The Horrors of Fantasia: Days Eleven and Twelve
After an evening spent boozing with the ever cool Rue Morgue crew (or was that Friday? It’s all beginning to blur...), Sunday saw the English language version of the Quebec DIY competition, which is a short film program put on by Fantasia each year to promote up-and-coming local filmmakers.
As was expected, the films were a mixed bag, but fortunately each of the shorts had elements that made them worthwhile. The flicks ranged from your basic DV-shot zombie cheapy to full fledged productions with professional lighting, special effects, sound design, and soundtrack.
I’m pleased to report that our very own Paul McCann(ibal) delivered one of the most impressive entries of the competition: a short entitled "Help Wanted." Paul’s film tells the story of Graham, a young job seeker who travels into the underbelly of an industrial tenement apartment for a decidedly shady job interview. If you’ve ever experienced the pain of looking for a menial job and having to impress a mentally defective manager, then you’ll find "Help Wanted" familiar. That said, this interview is unlike any you’ve ever had. What is that red glow coming from behind that locked door, and why is the smell of frying meat permeating the air so early in the morning? "Help Wanted" brings new meaning to job interviews being a "pain in the ass."
Other notable shorts in the DIY program included Robbie Purden’s "Gutty Diabo" and Mario De Giglio-Bellemare’s "Uncanny."
"Gutty Diabo" is a film about a mysterious small town stranger and the two young brothers who seek out his origins. This may not sound like much, but Purden’s eleven-minute short manages to pack in the most realistic and graphic self dismemberment I’ve ever seen, an opening line so funny I’m still laughing about it, and some Halely-Joel Osmet quality child acting (I see spontaneously combusted people!).
"Uncanny" is the latest short from "Zombie Business" director Mario De Giglio-Bellemare. The film has a nostalgic EC comics style and story, but the subtext contains references to colonialism, the effects of capitalism on third world countries, corporate fraud, and homeless youth. Never let it be said that micro-budget shorts have to limit the scope of their message!
Sunday evening saw the first ever public screening of Raw Meat director Gary Sherman’s first feature film in almost twenty years: 39: A Film by Carroll McKane. I’m happy to report that the man who gave us Dead and Buried is back, and his new movie is an intelligent and disturbing film that deserves to be sitting next to the likes of Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Check out my review here for more.
Monday we took a little breather and only went to see a single movie: the Irish horror flick Isolation, which takes the premise of "mad cow disease" and builds a horror film that could spontaneously turn entire audiences into vegetarians. McCannibal was so kind as to review it for us right here.
Monday also provided the opportunity for Cinema Sewer’s Robin Bougie and myself to spend a couple of hours chatting with Gary Sherman about coming out of retirement, his new movie, and how he might be directing a remake of his seminal film Deathline/Raw Meat. Expect that interview in the coming weeks.
Tuesday promises to be an interesting day as we’ll be seeing the ten years in the making, stop motion film Blood Tea and Red String, the Thai survival horror flick Scared, and the American "Frankenstein in Colorado" movie, Subject Two.
Only one more week to go...
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