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The Horrors of Fantasia: Day Eight

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One of the most impressive aspects of Fantasia is the thoughtfulness of the programming. I don’t know how many times during the festival that I’ve watched multiple seemingly unrelated movies in the same day, only to discover, courtesy of the programmers, that these dissimilar films are deeply linked by their underlying themes and preoccupations. Last year’s showing of The Eye 2, Trouble, and the Robert Morgan short Monsters was so inspired that this year’s festival hasn’t yet reached that pinnacle of programming genius (though I’m confident it will).

Strange Circus director Sion Sono takes the micI mention this only by way of contrasting yesterday’s highlights: the Swedish vampire flick Frostbiten, and the completely demented incest revenge film Strange Circus. Given the vast differences between the two films, there must be some kind of meta-programming going on here. Perhaps the idea was to pump the crowd up with a fast-paced 80’s horror throwback to ensure the audience’s mind was blank and their pupils fully dilated in order to best absorb the visual nightmare of Strange Circus?

The trailer for Frostbiten has been a crowd pleaser at Fantasia, and hopes were riding high that this Swedish vampire flick (how can you get sick of writing that?!) would pre-empt the upcoming 30 Days of Night adaptation by delivering a smart, gory, and fun romp in the land where the sun don’t shine. Well, Steve Niles and David Slade can rest easy; Frostbiten largely squanders its premise, though I did enjoy the comic book style vampire design and cartoony CGI. Check McCannibal’s review of it here for more.

Sion Sono, director of Strange Circus, was on hand for a post screening Q&A last night, but due to some intrepeter problems much of the exchange was difficult to make out. He did manage to express that he was pleased by the reaction of the audience and that it was nice to be appreciated, given that Japanese audiences tend to hate his films (and him too apparently). Overall, Sono came across as a pretty funny guy, ending his Q&A by inviting the crowd to come have a drink with him. I didn’t get that drink with Sono but did manage to squeeze out a review of his hallucinatory film right here. Enjoy!

Evil Andy

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Jon Condit

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