A Night of Horror: Night Two - 27/03/09
By: Mr Intolerance on March 30, 2009  |  Comments ()  |  Share 

And so the horror continues... The fine folks who run the A Night of Horror international film festival keep on upping the ante with awesome local and overseas horror-film fare.

Mum and Dad is a nasty piece of work. I guess it fits into the torture-porn genre, if you're the kind of sad-case that really has to pigeonhole movies into a sort of type. It's definitely a very British film; no other country could have possibly made this atrocity, yet given that country's rather censorious nature I'm rather surprised that it hails from that benighted isle. Me, I thought it was kind of talked up too much - it's a good film, not a great one, and frankly Shane Meadows' Dead Man's Shoes is a much more engaging and visceral sucker-punch.The basic idea is that Lena, a young Polish woman, is subsumed into the claustrophobic world of a "family" of mentals, and is tortured into submission before she tries to re-assert her will. Lots of people really like this film - me, I'm a little over the excruciating shots of people being tortured in agonising ways - I saw the All Night Long and August Underground films a long time ago, and frankly they left me generally unimpressed (okay, All Night Long 2: Atrocity still rates as the bleakest and most life-denying film I've ever seen, and sadly enough, one that I actually like a great deal - it has a vast amount of impact, let me tell you). That said, this is no Hostel, and does include many a scene of blackly comedic violence and family values being examined and found wanting. On The Buses meets Scrapbook? Not too far off the mark, strange as that comparison might seem. Definitely a film that's worth the while of the extreme horror fan. There are parts of this that will make you squirm terribly - the opening torture or the skewer through the stomach roll, and Mum's orgasmic delight at it, was a warning of even more gruesomely graphic things to come. A grisly piece of work and no mistake. Mum and Dad makes Boy Meets Girl look like a date-movie.

Preceded by American short film Hold Your Fire, Family Demons is another film for those who really don't have too much faith left in humanity. A feature debut from Australian director Ursula Dabrowsky, who did a Q&A session after the film was finished, this is a no-holds-barred account of the neglect and abuse of a young teenager. Low budget? Sure, but don' t let that put you off. It's a grim and grimy tale of an alcoholic mother and her stifled to the point of claustrophobia daughter. Some very bad stuff happens during the course of this film, and again, if you're not left feeling uncomfortable by the end of it, there may well be something wrong with you. Or maybe you need to take a long, hard look at your family... A strong and impassioned movie - if you look into it, you'll find a lot. If you don't, well, you're a loser.

Midnight Movie, winner of the best feature film at the Chicago Horror Film Festival, is an in-and-out 82 minute fright-fest that taps into the same vein as Lamberto Bava's Demons. Preceded by Swiss short Dead Bones, this is the kind of film that horror fans write for horror fans. That self-referential/intertextual thing can fall flat on its' face at times, overloaded with a sense of its own importance or cleverness, but here it works well, thankfully for the audience. Horror happens here as fans are watching a horror film, imbued with the spirit of the director's soul. The free Demoni (the irony was not lost on me) energy drink on the door was not a tasty treat in the slightest, let me tell you...

Thank god the movie redeemed it. Again, I have to say - if you don't make your way to these screenings, you are no horror fan. Matter of fact, if you refer to yourself as a horror fan and you live in Sydney and don't go to any of the A Night of Horror screenings, then I call poseur on you. These folks are putting on the kind of things you should be seeing for love, not profit; modern horror in all its glory, and you should be enjoying it, too - cos the alternative is no-one putting this kind of thing on, and then where would we be? Exactly.

<< Opening Night - 26/03/09 | Night Four - 29/03/09 >>

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