Taber Corn (2007)
By: Mr Intolerance on July 21, 2008  |  Comments ()  |  Bookmark and Share
Credits
Director: Linden Reko
Starring: Blake Ryan, Ben Fruend, Tony Capps
Writers: Blake Ryan, Linden Reko
Country: Australia
A film about horror geeks, made by horror geeks for horror geeks, Taber Corn can't be beat. Awkward to watch for those it represents, this is a film that spells out in mockumentary form what it's like to be an obsessive film nerd. I certainly felt embarrassed watching it (my lifestyle does not belong on the big screen, thank you very much), yet loved it at the same time.

J.D. Sebastian is a film student who has travelled to the suburb of Blandville in order to, "set out to document the life of someone at a grass roots level. He chose Buddha Wilson as his subject. Wilson's popular website Fulci Metal Jacket is both a celebration of B-movies, and a diatribe against mainstream cinema. What was originally intended as a seven minute short film blew out over weeks and months to feature length…"  

Enter Buddha Wilson. This alternately un/sympathetic fella is to be the centre of our attention for the next hour and a half or so, a virtually unemployable waste of space fuelled by cheap booze and exploitation flicks, Buddha's only outlet to the real world is via his website, Fulci Metal Jacket – which is obviously completely inaccessible to the great unwashed. Living in his mother's garage, Buddha is what we all fear to become, but to a certain extent are.

I felt extremely uncomfortable watching the interview with Buddha's mum, her Neil Diamond obsession mirroring my own mother's. Not to mention his own mother's fears that Buddha was going to turn into "a serial killer or a poof" considering the movies he watches, which I'm sure my own mother could identify with.

Watching the sequence with Ignatious Weary, Internet Historian, really spoke to me sadly enough (I know people this archly pretentious), as did Buddha's rivalry with redcarpetone.org's webmaster Leon Brown. Ditto the interview with the reviewer from FMJ - being a reviewer and forum member for different websites, you do get a real sense of how much time and energy you put into discussing and defending (and, of course, assaulting) films and other peoples' opinions. It's kind of odd when you consider how much time you spend talking to people whose opinions you trash at every available opportunity, and how some people are so filled with such a sense of their own importance – seeing it from the outside (written by people in the know from the inside) made me cringe.

Buddha holds a regular trash film night, in this case the film of choice is "Warriors of the Wasteland", at his local pub, which isn't a rousing success, but hey! Props for keeping the dream alive, yeah? I've been to many of these kind of endeavours; it rang true on many levels. Leon voices the opinions of the majority in terms of the movies we love – why watch something with no budget and terrible acting and dialogue? These people don't understand; they just don't get it. Money does not make a good film, Cloverfield proves that point, ditto Battlefield Earth or Die Hard 4.0. Do I sound like I'm justifying myself? 

A telling question would be where J.D. asks the boys if they have girlfriends at the moment. You've never seen such back-peddling and self-justification. And so, welcome to my world…

I have to say, the scene where Buddha receives the limited edition Phantasm sphere in the mail was a little close to the bone (and if fellow DR reviewer and Forum Moderator Pando would like to cast his mind back, remember the time you mailed me the first and third August Underground films…the care with the packaging? Sooooooo much bubblewrap…) and so accurate it made me bleed…

"Hommous and tabouli are my livelihood, but making films is my passion" – so speaks Alex del Rio, friend of Buddha, film-maker (director of 'Cannibal Kebab Shop', and 'Half a Million Maniax' – Adelaide is so burned right now) and owner of the Red Fez kebab shop. Staunch supporter of Fulci Metal Jacket and maintainer of the fact that "all the best movie-makers are wogs", having grown up on a diet of Bava, Argento and Lenzi, del Rio is the creative yin to Wilson's critical yang: a try-hard yutz who'll never amount to anything, but who won't give up nevertheless. These people are the life-blood of the scene: support them!

I think we can all relate to Buddha trying to pick up using a horror film (in this case Bloodsucking Freaks) as foreplay. The girl's response of preferring to mutilate her own genitals (hey, I never realised she was a fan of Naked Blood, too!) being so sadly familiar…

Buddha's dream? To finish, or re-make, as the case may be, Umberto d'Amato's lost classic "The Clones of Bruce Lee versus Ilsa in the Devil's Triangle", which is a flick I'd definitely go to see, despite its rather limited if extremely entertaining premise. Buddha's complete and total inability to interact in any meaningful way with the real world is writ large in this scene – emphasised in an earlier one when we see him trying to perform menial manual labour at a Nursery; alternately frustrating and sad, yet still oddly easy to empathise with – or maybe that's just me.

When we get to the end, and Buddha faces imprisonment for "political crimes" – persecuted by bastard big-business types – helped only by his knowledge of Jack Hill-directed Women In Prison films, you know you're in the presence of a fellow traveller. Like Dudley Moore once sang, "Laugh? I nearly shat!" You will too, if you're a real horror/exploitation fan. And if you get all the gags in the credits, like me, you need to get out more…

As a love-letter to the independent film community, this is non-pareil. Seriously, if you love schlock, and you love it large, Taber Corn is the film for you. If you don't dig this film totally – you don't watch enough movies, or you only like Hollywood pap. I would love to have a beer with the fellas who made this flick – their hearts are definitely in the right places. And I think I'd have a disturbing amount in common with them. (Post script – since writing this review I have had beers with the fellas who made this film. I found out the following:

  • They're great guys
  • They have excellent taste in films
  • They really like beer
  • They're just like you and me
  • I did have a disturbing amount in common with them)
Movie Score
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