|AICN Horrorfest 2005 (07.10.05 - 07.11.05, 6 movies)|
|07.10.05||Devil Times Five||Sean MacGregor||Enter the Dusk Till Dawn Alamo Drafthouse/Aint It Cool News All-Nighter Horrorthon. IF. YOU. DARE.|
The line was out the door an hour before showtime. It went around the corner of the block before they opened the theater to us gore-hungry band of degenerate nocturnal horror fans. One of the women that works there noted "i hope you all showered. 12 hours is a loooong time." Some guy in line said "i hope we all showered too!"
Harry says he basically had very little to do with the movie selection. Ok that's not entirely true, he had a little bit to do with it but not much. Most of the programming credit went to Lars, a tall skinny dude with a huge combined thicket of dark hair and beard. He introduces the first film: Devil Times Five. "Werewolves, vampires... they don't come close to evil children. Nothing is as creepy as evil children. Also, the lead kid in the is Leif Garrett. While you're watching, think about what Leif Garrett's 'thing' is. I mean there's one kid that's a soldier and one likes fire and stuff like that, each evil child seems to have a 'thing' but then there's Leif Garrett. He's just bad vibes or something."
The movie also stars the dude who played Boss Hog and Rosario from WIll & Grace. it's pretty horrible, but laughably so. Seeing it in a theater of fully charged horror fans makes it a hilarious experience. The movie does have a completely gratuitous catfight (with boob slippage) and pretty nice pirahna death (how they manage to get a pirahna death into a movie set in a snowed-in ski cabin? i'll leave that as an exercise for the reader).
It wont be the last time tonight that I'm surprised by moments and glimpses of really classic movie moments in a piece of crap film.
|07.10.05||Three... Extremes||Fruit Chan, Chan-wook Park, Takashi Miike||The next film Harry introduces, an "early" (i guess it's out on DVD) print of a Japanese horror anthology directed by three top greats of Japanese Horror. I'm uninitiated to all three but hear great things about Miike's work and downright amazing things about Chan-wook Park's stuff. I figure this will be a good introduction to them all.|
The first story is from Fruit Chan and is my favorite of the three. I order a pepperoni pizza and settle into this story called Dumplings. Cutting to the chase, this woman cooks aborted fetuses into dumplings and they have restorative powers. Except she helps this one girl abort and it's an incest baby so it makes the woman that eats it smell like fish and break out in rashes. The chef splits town right after the hungry woman learns that she's pregnant. She decides to take this "device" and abort herself... presumably because she's up for another snack.
I'm eating all during this. it's great.
Next up is Cut from Chan-wook Park, which manages to flip flop between really heavy thriller stuff and super-light comedy like fourteen times. It's made really well but the story just doesn't compare with the crunchy sound effects of little baby parts chopped up and served in dumplings.
Last shown is Miike's Box, which is just weird and mostly silent and incestual sort of and maybe all a dream. I'm not really sure, my bladder took over at one point and i had to miss some of it. I didn't really mind though. it had something to do with ballet dancing sisters that are, in the end, majorly conjoined (although very different in ages. how's that work?). The guy next to me tells me that Miike's other stuff is better.
|07.10.05||Deathdream||Bob Clark||It's awesome that the same guy can direct a movie like this, Porky's, A Christmas Story, and Baby Genuises. He's like a current-day equivalent of Robert Wise.|
Anyway, Lars announces that we're moving back to America with Deathdream AKA Dead of Night AKA a pretty good movie made on a budget of like two bucks and free coffee. I finally feel like I belong because, while I haven't seen this film, I've just read about it in my Fangoria's 101 Best Horror Movies You've Never Seen book. It's "on my list."
The story, somewhat of a precursor to Jacob's Ladder, is about a GI who gets shot over in the Nam. His family back home gets the dreaded telegram complete with some generic military dude saying sorry. The father is the dude in The Godfather who wakes up with his horse's head in his bed. Surprise Surprise though, Beloved Son Andy shows up late one night, seemingly ok!
Hands down the best scene in this movie is right then, when the dad says something like "they even told us that you died hah hah." and Andy replies "I did." What follows is a super long awkward silence, cutting between each character as Andy holds his stone dead ghoul zombie-ish face, then barely a hint of a smile, then maybe what could be a smile, then a small smile, then a completely forced toothy smile and the whole family laughs for like a minute.
