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Boobs, booze, Robert Englund and a pet-eating Mole Man. What
more could one want from a horror film?
“Freddy Fontaine’s son, brawling on a boat?
That the thing local legends are made of…”
In a male-dominated industry and culture,
it is easy for films—genre films especially—to be overbearingly and uncomfortably
andocentric. While most films have rarely, if ever, had something new to say
about male relationships, past the recognized macho-vs.-effeminate conflict
that permeates today’s mainstream narratives, it was with great joy and
surprise that I witnessed Fantasia 2011 unveil
a fascinating selection of films that knowingly or not, addressed issues of
masculinity in genuinely refreshing, personal and sometimes brutally honest
You could say that the simians steal the show in RISE OF THE
PLANET OF THE APES, except that, of course, it’s their show to begin with.
Die-hard fans of the classic science-fiction franchise might get their fur
bristling over this franchise reboot, which puts aside the time-paradox
narrative in favor of a scientific origin for the interspecies war, but most
viewers will find this a surprisingly satisfying rethink of the concept.
One of the more eye-catching posters on display at
Montreal’s current Fantasia festival has been
the one-sheet for MARIANNE, the debut feature by Swedish writer/director/producer
Filip Tegstedt. The art (see below) is redolent of classic ’80s VHS covers, and
suggests a project born of nostalgia for the shriekers of that era. Instead,
the movie in fact harks back to an earlier tradition of quiet supernatural
dramas, and is another of the many films at Fantasia this year to be as
concerned with the personal as with the paranormal.
This review is rated PG for “Pussy Gouging.”
Oh, wait. Sorry. I’m thinking of MR. FISTER, one of two clever ‘previews of coming attractions’ that kick off Billy “Bloody Bill” Pon’s inaugural short film release DOLL BOY (2010)...
It’s a funny thing about the found-footage horror subgenre;
even though its general tropes would seem to have passed into banal familiarity
by now, the immediacy of the mock-doc approach still manages to make most of
them at least moderately compelling. It also helps at this point if the
filmmakers bring some self-mocking humor to the proceedings, as is the case
with EL SANATORIO, the first horror film of any kind from Costa Rica.
Fantasia is well-known as a
showcase for the most out-there fare the various genres have to offer, but if
there’s been a trend at this year’s edition, it’s the preponderance of
independent horror films that are lower-key character studies first and
foremost. ABSENTIA (playing tonight and tomorrow) is just such a movie.
Following a friend’s enthusiastic recommendation, positive
word of mouth and the gorgeous poster (pictured below) I kept seeing around the
Fantasia festival, I made a point of getting
out of the house early to see Evan Kelly’s cabin-in-the-woods film THE
CORRIDOR—coming our way from the snowy land of Halifax, Nova Scotia (where HOBO
WITH A SHOTGUN also notably hails from).
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