Tuesday, February 28, 2012

and now for a fest.

Just up and recovering from the annual Glasgow Film4 Frightfest and desperately trying to get my head round some of the chilling, thrilling and frankly bizarre sights and sounds I've experienced over the past 48 hours.

Please stick with me as my face is fit to burst from a heady mix of an evil Flu virus, visions of a cockless man attempting to masturbate and a veritable menagerie of pound shop monsters.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Then I'll begin.

Friday's viewing fun began with the definitive documentary regarding probably the world's greatest writer/producer/director; the God-like Saint Roger of Corman with Alex Stapleton's CORMAN’S WORLD: EXPLOITS OF A HOLLYWOOD REBEL.



Frankly if you don't know who Corman is you really shouldn't be reading this.

Or in fact, breathing.

Suffice to say t'was magnificent, entertaining and highly informative plus it gave us the opportunity to see legendary screen fatman and pro-golfer Jack Nicholson have a nervous breakdown on screen.

Which more than justified the ticket price but more importantly made up for the sheer celluloid abomination that was...

TAPE 407: THE MESA RESERVE INCIDENT.
Dir (in the loosest possible sense): Dale Fabrigar and Evette Wallin.
Cast: Abigail Schrader, Samantha Lester, James Lyons, Brendan Patrick Connor, Melanie Lyons and Barney the Dinosaur.




It's New Years Eve and sisters Trish (ear piercing voiced junior voyeur) and Jesse kissy lipped and box faced) have just boarded Optima Flight 37A flying home to Los Angeles from New York after a Christmas vacation.

Unfortunately the fact that the flight is populated by so many clichéd characters (young married couple, drunk fattie, freelance photojournalist, stroke victim - no sorry that's just Samantha Lester's normal expression) mixed with some 60's Star Trek style shaky cam causes the plane to crash land in the local park.

Sorry I mean a remote government-testing area.

Luckily it breaks in two meaning that there's only half a set to build.

Phew.

Beware: the bin men.



Lurching drunkenly from the wreckage as tho' their careers depended on it, the survivors barely have enough time to begin to annoy the audience by spouting dialogue that was a hackneyed even before speech was invented before they're attacked by an unknown enemy.

An unknown enemy that looks a wee bit like this:




Only much, much shitter.

Amateur crap-fest or post-modern ironic statement?

YOU decide.


Next up (after some much needed nicotine and Irn Bru) was the claustrophobically creepy....



CRAWL.
Dir: Paul China
Cast: George Shevtsov, Georgina Haig, Paul Holmes, Andy Barclay and
Lynda Stoner.

And without giving too much away, sweat stained sleazeball cum bar owner Slim Walding (Holmes, son of Mycroft and Brother of Eamon) has recently hired a cowboy hatted Croatian hit man (Shevtsov, bless you) to murder his former pal, a local garage owner over an unpaid debt.

"You chased me...I chase you now thank you".


The crime is carried out with cold Croatian cruelty by the behatted badman and, unbeknownst to Slim a dirty double cross is being played against our pub profiteering pal.

Unluckily for them (but luckily for the audience) the whole thing goes to Hell in a handbag after one of Slim's waitresses, the scrummy toed Marilyn (Road Train's Haig) becomes unwittingly involved after the hitman accidentally runs over her fiancé.

Bloody violence, vile killings and cake abuse follows.

Captivating, cool and classy, the China brothers are a pair to watch.

Not in a stalking way tho' obviously, I just mean in a follow their careers kinda way.

Unlike the high Scrabble score that is Doug Aarniokoski (the man behind Highlander: Endgame) after being subjected to his 'post apocalyptic flesh-eating fantasy...

THE DAY.
Dir: Doug Aarniokoski
Cast: Dominic Monaghan, Shawn Ashmore, Cory Hardrict, Ashley Bell and
Shannyn Sossamon.




It's Tuesday 22nd March, just passed half seven which means it must be the start of the apocalypse.

For some reason best known to writer Luke Passmore, most of Earth's population have turned into pikey cannibals leaving the few survivors to wander around the bleak, burned out landscape wearing neatly trimmed beards and a collection of Millet's overcoats.

Ashley Bell: Thighs you could ski down.

Our tale focuses on five such survivors, desperate to find a safe place to plant the worlds last remaining sunflower seeds.

No really.

