The Horrors of Fantasia: Days Fifteen and Sixteen
No more stinky juice!
If you’ve seen Neighborhood Watch, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, don’t sweat it; that just leads to more stinky juice. No really, just forget it; you probably can’t stomach this movie anyway. . .
Neighborhood Watch is easily one of my favorite films of the festival thus far. We’ve already got a previous review (which you can find here), but the experience of seeing this nasty little slice of suburban stank with a crowd left me with a somewhat higher opinion of the film than Johnny.
First off, according to writer/director Graeme Whifler the film is based on two real life events. The first is the story of a medic who used to bring tainted donuts for his co-workers. It wasn’t until his oblivious colleagues started to get sick that they realized he was dusting their jelly glazes with rat poison. The second twisted inspiration for the film is a story about a guy who, obsessed with putting an end to his overheated libido, decided to remove a gland attached to his kidney (which he held responsible for his sexual urges). The guy then goes off, attaches a mirror to his ceiling, and manages to cut himself open and muddle around with his guts before calling 911 to rescue him from his home surgery gone awry. Who the hell are these people?!
Neighborhood Watch manages to seamlessly blend both of these true events into a twisted suburban tale of physical, mental, and moral decay. Also, despite some folks saying the film isn’t all that gory, there was at least one person at Fantasia that would likely disagree. Medics had to interrupt tonight’s screening due to a man passing out! Personally, I watched the last fifteen minutes of the movie with my mouth hanging open like a slack-jawed yokel. I haven’t had this type of reaction to a film’s finale since first watching Audition. High praise indeed.
For a further peek into the insanity that is Neighborhood Watch, check out Rick Tremble's comic strip review (click the image to enlarge)
Just before Neighborhood Watch, the packed house was treated to the crowd pleasing splatstick retread that is Evil Aliens. A few folks walked out of this screening shaking their heads and muttering epithets about Jake West and his talents as a rip-off artist, but the bulk of the crowd who was just there to see a gory horror comedy loved it. I have to say, I had a blast, and despite nearly every good element of the movie being lifted from Peter Jackson and every bad element being a Jake West original, I still enjoyed the experience. Let’s face it, lots of low budget films have tried to emulate Dead Alive and failed miserably. Watching Evil Aliens with a pumped up genre crowd couldn’t be too far off from what it must have been like to watch Bad Taste back in the late 80’s. Hell, during the infamous combine sequence the crowd was actually clapping their hands to the music and singing along.
Evil Aliens is more theft than homage, so I can see why some critics would have a hard time with the movie, but if you’re in the mood for over-the-top gore, interspecies booty calls, alien impregnation, and multitudes of spraying fluids, you could do a lot worse than this film.
Moving back in time to Thursday. . .we only managed to catch Takashi Shimizu’s surprisingly non-Ju-On-like Reincarnation. Most of the audience was bored stiff, but I kind of liked it. Check out my review here.
Saturday promises to be one of the best days of the festival. We’ll be checking out a collection of short films made by English stop-motion genius Robert Morgan followed up by Takeshi Miike’s children’s fantasy epic The Great Yokai War. Topping off the evening will be the horror blunt that is Snoop Dogg’s Hood of Horror.
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