Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jason goes to Holehead--Day…whatever

When I jump between film festivals and take big breaks from some, I lose count. Anyway, three shows last Monday night:

First up, MACABRE. From the To Brothers, this is Singapore's answer to THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, and that answer is, "We can top that!" A group of friends--newlyweds, her brother, a couple of other friends--are going home from a bar when they meet a young, apparently helpless woman. She begs for a ride home, and leads them to a remote house in the woods. There she introduces them to her surprisingly young mother and invite them to stay for dinner. They also meet her surprisingly strong brother. And then they get drugged at dinner and it gets insanely bloody. It's brilliantly, shockingly bloody (and only gets more so when the police show up), especially given the somewhat formulaic setup. But beyond the blood, I really loved how the family's supernatural origins (especially mother Dara) are never fully explained. This movie does a really good job of leaving mysteries that you can fill in for yourself.

Then the feature, 90%+ of a gripping chop-em-up with the type of ending I hate (but no spoilers here), SHADOW. An Iraq war vet returns to civilian life and takes a trip to the mountains to do some biking. While there, he meets an attractive young lady (and fellow mountain biker) and a couple of psychotic hunters. While out biking, they're attacked by the hunters, who chase them into the woods that are allegedly haunted by some evil. And boy, is it. He and the hunters are captured by some emaciated, pale psycho who tortures them, while the girl has totally disappeared (presumably trapped in a different part of the psycho's lair). Bodies are fried, eyelids cut off, and more bloody, deadly torture. As I said, it's got an ending twist that I always find kind of cheesy, so I won't say more about it, except there's a second twist on that twist that halfway redeems it. But mostly it's a grueling torture film as only the Italians can do. Director Federico Zampaglione is solidly in the tradition of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, or Ruggero Deodato here (probably most closely aligned with the last).

And finally, after a couple of grueling gorefests, it was time for a bit of comedy with THE DEAD AND THE DAMNED. I mentioned before that the festival is sponsored by Tall Chair and their game Cowboys vs. Zombies. Well, this movie is about...cowboys vs. zombies. Our hero is a bounty hunter, trying to earn enough money for something very important. So he's chasing an Indian chief who is wanted for the rape and murder of a white woman. In the meantime, two prospectors find a mysterious meteorite that's glowing green. So they take it into town to the assay office, where it breaks open releasing spores that turn everyone into zombies. So the bounty hunter, his prisoner the Indian chief, and the prostitute he used as bait to catch the chief have to fight zombies for their very survival. Hilarious hi-jinx ensue, and a fun time was had by all.

And that was last Monday at Holehead.

Total Running Time: 265 minutes
My Total Minutes: 190,362
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