Archive for Sitges Film Festival

SITGES PT. VI: AND THE WINNER IS… ANTIVIRAL, Brandon Cronenberg (2012)

Posted in Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller with tags , , , , , , on October 20, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

And this is the last chapter of my Sitges experience 2012. Not bad, huh? I’ve left the final touch to talk about Antiviral, Brandon Cronenberg’s full-length debut film. Whay can I say? The family ties attract me too much as to miss the screenings in Sitges. I didn’t want anyone to tell me about the film, I had to see for myself and judge. I tried to ease down my expectations, clinging to the idea that despite who his father is, it doesn’t mean that he receives the baton and is able to go on with the tradition. No matter how I tried to deny myself, I knew I wanted Brandon Cronenberg to succeed as the new baron of blood.

Those who are in regular contact with me, and also because the title of the post is quite self explanatory,  you already know my verdict: EPIC WIN.

As soon as I left the room after the screening, I immediately wrote this tweet:

One thing is for sure. Taste for blood and twisted stories is hereditary. Long Live The New Flesh! Hail to the Young Cronenberg!

In a not so remote future time, Syd March (Caleb Landry Jones) works for the Lucas Clinic, a company specializing in inoculating its patients with virus samples taken from the hottest celebrities they adore. This is the ultimate fan experience, to develop and pass through the same illness as their idols.

As security is so strong, the only way to smuggle some of these virus to develop into another sub-products to be sold in the black market, Syd shoots himself with leftovers, in order to sell blood samples.

Things get rough when after visiting the super gorgeous Hannah Geist (Sarah Gadon) for some samples of an unknown disease she probably caught in China, news announce her sudden death, and he find himself in danger infected by the same disease. March’s body will be pursued as if gold, for many parties will be interested in taking as much advantage as possible from him.

If at this point you don’t think this plot is twisted enough as to be worthy of admiration and recognition as the extension of David Cronenberg’s legacy, now that he’s evolving to more conventional stories, then I’m making you waste your time, because from here you’re only going to read praise to this son’s work.

This is a critic exercise against the fan phenomena happening lately, with the massive media coverage, the narrow line separating fans from stalkers, the pursue of trespassing the intimacy of popular people… women dress like their idols, soccer players are the inspiration for many men, kids named after actors, sportsmen or just yellow press characters… Right now, as in the film, celebrities don’t have to earn it. If they become popular for no reason and people worship them, they go on doing nothing, getting richer and being just famous.

Antiviral goes one step beyond, turning the screw another time: now a guy wants the cold-sore of Hannah Geist, a woman wants to experience the genital herpes of an actress, the man who wants the flu of his idol… and so on. The client pays for suffering, and both the company and the celebrity make profit out of an illness. Could you imagine if that was for real considering what some people are capable of doing for money? Getting rewarded for catching illnesses… it would get out of control, I’m sure.

The film is very aseptic and minimalist, so much it’s disturbing. Blinding white locations are very present, thus any element in contrast, is highlighted. Blood is very intense in the film, for example.

The recruitment of Caleb Landry Jones to play Syd was a great choice, the perfect candidate for that role. His physical features provide the character of more personality. Ginger, freckled, super pale, skinny, and androgynous, with this cold expression as if insensitive… he behaves like a robot, dresses in the same way everyday, sandwich and orange juice are his daily meal, no hobbies, no personal items in his flat but the hidden virus processor, he’s also an aseptic character, only worried for his health as if he was hypochondriac, even though he’s actually monitoring the illnesses he’s submitting to in order to get extra money. The progressive decline, accelerated by this last lethal virus is noticeable: he’s weak, his physical appearance is severely affected, he suffers from paranoia episodes… and cannot get proper help.

Sarah Gadon means perfection in this film. The Cronenbergs’ muse, this time is the celebrity everybody worships. Blonde, perfect, warm and close in the eyes of her fans, adorable… but if you think of it, she’s a rat making money of her illness.

Visually speaking, there are very Cronenberg elements. At some points I thought of Videodrome, eXistenZ and Dead Ringers. Antiviral is suffocating, and those moments when reality conveys with insanity are a clear example.

It has to be hard for Brandon to be constantly related to his father, but the truth is that David Cronenberg is one of the greatest influences in horror sci-fi films, and no matter how hard you try, you’ll always be compared. Beside, Brandon had taken part of the cast of some of his dad’s projects. You’ve learnt from the master in first line, and we the fans love you’ve been so diligent, because the results have been outstanding, surprising everybody with a remarkable debut film. The future of young Cronenberg is promising, and Antiviral has opened the doors to another mad scientist into the business. We only have to wait and see, and hopefully Brandon will be delivering interesting projects which won’t leave us indifferent.

