Frightfest Nights # 3 & 4

All in all, I caught eight of the London Frightfest events' 30-odd films, but I chose pretty well. Only one of them was poor, and even that one had merits.

On Saturday, I caught two movies based on backwoods crazies, which is always a favourite set-up of mine. Can't beat those wacky backwoods fiends. Storm Warning turned out to be one of the very best films I saw, directed by Jamie Blanks, who handled Urban Legend during the slasher movie genre's short-lived post-Scream day in the sun. Storm Warning sees a couple foolishly taking their yacht into far-off territory, ending up in the house of demented dope-growing freaks. There's some nice tension as their uneasy relationship with the dopeheads gets even less easy, before the inevitable ultraviolence kicks in. Marvellous stuff, with a great musical score to boot.

Saturday's other 'backwoods bastards' flick was Wrong Turn 2: Dead End (poor choice of subtitle, seeing as there's already a perfectly good film titled Dead End), which was a right old hoot. I loved the first film, so wasn't initially sure about the tonal shift into the more comedic 2001 Maniacs territory, but there's no denying the fun to be had here. Director Joe Lynch (present at the festival for this world premiere, and so delighted onstage that he pranced around like a small child on orange juice) piles on the gore and the giggles in OTT measurements. In fact, Wrong Turn 2 is so relentless that it often almost becomes numbing, but there's always another outrageously gory gag to snap you out of your fugue.

Sunday delivered the maddest movie I saw at Frightfest. Ignore the utterly lousy title: Botched is a hilarious horror-comedy which certainly has originality on its side. In a nutshell, Stephen Dorff's character leads a gang of robbers into a multi-storey Russian building, only for them and their hostages to be attacked by a large gentleman who's descended from Ivan The Terrible. And dresses like him. And does brilliantly ludicrous twirls as he waltzes along corridors. The random-ness of it all is quite brilliant, as is the gusto with which Botched slings the red stuff around.

Sadly, my last film at Frightfest 2007 was German director Uwe Boll's Postal, which is basically South Park on celluloid, dealing heavily with terrorism and featuring Osama Bin Laden as a character, along with Nazis and hippies. I really enjoyed the first 20 minutes, which yielded some fine, well-judged laughs. Then it all went sadly wrong and became very dull indeed, being just a little too in-love with its own supposed controversy. Perhaps it didn't help that I don't care about politics, but Postal was seriously hard work, to the extent of me having to leave after an hour. It was indulgent too, when Boll popped up... as a parody of himself. We don't care! Having said that, I was sorry to miss the subsequent movie Seed, also directed by Boll, which by all (well, some) accounts is a superior, mean-spirited slasher flick. Just the way I like 'em. Still, I'll catch it on DVD. In about five minutes, probably...

PS Watched 28 Weeks Later tonight. What a hunk o' junk.


Jon Peacey said...

I do love me some backwoods craziness (the odd Chainsaw Massacre, Hills Have Eyes, etc.). Makes me feel terribly guilty afterwards, what with being the spawn of country folk! One day I shall take my revenge and write a 'nice country people' fall foul of 'evil townies' movie!!!

I’m led to believe that the slightly strange House Of Whipcord, which is arguably ‘Backwoods Crazy’, was filmed just down the way from me… well 15 miles but that’s quite close these days (but not strictly relevant...).

But can anyone expect genius from Uwe ‘I’ve got two entries in the Top 100 Worst on IMDB’ Boll? Inquiring minds need to know.

Jason Arnopp said...

I'm technically from backwoods myself , sir, what with Lowestoft being the most easterly point of England. Much carrot-crunching ensues around them there parts. Yes.

Here's a great backwoods-slasher recommendation from the 80s, which has sadly yet to hit DVD: Hunter's Blood. Seen it? A doozy.

Jon Peacey said...

I don't know Hunter's Blood but I'll have to see about tracking it down. Ebay may throw it up.

Don't know Lowestoft either (obviously I've heard of it: not that dense!): what with rarely going East of the Cotteswolds. We have some scary sheep round these parts... they hide round bends and try and damage yer car. But what you kill you get to eat... many a pedestrian's fallen foul of that rule!

Jon Peacey said...

On a slight side note... after all Witchfinder General is sort of 'backwoods horror': what do you reckon to Michael Reeves? Is he the great lost hope of British cinema as some say? Or would he have remained a proficient horror specialist?

Oli said...

You didn't like 28 Weeks Later? I thought the dialogue sounded like it'd been written by someone whose second language was English (which was true) it's too grammatically correct, doesn't flow and abuse language like a native speaker, but otherwise I thought it was very powerful, and way better than it could have been.

Looking forward to Wrong Turn 2. That might take a place in this year's Halloween movie night.

And finally, who keeps giving money to Uwe Boll? He's the new Ed Wood.