Tuesday, February 26, 2013

sweet seats, sugar teats and a wee touch of aids.

(Or how I stopped worrying and learned to love Norway).

A Bit late coming but it's taken me till now to prepare myself mentally for a revisit to this years Glasgow FrightFest, I mean can you imagine how hard it must be for someone like myself who suffers from severe text diarrhoea to attempt to compress over 12 hours of cinematic treats (and Lords of Salem) into something resembling a well written and sometimes amusing blog post?

Especially when this years event was probably the most fun ever.

Well, I've done my best.

Now in it's 764th year, this time round FF boasted not only allocated seats (which still didn't stop a drunken, middle aged Weegie trying to fight me on Saturday) and more movies but a guest list that would make even Parkie wank himself silly with excitement.

St. Trinians saucepot Gemma Arterton was in attendance, as was the barely legal beauty that is Saoirse Ronan alongside directing legend Neil Jordan and bespectacled producing god Stephen Woolley, all there for the European premiere of Byzantium whilst various cast and crew members of Sawney: Flesh of Man joined the onstage festivities later in an attempt to hide from the cold and explain why a serial killer apparently living on The Isle of Skye would drive all the way to Glasgow and back just to pick up one victim and how on earth a 11 year old 'reporter' could possibly have a drinks problem.

Rounding up (not literally) Friday’s guests was 'Canadian' director Mr. Spencer Estabrooks who scarily had flown over at his own expense to unveil his latest short entitled The Hunt.

Which luckily for us (and him) was quite good.

But now to the movies and what a mix bag it was, opening (as is now the Glasgow tradition) with a documentary, this years offering was Michael Stephenson's frankly magnificent The American Scream which took us to the seaside town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts where the Brodeur, Souza and Bariteau families spend fortunes and hours every year turning their homes into haunted houses for the Halloween holiday, for no other reason than to entertain their neighbours with good old fashioned healthy scares.

Freakishly funny and remarkably touching, Stephenson treats his subjects not as freaks but with the respect they deserve, which must be hard seeing as, on first sight, the Brodeur's appear to be a pair of inbred pedo' potato people with a fetish for sinister clown suits when in reality they're one of the nicest, most loving family I've ever come across.

And not in that way.

Highly recommended.

"Wanna buy some pegs Dave?"

Following on from the aforementioned The Hunt (love to see a feature spun out of this, I'm available to script duties Mr. Estabrooks) and a quick pee came the Scottish horror effort Sawney: Flesh of Man, based (very) loosely - IE it had a cannibal in it - on the legend of the 15th century flesh-eater and his murderous clan (copies of my rejected Sawney script and storyboards are still available by the way) transported to the modern day and featuring a taxi.

How do you sum up a film which even the events host described with the words "Well it was better than watching paint dry"?

Apart from praising it's cinematography and wondering why director Ricky Wood had decided to make the naturally entertaining David Hayman tone down his performance rather than letting him go full pelt with the mentalism that is.

His googly eyed, dribbly performance doesn't totally save the film but it does drag it out of a self induced coma around the 40 minute mark.

And I must point out to those involved that having Grotbags from Emu's world appear in animated form as a surprise threat in the last 10 minutes of a movie really doesn't work on modern cinema audiences.

Some fairly decent cinematography yesterday.

There was barely time for a slash 'n' fag before the high-point of Friday’s proceedings, not content with raping our childhoods with his abysmal Halloween xerox and subjecting viewers to endless shots of his wife’s scrawny arse disguised as entertainment, Robert 'Rob' Zombie (not his real name) has returned to our screens with his attempt to do a Rosemary's Baby with his much anticipated (it says in the PR handout) Lords of Salem.

Before the screening ringmaster Paul McEvoy promised us that the film would 'divide the audience'.

Which frankly was a polite way of saying it's shite and only wanking obsessed wee boys and fat neck bearded virgins in man-tit revealing White Zombie t-shirts would enjoy it.

And then only because they don't know any better.

Lords of Salem: Fucking shameful.