Again, Antiviral is an excellent job, and I just can shout:  LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!

SITGES PT. V: REMAKE TIME! MANIAC, Franck Khalfoun (2012)

Posted in Horror with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

The main reason why I attended the marathon on Sunday was Maniac. I had to see with my own eyes, swallow and then try to be as objective as possible and deliver a fair verdict.

To be honest when I heard of the project, involving Alexandre Aja and Grégory Lavasseur, my feelings were conflicting. On one hand, as a true fan of William Lustig’s original Maniac with Joe Spinell as Frank Zito, and considering the disappointments I’m experiencing regarding remakes, I thought it was completely unnecessary and risky. On the other hand, knowing that  the two French pals were in charge of the script, although I don’t like much Aja’s last projects behind the cameras, it was something quite attractive, enough as to give it a try. The response to the first screenings was surprisingly positive, with both the critics and the audience agreeing this new Maniac was spectacular.

Frank (Elijah Wood) is an attractive guy in his 30’s who works restoring old mannequins. He’s also a mentally disturbed serial killer moved by his main target: collecting scalps from young beautiful women, to bring out his favorite mannequins into life, personalizing them as his victims, in order to keep them as company.

Despite his detachment from society, mainly due to his obsessions and schizophrenic paranoia episodes in which his dead mother (America Olivo), a vicious and very promiscuous woman, is the main protagonist, he’s still able to become friends with a beautiful French photographer named Anna (Nora Arnazeder), who happened to discover the restored mannequins exposed in his shop window. Her fascination for Frank’s work closely related to her portfolio, will be decisive for the killer having an obsessive crush on her which he’ll be disguising as friendship so he can get close to her. Anna means what the others can’t be, she’s pure, humble, friendly… and is interested in Frank in an innocent and honest way.

It’s inevitable to compare this remake with the original. There are many things in common, but there are enormous changes.

I like the fact that Frank’s surname is not abused of in the whole movie, as a tribute to the great character Lustig created. The serial killers are completely different. Joe Spinell’s Zito was disgusting in his appearance, fat, old, sweaty, very insane and disturbing. Wood’s Frank is a skinny pale guy with intense blue eyes, considered cute and attractive by some women, isolated at the store, restoring the mannequins, yet contacting with society for achieving his purposes.

There are several things related to this Frank I enjoyed lots. On one hand his physical deterioration evolves according to his mental breakage. His hallucinations happen more often and get worse every time, up to unbearable limits. From the very beginning we see he takes medication which seems to work, but as the story goes on, the effect diminishes. Wood is really convincing in his role, very well done.

Anna is the symbol of purity and innocence embodied in a beautiful woman. For the first time, she’s the one who approaches Frank, enthusiastic about his restoration work. The sensibility towards the mannequins, considering them as living creatures, moves the killer. They meet and spend time together, and he stalks her in the distance, not in a hunting mood, but in love.

The executions are rad! The opening scene gave me the goose bumps, super explicit, mean and brutal, perfect to please the splatter lovers. I thought of early Aja’s films, with those brutal murders that affected you right in the belly, if you know what I mean.

The use of the subjective camera technique from Frank’s perspective, and the situations created with mirrors, to see the killer reflected, are fabulous. Classic horror had this idea before of course, you just have to remember little Mike Myers in Halloween, or The Boston Strangler. But the effect achieved here, helps the viewer to be Frank for a while, creating this suffocating and claustrophobic feeling.

The city is not as filthy as Lustig’s, but it recovers the essence of the 80s. Dark and wet streets, those built-to-be-rape-alleys, the scent of danger… it’s fantastic. It’s also remarkable the soundtrack, very 80s too. Both outdoors locations and the soundtrack have lots in common with Nicolas Winding Refn’s Drive. Aesthetics does matter, and  it’s meticulously handled.

It’s compulsory to congratulate the director, Franck Khalfoun, for a great job done, of course, but I have Alexandre Aja and Grégory Lavasseur in my head, as the script writers, and I’m convinced the influence and participation in the project was very prominent, because while watching the film, Aja was present there.

The Maniac experience was quite worthy, and the result was surprisingly positive. This is an example of how a good remake can be decently delivered, without insulting the original one, yet keeping its own identity.

One of the peak moments of the festival definitely.

