There’s a moment on the Devo live album Now It Can Be Told when the audience demands an encore, and one of the band members–presumably Mark, I don’t know the members by speaking voice–responds, “Do you really want more of this stuff? I don’t believe it!” Such is the mark of a true fan: we’re gluttons for the stuff we love. And it’s that very spirit that brought me back to the IHFF on its second day.
* * *
Flyers: In the interest of spreading the text around a little bit, let’s talk about something you’ll be familiar with if you go to events such as marathons, fests and cons: little pieces of paper with web addresses on them, imploring you to check out the official website or Facebook page of some new indie film production. I came home with a stack of the things, for the following movies: It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To (“the first ever Choose Your Own Adventure DVD!”). A Chance in Hell (“…I can tell this isn’t going to be just another Nazi zombie flick” –Horror Society). Poetic. Main Street Eats. Werewolf in a Women’s Prison. Motel Hell (not a remake of the ’80s slasher movie).
Trailers: Also saw trailers for the following films: Serial Killer Culture, Porn Star Zombies, a movie about a serial killer that I’d never heard of (and stupidly, didn’t write down). It’s produced by the same people that produced Serial Killer Culture.
Belly dancing: There was a belly dancing show at one point. I took pictures of it.
* * *
Is movies time! Movies-movies-movies-movies-movies!
* * *
Deadline (Chris Tasara, 2011)
A dull crime drama with a haunted-house story bolted on–and, to be honest, the haunted house bits don’t really add anything. If you don’t figure out the twist by the end of the first act, you’re not paying attention.
One thing I can say in its favor: the villain is really, really deserving of the audience’s hate.
Afraid of Sunrise (Justin R. Romine, 2011)
This one didn’t grab me. A lot of it is personal preference: I’m never been enamored of vampire hunters (remember, I’m the guy who dislikes Buffy), and the “vampires living openly amongst humans and having civil rights and such” trope never really grabbed me. The tagline on the poster is “These Vampires Don’t Sparkle” (there’s even a Twilight snipe in the trailer) and I’m getting really, really tired of “sparkly vampires WTF.”
I mean, I’m not going to defend Twilight–there were points in Drudgie’s review when I think he went too easy on the movie. But there’s cultural garbage out there that deserves ten times the hate Twilight gets so, geek/horror culture, will you please find some of that and be snarky about it, please? Thanks ever so.
But I think the main reason I really didn’t care for Afraid of Sunrise was the fact that it’s much bigger than its barely-an-hour running time. This isn’t a movie that needs a sequel: it’s a movie that needs to be the pilot of a TV episode.
Also, I didn’t really buy the main character. I think it was because of the nipple rings. Another personal prejudice I have is against guys with nipple rings.
Short Film Block
Mind of a Mad Man (Cameron Vanausdal, 2011)
Win! Seriously, this one’s a fantastic character study. Very easily could have ended up cheesy but doesn’t. Brilliant performance by pretty much the entire cast but especially Dave Nilson.
Alistair (Aaron Cartwright, 2010)
Nice little Australian you-shouldn’t-have-broken-into-that-house movie, lots of fun, with a great monster.
Below Zero (Justin Thomas Ostensen, 2012)
Eddie Furlong, I forgive you for Intermedio!
But seriously, this one’s pretty good–great direction, very claustrophobic, Michael Berryman, and I’m even willing to buy Drudgie’s thesis that Furlong is can be a good actor when he actually puts the effort into it. Hell, its self-awareness is even actually clever, for once. My one problem is that it’s got more false endings than The Return of the King.
Short Film Block
Dorothy (Eros Romero, 2011)
Delightfully sick and twisted–until the end almost ruins the whole thing. A great example of explaining stuff that doesn’t need to be explained.
8 (Raúl Cezero, 2011)
One nice heaping, steaming slab of what-the-fuckery, Spanish style. It’s a good contrast with Dorothy: where the earlier film tries to explain too much and fails, 8 explains nothing and succeeds with flying colors.
What They Say (Justin R. Romine, 2011)
What They Say is good, possibly very good, but for some reason I didn’t fully engage with it. (Arguably, I didn’t engage with it as much as I should have.) Still, I will give writer/star Heather Dorff props for one of the bravest and most vulnerable performances I’ve seen in a while.
Slash in the Box (Nick Everhart, 2011)
A quick sick joke with no redeeming social value or moral whatsoever, and thank God for that. Highly recommended.
That’s My Girl! (Keith Romine, 2011)
Great idea but two problems here. First, the story needs to be fleshed out–it’s simply not satisfying as something that’s over and done with in five minutes. Second, the sound mix. A lot of the movies this weekend have had bad mixes (I will not repeat my problems with bad sound mixes), but I couldn’t understand most of the dialogue; there’s stuff mentioned in the IMDB summary that I didn’t catch and I wonder if it was laid out in the dialogue.
Fractured Minds (Frank Battiston, 2011)
Pretty good to start, but I think it drags on a bit too long, and then there’s a final twist I didn’t get at all. Sometimes that’s a good thing, but not here.
Raymond Did It (Travis Legge, 2011)
This one reminds me a lot of Tormented, in that it’s clearly trying to be a bit more than the average slasher movie. It wants to be scary, and it wants to be sad, and it wants to be funny, and it never hits the balance between the three. And, as with Tormented, it’s the slasher elements that are weakest. When it’s good, it’s very very good (and had the best line of the weekend: “Why can’t we just make out, like decent people?”), but when it doesn’t work it’s just annoying.
* * *
Tomorrow–Sunday, March 25: Horny zombies, animation, a Phantasm tribute, and live organ donors.