Fantastic Fest Report - 9/22

Author: Brett Gallman
Submitted by: Brett Gallman   Date : 2011-09-24 07:35
This is my attempt to keep tabs of the whirlwind that was Day One at Fantastic Fest; itís all a bit of a blur, as you might imagine, especially after being confined to a bus for over 24 hours. Needless to say, I was running on fumes the entire day until the festival actually got started--itís hard not to get caught up in the infectious atmosphere in Austin (thereís actually people who know movies and want to talk about them!), so you tend to find a third wind somewhere in there.

It all starts with the Alamo Drafthouse--if thereís a Mecca for film fans, this is surely it. There are probably many better testimonies than what I can muster, so Iíll just say everything youíve heard is true: the presentations are top-notch, and the atmosphere is incredible. Any theater I visit from here on out will surely pale unless Drafthouse founder Tim League decides to expand to South Carolina (but letís be honest--my home state has a better chance of seceding from the Union again before that happens).

However, itís the people that make it worthwhile; I donít fancy myself a social animal at all, but thatís no problem because the online community of bloggers (horror and not) will go out of their way to introduce themselves. Basically, itís like my Twitter feed was living and walking in front of me. I might be one of the only people to ever get star-struck running into bloggers and critics, but that probably just speaks to my sheltered existence. So far, none of these guys have come across as being superior to even a lowly horror blogger like me.

The same can be said for the likes of Elijah Wood, whoís just here as a fan like anyone else. Itís really weird to just walk by someone like that for the first time. I also was able to briefly meet Ti West, who directed House of the Devil (read Joshís review for that one here); his newest flick, The Inkeepers, will be playing here later in the week. It also stars A.J. Bowen, who also dropped by to chat with the group I was huddled with.

But enough about my mingling experiences--Iím here for movies, so letís talk about those.

Sleepless Night

Despite the title, this isnít a horror movie; instead, itís a slick little French action flick. Itís sort of similar to Die Hard both in concept (most of the action takes place in one confined space) and in the occasional humor. While itís by no means an action-comedy (the violence is visceral and chaotic), itís got some understated humor, with most of it coming from the villain. Iíll hopefully have a full review of this up at Movies in a Minute at some point, but this is definitely one to watch out for if youíre an action fan.

The Human Centipede II

I knew Fantastic Fest would be weird, but I never thought Iíd see Elijah Wood introducing Tom Sixís scatological follow-up by reprising his Yo Gabba Gabba appearance. Iím sure footage of that will be online somewhere, and itís as goofy as it sounds. The Drafthouse certainly does world premieres very well, as the rightfully turn things into a circus atmosphere to capture the spectacle of it all. Before the film screened, 3 unlucky audience members volunteered for a shit-eating contest, which is probably only half as bad as it sounds like. The stuff being consumed was actually some kind of sausage, but it looked authentic enough. At least the winner got a House By the Cemetery Mondo Poster for his faux-coprophagic exploits.

After the film (you can read my review here), Tom Six fielded questions from the audience. The topics ranged from his stance on rim jobs to the status of the third film, which he confirmed will be ďreally sickĒ and wonít be distributed by Disney. In between, he made a joke about Quentin Tarantinoís pool parties and discussed the psychology of directing a cast for something like The Human Centipede. Also, his casting process apparently involves raping chairs. As weird as this all sounds, Six is a genuinely charismatic guy who seems to be quite humbled by the success of his little ass-to-mouth epic heís crafted (and is still crafting).

House By the Cemetery

I couldnít pass up the opportunity to see a Fulci flick on the big screen; though this one is personally my least favorite of the ďGates of HellĒ trilogy, it might be the most fun, if only for the vast array of great stuff in it: an awesomely creepy set, outrageous gore, and, of course, Bob (as expected, roars of laughter greeted his first line of dialogue). The film was actually introduced by Bill Lustig, who discussed the restoration process for the upcoming Blu-ray. If the 2K digital presentation is any indication, itís going to be a delight--Fulci has never looked so vibrant and gorgeous.
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