After that, it's the usual. Andy's actually a ghoul and needs to kill and drink blood to keep his complexion rosy. The mom goes crazy and protects him from whatever while he kills the dog and several people. Finally Andy goes on a double date with his old girl and his sister and her boyfriend and, while the sis and her hunk are going to the lobby to get themselves some treats at the drive-in, he tries to eat his old girlfriend in the backseat. When he gets home, the mother says "I don't care about (sister's name) and takes quickly-decaying Andy on a car chase.
Directly before that though comes the second-best moment in the film. Andy and his mom are on the way to the car when a police cruiser screeches up and both cops draw down on them. Cop #1 says something like "Stop!" then cop #2 just shoots Andy in the chest right away. Cut to the two cops, cop #1 looks over at cop #2 like wtf? Just enough of a pause to let the entire theater laugh our heads off.
|07.10.05||The Roost||Ti West||Next up is this low-budget new movie that showed at SXSW this year. The woman who introduced it talked a lot about Larry Fessenden who did this movie called Wendigo (also on Fangoria's list. i'm so knowledgeable). Then she sort of built this movie up a lot and said that Tom Noonan is the star. He's the super tall guy that's really really creepy. He was in Manhunter and Heat and stuff... So anyway, the woman also says that she wont tell us what the monster or creature is, but there is one.|
So the film starts and Tom Noonan is like the host of a saturday late-night horror movie show... yeah like the grampa in Goonies 2. And he's onscreen for like five minutes then it's four teens who turn off the main road and get their car stuck in a ditch. It's all digital night photography so there's digital grain everywhere. There's also this old couple who are on their way... somewhere... and the old woman says to the old man "hey, are you sure you locked the old spooky barn?" and the old man says "oops, even though it's our barn, not only did i not lock it but i also have no idea of the source of that spooky sound that just came from the pitch dark inside. I guess I will check it out." Then the old lady waits a few minutes then says to herself "well crap, my hubby hasn't returned. That gate must be really hard to lock. I will go check it out and likewise also go into the pitch black barn to investigate the spooky sound."
Cut back to the sexy teens walking to the nearest house because their car's stuck in a ditch. They find the old people's house and proceed, one by one, to check out the dark spooky barn. So what's the big monster creature? some bats. I guess in this universe though, bats are actually terrifying and will chase you down instead of just fly away and maybe give you rabies if you try to pelt them with tennis rackets. So the kids try to barricade themselves INSIDE the spooky barn and there's this cop that dies or something and i guess the twist on these horrific bats is that if they bite you you turn into a zombie. So they are zombifying bats. Great.
The whole thing is super dark and very digital minicam low-budget. I'd overlook it if there was a good story or something but the whole thing's filled with really loud spooky soundtrack and cheap soundtrack queues to make you jump. I was pretty unimpressed.
After, the guy next to me asked how I liked it and I noted a few of my problems. He seemed to defend the film though so I dropped it. Horror fans during the day can be trouble. At 4 am they are not to be upset. Just like bears. bears in obscure old t-shirts. and scraggly beards.
|07.10.05||Schock||Mario Bava||Lars gets back up and announces that the next film will be Mario Bava. His last one in fact, entitled Schock. he then says that they retitled the movie Beyond the Door 2 because there was a horrible Exorcist rip-off called Beyond the Door that made money so when they imported this they called it the sequel. According to Lars, this is an insult to Bava and everything he stands for. Aside from that though, this movie has the best screaming ever in it.|
Now, from what I know of Bava, he feigned sickness toward the end of his career to let his son Lamberto get some experience behind the camera. Schock seems closer to Lamberto's debut Macabre than the other films of Mario that I've seen. The body count is pretty low but it's very odd and very psychological and the few scenes of gore that they do show are pretty worth it.
This, perhaps a precursor to that boring-ass movie Birth, is about a woman (Daria Nicolodi, Asia Argento's hot (in an Italian way) mom) and her son (some kid they picked out of the freaky farm) and her new hubby move back to the house where she lived with her first hubby, who we're told was an addict and depressio and died at sea or something. Of course, the kid gets semi-possessed by the dead for-some-reason-vengeful first hubby. The kid proceeds to get mad whenever she screws her new hubby, tries to initiate some mom/son action, and acts weird and possessed-like for the whole movie. At the end we find out that she is psycho and killed her first hubby but her second hubby knows and has tried to hide it all this time but then she kills him too and assorted furniture moves and haunts her to the point where she thinks ghosts are slitting her throat but it's really her.
