Sunday, November 8, 2015

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 2

The second day of the festival, and the first weekend, starts with shorts overload (seriously, I thought they programmed too many shorts last year, and they have even more this year.)

Shorts Block 1
CABLE MOVIE CLASSICS PRESENTS 'FAIR SHAKE': Also known as VAMPIRE LOBSTERS FROM BEYOND SPACE. CMC finally presents the original director's cut of this forgotten classic, complete with cast interviews and silly lobster puppet effects.
CANVAS OF BLOOD: A comic book come to life about an artist who finds just the right shade of red to inspire him and make his paintings masterpieces.
THE HAND JOB: Definitely the shortest film in the festival, it'll probably take about as long to read this than to watch it. In fact, just go watch it, it's hilarious.
HARVEY PEKAR'S TEO MACERO: Harvey Pekar reads from his issue of American Splendor where he talks about the music of the mostly forgotten (I know I hadn't heard of him before) Teo Macero (both Harvey and Teo have passed on since this was filmed.) I nice enough film, very fascinating, but left me wondering what the hell this was doing in a horror/fantasy/sci-fi festival.
PLANET X: Planet X is attached to Earth by an umbilical cord. And people are forced to immigrate there, as Earth is becoming unlivable. But do they really know if Planet X is livable? Doesn't matter, people are forced anyway. Refugees, immigration, politics, and mass media issues are explored.
THE PRIEST: Of course the road to hell would be on public transportation. A woman meets some very interesting characters on her attempt to make it home.
RON TAYLOR: DR. BASEBALL: An interesting documentary about a star pitcher who won two World Series (with the Cardinals and the Miracle Mets) and then hung up his uniform to go to medical school and become the team doctor for the Blue Jays. Another one that is a great movie but doesn't belong in a genre festival. The closest I could guess is there was a shot of a model skeleton in his office, so that qualifies as horror?

Seriously, it's not like they needed more shorts to pad out the program. I've heard there's another baseball documentary in the festival. A little suggestion to the programmers. Maybe take all the non-genre films and put them in a special program at 11 am some weekend, so your genre fan regulars can get a couple extra hours of sleep. Seriously, you're killing us!

SWEET HOLLOW: On her way to visit her sister, a woman has some car trouble. A man comes to her assistance, and as luck would have it he happens to also be going to her sister's house. He's actually supposed to be her blind date, her sister was going to set them up. Just one hole in that story, though...
WASTEWORLD: A world of garbage bags (okay, this is British so let's call them bin bags.) A woman emerges from one. A man is already there, and steps out of the shadows. They don't talk. They menace each other, and each tries to find the key to a container that can unlock the secret of the place. I think it's a metaphor...but for the life of me I don't know what for.

Shorts Block 2
BIG DRIVER: Based on a Stephen King short story, on her way home after a talk at a library, a mystery writer is attacked, raped, and left for dead. Once home, instead of calling the cops she uses her mystery writing skills and help from her characters to track down the bastard and the people who set her up and gets her own revenge. Very well done.
DARK AND LIGHT LEO: A puppet story of a little boy whose father passed away. But Leo can still see him, and plays with him. Leo's uncle wants to move in and take his place, not just as the man of the house, but as the man for his mom. Leo doesn't like that. And Leo has powers.
DISAPPEARED: A shipping clerk with a mountain of work. He finds a magic fountain pen that disappears anything that it touches. Cool way to get rid of all that work. But then he accidentally touches the ring he was going to use to propose. So he has to go after it. Very funny, clever, and inventive.
EEL: A weird movie about a couple and their strange ideas. Actually, that's the making-of story. The actual movie is harder to explain...or understand. But it made me laugh. And warning to PETA types, they do kill an eel on screen (they ate it later.)
HUNGRY: Christmas shopping. A great time to get deals for yourself, too. But sometimes a thrift-shop deal has a bit of a hidden cost. Beware consumerism, because you might get consumed.
MY LIFE IS A DREAM: Or a nightmare. A hilarious romp through several people's dreams, where every time you wake up screaming it's just another dream/nightmare.
NIGHT OF THE SLASHER: A hot young woman checks off the list--dancing half naked, drinking, drugs, and sex--to summon an immortal killer so she can defeat him. Best wink at the HALLOWEEN franchise: the killer is wearing a Mr. Spock mask painted white (the original Michael Meyers mask was a Captain Kirk mask painted white.)
THE SMILING MAN: Super duper creepy, this was really effective. A little girl is lured into the kitchen by a creepy contorting demon who paints a smile on his face with blood. Awesome.
SURGERY: A man is tortured by a psycho. But he's rescued, and a doctor is methodically fixing him up. But it's still not over, as we learn why he was being tortured in the first place.
THE TRAP: A guy invites his buddy over to show him the amazing thing he built. A trap to capture the extra-terrestrials who have been flying over the area. And he has proof--he caught one! Nice twist at the end.
YO SOY PEDRO: Sticking with the E.T. theme, in this Spanish language short an alien is mistaken for the star of an alien picture that some Hollywood filmmakers are shooting nearby. When the actual star shows up, wacky hijinx ensue. Cool.