As is the way with such things our heroes are low on ammunition, food and charisma plus the token black guy is really poorly leaving them no choice but to hole up in an abandoned farmhouse in the middle of nowhere.

But the whole place is an elaborate Heath Robinson style cannibal trap and it's not long before our veggie pals are fighting for survival against the man meat munching mentalists.

And one of the survivors has a dark secret (and frankly stunning thighs) of her own.

Earnestly shot thru' a gauze of beige seriousness, The Day desperately wants to be seen as a proper grown ups movie shouting it's question 'Who are the real monsters?' as if it's never been asked before whilst totally failing to give a reason for mankind's fall into cannibalism (it would probably get in the way of the long lingering looks the cast give each other) preferring to dollop on sickly serious 'character' scenes and cod Twelve Angry Men moral arguments before giving up completely and morphing into a grey scale version of Assault On Precinct 13.

You would. Twice.
 Luckily the final shot almost makes up for the proceeding 90 minutes.

Almost.

Luckily the final Friday movie (not Jason Goes To Hell obviously) promised to be a winner; Nazi zombies Vs. members of The Bill cast sporting dodgy playground American accents in what has become Lithuania's most expensive film.

They couldn't fuck this up.

Could they?
 



WAR OF THE DEAD.
Dir: Marko Makilaakso
Cast: Andrew Tiernan, Mikko Leppilampi, Samuel Vauramo, Jouko Ahola and Mark Winget.

Now pay attention because this could get confusing.

Way back in 1939 in a hidden bunker somewhere in the woods behind the directors house the evil Nazi's (as opposed to the nice ones) began carrying out scary anti-death experiments on captured Russian soldiers in the hope of creating an army of jumping, leaping and biting zombies.

So far so good.

Anyway, jump forward two years later and a joint squad of Finnish and American troops are on a top secret mission to seize that very same underground bunker from the Russian troops stationed to defend it.

Hmmm....now my history isn't that great but weren't the Finnish collaborating with Germany at this time?

And weren't the Russians our allies?

And more importantly why were there Russian forces guarding a secret Nazi base in the first place?

Clarkson finally flips at the Hamster on Top Gear.

But there's no time to fret about historical accuracies because within 5 minutes of the movie starting our wartime heroes are being attacked by the undead as they leap out of trees, jump of roofs and generally cause all manner of trouble whilst dribbling like John Leslie in a playground.

And that's it really.

For over an hour.

Without even a hint of irony or humour.

Basically a Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies movie for people too thick to hold a joypad.

Luckily for those scarred by the visual molestation that was War of The Dead were given fresh hope for mankind on Saturday morning with a screening of the frankly bonkers...

EVIDENCE.
Dir: Howie Askins.
Cast: Abigail Richie, Ashley Bracken, Brett Rosenberg and Ryan McCoy.




Heading out to the woods for a weekend camping with his girlfriend Abi and pals Ashley and Brett, geek boy Ryan decides it might be a laugh to make a documentary about it.

Especially as poor Brett hates camping.

It all starts off well enough with the booze a flowing and the friends chatting around the camp fire but all that will suddenly change...

And that, frankly is all I can say.

Genuinely terrifying, Evidence takes the by now safe and cosy ‘found footage’ genre by the hand, leading it gently up the garden path for the first 30 or so minutes then suddenly and without warning beats it senseless with a crowbar before violently buggering it up the arse.

Keep away from reviews and previews (even the back of the box), buy it, jump in cold and prepare to experience one of the most mind blowing horror movies of recent years.

She might look upset now but just wait till the mooth shite-in starts.

After the visual and aural assault that was Evidence what was needed was a stiff drink, an even stiffer retired Colonel, some cough sweets, the hot one from Do You Like Hitchcock's? cleavage and a darkly amusing Argentinan that hopefully isn't still obsessed with the Falklands.

Which brings us nicely to...

PENUMBRA.
Dir: Adrian Garcia Bogliano
Argentina 2011
Cristina Brondo, Camila Bordonaba, Berta Muniz, Arnaldo Andre and Mirella Pascual.



The incredibly angry yet incredibly hot Marga (Brondo from Hypnos and my darkest fantasies) is on a business assignment in Buenos Aires - a place she despises more than anything else in the world - whilst also trying to find a new tenant for the decrepit apartment she and her sister were left a few years before.

All of that is about to change tho' when a man named Jorge arrives suddenly at the apartment.