SITGES PT. IV: CHAINED, Jennifer Lynch (2012)

Posted in Drama, Horror, Serial Murders, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , on October 18, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

After the previous posts talking about films I didn’t feel passionate for, now it’s time to focus on those which fully earned my respect and recognition. Not only mine by the jury at different categories, which make me feel better meaning my taste and judgment is not so crappy as I might have thought.

Chained was one of the main movies I wanted to watch badly for many reasons. On one hand because Jennifer Lynch is David’s daughter, second because I had recently revisited Surveillance, the film which also awarded in Sitges 4 years ago, and I still enjoyed it, and because disturbing Vincent D’Onofrio was the main actor.

In the era of downloadings and streaming, and because Spain is at the back of the queue in screening speaking terms, there were people who had already watched. A wide range of opinions was floating, and I decided not to take them for granted.

Chained was the first movie in Sitges, and was also the first time I attended a screening with the director introducing the film to the audience. Jennifer Lynch explained the film was about how real monsters are made, and finished asking people to medidate on how we raise our kids nowadays, implying the importance of behavior and discipline, and other concepts she left open to our thinking.

On any random Saturday evening, Sarah (Julia Ormond) and his 9 year-old son Tim, take a cab to get back from the mall, after her husband insists them not to take the bus for not being safe. At some point Sarah panics when trying to stop the cab driver, who’s completely diverted from the route and is taking them to a house in the middle of nowhere.

Bob (Vincent D’Onofrio) tortures and brutally kills her, and adopts Tim, renamed as Rabbit, as his slave, after apologizing for not being part of the plan. He will have to do the cleaning, serve him the food, update the newspaper clippings album with stuff related to his victims, and many other terrible things. One word, one forbidden action, and he’ll be fucked up. The servant is watched and recorded by hidden cameras so Bob knows what he does all the time. in a moment of desperation, Rabbit tries to get away but his master is waiting for him, and his punishment will mean carrying a long and heavy chain round his ankle for many years.

Rabbit (Eamon Farren) grows up, and Bob, who is keeping his routine of abducting young girls for his feast of sex, torture and murder, starts thinking of the teenager as his successor, and starts educating him and giving him more privileges. Should he follow the steps of his master? Should he rebel against evil? Raised in an environment of horror, murder and insanity, there aren’t many options.

Disturbing, claustrophobic, insane, terrifying… Lynch was right about the making of monsters. A kid raised cleaning blood puddles, burying corpses of the young victims, being conscious of being locked up while his dad is looking for him, and serving the serial killer who killed his mother… He’s to be stigmatized for life, probably developing all kind of mental issues, and the question of following the pattern he’s been witnessing for so long time, well, seems hard to escape from that fate.

Regarding the reflection on how to raise children, you’ll see and understand what she meant. At the end of the day, children are information sponges, and everything they see, especially if impressive, remains in their memories forever.

The basis of Chained is the relationship between the serial killer and the kid. There are brief characters, which end up buried under the house. It’s outstanding the tension between them, the evolution of both characters after so many years, and the final kind of tenderness Bob feels towards Rabbit, thinking of him as part of him.

Vincent D’Onofrio is disturbing. It’s impossible not to remember him as Pvt. Gome Pyle in Full Metal Jacket, the agony of being bullied and fucked up by his instructor till he blows his head. I can’t forget his face. This time he’s this cab driver, who abducts girls, tortures them and finally kills them. Why? As usual it has to be with childhood trauma. Growing in certain conditions can be mind overwhelming and he just became a serial killer, with the perfect system, starting with his job and the car, to fulfill his needs with total impunity. Bob’s personality and life is absolutely plain except for his secret. Doesn’t talk to much, doesn’t have vices, it’s a very square and monotonous, and hasn’t any passions or hobbies. He’s a grey guy.

What about Rabbit? He’s deprived of any self-thinking, he’s locked down and chained, he cannot talk unless asked, he cannot eat until Bob has finished his meal, and once he’s done he will have the leftovers…when his Master gives him anatomy books to study, he just devours them. He doesn’t want to end as his “stepfather”, but it’s difficult to rebel against the one who’s got the power. How long will he manage to stand firm?

I’m sure Chained is the kind of film which will not leave you indifferent, it’s impossible. It reflects this type of horror which could be real, or at least its origin is too common nowadays. The conclusion of the film left me speechless too. I was in shock.

If you watch it, be in the mood for feeling uneasy, because you will for sure. Still, Chained is a good film supported with great performances and the suffocating atmosphere created. Jennifer Lynch, well done!

