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Cinema Wasteland fall 2017

Conmancw_show_logoIt’s amazing how Wasteland can leave me both completely relaxed and yet completely exhausted.  You wouldn’t think that hanging out and watching movies all weekend would be such an endurance test.

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Of course when you kick things off with a film like TANTRUM 2: PHANTOM OF THE DEMON, it’s already putting both your taste and gag reflex to the test. I actually dug Lucifer’s Cosmonauts from these guys, but they continue to push boundaries a little beyond what I’m comfortable with. Their films are very much platforms to show off their amazing skills at creating gore and torn flesh and various bodily excretions. The gross out volume is up to Troma levels, but lack the cartoonish edge Lloyd gives off. The unflinching earnest focus on shredded tissue and bodily fluids pushes these films to a cringing squirming experience. There’s no story to speak of, and what little there is, is told in a non linear format intercut with dream sequences, leaving you off balance and not quite ever knowing what you are watching. It’s the sort of film that could only be celebrated at Wasteland.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a fan of Gunga Jim’s drive in. There were fewer host segments this time around, but I was still looking forward to his presentation of BLOOD

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OF NOSTRADAMUS. Outside of the Santo films, I’ve had a hard time figuring out where to start with Mexican horror and this seemed like a fine candidate a vampire movie  with some occult overtones. Apparently it was my night to be confused because the choppy story was all over the place. Fun but a little out there.

I love hanging out with friends at Wasteland. I got in early for dinner with Deb, Mark and Brandi, along with her niece who was experiencing CW for the first time. Rhonda (an occasional contributor over here) was drunker than usual this weekend which resulted in me hanging more with her friend Chriss than her! Jen and Chris made it out and finally got to meet our buddy Bruce Wayne. We missed Angelique and Nicole but Halle and I still managed to get into some hijinks with Dirk Manning. I brought Baron Morbid a Jason puppet and he traded me for a copy of Divine Exploitation and a Superman comic with an ending he hated. How can you criticize Jim Starlin anyhow? A 22046979_10214212959589096_3157807684593411758_nyoung woman ran up to Doug and me, requesting a photo – “I was just here to deliver a pizza, but can I get a picture with you?”

I started to nod off during The CANNIBAL CORPSE KILLERS and decided to call it a night, but managed to get back in time the next morning for MICROWAVE MASSACRE. I actually really dig Craig Muckler, and he’s one of those kind of guys I’d never have discovered without Wasteland. He’s a writer, actor, producer…the sort of indie filmmaker who does whatever it takes. He was selling signed photos for $10 (and threw in an extra for me) which is another way of getting my attention. I love the picture with the side by side art for the VHS cover of Microwave Massacre vs the new Blu Ray. He offered the blu ray to the show promoter. Ken replied “This is wasteland. Were lucky to have a DVD player to run it!” With a smile he added “Besides, it was all grainy and pixilated when I first saw it on VHS, why should these guys get it any better?” .

I caught the first half hour of HOBO WITH A TRASH CAN (Chris tells me I need to finish it- it’s apparently really good) before rushing over to hear 22140842_1689001621144254_8847133523621755122_nCraig’s panel with Chris Mulkey and Jill Schoelen. I’ve been a fan of Schoelen for her role in my favorite Phantom of the Opera and only recently caught up with Popcorn. Chris Mulkey was the real surprise. Funny, musical and all around a delight to listen to. he sat in on Ghastlee’s show later that night, playing bluesy rockabilly on a borrowed electric guitar.

I later got into a slap fight with a werewolf.

SORORITY BABES IN THE SLIMEBALL BOWL-O-RAMA was on the list of screening for later that night and it’s one that’s been on my list of films to see for a while. I’ve just never gotten around to it, but that’s really what Wasteland is for. I never would have  thought to par it up with NIGHTMARE SISTERS though. Aside from an overlaping cast and director they don’t have a great deal in common, but they are great time capsules of that VHS era. Both fun horror with a very Charles Band/Full Moon atmosphere, it’s fun to spend some time on screen with Brinke Stevens, Linea Quigley and Michelle Bauer. These are also exactly the kind of films I come away with a far greater appreciation 22089519_1689005024477247_5518537902109243308_nfor after hearing a panel with the director David DeCoteau talking about them. He’s charming and funny and considering how prolific he is I  don’t understand how this guy wasn’t on my radar before now. He was also signing for free. In a world where more and more people are charging $40 or $50 for an autograph (And causing me to walk right on past thier tables), this kind of thing really helps you stand out. It’s how I discovered Adam Green and it’s now what’s got me really exploring David DeCoteau’s filmography. Indeed, the fact that Craig Muckler and Brinke Stevens were both $10 meant I ended up spending my money at more tables and probably dropping a little more than I intended.

