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The Horrors of Fantasia: Day Thirteen

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Thirteen has been a great number to horror fans, and today was no different with the thirteenth day of Fantasia being perhaps the most enjoyable yet. Tuesday’s films skirted the edge of horror, and so we won’t be reviewing all of them, but a brief mention of each of the movies is required.

First up was Blood Tea and Red String, a ten-year labor of love created by Christiane Cegavske. The film, rendered entirely as stop-motion puppet animation, is reminiscent of early 20th Century Eastern European model animation, preoccupied as it is with strange creatures, stylized depictions of nature, and folklore. The film is absolutely stunning to behold, and despite a complete lack of dialogue and jerky animation, the raw personality and exuberance of the film shone through.

While I was enjoying this stop-motion marvel, Paul was across the street watching Scared. It wasn’t too long ago that Thai horror was an anomaly, and those Thai flicks that did exist were mainly aping the J-Horror phenomenon. This is no longer the case as Thai films are now tackling all kinds of sub-genres, including survival horror as is the case with Scared. The buzz is that Scared is dumb, but gory, which is, as we know, sometimes enough. Click here to see if McCannibal agrees.

Next came Robert Redford’s favorite fright flick, the Aspen-filmed, Sundance-premiered Subject Two. The film is an ambitious modern retelling of Frankenstein. It is well executed but seems to oddly misinterpret its source material. Check out my review here.

The last film of the night may have been one of the best of the festival thus far. Unfortunately, virtually none of us will get to see this Soviet masterpiece of fantastic cinema theatrically since Viy is nearly forty years old. Viy, based on a story by Nicolai Gogol, tells the humorous and supernatural tale of a young seminarian and his encounter with a witch. Notable for its beautiful Technicolor cinematography and particularly inventive and adept special effects, Viy is available on DVD and would be well worth tracking down.

Tomorrow Fantasia’s stop-motion program kicks into overdrive with the Canadian premiere of stop-motion god Jan Svankmajer’s Lunacy. Speaking of lunacy, we’ll also be checking out Pusher 3, which apparently blows away the previous two films, a rumor I find a little scary. Paul is obsessively into the Pusher films and is going to try to interview Nicolas Winding Refn sometime this week. I hope he isn’t killed in the process cuz we’ve still got the final weekend to get through…

Evil Andy

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Jon Condit