Fantastic Fest

Friday, September 28, 2007

Zack goes to FF 2007: THE FINAL BATTLE

Today feels like I've unwrapped all my presents and now I lay in a nog-fueled stupor beneath the brittle dry branches of the Christmas tree. It's sad to acknowledge that Fantastic Fest is officially done for another year, and the only solace lays in the knowledge that it'll take at least that long for the world's filmmakers to create 60 more features of this year's line-up's high caliber. The last round of the festival contained some of my absolute favorites, and though I was all sleepless and movie-addled, really cemented that there's nothing I like more than watching monsters and guts.

I started Wednesday with Joe Lynch's WRONG TURN 2, which doesn't feel the need to aim above the belt and makes no apologies for being a no-brow backwoods slasher romp. I understand that we see an American Idol contestant get slaughtered in this movie. I haven't watched that show before so I didn't recognize her, but I'm always glad to hear about successful people being murdered. The performance from the older non-mutated hillbilly really stole the show, and made me want to start carrying dynamite on my person at all times.

Next was a surprise screening of the new Spanish horror film THE ORPHANAGE (LA ORFANATO). This was another skillful entry in the apparently rich genre of Spanish child-related ghost fables, and was very impressively shot considering it's the creators' debut feature. Equally dreamish in points to the inevitably comparable PAN'S LABYRINTH, THE ORPHANAGE also manages to inject several unexpected jolts and memorable images. The filmmakers flew in from Spain and their ever-so-slightly apparent jet lag added to the charm of the Q&A, the high point of which came when writer Sergio Sanchez told youthful director Juan Antonio Bayona that he looked like "a ten-year-old with sideburns." I also just learned that they'd also found out only hours before that their film had been selected as the official Spanish entry for the Academy Awards. Whhhee-ew!

The Nikkatsu series was consistently incredible, but the final entry of THE VELVET HUSTLER really seemed to wrap everything up in a perfect package. This color entry had all the criminal elements of A COLT IS MY PASSPORT blended with the detached teen cool of THE WARPED ONES, and though it sprawled all over the place and shifted moods on a dime, the movie maintained a weird winking attitude which showed that even cold-blooded murder can be a satisfying way to spend a lazy afternoon. It also featured my favorite line of any film in the fest: "Hey...let's steal that army ship! War is cool and lots of fun!"

I'd already seen (and loved) Thai siamese twin ghost story ALONE, so I instead opted for the Hungarian TAXIDERMIA. I had seen director György Pálfi's HUKKLE and heard that his new film went far beyond anything he'd done before in both scope and good taste, but I was still completely unprepared for this feature. There's a lot to be said for movies that are this deeply offensive and upsetting but are still made with all the craftsmanship and grace of a "fine art" film. There were scenes in TAXIDERMIA that made every single member of the audience visibly cringe, and this is a group of people who'd been sitting through gore movies for seven days straight. Regardless, I loved this feature and it very well be my absolute favorite of the festival.

Speaking of gore movies, my workload got nutsy and I was only able to catch one film on the final day. I was fortunate enough to have it be INSIDE (À l'intérieur), which is quite certainly the most blood-splattered gore fountain of this year's festival. If TAXIDERMIA was able to exact revulsion, INSIDE absolutely milked it, layering unspeakable act upon unendurable agony until it seemed impossible to find another way to violate the human body with household items. If you think I'm exaggerating, please note that an audience member actually puked at the earlier screening. No joke: this is a linear, humorless, excessively brutal horror movie for people that hate humans. I recommend it very highly.

And that was all. Yeah, sure, there were some alcohols and some hangin-outs and some goodbyes afterwards, but as the last credits rolled, we all bid farewell to FF 2007. It's hard to let go of all the dismembered corpses and carnivorous beasts, but I just have to tell myself that they'll be back next year in new and exciting forms. Until then, I'll be sitting in the corner, waiting.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home