps pounding through my Fantasia addled brain – “Where are all the good horror movies at this year?” It’s not like it’s a problem with the festival programming. Fantasia has an impenetrable track record of picking nothing but the best, most innovative, and most extreme horror so what’s going on?

Part of the issue is the popularity of certain titles. For example, we still haven’t seen Rubber due to its constant sell-out status. Other films, like The Revenant (which everyone seems to love), we’ve missed due to Fantasia-fatigue brought on by too many three-movie days followed up by all-night discussions (and uh, beer). Other whole categories seem to have dried up. Compared to years past, there’s virtually no Japanese, Korean, or even Thai horror out there.

The two straight horror flicks we did see, Outcast (review here), and Heartless. were both okay but didn’t blow our minds. Heartless in particular is a melodramatic overwrought affair with some cool demons and an atrocious score that only reminded me how badly The Reflecting Skin needs to come out on DVD.

Lastly, some films just turn out to be far more mainstream than you would ever expect. Cases in point: Feast of the Assumption: BTK and the Otero Family Murders and We Are What We Are.

Fantasia 2010

FotA:BTKatOFM is not only awkwardly titled, but it’s also a mixed-up documentary that perhaps suffers from a wealth of too much interesting subject matter. The infamous “Bind Torture Kill” serial murderer Dennis Rader slaughtered 10 people and left many families and survivors devastated, but the film decides to focus almost exclusively on the charismatic Hispanic biker Charlie Otero, who lost his brother, sister and both parents to the sexually deranged Rader. The documentary interweaves Otero’s story with the in progress (at the time of filming) investigation, capture, and sentencing of BTK. I’m sure the filmmakers couldn’t believe their luck at BTK coming out of the woodwork and being caught during production, but with so much going on, the movie never seems to hone in effectively on Rader, and apart from a few courtroom videos viewers will learn very little about him or his motivations. Otero’s life, on the other hand, is picked apart in minute detail, chronicling not only his family’s murder but his incarceration for domestic violence and a near fatal car accident involving his estranged son. While the maelstrom of brutality and bad luck that is Otero’s life is without a doubt compelling stuff, a lot of it seems totally divorced from BTK, which causes the filmmakers to try to create some additional linkages by presenting Charlie’s conspiracy theories involving his aad’s business dealings in Panama and his having watched Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood just prior to the murders. These weak explanations cheapen the horrific sting of realizing that there is no rationale for Rader’s utter lack of humanity and that this low budget documentary with its faint whiff of exploitation and serial killer worship isn’t going to help provide one. It’s by no means a terrible documentary, but it’s more like the television show “America’s Most Wanted” than a finely honed documentary with a point like Marwencol (another non-horror documentary entry well worth checking out).

Similarly disappointing for completely different reasons was the well directed, but utterly forgettable Mexican cannibal film We Are What We Are. Full review coming soon, but the short version is that if the 2001 Mexican love triangle film Y Tu Mama Tambien and Romero’s Martin made cannibal movie babies, the afterbirth would be We Are What We Are. In other words, while slick and icky in parts, it’s ultimately a throwaway.

Tonight we’ll finally get to see if A Serbian Film can cause us to upchuck undigested popcorn and flavored mineral water on our neighbors. We hear this one is downright nasty, but given how tame The Life And Death of a Porno Gang was, I have my doubts. We’ll also be on-hand for the 25th anniversary screening of Re-Animator with Stuart Gordon, Jeff Combs, and Dennis Paoli, which might provide just the right gleefully gooey antiseptic required to scour the cynical filth of A Serbian Film from our brains.

Fantasia 2010: Days 5 Through 9
“Dave Alexander Editor in Chief of Rue Morgue and Kerry Prior director of the Revenant”

Evil Andy

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Jesper Kyd Returning to Score Vermintide 2



From the cover of Kyd's first Vermintide OST

Get your headphones ready, Warhammer fans because State of Decay and Darksiders 2 composer Jesper Kyd is back to score the upcoming Warhammer title Vermintide 2! The game will be coming to PC and consoles early this year.

