grelber37 posted a BLOG item about 6 years ago

Madison Horror Festival, Oct. 8, Offerings Reviewed


These reviews are just blurbs. Potentially, a Schmoe is unlikely to even encounter these films. Film festivals are great for the obscure, the microbudget, the good amateur. Some features are not even on DVD. They are on YouTube. However, Schmoes might run across these films or seek them out. Some are worth watching, and some are worth avoiding. This blog provides brief reviews.

“Employe du Mois”/”Employee of the Month” (dir. Olivier Beguin): This Swiss horror-comedy is a light treat. It is not brilliant. But, a viewer will laugh whether a horror fan or not. The world economic crisis has hit even the monsters such as mummies, vampires, and the Devil himself. Catriona MacColl plays La Conseillere finding them work. The laughs mix the intelligently satirical and the simply silly. See “Employe.” You’ll like it.

“Last Seen on Delores Street” (dir. Devi Snively): See this one. It is under ten minutes. It has some suspense and some surprises. Admirably, it tells its story without dialogue. Its tagline is clever, but read it after seeing this film. “Delores Street” just exemplifies a good horror short.

“Alone” (dir. Eric Lauk): The short’s twist ending works. And, Lauk uses imagery provocatively and efficiently. However, this short needs more development. Who is the film’s main character? Explain her further. Still, a Schmoe might take a glance at this short short.

“GGS” (dir. David A. Holcombe): Well, someone has read Orwell’s 1984 or a similar work. In GGS, rebels live in a dystopia, and their oppressive government captures them. Their prison is a will-breaking shithole.
Film-maker Holcombe does have good ideas. But, he just does not have the skills and resources to do them justice. But, much art could get that criticism.

“Betania” (dir. Andrea Giomaro): Independent shorts have a stereotype about them. They are b&w series of images that seem important to the film-maker and that have limited coherence and meaning for an audience. My “Betania” notes read “affected, artsy, slow.” In the story, protagonist Serena’s grandfather dies in the town of Betania. Then, she goes there, and the audience experiences mediocre cinematic impressionism. Skip “Betania.” Keep driving or surfing.

The Collapsed (dir. Justin McConnell): Blog-readers might know the plot already. But, The Collapsed is an apocalypse movie. Society has fallen apart. The Weaver family decide to flee the chaotic, dangerous city. They seek refuge in the countryside and to re-unite with a missing family member who lives a distance away.

Arrow in the Head (9/30) reports that Anchor Bay distributes The Collapsed soon. The DVD is not a must-watch. However, a horror fan should probably see this movie. The Collapsed is actually a different kind of movie. Classify it a horror-drama (as one mentions a “horror-comedy” hybrid). The Collapsed is not as good as 28 Days Later. But, as in Boyle’s story, characters take time for human interaction during an apocalypse. After the world ends, not every moment will be a monster attack. Rather, families will still have long conversations in the car and in the woods, etc., and those conversations will concern much more mundane matters than zombies. Have you ever been in a natural disaster or other crisis? Not every moment is all-out action nor every utterance profound oratory.

In fact, SPOILER, The Collapsed has no zombies, no exceptional and supernatural boogeymen. Man himself has fucked-up his world so royally that we humans have no more society. I loved that McConnell’s film simply extrapolates where North American culture is heading—without any mythical creatures involved END SPOILER.

The Collapsed complements well its 2011 companion Stake Land. Stake Land is unsparing, shocking, and intense. A person loves it for that approach. The Collapsed is about people who maintain their humanity while constantly worried about the (mostly) unseen threats around them. But, they exist in a quieter, potentially more realistic corner of a familiar horror film setting.
SPOILER Until the story’s conclusion. Then, the audience sees plenty of gore and action. The tonal shift shocks a bit. However, the change does not take one out of the movie. Previous scenes have had a sufficiently grim tone. Heartbreaking violence has already occurred in the plot by this time. And, we know that the “monsters” are—around. END SPOILER. Strongly consider seeing The Collapsed once available.

Oh, one more note. John Fantasia (the dad Scott Weaver) gives a commendable performance. Any viewer should appreciate it. Often, the role requires Fantasia to convey thoughts without actually expressing them. Also, his character must have several identities in the story (tough guy, caring father, everyman), and I believed Fantasia as this complex character.

Zombie Abomination: The Italian Zombie Movie Part 1 (dir. Thomas Berdinski): I do not recommend this horror-comedy. I feel somewhat guilty for not doing so. Tom Berdinski was at the convention. He is a charismatic, enthusiastic horror fan who even wore a monster costume. And, a viewer can tell that the cast had an absolute blast making The Italian Zombie Movie Part 1. However, Zombie Abominationis one of those “fan made films.” What we have is more goofing around before a camera than composed art. Berdinski and his crew laughed and joked throughout the screening. But, otherwise, the theatre had energy until ZA; then, it had restlessness and apparent boredom; then, it had energy again.

So, what were the film’s issues? Firstly, the story was too episodic. A viewer understood the overall plot. Yet, sometimes, things were inadequately explained or, somehow, the scenes did work together. Secondly, for all of its giggly energy, Zombie Abomination's humor is actually very dry. Dry humor is humor funny upon analysis. If one analyzes, Berdinski’s film parodies Eurotrash zombie movie conventions. However, it is about as funny as The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra—without simultaneously exhibiting that film’s stylistics and intelligence. Rather, thirdly, the humor here is so damn puerile. Granted, Part 1 offers some outrageously funny lines and grand gross-outs. But, mostly, characters eliminate on-camera a lot. They do implausibly stupid things. They discuss social issues—especially feminism—in grossly uninformed ways. Gross images themselves are supposed to elicit hysterical reactions.

See Zombie Abomination if a fan made film interests you. It was obviously a labor of love. But, as stated, the theatre was bored and disengaged throughout.

The Woman (dir. Lucky McKee): I feel like a pussy, but I missed this one. It played at 22:30, and I had to work at 05:00. No doubt, The Woman was the festival’s best picture. Arrow wrote a review (not from the Madison showing). He recommends it highly.

Mood: Happy
timmyd at 08:56 AM Oct 11

nice job my man, sorry you missed THE WOMAN .

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