And the shorts just keep coming, with Shorts Block 3
0 FEET AWAY: The horrors of Grindr, Uber, and being stalked online. And especially the horror of your phone battery dying.
BETWEEN TIMES: This beautiful little animated love story between a cuckoo clock on a bakery wall and the new street clock just outside her window. I had already seen it at Cinquest and loved it. It was great to see it again, although I could again question the choice to show it in a genre festival. I guess it's fantasy enough.
DAMAGE CONTROL: A guy needs medical supplies. And if things go wrong, he needs no witnesses and no video evidence. At least, that's what the guy speaking into his ear is telling him. A nicely done scene, which makes you yearn for the rest of the story around it.
DREALITY: Dreams and reality merge together, as is often the case for cubicle dwellers who believe they're more important than this.
HAUNTED: A resort that relies on its reputation for being haunted. Alex and Zoe are vacationing there. Zoe isn't scared, Alex maybe more so, but his big plans are about proposing, not about ghosts. But strange sounds and happenings keep getting in the way, and maybe fearless, logical Zoe is getting a little scared, too.
SHE LOVES ME: A picnic, a psycho, a chase, and a twist. When the sign says "Don't pick the daisies," don't pick the daisies!
SHUEN: Post-apocalyptic Tokyo, where clean water and food are nearly impossible to find. A girl must take some chances to help her little brother survive.
THE STOMACH: George is a psychic medium, whose stomach is the house for those he channels. A Mr. Pope shows up to talk to his brother and learn an important piece of information--a piece of evidence he must find. But George wants out, having all these dead people in his stomach is killing him.

And that was enough shorts for a day. Whew. Now just three features.

TALES OF HALLOWEEN is an anthology film, with all the stories cleverly taking place in the same town on the same Halloween night with the same trick-or-treaters. A star list of directors pay a condensed homage to John Carpenter's original vision for the HALLOWEEN series--it wasn't originally supposed to be all about Michael Meyers, it was supposed to be a different horror story every year released around Halloween. They just made them all short stories and released them all together. There's horror, gore, and comedy. There are devils (Barry Bostwick) and tricks, there are candy-loving kids, there are murderous kids, demons, aliens, ravenous pumpkins. And there are cameos by directing greats John Landis and Joe Dante, among others. And there's just a whole hell of a lot of fun. Really cool.

And then the highlight of the festival (so far...it's just the second of 11 days,) FAUX PAWS. A prison escape/road trip/buddy flick/crazy family comedy...about a pair of gay werewolves. Turns out werewolf saliva has amazing curative properties. And although there has never been a confirmed werewolf-on-human attack, media hysteria has led to all werewolves (at least those who aren't so old they no longer change) have to be locked up in reserves, take drugs to prevent them from changing, and donate saliva once a month. Well, old weer Doug and his younger lover Brian have a plan to escape and make their way to the one state where werewolves have rights--Maine! And I want to say they have a hilarious adventures on the way...and they do. But honestly the funniest part is just how they bicker like an old couple that get on each other's nerves but really do love each other. Their chemistry is what makes the movie work so well. That and outrageous costumes and a lively sense of fun.

And I'm not just saying that because I look so much like Brian that the writer/director/co-star Doug Bari had to get a picture with me.

And finally, the late late show FLOWERS.

I should mention at this point that Holehead is so poorly tightly scheduled that I had not had time to grab a bite to eat all day. The one time there was a 30 minute break I used it to check in to the Kabuki hotel across the street so I didn't have to go all the way home to San Jose last night (I'm writing this in my hotel room just before checking out.) I was fucking ravenous at this point.

So I say that just to say that if I wasn't so hungry, FLOWERS would've put me off food for the night. A wordless, surreal piece of grimy, gory, grossness. Six different women are trapped in the crawl space of a killers house. And they're trapped in hell...or purgatory...or something. It was 80 minutes of fucking disgusting. And then I went and got a Subway sandwich, because I just didn't give a shit anymore.

Total Running Time: 592 minutes
My Total Minutes: 409,024
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