SITGES PT. III: FROM COLD ROCK TO REMOTE LOCATIONS IN THE BRAIN

Posted in Action!, Romance, Sci-Fi, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

These two stories have nothing in common but just one remark: they are not bad films but I didn’t feel enthusiastic about them either.

I watched The Tall Man on Wednesday morning, after the suffocating and insane Antiviral, I needed something more dynamic , so it was ok. Aurora on the other hand, was the first one of the marathon, right after having a quick lunch while waiting in the queue, and I was lucky not having succumbed to the classic nap, because the dialogues in the original language were too monotonous, the rhythm was super slow, and the atmosphere was perfect for it.

THE TALL MAN, Pascal Laugier (2012)

I have to admit I expected much more from The Tall Man, having in mind its director Pascal Laugier had shocked  the audience in Sitges few years ago with the film Martyrs. This was the first time he directed an English spoken film supported by a remarkable budget.

Right before the screening of the movie, the attendants were given an amazing small book of the film, including the plot, press reviews, the cast and their roles introduced, how the crew was gather, so as the selection of settings. Very interesting and a nice (and expensive) gesture.

Things in the mining town Cold Rock, in Washington State, are rough. Not only unemployment and poverty strike the neighbors, but also the alarming amount of children disappearing in the area, as if abducted. Everybody talks about The Tall Man, it’s become a popular legend which terrorizes Cold Rock.

Julia Denning (Jessica Biel) is a nurse performing as the doctor in town, who happened to be her husband dead some years ago. She remainsthere even though she’s still seen as a stranger by the locals. She lives with her son David (Jakob Davies), and her friend Christine (Eve Harlow), who looks after the kid while she’s working.

One night an intruder breaks into the house to take David with him, but this “Tall Man” doesn’t know what Julia is capable of to recover her beloved kid. When she informs the authorities on the disappearance, some doubts and evidences point her as responsible for the disappearance of the children, thus she will have to carry on with reckless search for David, getting away from the locals at the same time. Eventually the truth will be discovered.

Pascal Laugier has explained that this project was born years ago, and was interrupted when he worked on the shocking Martyrs. This time he wanted to focus on a real subject as the source of horror, again the starting point is the abduction of children, but this time The Tall Man is a dark thriller. The director thought of Jessica Biel remembering her performance in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. She is an angel face but also has a very athletic body being great in action scenes, in which she tried to avoid being stunted, being more realistic.

It’s true that for most of time the audience is finding their own conclusions that are not valid due to the change of the events and perspectives. The most interesting aspect is that we always tend to identify and label the characters, the good guy, the bad guy…and here this labeling is not suitable till the end. Still, many characters are not relevant, if you pay attention you notice things valid for the final conclusions, but there are other aspects which could be omitted without affecting the final result. The initial plot is not bad, but the development is not convincing.

AURORA (VANISHING WAVES), Kristina Buozyte (2012)

Aurora was the opening film to the marathon at Retiro movie theatre. I didn’t have any idea of what it was about, just the mocking remark of a friend of mine saying he had read somewhere it was erotic.

So there I am, front-centered, ready to enjoy the experience of several movies in a row for about 9 hours, and curious about this Aurora. For no reason, the title was making me of Solaris, something very funny because in essence, the two hours of story were too Solaris inspired.

To start with, the main language in the film was Lithuanian (I thought it was Russian, quite similar and monotonous), with very few lines in English, included in the dialogues among scientists.

Lukas (Marius Jampolskis) has volunteered for a series of experiments consisting  of neuron-transfer transmissions in order to get some response from Aurora (Jurga Jutaite), a young beautiful woman, who is into deep coma after a car crash. The transmissions would be as if travelling into another dimension where Lukas and Aurora will star a secret love affair he will not report to his superiors, putting all the experiment into risk, and also the life of the patient. Of course these strengthened ties will bring out other feelings and situations completely unnoticed in the real world, up to a point all this will be negatively affecting both Lukas and Aurora.

The language, the rhythm, the story in a different dimension, the behavior of Aurora, the sound effects, the work with cameras… everything reminded me as an attempt to create a modern Solaris. It’s undeniable that Tarkovsky’s film was the main inspiration.

It was a rough film to start the marathon, dense, slow, a bit twisted, but the story was quite interesting. Erotic? Nah, you can see boobs, naked bodies and sensual scenes, but not big deal. There were these moments the actors try to create an ideal and allegoric scene of beauty, but the way they move ends up being quite of funny, lessening the effect. Definitely modest in the impact on the audience.

