We were up and ready for the first full day of FrightFest. Bear in mind this could well be the day that Filmwerk is the most excited about, it’s set to feature content from both Clive Barker and Dario Argento!
Today was going to be epic as the amount of films being shown on the main screen had doubled since yesterday, but also the Discovery Screen had opened showing an impressive six features. Equipment packed and a full night’s sleep had we (the royal we that is) took our seat and got ready for the Cabal Cut of Nightbreed. And this is what we thought:
Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut:
Clocking in at around the 2 ½ hour mark, it’s great to see Nightbreed on the big screen. Although, the current condition involves a lot of spliced footage from “Porno Grade” VHS – so the restorers tell us. We are still far from a finished or polished article but it was a chance to see what footage was missing.
There’s a bit of give and take here. Some of the footage brought depth to the story, other footage offered alternative takes on the material, whilst a lot of the extra early scenes didn’t add much weight and just slowed the film down. A middle ground is probably what’s needed for this film to retain any momentum. This version also offers a tweaked ending, again adding more to the resolution, as well as the outcome for some of the characters!
So find it, support it and help it get a decent disc release.
Total Film Icon Interview: Dario Argento
It’s a shame we didn’t get to have a peek at Dracula 3D but Dario Argento by himself is fine by us. This was the Total Film interview for this year which meant deputy editor of the magazine, Jamie Graham, got the honour of interviewing Dario but, like in previous year’s, he was perhaps not the best person suited to interviewing a guy with a slight language barrier.
Still, we got a few facts and a few cheeky opinions from the man (including his disappointment at not even getting so much as a phone call in regard to the upcoming Suspiria remake).
Afterwards there was the signing by Dario as well as author/FrightFest organiser Alan Jones of his updated book (formerly Profondo Argento) from FAB press. It’s out now and it’s a treat!
On the Discovery screen was Michael Biehn’s directorial debut The Victim. Yes, Hicks steps behind the camera (and in front) for this back wood exploitation thriller.
The film steals its opening credit style from David Fincher’s Seven, (right down to the song that riffs heavily on the heart-beating Nine Inch Nails tune, Closer) and then gets down and dirty with a rather unpleasant sex scene that ends up with a dead body. It turns out that the girl in question has a friend nearby who promptly legs it and interrupts Biehn’s quiet existence at his cabin.
After convincing him that she is being pursued and is in need of help from the authorities they two waste no time in…er, making love? OK so, gratuitous sex scene later and they decide the best course of action is to actually go and find the body of the murdered girl and not go to the authorities, whom they have still yet to consider calling. A couple of bad guys later and we end up with a bit of to and fro from both sides culminating in some lovely violence.
It is much more about the moment and the style of cinema than it is about logical storytelling, The Victim doesn’t really extend much beyond what we are initially presented with. The scenes of violence perhaps should have been pushed a little harder to give the film more impact, but it is an otherwise interesting start to Biehn’s directorial pursuits.
This year’s anthology movie gets the found footage treatment. V/H/S doesn’t make too much sense by the end as most of the stories take place in recent times, begging the question as to why they found themselves on VHS?
That aside, each segment is widely different from the rest. Some fall into the usual tropes: a bunch of horny kids in the woods getting killed; but others offer more surprises. If anything though, for the large part, a lot of the characters aren’t worthy of much sympathy. So, when the deaths do come you don’t care much for the people it is happening to.
Highlights are a segment which uses laptop cameras as the shoot style and the final Halloween party does raise a thrill or two.
Paco Plaza takes the Rec series off in a different direction with this sequel. Set at a wedding, the film’s first 20 minutes or so use footage from guests video cameras to introduce the characters. Once the mayhem kicks off though the film become pure cinematic for the rest of its short running time and we have to say it is beautifully lensed!
As well as dumping the visual style of the first two films, this one also has a wicked sense of humour about it. Coming over much more as a black comedy. But it is no less bleak however come the finale! All in all, Rec 3 is great fun.
It was probably a good idea to screen this one late and whilst it comes under comedy-horror, you need to be really drunk to really enjoy this one to the full.
Ross Noble plays the titular clown, back from the dead to wreak merry havoc upon a group of youths responsible for his death years before.
What tries hard to be a black and bizarre comedy with guts ends up merely as a string of death scenes stitched together by some paltry acting and lame dialogue. It won’t rank highly for horror comedy fans, but may serve as a reminder of that other bizarre Brit horror flick Funnyman from the 90s.
Noble, at least, takes a step away from his wild and animated persona we are familiar with on stage. Swapping it for a more of a deadpan and zombified version. But it won’t surprise anyone that he is the best thing in this film, just not around enough with perhaps a few better gags.
After that, it was straight to bed as we still have three more days to get through!