Saturday, September 18, 2010

Jason goes to the R-squared Horror Festival--Friday, Sept 18

At the Bluelight Cinemas in Cupertino. I didn't even know we still had (had a new?) discount second run theater in the bay area. I'm still mourning the loss of the Cinemasaver Milpitas.

Anyway, R-squared is a DVD distributor who specializes in indie horror and is doing a festival there for a week (I also happened to chat with the distributor and he revealed they're doing another series around Halloween).

Anyway, here's the lineup last Friday:

OFFICE OF THE DEAD: A very low-budget horror-comedy with a somewhat new take on the zombie genre. In 2004 SHAUN OF THE DEAD breathed new life (so to speak) into the zombie genre with the clever comic premise of a slacker so deadened by his dull, dull life that he doesn't even notice when everyone around him becomes zombies. In OFFICE OF THE DEAD, the same concept is applied to cubicle-dwellers. In a company that makes life happiness solutions, a couple of engineers are working on the ultimate solution--a neural feedback device that "spins" unhappy, stressful memories into good ones. Or, if you're behind schedule and a couple of hot-shot jerk contractors step in, it takes stressful memories and makes you violently psychotic. Not real zombies, just crazies. There's a few good bits about fighting a zombie apocalypse with corporate-speak (I always chuckle when someone reads "think outside of the box" out of a management manual), and the smarmy CEO, smarmier marketing team, and socially inept engineers all get a good natured skewering. But it just doesn't come together with any sense of urgency or fear. Blame the acting, writing, or directing, it was a good idea with a middling execution.

CLOSET SPACE: A group of adventurous grad students go to find their missing professor, who is late returning from his latest expedition. They end up in a dilapidated house in rural America, where one student who was on the expedition with him shows them all a remarkable discovery. Behind a closet door in the house is a portal to a different world. But this ain't Narnia, it's a dark, dangerous cave with dangerous tentacle monsters who can infect people and turn them into monsters themselves. Something about ravenous parasites from another dimension. Good use of practical effects over CGI (it's pretty silly already, but would've been downright stupid with lame CGI). Oh, and of course the giant toothed vagina monster was cool.

LONG PIGS: Okay, so the whole reason I went to this festival is I saw it was playing LONG PIGS, which I had previously seen at Cinequest back in 2007. Back then I called it a brilliant cannibalistic serial killer mockumentary" which I quickly qualified by saying it shouldn't really be called a mockumentary (although I didn't suggest an alternate term like "faux-umentary) because "they really play this seriously, not for laughs." And I heaped on the praise saying "it's very well done and was the perfect Cinequest midnight movie." and that "the sped-up butchering scene is brilliant."

I still mostly stand by my statements the first time, but I'll add that it's funnier than I remembered (just perfectly dark deadpan humor), so the mockumentary label is completely appropriate. I came to this festival hoping the rest of the films were of similar quality. So far (and I've seen another 4 movies I haven't written up yet), LONG PIGS is still far and away the best.

Total Running Time: 243 minutes
My Total Minutes: 208,380

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