Allegedly a tale of witches wickedly wreaking revenge on the town of Salem via the medium of a shit doom rock 12 inch single and forcing a ball-headed chicken man to impregnate Sheri Moon Zombie, the movie proves once again why Zombie needs to have both his hands and his testicles removed before he forces another 2 and a half hour excuse to wank over his wife's frankly average arse on the unsuspecting movie-going public.

The mind boggles as to how the man could get a cast of such high calibre (and his wife) to appear in such unmitigated arse biscuit.

I mean it boasts such talent as Bruce Davison, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn, Dee Wallace, Meg Foster, Michael Berryman and  Judy Geeson, what did he do? threaten to fuck their kids?

Less a bad movie, more the cinematic equivalent of being brutally (and forcibly) taken up the shitter by a crab infested, middle aged Croatian transsexual whilst your parents drunkenly raise a glass shouting "happy 18th birthday son!" and laugh maniacally.

Apologies tho' to the wee boy I shouted at outside for enjoying it.

I really should have stabbed you in the face putting us all out of our misery instead. 

You would. All three. Twice.

And how do you possibly follow a film like that?

With probably the best vampire film of the past 30 years.

Well since Lifeforce anyway.

Yup, it's Sir Neil of Jordan's utterly fantastic Byzantium.

Introduced by the great man himself, Byzantium tells the tale of a mother and duo on the run from unknown forces whilst trying to live a 'normal' life amongst the living who find themselves holed up in an off-season seaside town.

Things begin to unravel when daughter Eleanor becomes frustrated at having to keep her vampirism a secret as she falls in love with a local boy.

Brilliantly shot and beautifully acted, Byzantium is already one of the top films of the year.

See it now.

Or whenever it opens obviously.

From the sublime to the ridiculous now with what was the dark (tho' dead would be a better description) horse of the festival, the first two episodes of the  Norwegian TV series Hellfjord.

Hellfjord is what happens when you get seven of Norway ’s finest directors and writer/producer Tommy (Dod Sno) Wirkola completely rat arsed on cheap (if not illegal) Vodka, or it might just be a documentary.

I've never been to Norway so I can't say.

Coming over like the bastard child of a sweating drunken back alley threesome between Twin Peaks, Hot Fuzz and They Came From Somewhere Else, the series focuses on the misadventures of disgraced Police Sergeant Salmander who, after accidentally killing his horse infront of thousands of onlookers at the annual independence day parade is posted to the small town of Hellfjord as punishment, a town where the family restaurant doubles as a topless mud-wrestling club, 99% of the populace (average age - 67 smoke) and the sun never sets.

Oh yes, and travellers have to appease a sea serpent for fear of getting eaten.

"Vil du ta min pikk?"

Possibly the greatest teevee show ever to come out of Norway, the rest of the series was shown over Saturday and due to threats from the Scottish crowds already picked up for a UK DVD release and broadcast.

"jævla fantastisk!" as the probably Norwegians say.

With the night coming to a close we where treated to the sight of big Bruce Campbell whoring himself in the name of the Evil Dead remake, valiantly trying to convince us that it'll be as great as the original in an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the movie that split the audience by age.

Anyone who'd seen the original on release shuddered and sighed whilst the children in the audience whooped and cheered before turning up their personal stereo's full blast to listen to that new rock band One Direction or something as they waited for the final film of the night, Alex Craig Mann's high school set  Detention of the Dead, a film so beige and bland as to have the effect of rendering the viewer unable to move, a hellishly misjudged mix of The Breakfast Club and Night of The Living Dead that uniquely ignores the reason for both these movies success and just plods along like a crook legged child in search of it's parents.

Nikolas: arse not shown.

You know you're in trouble when it's 00:48 on a Saturday morning and your only reason for watching a film is the drunken hope that ex-Disney star Alexa (Zoey 101) Nikolas will trip up and show her peachy, fishnet clad arse.

Suffice to say it didn't happen.

Still to come...The ABC's of Death, Eli Roth's reaction to me asking him for my £6.50 back, more Hellfjord and the story of how Stig Frode Henriksen contracted AIDS off my nan.

See you back here when I've typed it all up.

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