SITGES PT. II: LET’S HAVE SOME FUN

Posted in Fantasy, Horror, Just Fun, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on October 16, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

The festival schedules a wide-ranging list of movies. This year I haven’t seen many proper horror films, but as I did watch some quite disturbing and suffocating and some quite dense, comedy-horror titles to have an easy break were very welcome.

Thus I watched Grabbers on Wednesday, and the other two, Sightseers and John Dies at the End, which were included in the marathon selection.

GRABBERS, Jon Wright (2012)

The typical cute island off the coast of Ireland, where nothing ever happens, is invaded by outerspace creatures, CthulhuKraken like, which easily adapt thanks to the rainy climate, and look for blood for feeding. By chance, the drunken fisherman, the two police officers in charge, and a the loud-off biologist, discover that these creatures are allergic to a certain percentage of alcohol in human body, and as good Irish, the will arrange everything to defeat them and restore piece.

These typical Brit-Irish comedies related to creatures follow more or less the same pattern, they are low budget, in this case approaching the beautiful nature locations, but with poor treatment to the creatures, ultra computerized. It’s entertaining but not brilliant, however, the way to fight the creatures provide some hilarious moments, and the Irish character and acting is always funny.

SIGHTSEERS, Ben Wheatley (2012)

No doubt this was the coolest surprise in the festival. I loved every second of this super black comedy. In the distance it reminded me of John WatersSerial Mom.

Tina (Alice Lowe) is a woman in her thirties living with her oppressive mother. They were devoted to their dog Poppy, who passed away recently, and they haven’t got over the tragedy. Chris (Steve Oram), Tina’s boyfriend, has planned a getaway route in his caravan, to let her discover his world. The couple seems to be one of these awkward families which we usually see in pictures, shy, fussy and too traditional, however, whenever they feel their holidays are threatened by strangers, the serial killer resting inside of them brings out merciless.

Sightseers is a road trip, a romantic comedy, and an orgy of murder, if you get chance, do not miss it. You won’t get disappointed.

JOHN DIES AT THE END, Don Coscarelli (2012)

When I think of Don Coscarelli, Phantasm saga and Bubba Ho-Tep escort the director , thus if his name is mentioned I always pay attention.

I got the chance to see his last work at the marathon, warned by some that it was a bit nuts. I didn’t feel discourage, to be honest, and instead of heading back home after Maniac, I decided to go for a walk and then watch the fifth story in the evening. I don’t regret having chosen the hardest option, which implied to arrive home super late, but after seeing the result, I must confess inside of me I’m banding my head against the wall. Johnny Dies at the End, based on Dave Won’s novel was everything I couldn’t have thought of, yet, it didn’t catch me.

Dave Won (Chase Williamson) has an appointment with a journalist (Paul Giamatti) in order to tell him the truth of the business he’s handling together with his best mate John Cheese (Rob Mayes) and the story behind their special abilities, which started to be noticed due to a devastating drug labeled as Soya Sauce, which opened the doors to another dimensions, and consequently enhanced their skills to detect evil creatures threatening human kind, forcing these  two college partygoers  to fight to save humanity.

I’m not really sure whether I was too tired and not in the mood, but I was surprised hearing the audience lively laughing. Really, the jokes weren’t so smart. The sequence of events and the flashback technique weren’t clearly exposed, and the result was quite chaos. The start of the story was appealing, but as the story is developing, loses its initial effect and goes flat. Nope, I didn’t buy it!

SITGES PT. I – THE GREATEST DISAPPOINTMENT: THE LORDS OF SALEM, Rob Zombie (2012)

Posted in Horror with tags , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

It’s taken me some time to decide the way to organize posts as already said. I’m finally arranging them based on the impact I received from them, good or bad, and their apparent importance.

Therefore to start my Sitges chronicles I’ve chosen The Lords of Salem for being one of the main titles I was interested in, which ended up being the greatest disappointment.

The marketing campaign, the artwork of the posters, the trailers and the aesthetics were promising, raising our expectations to unreal levels. When I say this, it’s because I also got quite disappointed with the remake of Halloween. Back in the day I had thought of Zombie, the perfect person to keep all the Carpenter essence, combined with brutal images and providing the splatter and mean taste which could improve something that was achieved 30 years earlier. Of course it was impossible to deliver something better than the original, but adapted to modern times the result could have been much better. But it wasn’t. and I gorgot about it till last Tuesday.

