The Horrors of Fantasia: Day 2 & 3
The opening weekend’s been a blast so far. Friday night we checked out The Signal (review) and Flight of the Living Dead. In true expectation bending Fantasia fashion, the film I was most excited about (FoTLD) was a slight disappointment. It’s fun, and it succeeds in all kinds of ways it hasn’t any right to, but hey, it’s still a "blank on a blank" movie. The film I thought was just going to be a derivative J-Horror meets Zombie apocalypse flick (The Signal) blew me away. Check this one out folks, the plot synopsis doesn’t do it justice.
Saturday was even better. Though strictly speaking, it’s not horror, the documentary Your Mommy Kills Animals shows some pretty horrifying animal abuses throughout its investigation into the animal rights movement. Far be it from my steak loving self to get preachy about animal rights, but the film bears mentioning because of what it has to say about free speech. If a bunch of bunny huggers inciting violence on the internet can get labeled the number one domestic terrorist threat in America, surely hardcore horror in all its myriad forms, has to make the top ten list. Hell, Uwe Boll may even get his own personal ranked slot after the Department of Homeland Security sees Postal.
Next up was Adam Green’s fun and gory as hell Hatchet (review). Contrary to what I mentioned before, what we saw was the uncut theatrical print; boobies and grue intact (yay!). Maybe it’s just the fact that I hadn’t been following Hatchet all that closely and went in cherry intact, but I was a little surprised to find that Hatchet’s brand of "old school horror" is circa 1985, not 1975. The jokes take precedence over any scares, making it a great midnight movie, and with last year’s Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon and now The Rage (review) and Hatchet, we might just be on the verge of a full-scale 80’s resurgence. Then again, maybe not. I grew up in that era, and love it enough to dedicate a whole room of my house to building rubber masks and special effects, but I’m not sure that the future of horror is twenty years behind us. If you’re going to proclaim originality on posters with the "not a remake, not a sequel" tagline and the "This is the New Shit" theme song, an audience can reasonably expect to see something they haven’t before. The best aspect of Hatchet is that it feels like you’re seeing a lost, uncut 80’s slasher film. The gore is top-notch, the kills extraordinarily inventive, and the character of Victor Crawley bordering on icon territory. I just wish the marketing set up the film as a throwback, rather than some bold new direction in horror. I would have enjoyed it more.
Minor issues aside, I’ve never seen a Fantasia screening erupt like they did at Hatchet. We’re talking full house, standing ovation and a capacity Q&A session. Adam Green was an incredibly generous guest, staying longer than most, and regaling the crowd with his inspiring "scream come true" story. We caught most of it, which you can read right here. We’ll be catching his sophomore effort Spiral tonight, and are excited to see the arthouse side of the guy who came up with the belt sander gag.
We topped the night off with Hell’s Ground (review), another incredibly fun, totally authentic 80’s throwback, but made in Pakistan! We had the good luck of bumping into director Omar Ali Khan, and producers Andy Starke, and Pete Tombs at the local pub, where we tipped a glass (or three) to the success of their original knock-off film. You can read my Fantasia catalog write-up about it here, or check out Paul’s enthusiastic review .
Next week’s dispatches will be coming straight from the one the only, Johnny Butane. He and his lovely lady Michelle are en-route to Montreal as we speak. Paul and I will be back next week, if our livers survive the next few days rocking out with the boss...
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