 

I still made it back for a bit on Sunday to catch the short film block and the always excellent intermission reels, but was running out of steam before THE HIDDEN screened. That’s okay, I’ll catch it later. I’m still trying to process TANTRUM…and just might be pondering that right up until wasteland comes back in six long months.

See you there.

 

 

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Die-ner

boxdw148-1-lDiner is well acted well put together – the only thing that’s missing here is the story. I was surprised by the serious tone here… They’re very much playing it straight and I’m not sure I get it. With a name like die ner (get it?) it seems like the makers of this film had a self referential sense of humour and I thought that would come through in the movie itself . No such luck – this entire thing is played pretty deadly earnest. We have a killer who has already murdered the cook and waitress in the establishment but patrons come in before he can make it to get away.  . We’re given no explanation for why the dead walk, but they are  standard zombies. Shanbling, flesh eating, nothing to see here. Our killer occasionally pontificates on the meaning of life and our couple is just screamingand freaking out. Like I said, the actors here are all competent – the editing is fine, there’s just no story here. There is no rhyme or reason to anything.  It would fit right in with an  episode of a Walking Dead anthology series, as part of a bigger world but standing alone,it fails to satisfy.

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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Frozen

directorsafrozen-coverCan I just first state that I’m a little pissed that Disney pops up with a fun family princess film by this same title, about a year and a half or so after Adam Green released this thriller? I hate that these things are inevitably going to be confused, and the way that the Disney frozen really grabs that name in eclipses Adam Green’s Frozen. This is actually the first film of Green’s  that I ever saw, it came on the strong recommendation from the late and lamented Horror et cetera podcast. It’s the story of three people on a ski weekend who get stuck on a chairlift, as the ski resort shut down for the week. It’s such a simple yet terrifying premise and it’s a great departure from the Hatchet films that Green was getting known for. Its a chance to show what else he can do. Even though it’s locked into the category, this is not really horror, not to me anyhow. This is thriller territory. There are no monsters here, unless you count the wolves that are very active below them. No, in this case the situation itself is the villain – and the interpersonal relationships take center stage. It is squirm inducing, and uncomfortable. It is the sort of movie that will stay with you, long after the film is over.

I mentioned earlier that this is a departure from the style of the Hatchet series, and that’s intentional – Green didn’t want to necessarily be pigeonholed into the horror genre, and really – this is the kind of thing where he shines. You have to remember that he started, writing comedy, particularly romantic comedy – and characters are really his strong points. While his romcom type work hasn’t gotten nearly as much exposure as the horror stuff, it’s where his skill sets begins. The emphasis on characters and relationships is what makes Frozen work. You genuinely care about these people, you emphasize and sympathize with them and that’s absolutely what this film needs to be able to tear apart your heart. That’s what Frozen is about really, to break your heart and to chill your soul – no jump scares, just suspense. This is absolutely a must see, although for me it doesn’t have a lot of repeat value. I don’t think I’m going to be a visiting it, but I’ve got a say – definitely watch it, even if its only once.

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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

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Angel Lite commission

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An Angel Lite commission.

The idea here was to kind of combine Cheetara from Thundercats and Scarlett from G.I. Joe. Possibly one of the strangest mixtures I’ve ever tried. I’m not sure if she’s a hero or villian, but I definitely went into it with a distinctively villainous attitude.

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636

essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

636

Gary Sinese

Autographs13102669_1178202908890797_8247331051937824596_nOkay, I’ll admit I’m a bit of a punk, I couldn’t find a good address for captian Dan here, so I wrote his foundation, and it worked!

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essentialPosting the best strips from the series, in order from the beginning.

Every Wednesday and Friday

635

Destined To be Ingested

boxdwdtbdI’m at a complete  loss to figure out what the filmmakers were trying to accomplish with this one. It’s obviously a throwback movie, and there are heavy influences from Fulchi’s Zombie and Wes Craven’s The Hills Have Eyes here (I hear people say Cannibal Holocaust, but I really don’t see it….I think they’re reading too much into the title), with the setting, and the dubbing but beyond that I’m not sure what they were doing. If they were going for horror, they failed. It’s not scary in any real way. If they were going for parody, they also failed there too – it’s not funny or clever. It’s not really an exploitation film. At best it’s a hollow imitation of a grindhouse movie, but without the exploitation elements that keep those interesting.

A group of tourists on a boat end up on a deserted island. Sometimes there are cannibal natives (The whitest, most Caucasian looking barbarians this side of Iowa).  One of the natives takes a shine to one of our characters and about halfway though it turns into a weird cannibal lifetime channel movie… Yes, I realize, this sounds inconceivable. Imagine my disbelief as I watched. Especially when the undead zombies arrive in the last ten minuets.

There’s no character development, and these people don’t really even have the substance of caricatures. The kills are uninspired and uninteresting. I’ve seen student films do far better with far less.

Perhaps the title should have warned me, but I’ve seen plenty of good movies with dumb titles. This isn’t one of them. I’m going to say just flat out skip this one.