The established actress Dee Wallace, a real cunt, as she defined her role in the film, was there to introduce the film. She was very pleased, and seemed delighted with the final results and we were still optimistic on this regard.

The Lords of Salem tells the story of Heidi Hawthorne (Sherri Moon Zombie), a local radio DJ in Salem, a city in Massachusetts where the witch trials, and their executions, took place 300 years earlier, but apparently average nowadays. After one of the programmes with theBig H Radio Team, an old wooden box with a strange logo engraved, containing a vinyl is waiting for her. It’s a gift of The Lords. When played at home, this eerie and disturbing melody, resembling an invocation causes her to experience a kind of flashback showing her memories of a past trauma and a killing migraine. From this point she will be feeling more and more tired, and her behavior will be so erratic, her colleagues Whitey the hippie( Jeff Daniel Phillips) and Jackson (Ken Foree), another black looking as Shaft, will start thinking she’s on crack again. On the other hand, the song played by The Lords, starts being broadcasted on radio, affecting all the local women. This invoking  anthem will bring the burnt witches of Salem back to life, and Heidi will be chosen as some sort of vehicle due to her ancestors.

I invited a friend to watch the film and there was a comment he made, when the film was still comprehensive and endurable, which was clear enough as to confirm the film was awful. He said something lie “if I had brought my wife here, after this scene, she would have divorced me, sent me to Hell, and her pregnancy would have failed”.

Everything was pathetic: the plot was an attempt to twist an idea we’ve seen many times in movies. The concept of bringing back the dead through human sacrifice. Sherri Moon is gorgeous, I don’t question her beauty and better if I don’t remark the terrible outfits she was showing, but what I reckon is that her acting is poor and bad. It’s confirmed that the director has an obsession for immortalizing her, so she’s his muse, and there’s always space and time for some of meat exhibition. The dialogues are completely terrible.

The film seems to be divided into two different parts. The first one is the understandable, with a normal pattern in the sequence of events, but the second, OMG! The second is just a visual recreation of different concepts. It could be compared to having a trip of LSD. For a while you’re mind is under control and can feel that your brains are being affected, you feel anxious and uneasy, but you still know what’s happening till the moment the drug explodes and from that point your trip is chaos and mayhem and you just can enjoy or deal with the trip, unable to focus, and experiencing weird things which make no sense. Well, the second part of  The Lords of Salem is a bad acid trip, it’s a joke. I could see my friend’s astonished face, guess mine wasn’t any better. We agree on the same: this film is a shit!

Rob Zombie concentrates all his energy in showing his wife, and developing  films which seem full length video clips. His main target is to combine transgression with cult and merge classic and modern horror, rather than focusing on contents and good stories. He’s so egocentric as not to be able to look beyond. The result is well deserved: his horrible mix ends up becoming a tasteless and vulgar cocktail.

The Lords of Salem is an epic fail!

SITGES FILM FESTIVAL 2012

Posted in Directors, Events, Horror, Sci-Fi, Thriller with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 15, 2012 by Toi Brownstone

I woke up this morning with my body still stiff after my first film marathon at Sitges Film Festival yesterday, trying to put things in order so I can tell you about my experience this year.

First of all I have to admit Sitges is the perfect festival for me. There’s too much trash, as it compiles horror, sci-fi, Asiatic films… this is, mostly those non suitable films for standard festivals, but in essence the concept is as if tailor made.

This year I’m unemployed but unfortunately money matters here, and no press registration was available, thus I planned Tuesday evening to watch Chained and The Lords of Salem, and a morning to enjoy Antiviral and The Tall Man. That morning I added one more title, Grabbers, and in the last minute, I could attend this marathon featuring Aurora, Sightseers, Maniac and Johnny Dies at the End.

I still don’t know how to approach the 9 films I saw, because there were great ones I’d like to talk about individually in order to extend the review in depth, and others which, frankly, don’t deserve more than just a few lines. I think I’ll update these minor titles first, to go on with the good stuff.

What I can confirm is that there are several conclusions I reached this time. On one hand, talent and taste for the twisted are hereditary, as Jennifer Lynch and Brandon Cronenberg showed in their visions, and on the other, that great names are not guarantee of nothing anymore, as in the cases of Rob Zombie and Don Coscarelli. And yes, one more remark, there’s still redemption for Alexandre Aja, responsible for the script of the remake of William Lustig’s Maniac, together with his horrorsoulmate Grégory Lavasseur,  one of the best movies I saw last week.

Sitges 2012 has come to an end, but I still have lots of things to tell about, and of course, I’m counting the days already for October 2013.