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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Film Reviews - Fantastic Fest Round Up - Day 3

By Adam Ruhl

Here are some of the finer films I saw on day three of Fantastic Fest. I've tried to avoid spoilers but proceed with caution.

Nightbreed – The Cabal Cut

Nightbreed has been available for a quarter century, but as the director of the restoration Russell Cherrington mentioned during a Q& A, this is effectively a whole new movie. Using a VHS workprint, the theatrical release digital elements, and the first draft script, they have assembled The Cabal Cut, a hybrid ‘best available’ version of Barker’s original vision. It does add a more epic scale to the tale and removes part of the cliffhanger for a sequel that never occurred.  However, you do have to have patience with the picture quality dropping sharply for large sections of the film. The restoration is apparently an ongoing process; readying the film for its Scream Factory Blu ray release coming soon.



R100 is the fourth film from Japanese director Hitoshi Matsumoto. It is a sex comedy about a man who hires a bondage service. Essentially the contract says that a dominatrix will appear randomly in the man’s daily life and he must be submissive to her. The contract cannot be cancelled and this becomes part of the problem when they show up at his work and begin threatening his family. I laughed harder at this movie than just about any other at the festival. Despite its S&M there is virtually no sex or cheap gags in R100. What this movie contains is like a masterwork of slowly building gags. There are a million great subtle moments and the director got huge laughs from the audience just by putting the right expression in at the right moment. It was a delight and I recommend seeing it as soon as possible.


Jodorowsky’s Dune

This documentary is a story that was long overdue to be told. Director Frank Pavich brings us the history of a mid-1970’s pre-star wars era film version of Dune that never was. No pre-production ever really began, not a frame of footage was shot, but much of the genesis of modern American sci-fi cinema started with this one project that did not launch. A truly epic collection of artists were to be brought together on this project such as Orson Welles, HR Giger, and Salavador Dali. If you love Alien, Blade Runner, and all the movies that they spawned since, this documentary is worth your time. Jodorowsky alone is wonderful and inspiring to watch in his passionate interviews about his films and art.



This is one of the best films I saw at the festival, it’s intense with a dark sense of humor while asking some very probing questions about the nature of power. Robert Nord (Patrik Karlson) is a man whose life is going bad. His wife has had an affair and then died in a car accident and his only source of pleasure seems to be playing with sounds in his basement. He discovers a sound frequency that allows him to hypnotize people and make them do whatever he wants. Of course he does what any of us might do and tests this power by messing with his neighbors (though probably not to the same extent). This is not a screwball comedy, it is very disturbing at times and a gets little rapey, but overall is a fascinating film. While I watched it I kept contemplating what I’d do with that power; I dare you not to do the same.


Cheap Thrills

See this Drafthouse Films release as soon as it’s available. This is one deep, twisted tale that could be right out of Pulp Fiction. Pat Healy and Ethan Embry play a pair of down on their luck guys who run into a rich couple at a bar. What follows is the couple starts offering them money for performing a series of increasingly extreme stunts. This film is so much more than its simple premise as the dares become increasingly warped psychological tortures. This is not a comedy, Cheap Thrills is intense and dark as they come and the characters are so real that you cringe at each turn. Hands down one of the most intriguing and well made films of the fest.


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