Fantastic Fest 08–Fear(s) Of The Dark/Ex Drummer/Santos/Sauna/Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer
“If anyone wants to fuck a chubby Chilean, I’ll be outside.”
Today was a pretty long day for me, so I started to kind of drift off in the middle of a couple of the movies. Dammit.
Disney is working on a film right now that actually looks really good! Amazing, huh? It’s about a little dog who is the star of a Michael Bay type action tv series. He has a lot of superpowers and helps stop crime. But, when he leaves the studio for the first time, he thinks that he still has those powers.
The scene that we saw today was from the tv show itself. Pretty funny stuff with lots of explosions and cuteness. I’m for it.
Directed by: Juan Manuel Betancourt
Written by: Juan Manuel Betancourt/Juan Diaz B/Natalia Perez P
The short before my first film was kind of a weird one. It was about a little boy who was being told to stop being so imaginative. (At least, I think that’s what he was being told. There were no subtitles because it really wasn’t very important.) So, he went outside and started to pull the world apart…one string at a time.
It was a pretty interesting idea and great animation, but there wasn’t much of a story. And that can really work for a short. But this was just a little bit confusing. Other than the story, it’s a visual stunning little film and definitely worth seeking out.
Directed by: Blutch/Charles Burns/Marie Caillou/Pierre Di Sciullo/Lorenzo Mattotti/Richard McGuire
Written by: Blutch/Charles Burns/Pierre Di Sciullo/Jerry Kramski/Richard McGuire/Michel Pirus/Romain Slocombe
Darkness is one of those things that everyone is a little afraid of, whether they admit it or not. It’s the fear of the unknown and unseen that gets us.
This is a collection of animated shorts that address those fears. It starts off with an incredibly creepy old man walking four huge, scary dogs around, letting them go after people one at a time. This is interspersed throughout the film just to bring the nightmare home to us. Thanks for that. He’ll be in my nightmares tonight.
The first actual short is about a young man who was a loner all his life. All that changes when he meets a girl in college who actually likes him. But what happened to that bug that he found years ago? It disappeared, but he still hears noises in his bed. It’s a bit Twilight Zone-ish, but I liked it.
The second short was about a little girl who is bullied by her classmates and has nightmares about…something. She’s not really sure what. But a big, scary doctor tells her that she has to finish her dream out to be “cured.” Pretty good, if a bit overlong.
The third and last is about a man in a haunted house. Really, that’s about it. But it was my favorite of the three. The animation on all three was pretty awesome, but this one was amazing. The fear of the man and the mystery of the dark was palpable throughout.
The whole movie has some interviews with people about their fears that bring new insights to the whole issue. A bit clinical, but very interesting.
This was a very good French film that deserves a wider audience than it will probably get.
Directed by: Koen Mortier
Written by: Koen Mortier
Based on book by: Herman Brusselmans
Now, onto a nightmare of a different sort.
When three bandmembers decide that they need a drummer, they hire a guy who has a little experience. Unfortunately for them, he also has experience being a complete asshole.
Here’s the deal, though. These guys are not only handicapped (although I’m not entirely sure how for all of them), but they’re total douchebags. One of them has a horrible wife who talks to the new drummer about her “rotten cunt” and a baby daughter who is damn near ignored by everyone. Another has a horrible mother who is fucking the third member of the band…who walks on the ceiling of his apartment and has pretty bad anger issues.
This Danish film is extremely dark, twisted and brutal. Hardly anyone comes out unscathed and you really don’t want them to come out well. Like How We Got Rid Of The Others, it is about the bottom feeders who take the money everyone else makes. But unlike that one, it knows exactly where it stands: these people deserve the hell that they get.
I was actually surprised at how much I liked this movie. It’s a dark comedy of the darkest sort. Not always laugh out-loud funny, but definitely with its own twisted sense of humor. It’s something that most Americans will be completely offended by, but it’s pretty great
Another year, another Tom Cruise movie. This time it’s about the plot to kill Hitler that failed miserably. Sounds like a hoot. But, ya know? I actually really want to see it. Not just because of the story, but because Tom is actually FINALLY becoming a decent actor. The bastard.
Directed by: Bobbie Peers
Written by: Bobbie Peers
A young man wants to be a superhero, so he dresses as one for a costume party. Unfortunately, he chooses the same costume he wore as a kid, so it doesn’t fit very well. Also unfortunately, the costume party isn’t exactly what he thinks it is.
