I’m baaaack. Not since four years ago, the first time we started the Fantasia blog has anyone had to do the coverage solo, so props to McCannibal for keeping the train rolling last week. It’s a tough job fitting in two, three, and sometimes four films a day, choking down a grease laden meal, drinking the skuzzy yeasty swill that is all you can get after leeching a beer ticket or two off of Mitch, and heading home at midnight to start writing. That said, I couldn’t wait to hit the festival after arriving back in Montreal on Friday. We say it every year, but if you’ve never been to Fantasia, what the hell are you waiting for? There’s still ten days left so get your ass out here!
I started off by contacting Simon LaPerriere, one of Fantasia’s up and coming programmers, to get screeners for the movies that I missed the first week. Paul and others concurred that the three best films were “>REC, “>Let the Right One In, and “>Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (except for the last one, which everyone BUT Paul seemed to enjoy).
The beginning of the second week-end didn’t disappoint. Upon arriving at the Fantasia gin joint, the first person I saw Frank Henenlotter! Not a bad start! He and R.A.Thorburn (producer of Bad Biology), David Blyth (Death Warmed Up), Yoshihiro Nishimura (Tokyo Gore Police) and a host of other folks were kicking back prior to the evening screenings. I also got a chance to meet Ryan Levey, who’s distributing the much anticipated Tiffany stalker doc I Think We’re Alone Now, as well as writing the excellent Fangoria blog for Fantasia this year. It’s nice to see Fantasia finally getting so much coverage.
My first screening of the festival was David Blyth’s twin fetish documentaries Bound for Pleasure and Transfigured Nights. Transfigured Nights is according to Blyth, a “stream of unconsciousness.” It’s somewhat experimental, being shot on webcam, by various mask wearing, internet exhibitionist fetishists. It’s less a film and more like a video art piece, but it does have a certain pull, and some genuinely creepy moments that balance between empathizing with, and recoiling at, the practices of the various characters in the documentary. The second short called Bound For Pleasure is a more straight ahead narrative documentary, composed mainly of interviews with BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism), Mistresses and their various submissive slaves. It has some interesting moments, especially the German-trained Mistress who is training her son as a Master, and the submissive who has dedicated his entire life to his Mistress. Unless you’re very interested in fetish, or BDSM, or have a high tolerance for video art, you might be better of sticking with a more narrative, and in some ways more extreme, film like Kirby Dick’s Sick.
Next up was the main event, Frank Henenlotter’s return to filmmaking after sixteen years! According to him, the experience of making Basket Case 3 (which he hates) so drained him that he decided to not make any more films. Lucky for us, he got lured back to directing and made “>Bad Biology (review). Many directors have aped his style without much luck. Sexually charged relationship movies, with deformed characters roaming the seedy cracked out underbelly of New York City, and a liberal dose of dirty jokes and slimy rubber effects is almost a genre unto itself in Henenlotter’s hands, so it’s nice to see him return to form. We found out in the Q&A after that Henenlotter had cancer, and up until three weeks before shooting, they weren’t sure he was going to be able to make the film. So not only is Bad Biology Frank Henenlotter’s directing comeback, it also represents his victory over cancer. Who knew a movie about deformed genitals could be so inspirational!
Today we’ll be seeing “>All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, which everyone is going to see if only because Mitch, and our very own Andrew Kasch, have spoken so highly of it. If it wasn’t for those guys and the buzz surrounding the film, I’d otherwise be giving this one a miss. Here’s hoping it’s as good as everyone’s been saying. Today’s midnight movie is the Canadian premier of Tokyo Gore Police, which is likely going to be pretty rowdy, as everyone is generally expecting this one to be totally wet and over the top. Where’s my raincoat?
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