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Fantasia 2008: Days 11-13

Denham & Van den Houten at Fantasia 2008!Apologies for the lack of updates the past couple of days. I blame the exhaustingly stylized, rockabilly zombie movie Flick, which engendered so much cinematic bile, I feared the excess would leak into the other films I had planned to discuss. Luckily, today’s festival topping (so far) double feature comprised of Stuart Gordon’s horror morality tale “>Stuck (review) and a dark and moving adaptation of Jack Ketchum “>Red (review), finally expectorated the celluloid loogie I had built up. With Flick spat to the gutter, let’s talk about the good stuff we saw!

Day eleven was a high point of the festival, a day that elevated the found footage horror genre with Christopher Denham’s “>Home Movie (review), produced by Andrew van den Houten (who we earlier reported is set to start shooting Jack Ketchum’s “>Offspring). Paul also caught “>Trailer Park of Terror (review), a fun trailer trash zombie fest with some great makeup, a cool concept, and its tongue firmly planted where its rotted cheek used to be. Apart from wondering why it is that zombies without lips can enunciate the letters t, b, and p, our resident cynic actually enjoyed his trip (back?) to the trailer park.

Laperrier & Goldmann at Fantasia 2008!Today saw two highly anticipated entries. First up was Stuart Gordon’s Stuck, based on a real life incident in which a woman hit a homeless man with her car, drove home with him stuck in her windshield, and left him in her garage for two days until he died. I was expecting a dark, disturbing take on the subject matter but Gordon, in typical fashion, managed to find a lot of humor in the grotesque, while also exploring the psychology of the various characters. This direction seems to be the emerging, post-Edmond, hallmark of his recent work. The audience ate it up, it’s a shame Gordon couldn’t have been there to see the crowd’s overwhelmingly positive reaction. I actually think Stuck would do pretty well as a mainstream release – here’s hoping.

Next up was Red, an adaptation of one of the shorter Jack Ketchum stories. It’s one of the few I haven’t read, so I can’t speak to the faithfulness of the adaptation, but those that have read it told me it was extremely accurate except for the ending. Lucky McKee was the original director of Red, but he was later replaced by Trygve Allister Diesen (?) for reasons unknown. Red is pitch black and feels like Ketchum throughout, except for a few jarring moments of sappiness that are clearly tacked on. Red will have fans will be debating whether McKee was replaced because he’s getting soft, or because he refused to compromise on Ketchum’s bleak novella. Mention must be made of Brian Cox’s outstanding and principled performance. He carries the picture with an understated sad dignity that sells the entire concept. Andrew Kasch wasn’t joking in his review when he said Cox should be in line for an Oscar for his portrayal; he’s that good.

While I was off enjoying Stuck and Red, Paul was lured by his love of all things trashy, to the Tiffany stalker documentary I Think We’re Alone Now. In typical McCannibal fashion, he’s off trying to find a horror angle to justify a review as we speak. If you ask me, dueling Asperger’s and transgender afflicted Tiffany stalkers sounds pretty darn scary!

Tomorrow we’ll be seeing another teen-horror movie for grownups, called From Within, and horror writer Eric Shapiro’s directorial debut Rule of 3. After that, Paul and I get a break with the arrival of Johnny and Girlcreeture – Yeehaw, first round is on you, Butane!

Evil Andy

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Johnny Butane