Assuming he's there for a viewing Marga proceeds to show him around and, upon the realising that he represents an incredibly wealthy client (probably) who is wanting the apartment that very day for more than twice the going price, Marga decides to cancel all her previous engagements and wait a cash payout for her family’s apartment.

Steps: The pikey years.

But as more and more of Jorge’s bizarre work colleagues (including pop pixie Camila Bordonaba from  Argentine band Erreway in a fantastic cameo) begin to show up, each attempting to both placate and ultimately manipulate Marga, she begins to suspect that there's a little bit more than a quick sale on their minds.

Plus why is every one of them obsessed with the oncoming solar eclipse?

Part blackly comic social commentary, part paranoia fuelled conspiracy, Bogliano's creepy comedy of (t)errors split audiences down the middle; half loved the scene where olive skinned Cristina Brondo's pert breasts were slowly oiled up in glorious close-up whilst others felt the scene just wasn't long enough.

And should really have been in 3-D.

Five fingers...never touched the sides.


And me?

I just loved it all.

Alas there was little time for a discussion on the finer point of breast oiling as it was time to bring a little bit of class to the proceedings with what I assumed was a motion picture version of the Igor Stravinsky ballet.

Originally choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky and with set design and costumes by the infamous Russian mystic, painter, philosopher, scientist and writer Nicholas Roerich, It was first staged by producer Sergei Diaghilev especially for his world renowned Ballets Russes ballet company in Paris on 29 May 1913.

Nicholas Roerich: clever clogs.



Originally I was a wee bit sceptical on how this would translate for the modern day horror audience but, in a pre-movie chat  director Padraig Reynolds assured us that he'd made minimal changes, really just little things like the date and stuff.

Relieved I sat back ready to enjoy...

RITES OF SPRING.
Dir: Padraig Reynolds
Cast: Anessa Ramsey, AJ Bowen, Sonny Marinelli, Marco St. John and John Evenden.



Way back in the spring of 1984 in the small town of Enrico's Buff, five teenage girls mysteriously vanished.

With the town panicked and the residents daughters locked up at night the  disappearances stopped as suddenly as they began.

Everything was forgotten until the following spring when the disappearances began again, continuing for the next 24 years.

No bodies were ever recovered.

No one was ever caught.

Until that is the humid spring of 2008 when someone or something managed to break the cycle of terror that had enveloped the town.

This film tells that story.

"Sorry I have my woman's period".



A story that also features a nutty as squirrel shit religious rascal obsessed with kidnapping young girls, cellar bound beasts, undeserved redundancies and a kidnap plot.

And all shot in the style of Jeepers Creepers.

Scary, stylish, well acted and directed yet ultimately safe, Reynolds' infectious enthusiasm makes you want to love the movie more than you do meaning you leave the screening feeling more like you've just shagged your best pals missis rather than watch a bloody good frightener.

Hopefully he'll up the bad taste, creepy townsfolk mentality for part 2.

Or take a leaf from Dale Fabrigar and Evette Wallin's book and add a dinosaur.

Maybe even a dinosaur with oily breasts?

Just a thought.

"Ahm shaggin' yer weans!"


Which leads nicely into the next movie, which again I can't say too much about because it is, quite frankly a work of utter genius.

L’ARRIVO DI WANG/ WANG’S ARRIVAL.
Directors: Manetti bros.
Italy 2011
Ennio Fantastichini, Francesca Cuttica, Li Yong, Juliet Essy Jospeph and Antonello Moroni.



It starts as just another depressingly dull day for scrumptious interpreter Gaia (Cuttica, meow) subtitling low rent Chinese-language comedies when suddenly she’s contacted by the Italian authorities to see if she'd be interested in doing a little bit of translating work for them.

Thrice.


 After a wee bit of humming and ahhing the draw of leaving dismal comedies behind (at least for a while) coupled with the promise of a huge wad of cash proves too great to resist and  Gaia excitedly heads of to a top secret location in order to interview a certain Mr. Wang, a Mandarin speaking non Italian national who appears to have entered the country illegally.


"Is it a banana?"

A modern day Rod Serling inspired morality play from the fantastic Manetti brothers, L’ARRIVO DI WANG is quite simply one of the two must see films of this year.

Tho' it'll probably be retitled by then, hopefully as THE VISITOR because that was my suggestion and the cash would be nice.

