Sunday, June 5, 2011

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 2

Now the first weekend begins in earnest, with a 5 movie day. Thank god they don't do noon matinees anymore, since the bus home Friday night didn't get me home until about 4 am (but at least I got a chance to write all my reviews).

Anyway, I was back up at the Roxie bright and early at the crack of 3:20 for ITALIAN GHOST STORIES. An anthology of works by young up-and-coming Italian directors, produced through their University in Rome. There isn't even a framing device to the anthology, which makes it much more like seeing a short film program (just with all the credits at the end). An effective grouping of young horror talents, that went together very well and generally kept a good creepy atmosphere.
17 NOVEMBRE: Descendants of a recently deceased writer gather in his home to remember him, although he seems more like the kind of guy you'd want to forget.
OFFLINE: A young man gets an IM from a friend, and later finds out he killed himself earlier that same day. And then things get really creepy.
FABIA DI UN MOSTRO: Celeste doesn't speak, although there's no reason he can't. The other kids say he's the son of the devil, but one little girl believes in him. Maybe she shouldn't.
LA MEDIUM: An old woman works as a fake psychic, fleecing suckers by telling them pleasing stories. Until she gets a strange visitor.
URLA A COLLINA: The most American-influenced of the bunch (director Omar Protani was there and said he's a big fan of American horror and Stephen King movies). Three girls driving through the country at night hit...something. An animal? A person? Too dark to tell. Anyway, no doubt it will come back to haunt them. Very cool.

Next up was Michael Biehn's (THE TERMINATOR, GRINDHOUSE) directorial debut THE VICTIM. He was inspired to make this after making GRINDHOUSE with Robert Rodriguez and thought it would be fun to make his own grindhouse flick. He made this on a low budget and just 12 shooting days, so it does have some cheesy lines and less than stellar acting, but for what it is--a completely unserious bit of sex and violence--it's a lot of fun. Biehn plays a hermit living out in the woods, miles outside of the nearest town. One night, a frantic girl (Jennifer Blanc) pounds on his door screaming for help and insisting "they" are right behind and want to kill her. "They" turn out to be the cops...crooked cops who already killed her friend when a bit of rough sex went bad. He wants nothing to do with it, but he's pulled into helping her (and doing more with her, of course). It's funny and cheesy and not at all to be taken seriously. It's very predictable, but in a way that I was constantly thinking, 'and now they should do/say this...' and then they did. So it's fair to say it was predictable in exactly the way it should be. Oh, and the ending was awesome!

Michael Biehn was there along with his girlfriend/co-star/producer Jennifer Blanc. They were a hoot, I wish Holehead had scheduled more time between films so we could've had some Q&A afterwards. Oh yeah, and musician Randy Chance was there to jam a little of his soundtrack music before the film started.

Next up was a local production, THE CRAVING. Chef Ronnie Sixtos of Diabla Pica is taking San Francisco by storm--tearing through both the culinary world and the lesbian scene. Oh, and there's a maniac cannibal killer on the loose, too. There might be a connection. Crazy-ass story with crazy-ass outsized characters and a go-anywhere outrageous feel, with the FBI, a vengeful ex, and an important cover article in Wine and Food magazine. My only complaint is the sound levels were way off, which almost made it impossible to get into the movie at all. If they can fix that before releasing it in whatever fashion they can, they could have a cult hit on their hands.

The next show started with the short OFF THE BEATEN TRACK. An Australian wildlife show goes horribly wrong when they explore the site of a plane crash. An homage to the Italian cannibal films of the 70's like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and CANNIBAL FEROX. It even includes a recreation of the scene in CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST that is among my top 5 favorite cinematic de-phallusings.

The short was nothing like the feature, THE OREGONIAN, which was, in a word, weird. In another word, surreal. A blond woman wakes up in a crashed car, covered with blood, with a staticy version of Pomp and Circumstance playing on the radio. With a face covered with blood, she wanders down the road and has a series of dreamlike adventures. She meets a creepy old woman, a guy who pisses the rainbow, rednecks drinking fruity gasoline drinks, and a guy in a furry green monster costume. And she has flashbacks to her time on a farm, and something about an abusive relationship. My interpretation is it's the nightmare in the time between being brutally raped and being killed. Often (I assume) intentionally annoying, but fascinating. At the end I had no idea what to make of it (other than my interpretation above, of course). I decided to make a conscious decision to love it, since that's not the sort of thing that would happen naturally.

And finally the midnight show started with the longish shot AN EVENING WITH MY COMATOSE MOTHER. A cool, classically structured movie about a girl watching over a house on Halloween night while the wealthy owners are at a party at the Governor's mansion. The wife's mother is 92 and comatose, she just has to check in every few hours and change her if necessary. But the creepy doll and eyeless Dickensian trick-or-treaters ruin everything. Excellent film.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the feature. ZOMBIE UNDEAD is possibly the least original, least interesting zombie movie I've ever seen. There's a zombie outbreak and a few survivors in a hospital they run around, fight the zombies, and...fuck it, if you've seen any zombie movie, you've seen all of this before. And that's not counting the plot holes. All I'll say is the end credits show brief scenes of the military coming in to clean up and search for survivors. It's the only part where the movie got at all interesting. If you see a trailer with military scenes in it, and you think that looks cool, remember IT'S NOT IN THE MOVIE, IT'S JUST SNIPPETS DURING THE END CREDITS!

And that's day 2 of Holehead 2011

Total Running Time: 468 minutes
My Total Minutes: 237,845

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

ITALIAN GHOST STORIES is now available on DVD in Italy. The disc features English subtitles and, as a bonus track, a short horror film by Andrea Gagliardi.