Kind of lame except that the image of penguins playing musical chairs is pretty funny.
Directed by: Nicolás López
Written by: Nicolás López
Geek culture is pretty exclusive. Sure, it’s really come a long way and is getting more and more mainstream. But there are still some things that we normals just are never going to get.
Santos might be one of them…but I kinda loved it.
Two kids are obsessed with comic books. When a comet comes close to the Earth, it unlocks powers that neither of them knew that they had. One goes on to be fitfully successful at drawing comics. The other goes on to make a fortune at different ventures. They’re both in love with the same girl and they both have different destinies. Salvador Santos has to save the world. Arturo Antares is trying to destroy it.
And don’t even ask about the shit addicted fly man.
This is an incredibly weird movie that is pretty hard to describe without giving something away. In fact, it’s really fucking hard to describe anyway. Nicolas Lopez has created a really strange world for his characters to inhabit and it’s pretty obviously his fantasy world. Salvador looks a LOT like him, all the way down to his glasses.
Chile has really started to do a lot of genre flicks lately and I am all for it. They’re doing a great job and I can’t wait to see what Lopez has in store for us next. I’ll also be looking for his first film, Promedio Rojo.
When you go see this (and I know you will, you geeks), watch for a cameo by a fat man in a Hawaiian shirt named Harry. (Ok, it’s not really him, but it’s supposed to be.)
Directed by: Antti-Jussi Annila
Written by: Iiro Küttner
Speaking of weird, this Finnish film is about the end of the Finnish/Russian war. They are now divvying up the land and two Finnish brothers are doing their duty. One of them wants nothing more than to kill more Russkies. The other can’t wait to go home to a professorial position.
Unfortunately for both of them and all of the Russians they meet along the way to help in the mapping, they show up in a small, unknown village with 73 people…and yet only one kid. There’s also a mysterious building right outside of the village. It’s a sauna and…it….kills people? Or something?
While it sounds like some lame attempt of Stephen King to make something scary that just isn’t (“It’s a lamp! That kills people! Scary!!”), it’s actually a VERY creepy movie that just builds and builds until the gory, nearly incomprehensible but cool ending. The tension between the two factions of people helped to build our tension with the unexplained things happening in the village.
I’m sure that there is a lot of history going on in the film that I just didn’t quite understand, but the movie did a pretty good job of explaining itself and not leaving its non-Finnish audience not too much in the dark.
Not a perfect film, but definitely good enough for a historical ghost drama about being alone and angry. And at least there weren’t any fucking moose monsters.
Directed by: Adam Green/Ryan Schifrin
Written by: Adam Green
When a grown man wants to go trick or treating, who would stop him? Obviously, his wife. And how does he get his revenge?
This was a really funny short from Adam Green and Ryan Schifrin starring their Hatchet star, Joel David Moore. It’s typical sitcom stuff (although much funnier than most sitcoms) until the end. Then it gets…different. Check it out.
Directed by: Jon Knautz
Written by: Jon Knautz/John Ainslie/Trevor Matthews/Patrick White
Evil Dead II was pretty much the height of the splatter genre. I’m not even sure that Re-Animator tops it, but it’s a pretty close race.
Jack Brooks tries its best to bring the genre back with a tongue in cheek hero and real, practical effects. And that’s why I can love it.
Jack (Trevor Matthews) is a douchebag. He has some pretty awful anger issues and doesn’t know how to treat his girlfriend. (Although, she is kind of a bitch and is flirting with a dork who pretends to be sensitive.)
In his search for the answer to his anger issues, he realizes that it all started when he saw his entire family killed by a monster.
Yeah. Monsters. And it certainly doesn’t help when his teacher (Robert Englund) starts to turn a little…funny…in the head. He pukes. He snarls. He eats lots and lots of raw meat. Could there be a monster in their midst?
The main problem that I had with the movie was that Jack was so unlikeable. Ok, so Ash wasn’t always a great guy, but he had such great one-liners that we had to love him. Jack doesn’t get one-liners. He takes things a bit more seriously than his 80s counterpart.
It’s not a great movie, but the effects are great (no CGI was harmed in the making of this movie) and it has its fun side. Totally worth checking out.