Fantasia 2008: The First Week

Fantasia 2008: The First WeekAs I mentioned in my opening soiree blog for this year’s Fantasia Festival, it’s been a tough one without my compadre Evil Andy. Fantasia is not a situation where one can be semi-committal – any given time of day where other obligations tie you down can lead to a cinematic masterpiece (or disasterpiece) slipping through your fingers.

But, scheduling nightmares aside, I have managed to get into the Fantasia milieu intermittently in recent days and pick up on the buzz of what went down, or up, or sideways...

Apparently Treevenge and Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer (review) brought the house down on Saturday night. I can’t say I’m overwhelmed in hearing such a thing as you’ll note in my controversial review of Jack Brooks, but all out there interested in the silly side of horror culture should know that that crowd pleasers are intended to please crowds, and Jack Brooks was apparently very successful in that respect.

Sunday is the day I’m kicking myself for missing. What We Do is Secret played, and according to Mitch Davis, it was one of the more caustic Q&A milieus Fantasia has seen. What We Do is Secret isn’t a horror film, so that’s why it got the “If I can I will” coverage at my end, but that doesn’t mean it should be missed. The one and only Rick Trembles picked it out of the many films played at Fantasia so far as his review of What We Do is Secret is right here.

The early days of this week were troublesome for your humble blog-pundit due to clashing schedule issues so unfortunately The Substitute was missed, but I’ll do my best to get a screener and review the damned thing before this festival is over. Yesterday, I got a chance to really do it up proper and watch 3 movies in a row. First up was The Assembly, a film from China which is like the communist version of Saving Private Ryan. Nothing really of note here for horror fans, but if you are even remotely interested in visceral and fantastically executed gory battle scenes, this one puts Private Ryan and even the latest installment of Rambo to shame. Massive explosions, disembowelments, head shots, percussive carpet bombings, tank explosions, and deafening detonations pervade the 1st hour of this movie. Check it out if you like war movies. Not fun times to view by any means, but very intense viewing nonetheless.

I also caught the Jung Brothers Korean debut, Epitaph, and the latest film from Blair Witch co-director Daniel Myrick, the Afghanistan-set opus The Objective (review), as well as being lucky enough to catch Spain’s REC (review) on the big screen last week, the acclaimed vampire film Let the Right One In (review), and the masterfully executed Peur(s) du Noir (review). All of these were standout movie experiences. I’ll go on record as among the choir of critics calling REC a truly scary experience. I was scared. I admit it. I jumped, cringed, and felt uneasy. I was freaked out. REC is absolutely amazing, so as Billy Red Lyons once said, “Don’t you dare miss it!”

And this brings me to my sadly limited terminus of a sadly limited blogging effort thus far in relation to Fantasia. Having said that, in spite of the many currents pulling me away from the cult Mecca that is the Fantasia Festival in Montreal, I have managed to secure at least some info and perspective thus far. Dread Central standby Evil Andy returns in a matter of hours, and head honchos Johnny Butane and Girlcreeture are arriving here next week, so you can expect an incremental upswing in horror related reporting and reviews from this day forward.

You will not be sleeping so soundly this time next week, let’s put it that way!

- Paul McCannibal

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Cash Bailey's picture

You lucky bugger!!

Submitted by Cash Bailey on Thu, 07/10/2008 - 3:20pm.

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