FILM THREAT’S 2007 FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL PREVIEW (PART 2)

The 2007 Fantasia Film Festival preview continues with more screening picks:

Hatchet
Hosted by Director Adam Green
Oh yeahhhhhhhh, another good looking slasher film. Yes, the genre has been mined and redone so often and profoundly that I don’t need to tell you what this film is about since just telling you that it’s a slasher film is enough for you to form an idea. Still, I think this one looks quite good. For my money nothing can quite beat “Behind The Mask” but that’s just me and I will be extremely interested to see what this one will be like.

The Devil Dared Me To
Hosted by Director Chris Stapp and Writer Matt Heath
I think I’ll let Mitch Davis field this one, he says it a lot better than I would: “If ‘Jackass’ were a narrative feature directed by Peter Jackson in his ‘Bad Taste’ days after a weekend spent watching ‘Goodbye Pork Pie’ and a slew of ’80s Hal Needham films, you would have something like ‘Devil Dared Me To’”

How can I not wanna see this. Shit, just look at the trailer and tell me it doesn’t give you a giddy little stiffy. Even the tagline rocks: “Live Fast, Die Faster!”

The Victim
Director: Monthon Arayangkoon
I love movies like this. It’s simple, straightforward scary shit. It’s not about story but about how deeply you can creep out the audience. That’s why I never get tired of the Asian ghost story genre that spawned “The Ring” and “The Grudge.” Yes, it’s being mined to death, but I feel that there’s still a long way to go before the same thing happens to it that happened to the similar slasher films in America. For one thing, there are thousands of years of history and legend supporting it, unlike the campfire stories of a guy in the woods that inspired most slashers. Also, every country in East Asia is trying a go at it and they all have vastly different ideas and concepts about the subject. So it’s going to stay fresh for a little while yet.

Anyway, moving on, the story is about an out of work actress hired by the police to help them re-enact murders by playing the victim. Unfortunately the dead don’t like the idea of having their final moments replayed. It’s typical J-horror stuff (or T-horror since this is from Thailand) However, the genre has never been about the premise, but the execution. It’s all about how often they can make you go “AHHHHHHHH!!!!!” when watching the thing. Cheap scares? Maybe, but it works and I like it. Done well, it can’t be beat and this looks like it’s done well.

Hazard
Hosted by Director Sion Sono
Sion Sono is hard to categorize as a filmmaker because his work is like watching a magic trick. Merely describing what you see doesn’t tell you the intricacy and depth of what is in front of you. He also shares something in common with Japan’s greatest filmmaker Takashi Miike, in that neither can be compared to an American filmmaker. They’re not the Japanese Kubrick or the Japanese Hitchcock, they transcend those lame labels and are great because of who they are, not who they remind us of.

Sono’s work has always been Anarchic and unhinged. “Hazard” is no exception despite being a lot more accessible and “mainstream” than his previous work. It’s about a student named Shin who travels from Japan to New York out of boredom in order to find danger and excitement, then falls in with a gang of Japanese criminals operating there. Having watched the excellent “Strange Circus,” I can assure you that it’s gonna be a wild ride. Maybe I’m wrong and this will disappoint, but I doubt it. Sono hasn’t got a mundane, ordinary bone in his body.

The Tripper
Hosted by Writer / Director David Arquette
David Arquette is a horror geek. No if, ands or buts; I don’t think he and I have the same taste in movies, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a cool motherfucker for making this movie happen. “The Tripper” looks a little goofy and campy compared to just about everything playing at the festival, but it’s still leaps and bounds better than most other American horror films. Besides, who here has a heart so cold that they can’t smile while watching a guy dressed up as Ronald Reagan kill hippies? I mean COME ON!

Mr. Arquette, I salute you and your fine looking film.

We Are The Strange
Director M dot Strange
Despite looking like a very very long rock video, this seems really promising. In a way this shares its philosophy with Takashi Miike’s “Izo” or Kubrick’s “2001,” where the filmmaker is trying to break every cinematic storytelling convention while remaining coherent and comprehensible to an audience. Will it work? I dunno, but the trailer looks like it might.

I don’t know what the heck it’s about, so I won’t hazard a guess, but it sure looks like it’s about something.

The Wizard of Gore
Director Jeremy Kasten
Yes it’s another remake, but the original’s hardly a classic; and with Crispin Glover in the lead it should be a howl to watch. The story is about an illusionist called Montac the Magnificient whose Grand Guignol magic shows include mock mutilations. However, the participants are found dead the next day sporting the same wounds that “killed” them the previous night. Dum-dum-duuuummm!

I’ve never watched the original, nor had any deep interest to, so I can’t say with authority if this follows the storyline of the first one or if this is going off on a totally different direction. But it’s got the Crispin Glover factor going for it. He’s quickly becoming THE man you want in your movie to give it instant credibility and character.

Mulberry Street
Hosted by Director Jim Mickle
New York is the perfect place for an urban horror movie. It’s not the grey wasteland that it was in the late 70’s when the Bronx was just one big demolition zone, but there are still plenty of dark corners where the light from the neons can’t reach. Places where the decay is eating away at the city like maggots inside a corpse. They can Disney-fy Times Square all they want but we’ve never forgotten the hopeless squalor that movies like “C.H.U.D.” captured. Hell, in 1984 the city itself was scarier than the CHUDs. So when one speaks of Urban Nightmares, New York is at the top of the list. Add to this already haunted locale a disease transmitted by rats that transforms people into their most feral state into the mix and you have a very good recipe to make city dwellers’ blood run ice cold.

I’m just glad I live in the country.

The World Sinks Except Japan
Director Minoru Kawasaki
At every Fantasia there’s always one movie which will very firmly remind you that just because the Japanese film industry has become more and more sophisticated and modern in the last ten/fifteen years it doesn’t mean they can’t make movies that hark back to the insane ADHD days of “Godzilla.”

“World Sinks” is such a throwback. So much so, that I kind of wish that it was dubbed instead of subtitled. It’s also pretty high concept. The whole world “sinks” and the only dry land left is the island of Japan, prompting massive immigration from all the other sunken country’s survivors who now have two choices a) live in the land of the Rising Sun, or b) Grow gills. Hopefully the social satire will be as cutting and well done as the camp seems to be. The trailer is promising and I wanna see this if I can, but you never know. It may become tiring after a while, but I hope not since this really looks cool.

Check back with Film Threat and the Film Threat Blogs throughout the festival for news, reviews and other insanity from the 2007 Fantasia Film Festival




Posted on July 6, 2007 in Festivals by
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