Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Another Hole In The Head, 2009 - Day 4

Another Hole In The Head, two weeks of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, runs June 5th through June 18th, with screenings at the Roxie Film Center, 3117 16th Street (at Valencia) and live performances and events at CellSpace (2050 Bryant) and Great Star Theater (630 Jackson). Tickets and additional info at WWW.SFINDIE.COM.

Another Hole In The Head starts Day 4, Monday, June 8th, with an encore screening of THE HORSEMAN, which I highly recommend! Perhaps a 5PM screening will help you shake off the potential nightmares?

SOMEONE'S KNOCKING AT THE DOOR (dir. Chad Ferrin, US, 2009, 80 mins.) Even though the script does wander about in a psychedelic induced, schizophrenic nightmare, there are some chillingly effective moments. Chad Ferrin achieves an odd balance of disturbing psychological horror and comical bloodshed. He has peopled his film with the typical group of 20-somethings. In this throwback to 70's metaphysical horror, the kids are students who are experimenting with psychotropic drugs, while digging through archives and the skeletons of the med school they are attending. It's sort of an inspired combination: little bit of Lars Van Trier's THE KINGDOM mixed with some NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET! His young cast members are serviceable, but it is the older members that give the film its jolt. Ezra Buzzington and Vernon Wells play patient and doctor with a flair not seen since the era of THE EXORCIST. The cinematography has a nice, dreamy and buzzed gauziness to it and the framing of "the beast" once it is (how shall I say?) unleashed, is teasingly fun. The editing is exceptional in building up tension and cutting away before it becomes schlock. It might not have the visceral punch of the preceding feature (THE HORSEMAN), but it still has enough gnarly bits and creepy moments to satisfy a true horror fan. (The accompanying short subject, The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow, was unavailable for preview.)

The day's program continues to lighten up a bit with the short SHOWDOWN OF THE GODZ (dir. Julien Calderbank, US,2009, 15 mins.). It is a cute little comedy dealing with one man's Godzilla obsession, and surprisingly features George Takei in a supporting role. It's filled with some Godzilla humor, I presume, as I wasn't really getting the little jokes (I think), but I did appreciate the central concept and conflict of when an obsession runs amok. It is paired here with a feature that parodies another Japanese genre.

SAMURAI AVENGER THE BLIND WOLF (dir. Kurando Mitsutake, US, 2008, 92 mins.) This is one wild blend of Samurai and Spaghetti Western that I simply LOVED! Director Kurando Mitsutake creates and performs as the character that is both Clint Eastwood and ToshirĊ Mifune, who is reluctantly drawn into the world of Samurai in order to avenge the death of his wife and daughter. He must face seven assassins sent to stop him before reaching the culprit responsible for the crime. He is joined by a mysterious stranger, ably and handsomely played by Jeffrey James Lippold. Mitsutake has also written, along with John Migdal, a clever, if nearly too authentic, parody of Asian Grindhouse films. There was a point that I almost believed that this was a product of the Shaw Brothers Studio! The actual fight choreography is just awkward enough to bring a smile to your face before the gore is unleashed. Mitsutake's visual panache with blood and guts is nearly spectacular. The gruesome finale to each duel is brought to a beautiful close with the near miraculous sheathing of the sword. You just gotta see it!

Maxxxxx says
re SAMURAI AVENGER THE BLIND WOLF: "Such a pretty bird!"

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