Fantastic Fest Wrap Up: Day Two!

Fantastic Fest Wrap Up: Day Two!

By Shannon Hood and Jane Almirall

On day two, we got several screenings in, and an interview.  Here’s how it all went down.

Mother’s Day Directed by Darren Lynn Bousman.  Starring Jaime King, Rebecca De Mornay, and Deborah Ann Woll.

Jane’ thoughts: Mother’s Day is an interesting remake of the 1980 Charles Kaufman feature.    Bousman updates the original by changing the story from a camping trip gone wrong (in which several campers are held hostage and terrorized by a criminally insane family) to a horrifying tale of home invasion – based on actual events – (in which friends at a birthday party are held hostage and terrorized by a criminally insane family).

Mother’s Day maintains a palpable tension throughout it’s running time as the party-goers turned hostages are humiliated, tortured and killed by this extremely dysfunctional family.  There are several nods to it’s roots in Troma – particularly Rebecca De Mornay’s performance, which is peppered with camp – though for the most part the torture and kill scenes play without a wink.  This film went on a little bit long for my tastes, but to it’s credit kept my heart rate up for it’s entirety.

Interview: Edward Norton

Shannon:  I got to attend a round table interview with Edward Norton, who was in Austin to promote Stone, co-starring Robert De Niro and Milla Jovovich.

Edward was charming and intelligent, and gave us some insight into how he prepared for his role as an inmate, why ambiguity is not a bad thing in movies, and gave us some details regarding the creative process that director John Curran worked through to bring the movie to fruition.  Interview is forthcoming.

Zombie Roadkill (webseries) Directed by David Green.  Starring Thomas Haden Church,  and David Dorfman.

Shannon:  This was fun, pure and simple.  This webseries is actually comprised of six “episodes” for a total running time of about 30 minutes.  We got to watch all six back to back so that it played like a short movie.

A group of teenagers are driving on a windy road when they are terrorized by roadkill animals that inexplicably spring to life as zombified creatures.

Whatever you do, make time to seek this out ( it debuts on on October 4.)  It’s a minimal time investment with a rewarding payoff.

Featuring all practical effects (puppets were employed) the series is cleverly written and gives plenty of nods to horror cliches and tropes.

Thomas Haden Church is hysterical as a park ranger who has taken it upon himself to protect the people, and 16 year old David Dorfman is charming as the reluctant hero.

The world premiere of the series was followed by a Q &A with actors Thomas Haden Church and David Dorfman, director David Green and screenwriter Henry Gayden.  It was a lively and light hearted Q &A.

Jane’s thoughts: ♥ _ ♥

30 Days of Night: Dark Days Directed and co-written by Ben Ketai.  Starring Kiele Sanchez, Diora Baird, Mia Kirshner, and Harold Perrineau

Jane’s thoughts: 30 Days of Night: Dark Days focuses on Stella Oleson as copes with the aftermath of the vampire attacks on Barrow which claimed 98 of it’s citizens – including her husband Eben.  Stella publishes her account of the massacre and travels with her book to inform people of the existence of vampires (who have remained hidden from the general public). During her book tour in Los Angeles she is contacted by a small band of fellow survivors – as well as by a vampire named Dane who provides them with information to help them hunt and kill nests of vampires.

Acting as a kind of vigilante/support group, the protagonists plot to eradicate the vampire Lilith, a queen bee-type who they believe is able to control the vampires.  It’s good to mention here that these vampires are removed from the romantic lore of the past (and the sparkling silliness of our present), making great use of the gorgeous artistic direction found in Ben Templesmith’s renderings for the graphic novels, these vampires have an haunting, animalistic appearance.

Also interesting is the new setting for the sequel.  By taking Stella to Los Angeles, Ben Ketai cleverly creates a different kind of atmosphere – moving from snowy, dark Alaska where the climate of isolation is built in, into abandoned urban areas like Skid Row, where people are often forgotten and overlooked  (if they are thought of at all).

Shannon’s thoughts:  I have not seen the original, but this sequel looked good, and I really enjoyed Kiele (The Perfect Getaway, Lost) in the primary role.  She and Diora Baird get to kick some vampire ass, toting menacing weapons and copping some attitude.

The first act zipped along at a good clip, but the film stalls a bit in the third act, when the cast is confined to a ship.

The film was followed by a Q &A with Kiele, Doria, and director Ben Ketai.