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HorrorFest: Premature Post-Mortem

Posted in humour,movies,reviews by YTAH on November 18, 2008
Tags: , , , ,

Having attended most of the HorrorFest so far, on AtraBilious and DocBenway’s recommendation, I’ve come to certain conclusions. Firstly, all horror movies are made on a budget scraped together by selling the director’s furniture in a garage sale, stealing it back from the suckers who paid good money for some asshole’s shit on the side of the road, and then reselling the furniture to a bona fide pawn shop. That’s if the films are any good at all. The higher the budget, the more seriously everybody takes themselves – which makes sense, because there’s so much more to lose. But this also means that everybody immediately forgets that ultimately all horror movies are based on a premise that is incredibly and deeply silly. (For an example of which, see Dark Reel with Lance Henriksen and Edward “Lay Off the Fucking Cocaine” Furlong.)

Not that there’s anything wrong with making a movie that’s deeply silly: the Muppet movies are silly, and so are three of my favourite films at the festival thus far. ¡Maldito Bastardo!, Shivers, and Creepers/Phenomena each asks you to suspend your disbelief off the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, and then yank the bungee cord back so that it launches Sputnik-like into the heavens. However, the films work, because the filmmakers acknowledge – no, embrace – the silliness. A mad doctor, inbreeding in the Spanish mountains, and fisting as a medical procedure? Why certainly. A disfigured homicidal dwarf and some girl with control over insects? Sure, bring your friends. Sentient parasites that look like turds? Welcome – make yourselves at home. Just don’t think about it too long, otherwise you’ll wish you stayed home and watched that Hannah Montana marathon instead.

Embrace the silly.

Embrace the silly.

Which brings me to my second conclusion: I’ve also decided that film festivals are for students, or old ladies with pensions and nothing much to look forward to in their old age but prune-farts and incontinence. That’s because they’re the only ones with the time to attend the damn things, and they’re also the only beings physically adapted to this kind of physical torture. Seriously, what kind of person would watch every single horror movie at an 8-day festival? What kind of sad, demented fu… oh wait. Forget I asked. But okay. Let’s say you abandon your wife, your children, your dog, your game consoles and your responsibilities, in order to sit in some womblike darkness for a few hours, watching grotesque things happening on screen – you’ll still be surrounded exclusively by other people pathetic enough to manage this feat. Which is why, if you take the time off from work or from your usual socializing to attend one of the screenings, you’ll find yourself surrounded by a cretinous collection of Clearasil and Depends ads, who can’t stop giggling or chatting or SMSing.

And yet, here I am, fully intending to attend both Thursday evening screenings with relatively good grace. Why? Because I fucking can, and there’s an off-chance that I’ll watch something as much fun as any of the movies I’ve enjoyed so far. That’s as much reason as anyone should need to do anything, and I need fewer reasons than most.

In fact, I want more festivals, not less. So just to confound my critics, or anyone who thinks that I am overly negative, or that I never make any constructive suggestions, here are a few more themes we should consider for movie festivals:

Old comedies, back in the days when comedies were still funny. (Chaplin, Buster Keaton, and Some Like It Hot should be ringing some bells right now.)

Other movies you wouldn’t have seen on the big screen. (An Alfred Hitchcock festival, anyone? Kurosawa? Bergman? Sergio Leone? No? Well then I hope you die in a fire, you cultureless fucks.)

Sets of sequels that are actually worth watching. (A Crystal Skull-less Indiana Jones marathon, all the Star Wars movies not directed by George Lucas, all of Peter Jackson’s vaguely related gross-out movies.)

The Weed festival.

Of these, the one I’d most like to see become reality is obviously the Weed festival. This is of course less an actual film festival than a conspiracy to weed out the most annoying cinemagoers alive. How? you ask. By getting them to attend what they think will be a festival of stoner movies, but which in reality will be an excuse for the rest of us to beat them up before they spread their lunacy amongst the rest of the populace. If there’s anything I’ve learnt from the zombie movies I’ve seen so far, it’s that any possible infection should be contained A.S.A.P.

I hope you appreciate my selfless efforts in your undeserving interests, but you’ll have to excuse me: I have some babies to bury in my backyard.

The last screenings for this year’s festival take place on Thursday, 6 November. You can also buy copies of the Terminatryx DVD, which features the original Nosferatu with the live soundtrack that was performed at the 2006 fest. (The latter features Paul’s brother, Francois, lead singer of K.O.B.U.S., amongst others.)

[Originally posted on on Wednesday, November 05, 2008.]


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