FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Oct 7, 2007

Shriekfest, yo.

Well, babies, here I am after 12 ass-numbing hours of indie horror and sci-fi cinema. There were the usual dizzying highs, depressing lows, and oh so creamy middles you'd expect from...err, 12 ass-numbing hours of indie horror and sci-fi cinema. Here's some lo-down on what I caught during yesterday's schedule- because, as you know by now, I care.

The French Call Them..."Les Shorts":

Iron Bird: I shouldn't even mention this one, as I came in somewhere towards the middle. Mayhaps it was interesting, I can't really say. What I can say, however, is that when the CGI ghost appeared at the end I thought "Hmm. I'd rather see a little girl in ghosty makeup than a CGI ghost." Yes, "ghosty".

Gay Zombie: Wow, zombies are still the new black! In the first zombie-flavoured short of the day, there's this zombie, right? And...wait for it...he's gay! Will the gaggle of homo stereotypes accept him despite his undead tendencies? That's pretty much it. My pals were more enamoured with this than I was; I thought the joke was played out in the first 2 minutes.

The Frolic: An effectively creepy story about a convicted child killer who plays mind games with the psychiatrist assigned to his care.

Final Run: This was...umm...I don't really know what to say. Honestly, I can't say it was good, but I was into it- but that's because I'm into sci-fi films made on a dollar ninety eight budget, you know? The plot was familiar yet confusing: a "hardened" mercenary goes on a final run (omigod, that's the name of the movie!) before retiring, but there are double crossings and things that don't make much sense and who cares, because it's a sci-fi flick made on a dollar ninety eight budget! Sit back, enjoy the computer effects that look straight outta 1996, the California desert doubling as a distant planet, and minature spaceships that go "pew pew pew!".

Perpetuum Mobile: I enjoyed this silent animated ode to Leonardo Da Vinci. What I remember most now, however, is that the credits were about 3 times longer than the film itself.

Zombie Love: Oh no...did I just say "zombie"? Can I get a holla? Yes, folks, pull up your pants and prepare yourself for the zombie musical. This was actually pretty funny and quite enjoyable, but you know...zombie musical. What is there to say, really?

Pig Tale: You know what? Fuck zombies. Ghosts anally raping rapists with beer bottles is totally the new black. The next time I see you, ask me to provide the sound effect that accompanies said rape-age. Fun for the whole family!

Wretched: You know what's awesome? Having friends who make good stuff. Great performances and disturbing subject matter = a film I don't have to lie about when offering my opinion to the filmmakers. Yay! Not that I lie, of course, but sometimes it's hard to think of a way to put a positive spin on a movie when you didn't like it, you know? My standard is usually "Wow, did it!"

Death's Requiem: A fairly stylish film about a comic book artist who is...uh, sort of smoking himself to death. He realizes that he can see the grim reaper, who looks just like the grim reaper character in his comic books aaahhhhhh!

Drip: It begins with the words "based on actual events" appearing onscreen, but then it's simply a retelling of an extremely familiar urban legend. But, I must say, it's well-done and the tale is told in a way that makes it seem fresh. Now if someone would just make a short about that one where the woman brings home a cactus and the cactus starts moving and then it bursts open and then spiders spill out of the cactus and then the spiders lay eggs in her vagina, that would rule!

I missed two feature films when I went out with my pals to get some chow...I paid waaaaay too much money for one of the worst enchiladas I've ever had. I found this irritating. I still do, actually, though I'm just gonna let it go. I'm not going to let that enchilada ruin my life! Right here, right now, I'm taking back my life. In your face, overpriced cheese enchilada with no cheese! You know what? I'm even going to try to forget about the "free" soup that accompanied my overpriced enchilada, because I'm the bigger person here. When I said "Is this soup vegetarian?" because I'm a vegetarian, right? And the waiter was all like "Yeah, it's lentil" and I was all "Okay" and then I had a spoonful and yeah there were lentils, but the lentils were accompanied by chicken and I had to be all "Eww!" and I couldn't eat the soup. But...I'm letting it go. I am. Tomorrow, if you see me and you go "Stacie, how 'bout that soup and enchilada and paying like 26508973 dollars for them, huh?", I swear I will just be like "Peace be with you!" and I'll go on my way. I rise above...I rise above, my friends.

After The Enchilada Incident, I caught two features. The first, Netherbeast Incorporated, was...I don't know. It's vampires in an office. It was funny, but I wasn't rolling around peeing my pants and clutching my sides. Well, I was peeing my pants, but that was because I was wasted, not because I was laughing. Anyway, everyone else was rolling around, so whatevs. Maybe I'm a tough customer when it comes to comedy, who knows. Or I was too drunk to get it.

The last feature of the evening was The Cellar Door, an intense flick that puts a spin on the "Hooray, let's torture women!" trend. If you've read Final Girl for any length of time, you might know that I'd rather buy 50 overpriced enchiladas than sit through something like Captivity- not that I'm still hung up on the overpriced enchilada or anything, but you get my point. The Cellar Door is different in that it focuses on the characters and their interactions- the relationship between the captive and the captor- more than trying to derive "thrills" from showing women being brutalized. The serial killer, Herman, doesn't have an elaborate tunnel system underneath his house, and he hasn't devised a series of traps- each more sinister than the last!- with which to victimize his prey; rather, he's simply made a cage. Herman isn't an over-the-top cuckoo nutso; he's the guy next door. His house is located in an average suburban neighborhood, he shops at the dollar store, he drives an SUV, and he looks like the kind of guy you wouldn't normally give a second thought to...and that's what makes the cage in the basement so terrifying.

Two girls, Rudy and Crista, catch his eye one afternoon; Herman follows them around and kidnaps Rudy from her bed. Rudy wakes up in a cage in Herman's basement and has to figure out how to escape- that's pretty much it. As I said, The Cellar Door is about the characters, and Michelle Tomlinson (Rudy) and James DuMont (Herman) really drive the film with their performances. The range displayed by each is welcome in an indie production, particularly from Tomlinson, who spends virtually the entire movie locked in a box. Neither Tomlinson nor DuMont pulls out the over-the-top histrionics you might expect to see for these types of roles. Director Matt Zettell and DP Skye Borgman avoid the far-too prevalent music video/shaky cam/handheld/jump cut style of filmmaking, and I couldn't be more thankful.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to head back to Shriekfest for another day of overpriced enchiladas indie horror.

I'm over the enchilada thing, I swear.


Joseph Emmerth said...

Was "the frolic" based on the short story of the same name, written by Thomas Lighotti? That story creeped me OUT.

Anonymous said...

When I'm facing friends who were in a play that I thought was kind of awful, but I want to be supportive, I use the neutral but positive sounding: "That was pretty ambitious!"
But, yeah, sometimes... it's tough.

M said...

And if your friends do something they'll regret for the rest of their lives, tell them it was "very brave" of them. Thanks for this enlightening review of the enchiladas and soup at Shriekfest!

FatalPierce said...

It really is about time that the shaky cam type stuff just went away. I mean would anyone miss it?

Also since I won't be back online and able to post until Tuesday I thought I would hijack this comment thread for a second and post the link to my film club entry.

Stacie Ponder said...

Yes, Joseph, it's based on the Lighotti story- which I've never read, but I now want to seek out.

Thanks, Pierce!

Jesse Hammer said...

Wow, you're a veggie too. There's more to love about you every time I visit.

Amanda By Night said...

Mmm, the Frolic. I'm STILL thinking about it. Veddy Sceddy.