Kyd was inspired by Norse mythology, utilizing ancient tribal music as well as dark fantastical elements to build upon the acoustic soundscapes he composed for the first Vermintide game. Channeling his own Scandinavian roots, Kyd will blend Viking and Norse-inspired vocals with ritualistic percussion styles to create a unique soundtrack experience.

Three tracks from the score can be heard below.

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Like Me – Will You Like This Dystopian Thriller?



Starring Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden

Directed by Robert Mockler

While Like Me is not dystopian in the classic science-fiction sense, it does aptly put the downer vibe across. If the present is abysmal, then the future is downright hopeless. We learn this as we follow an unhinged teenage loner called Kiya (Addison Timlin) on a hollow crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. At first the world “likes” her—with the exception of YouTube rival Burt (Ian Nelson), who disdainfully denounces her viral videos—but pride goes before the fall, and Kiya’s descent is spectacular.

If you’ve peeped the trailer for Like Me, then you’re probably expecting a horror movie. I mean, they’ve got the requisite menacing masked baddie and they’ve got genre icon Larry Fessenden in a major role—those are a couple of the key ingredients, right? Yes they are, but this simmering, shimmering stew of Natural Born Killers, Excision and King Kelly, it boils down to a whole lotta nothing. Like Me is sort of a drama, kind of a road trip flick, and almost a thriller. It succeeds at none yet does stand on its own as a compelling collection of cool visuals and pertinent performances. But is that enough?

While Kiya is a compelling character on the surface, there’s barebones beneath. Sure, she’s a Millennial mind-fed on random online clips and snappy soundbites—but what turned her into a psychopath? Was she born that way? Is social media to blame? We’ll never know, because not a hint is given. I don’t mind ambiguity, but even a morsel would have been welcome in this case. As Kiya ramps up her reckless exhibitionistic extremes, the stakes are never raised. In the end, who cares? Maybe that’s the point.

A word of warning: If you plan on watching this movie while chomping snacks…don’t. There is stomach-turning scene after vomit-inducing scene of orgiastic easting, binging, and the inevitable purging. I’m sure it’s all metaphorical mastication, a cutting comment on disposable consumption. I get it. But I don’t wanna look at it, again and again and again. Having said that, Like Me is an experimental film and in its presentation of such grotesquery, it’s quite accomplished. Montages, split-screens and jittered motions are scattered throughout, showing us all sorts of unpleasant things…Kudos to the editor.

I didn’t hate Like Me. But I do think one has to be in the mood for a movie such as this. It’s not an easy or entertaining watch, but it is a peculiar and thought-provoking one. There’s some style and mastery behind the camera, and I am curious to see what first-time writer-director Rob Mockler comes up with next.

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Last Toys on the Left

Funko Giving Jurassic Park the Pop! Treatment as Only They Can



It is no secret we’re BIG fans of Funko’s Pop! Vinyl line here at DC HQ, and now they’ve announced a new series that has made our hearts just about burst… read on for a look at Pop! Movies: Jurassic Park, heading our way in February. The regular figures are awesome on their own, but wait until you see the exclusives!

From the Funko Blog:
Jurassic Park fans, get excited! To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the iconic film’s appearance on the silver screen, Jurassic Park is coming to Pop!

This series of Pop! features paleontologist Dr. Grant, Jurassic Park CEO John Hammond, mathematician Dr. Malcolm, and embryo-smuggler Dennis Nedry. (Keep an eye out for Dr. Ellie Sattler in Pop! Rides coming soon.)

We couldn’t forget the Jurassic Park dinosaurs! Featured in this line are the great T. rex, Velociraptor, and Dilophsaurus. Look for the Dilophosaurus chase, a rarity of 1-in-6.

Be on the lookout for exclusives. At Target you can find a wounded Dr. Malcolm, and the Dennis Nedry and Dilophosaurus 2-pack is available only at Entertainment Earth.

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