lowbrowculture

collects stories and ideas from John Kelly

Horrorthon 2006

**[The Host (Gwoemul)

Giant mutated monster terrorizes a bunch of Asian people. A layabout father’s daughter is taken by the monster and he vows to rescue her. Seriously, there’s very little more to the movie than that - if you didn’t like the sound of “giant mutated monster”, there’s really not much more to this movie for you. Which is why I was so surprised to see this movie sold out. The movie itself is slick, and the monster effects are really well done (except towards the end, where rather than simulate fire, they seemed to hand-animate that sucker). The whole way through, I felt like I was watching some Charlie White (specifically “Fleming House”).

Frostbite (Frostbiten)

Swedish movie about vampires terrorising a town in Sweden where it’s night for months at a time. Great premise for a movie, and one of the movies I was most looking forward to on this year’s program. Unfortunately, it never lived up to its promise. The story was very much one of throwing everything into the screenplay and seeing what stuck. A lot didn’t stick. Still though, they stole the premise from 30 Days of Night, now they’re stealing it back - David Slade (Hard Candy) is set to direct a movie of that comic.

Demons

I love this movie. and it was great to see it on the big screen.

The Lost

Not nearly as horrific as it thought it was. But still one of the highlights of the festival for me.

Masters of Horror: Brad Anderson’s Sounds Like

Masters of Horror: Takashi Miike’s Imprint

Andrew Deane (executive producer of Masters of Horror) came out and introduced these. He was a funny guy, and full of anecdotes about getting these made. ‘Sounds Like’ is familiar ground for Brad Anderson (The Machinist, Session 9): a man on the verge of collapse. Is there something “spooky” happening, or is he going insane? (he’s going insane). But it’s technically very impressive. They had the foley guy working overtime on this one. Before the screening of ‘Imprint’, Andrew Deane told us that “even people who worked on this episode have trouble watching it”. This was the episode that Showtime (the guys who produced the show) refused to screen. Now, confession time - I think Takashi Miike is horribly overrated. I grimace more during an episode of E.R. than most of his movies. My disappointment wasn’t helped by scenery-chewing Billy Drago.

Night of the Living Dead

I never fail to fall asleep during this movie. From when Ben throws the flaming chair outside to the moment when Barbara finally snaps out of her catatonic state, you’ll find me catching Zs. This was no different. Still though, I mostly just wanted to make sure I had good seats for the Surprise Movie. (More sacrilege: I think I prefer the 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead).

See No Evil (Surprise film)

This film’s title is also serves as a handy warning for anyone thinking of going to see this movie. It’s god-awful in a way that only WWF/WWE-produced movies can be.

Pan’s Labyrinth

The audience for Pan’s Labyrinth was roughly 50% typical arthouse nerds and 50% horrorthon nerds who had been there for almost three days straight and were fully charged on fizzy drinks and sugary sweets (and, in most cases, booze), so it was interesting to see the interplay between the two. When the movie started, all the horrorthon nerds starting whooping and clapping (because that’s what you do during horrorthon, whoop and clap), and the arthouse nerds sat in reverence. Still though - good film. A lot less fantasy than the trailers and previews made out. But still really good.

Cruel Jaws

Wholesale cheapo ripoff of Jaws. And enjoyably so. This film was so stupid, it actually encouraged audience participation - chants of “Hogan! Hogan! Hogan!” when main character (and Hulk Hogan lookalike), Richard Dew appeared on screen.

Cello

So, so sick of Asian horror at this stage. Cello was like the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

Poltergeist

Like Demons, I love this movie and it was great to see it on the big screen. The 70mm print was awesome - lots of details I missed from watching it on dirty VHS copies. A great way to end the festival.

After Poltergeist, we were told that they’ve already started organising Horrorthon 2007 and the word is that Dario Argento might be in attendance, which would mean a triple-bill of Suspiria, Inferno and Mother of Tears is looking likely.

I can’t wait.