Monday, November 16, 2015

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 10

4 more films yesterday, Another Hole in the Head Film Festival is almost over for 2015. Just two "secret" screening left tonight. And if you've been to the festival throughout the week--or if you're just not a complete moron--you know what those are.

We started Sunday with the final shorts block, #9. I no particular order...
GENGHIS KHAN CONQUERS THE MOON: Well, he has conquered the rest of his known world, so when an astronomer shows him the moon, and the Sea of Tranquility, he questions what use is it to see something if you can't reach out and take it?
HATRED: Two brothers, a scarecrow, and a lot of pain, fear, and hatred.
THE MAN WHO LOVED FLOWERS: With a smile like that, he catches everyone's eye and brightens their day. And he's got the perfect bunch of flowers for a special lady. Based on a Stephen King short story.
PERSPHONE: A woman wakes up in a box. She works her way out, and finds she's underground. Fear of being buried alive, and more.
THE PRAYER: A variation on "Now I lay me down to sleep..." from a man moving on to another place.
SPRING GARDEN: From Boise comes this story of a man who has always wanted to kill someone, and his adventures with blackouts and nosebleeds. Very funny.
TAMPOON: The terror of women's health products. Beware that string...
WHAT DOESN'T KILL YOU: A clever short story about bullied teenagers in a car crash, who discover that when they die, they come back to life. So what to do about their friend who is only paralyzed? From the director of the 2012 Holehead hit MON AMI.

And then on to the features, starting with the Christmas slasher flick, ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE. It starts right away with a mystery figure picking up a creepy Santa Mask and taking some hedge clippers to the obligatory hot girl in the shower and then to her boyfriend, going right after his manhood. Yup, before we even meet the heroine, we get a chopped-off dick, because it's that kind of movie. I guess Santa has decided everyone is naughty this year, and coal is not enough punishment. The heroine is Rachel Kimmel, back home (in Napa) visiting her grandmother for Christmas break. And she helps out Mrs. Garrett, the weird woman next door, with her decorations. So... many... creepy... decorations. There's some history between the families--Rachel's mom went missing years ago, and so did Mrs. Garrett's daughter. I won't get more into that because therein lies massive spoilers. I will say that it's a funny, colorful entry into the slasher genre that doesn't exactly break much new ground, but is a lot of fun.

One of the scream queens in ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE was Jessica Cameron who directed TRUTH OR DARE which showed at Holehead in 2013, and she directed the next feature of this year, her "fucked-up lesbian love story," MANIA. This is a strange film, very different from her previous and not at all what I was expecting. It starts off simple--an on-screen clinical definition of mania, then a pair of lovers--Mel and Brooke, although I detected no comic reference there. Brooke is on medication for her mental illness. During the day, Brooke loses her job and Mel is busy at hers, so tragedy occurs and Brooke ends up brutally murdering their friend who comes to check on her. Very brutally, like excessive head smashing. And I think it's going to be that kind of movie. The hit the road quickly, and when the first dream sequence rolls around, I realize that Cameron's trying something different. She's not going for a horror movie, she's going for an art film with horror elements. There's a repetition--or variations on a theme--going on, with Brooke missing her meds and sneaking off to fuck and kill men over and over again, and Mel increasingly desperate to fulfill her promise to take care of her and make everything okay. There's no police tracking them down or other typical genre elements. There are some weird encounters with freaky rednecks and a psycho killer woman. It kind of made me wonder if the police aren't following them because the outside world is even more fucked-up than they are. Judging by the reactions of my fellow regulars, I might have been the only person last night who really liked this movie, and I think that's because I stopped taking it literally pretty early on and looked at it as a metaphor for the repeated mistakes and unhealthy behaviors in a codependent relationship. After all, Brooke might have mania, but Mel is the one who is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If only there was a word for that.

And finally, the closing night film with the squishy, gooey body horror/female sexuality tale BITE. Casey is about to get married, but first she takes a trip down to Costa Rica with her girlfriends. There she gets bitten by an unknown insect. Just a tiny little bite, but back home it gets worse. It oozes, it turns red, and it gets bigger. That and the fact that she was already getting cold feet about the marriage--particularly about her domineering, conservative mother-in-law-to-be, and the whole unresolved question of having kids. He wants them, she doesn't. Which is too bad, because she's gonna have some whether she wants to or not. See that bite... well, it progresses from oozing, to making her throw up clear slime, to making her pop out little fishy eggs all over the place. It just gets more and more disgusting over the course of a week or so, and when those near her try to intervene, it's not just gross but deadly. In fact, she kind of starts developing gross super powers, like super-hearing, a voice that can break glass, and the ability to spit poison at people. With a different ending, this could be the best superhero origin story since TEETH (2007) but instead it's a goopy, gross, and endlessly fun way to cap off the festival.

Total Running Time: 341 minutes
My Total Minutes: 411,312
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