Despite it's inconsistent schedule (both in terms of time of the year and program offerings) I still consider Another Hole In the Head one of the High Holy Days of the film festival calendar. And the 2016 version started last night.
First up, were some Homegrown Horrors--locally made short films
BENEATH THE LAKE: A wordless, atmospheric piece about a woman who crawls out of a lake and through the woods to explore a house.
DEMONOLOGY: Creepy doors and shadowy monsters. All the good things.
E.Z.P.Z.: Inspired by a failed cobra bounty program in India, a story of zombie bounty program with unintended side effects. Like...zombie breeding.
ETERNAL COMA, 1994: The horrors of black metal music and D&D. So appropriate after the recent death of Jack Chick.
THE EXISTENTIAL ZOMBIE: What if a zombie still holds on to a little piece of his humanity...and his loneliness. All anxiety is existential awareness of undeadness.
IN HYDRIA: Don't open the creepy, goopy box. Just don't.
NOW'S A BAD TIME: Don't you hate it when your friend's untimely death messes up your chance for quick cash by selling your World of Warcraft account? A very funny little flick.
WARM INSIDES: Very effectively creepy body horror, as a woman thinks there's something sinister growing inside her.
And then the feature, THE MASTER CLEANSE, produced by and starring Johnny Galecki, playing Paul--a sadder, dumber version of his lovelorn loser character from The Big Bang Theory (I mean, the seasons when he's not with Penny.) He's lost his job, his fiancée left him, and he's so low he checks out some self-help class by a famous guru who invented the lemon cleanse and is now offering the Master Cleanse. He signs up for the retreat--despite having to sign a waiver that mentions the possibility it will kill him--mainly because of the cute girl who is also attending. And it starts out simple enough. They each have a course of foul-tasting drinks specially concocted just for them. That's the cleanse part. Then there's the "elimination." That's where all the nasty stuff inside you comes out. And...then grows into a squirmy little monster who copies your mannerisms. Then it gets kind of weird. Other "retreaters" have different ways of dealing with their monsters. It's kinda funny, not really scary, but well made and with a cast you wouldn't expect given what I assumed was a fairly limited budget for an independent feature by a first-time director (Bobby Miller, who has directed several shorts but this is his first feature.) Anjelica Huston and Oliver Platt both play important roles, and both are fantastic. And in the end it leaves you with a bit of an ambiguous note on the perils of trying to destroy your flaws, since after all they do make you who you are.
Total Running Time: 164 minutes
My Total Minutes: 434,087