So check my entry for Macabre against my entry for Twitch of the Death Nerve and see if I'm not right about the Mario/Lamberto thing.
|07.10.05||Devil Fetus||Hung Chuen Lau||At the beginning of the night, when we were still fresh and innocent, Harry said that the last movie had the best title ever, and neither he nor Lars had seen it.|
Now here we are. The last movie of the night. Technically it's already daylight out but since we're all in the theater we don't know/care. The numbers have thinned, only the most hardcore are still present. Sitting there for about ten hours, stewing in our air-conditioned horror-adled geekiness. Lars silently approves of all of us with a gleam in his eye. As a treat, he unveils what the rest of the world will know in a few days: that Quentin Tarantino is coming back this September for QT6: the next multi-day film festival programmed by the man himself: Quentin Tarantino. We are the first people in the world (aside from QT and the Alamo folk... and the AICN folk.. and probably some other people too) to know about it. I remember reading about previous QT fests on AICN and being so jealous i would just close the window. I didn't even want to read the titles of the films he showed because all of Austin and their little slice of heavenly cool film community there could go and suck an egg as far as I'm concerned. Well, now I'm in that little slice of heavenly cool film community. In fact, at this moment I am in the red blood-gushing heart of it with maybe a hundred of my closest horror-gonzo bretheren, awaiting a movie with a name like Devil Fetus to start.
I should mention that they had vintage horror trailers preceding every one of the films. Some really classic ones too. I can't begin to remember any of them but just believe me when I tell you that they were cool.
Devil Fetus. chinese. made in the 80s. Very uneven in extremes. The bad scenes were pretty unbearable but the good ones... oh man were they goooooood.
This woman buys this "vase" that really looks more like a giant phallus with a little demon holding onto it than anything that could ever hold flowers. She touches this thing while laying in bed and suddenly this greyish veiny monster is on top of her having his "way." These two kids try to look at it and she snatches it away from them and runs upstairs to admire it again. Her hubby gets home from like six months away or something and walks in to see the devil mid-coitus. He reverts back to the "vase" and he grabs it and smashes it down on the floor. Dust rises up to his face and it immediately begins to turn purple and massive fleshy pustules form all over. He then rips off half his face, revealing maggots and worms, and gets so disgusted that he leaps out the window to his death. The woman also dies. During her funeral, the priest dude sees inside the coffin that her belly swells all up and this titular devil fetus pops out. He puts some ban on it in the form of a few flimsy pieces of paper hung precariously over a small stone plaque and says that it will take her a dozen years before she gets to go to heaven or whatever.
That's like, the first five minutes. After that, it's all about the two young boys grown up and blah blah blah, evil possession ensues, more furniture moves around, some pretty crazy stop-motion kung-fu-esque stuff happens, long story short one of the brothers kills the evil-possessed brother and he turns into the devil and he chops the devil's head off and the neck shoots out three or four snake/larva looking things with heads on them that he also chops off and it's all over. thank god.
Other highlights include an evil-possessed dog getting the samurai sword, spraying enough blood into this girl's face that she actually spits out like a mouth-full of it. There's also the old help-i'm-caught-in-the-sauna-and-the-walls-are-closing-in head explosion against the glass door chestnut, done adequately well, and a few scenes of the evil-possessed brother chowing down on doggy and human flesh thrown in for good measure. It's pretty safe to say that the movie fit our collective mindset pretty well as a "last movie" and the really really terrible subtitles gave us plenty of laughs in between the gore-outs ("something evil has beaitched your brother!").
And then it was over, just like that. Slowly we scattered out into the early Sunday sunlight, a bunch of zombies let loose on the deserted downtown Austin area. Soon we covered the streets, small groups of black t-shirt wearing horror fans twitching from too much sugar and caffeine each heading to their cars or homes. Just over thirteen hours after leaving, I entered my too-bright apartment. I survived. I'm ready for the next one.