The second weekend of Fantasia kicked off with the always anticipated short film anthology Small Gauge Trauma. Highlights included:
Rick Trembles – “Decensortized”: While nowhere near as outlandishly perverse as his prior efforts “Goopy Spasms” and “God’s Cocksuckers”, this latest short certainly highlights Trembles’ growing ability as an animator. “Less outlandish” in the world of Rick Trembles still involves an army marching out of a vagina and an infinite regress of cunilingus… Here’s hoping we’ll see this set as a trilogy on DVD sometime soon.
John Bryant – “Oh My God”: This hilarious and gory entry focuses on an unlucky guy and one seriously bad afternoon that culminates with him flopping around in an electric chair with sparks shooting out of his eyes. The political message behind this film is one we should all take to heart: “Stop…Killing…Innocent…Retarded…Texans!”
Christopher R. Nash – “Day of John”: The is a bleak story of a lonely suicidal and out of work guy named John and how he regains his mojo. Small town Ontario is the setting for a tale involving sadistic neighbours, demonic invasion and all the happy accidents of fate that direct our lives. It plays out like an FX heavy version of a “Prayer for Owen Meany” including the saccharine ending. Check out Johnny’s full review of it here.
Luis Berdejo, Jorge C. Dorado – “La Guerra”: An intensely nihilistic wartime vision that is powerful due to the specificity of the story and the children involved, but also functions as a universal reminder of the innocent victims of war. Dark, dark stuff.
Dalibor Backovic – “The Ancient Rite of Corey McGillis”: This polished, decently budgeted short is the most straightforward horror tale of the program. It’s a fun, but overlong Tales from the Crypt-type story that has some great makeup FX and a gory finale but seems to take its goofy subject matter a little too seriously.
Fantasia’s ten-year anniversary also provided the impetus for the release of a DVD compendium of the best shorts from all ten years of Small Gauge Trauma. Each of the thirteen films was hand-picked by Fantasia’s Mitch Davis, a man who knows a powerful short when he sees one. In addition, nearly all the shorts include a filmmaker commentary, and fronting the disk is an introduction by Mitch and none other than Jose Mojica Marins (Coffin Joe). The disk is being put out by genre DVD stalwart Synapse Films, so the overall quality of the packaging is impeccable. You should be able to pick up a copy of Small Gauge Trauma at your local video store, or just click here to pre-order it through Evilshop.
Also showing on Friday was the much anticipated North American premiere of Michael J. Bassett’s Wilderness. It turned out to be a fun, gory and none too taxing return to the slasher films of the early 80’s. Like many of us, I have a soft spot for that period and, not surprisingly, dug Wilderness quite a bit, as you can glean from my review of it here.
Saturday we took a well deserved break, only showing up at the Hall building at 9:30pm to check out Mike Mendez’s Gravedancers. I was glad to be able to just sit back and watch as we have an earlier review of the film, which you can find here. Overall, Gravedancers is a great concept with some genuine scares, a lot of unintentional laughs and some fun Haunted Mansion meets Evil Dead 2 makeup effects courtesy of Mike Elizalde’s Spectral Motion.
Paul also took in the apparently terrible Hell and was so demoralized by what he saw that he’s been unable to even talk about the film, much less review it. Expect a less than positive review in the next couple of days.
Speaking of Paul, Sunday will see the premiere of his first Fantasia short, entitled “Help Wanted.” It’ll be competing with other shorts created by up-and-coming local filmmakers in the Quebec DIY official competition.
We’ll also be checking out 39: A Film by Carrol McKane, the latest cinema verite style serial killer film from Raw Meat director Gary Sherman.
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