And talking of films you shouldn't miss, this penultimate movie wasn't one of them.

It's scary sppoks 'n' creepy gooks big budget Hollywood style which means, no doubt it'll turn into a huge steaming pile of...

CASSADAGA.
Director: Anthony DiBlasi
USA 2011
Kelen Coleman, Kevin Alejandro, Louise Fletcher, Lucius Baston and J. LaRose.



Shockingly (for all the wrong reasons) opening with a retread of Pieces as a bowl haired wee boy in a dress cuts off his cock and bollocks with a pair of rusty scissors, the film swiftly jumps forward to 'the modern day' where deaf art teacher Lily Morel (Coleman channelling a plump Natalie Portman vibe whilst wearing the tiniest skirts ever seen on teaching staff) is totally distraught (and a wee bit upset) after the totally non ironic death by school bus (after a chat about how learning stuff is fun) of her younger sister (played it seems by Edward Furlong in a wig).

A younger sister who had to go into foster care after their mother died until Lily (recovering from deafness inducing meningitis)  was old enough to adopt her.

There's a hard luck tale then there's taking the piss.

Pardon?


Deciding to move back to her mothers home town of Cassadaga, a Florida based spooky spiritualist type community populated by skinny black men carrying coffins around at night, paramedics who look like James Franco and nurse Ratchett, Lily takes a teaching job at the local school and a room from local academic Claire (Fletcher) and her masturbation obsessed son Brian.

No sooner has she started work than she starts seeing hunky single dad (of the biggest faced child actor you will ever see) Mike (Alejandro), goes on a date to see a psychic and ends up being haunted by a mysterious girl who was murdered by a secret member of the cast ten years earlier. 

Brittany Murphy: The comeback.

Cue 90 minutes of nonsensical serial murders, overwrought wanking, inappropriately short skirts, conceptual confusion and a killer who wears a summer dress, apron and welders mask.

But with none of the joy and happiness that list should bring to an audience.

Part deep south shocker and part murder mystery with a huge dollop of film making by numbers added for a laugh, Cassadaga is ultimately a soulless and  joyless committee made monstrosity which by it's very nature will probably be more successful than anything else on the list.

And that's really scary.

Saying all that tho' it does have the dubious honour of being the only movie heckled over the whole weekend.

Having to leave the cinema for half an hour so that security could search for hidden cameras etc. (yes! it was really that exciting!) gave us all enough time to prepare ourselves physically and mentally for what promised to be the highlight of not just the festival but of the entire history of cinema.

But could a big Welshman aided by a tiny Indonesian really be the saviours of modern cinema?



THE RAID.
Dir: Gareth Evans.
Cast: Iko Uwais, Doni Alamsyah, Yayan Ruhain, Ray Sahetapy and Joe Taslim.

In the poorest neighbourhood of Indonesia's poorest city lies a 15-storey building run by the countries most ruthless gangster and home to it's  most dangerous criminals.

And today's the day that the cities tough as boots police chief has decided to bring the law to this vile cesspit of lawlessness.

With an elite SWAT force hand picked for the job successfully penetrating the buildings outer defences you know it's only a matter of time before the whole operation goes tits up.

And tits up it goes spectacularly leaving a handful of battered cops trapped inside the labyrinth corridors of the apartment block with no way out.

And surrounded by Indonesia's most ruthless gangsters, evil drug barons, hardened killers and machete wielding street gangs.

But tough young cop Rama (Iko Uwais) is determined to complete the mission, a mission that takes on a more personal perspective when he spots a face from his past amid the confusion.

All hail the new king of action directors, Lord Gareth of Evans, reuniting with his MERANTAU: THE WARRIOR star Iko Uwais for quite possibly THE great action film ever made.

Imagine Die Hard, Assault on Precinct 13 and Ong Bak remixed, rejigged and re-fashioned into a 90 minute burst of pure adrenaline that fires straight from the screen and into your eyeballs before infecting your whole body with hyper real, high tension madness.

What can I say?

Better than the best thing ever.

Twice.

See it, buy it, offer to have Evans and Uwais babies then thank the Lord for people like them.

The perfect ending to probably the strongest and friendliest Frightfest ever.

Too gushy?

Sorry, I'll go find some shite to watch.

1 comment:

Roboblog said...

Crawl and Evidence look good. I'll check them out.