FanTasia Festival (Day Two) – What’s That Smell?

Our 6’5″ (yes it was his head blocking your view) reporter Dominic F. Marceau just sent in his report from the FanTasia Festival day two, where he attended showing of Takashi Miike’s Gozu (interview) and Lions Gate Film’s upcoming Haute (High) Tension (review, interviews). Inside you can read his report, which includes a gut-wrenching viewing tale, which I’m sure we’ve all experienced one time in our lives or another.

DAY TWO – July 9th 2004
By: Dominic F. Marceau
Todays episode: What’s that smell?

There was electricity in the air today. Thunder cells were forming over our heads. You know those days where you don’t know if you should pack an umbrella? Today was such a day. It was hot and muggy one minute, then windy and dark the other. It was a day where one could, and should, expect the unexpected. But the risk having a boatload of rain dumped on our unsuspected heads wasn’t the only kind of electricity in this town. FanTasia was having its first full day of programming. As I made my way to Concordia University, the first thing I noticed was that the line for “Gozu” was already going around the block. And it was only six o’clock! This baby’s only starting at 7:30! In case you weren’t paying attention to my previous reports, FanTasia fans are a dedicated bunch. Rain or shine, hell, frogs falling from the sky aren’t going to prevent these nut jobs from getting their cinematic fix. So, I finally walk into the great Hall Theatre and immediately walk right by the seats designated for the press. At 6’5″, I need all of the legroom I can get. A fellow nut job asks if the seat next to me was taken. It wasn’t, so he sits down. He then proceeds to tell me that this sucks and that he can’t wait for the festival to go back to the Imperial Theatre. Bad move, pal! Before I could think of an adequate insult to throw his way, the lights dim and we are all thrown into the most frustrating 130 minutes I have ever spent. Ok. “Gozu” was a trip. Most of Takashi Miike’s work is a tad on the demanding side of things, but this was nuts! The opening scene where a rather somber looking man “disposes” of a “Yakuza attack dog”, had everybody, including yours truly, bellowing with laughter. That’s when it hit me, literally. “Something reeks!” I told myself. Then a few minutes later, there was another rather humorous scene where the aforementioned somber looking man does another outlandish thing. Laughter all around, and another dose of that malodorous bouquet. I look around, unnerved. As tears were starting to form in the corners of my eyes, I found the source of all Evil: the bonehead sitting next to me has unbelievably bad breath! Let’s “Johnny Carson” it for a sec, shall we? How bad was it? Imagine Divine’s breath at the end of “Pink Flamingos”, and you’re pretty much there. So, I try to block it out. I become Zen Master Dom. Mind over matter, baby! But…it’s… too strong! Getting weak… Eventually, the plot gains momentum and captures 51% of my attention. We have a majority! This film is an enigma. Like most of Miike’s work, you either love it dearly, or wonder if he’s been going through his grandparents’ pills. For the first time, I’m a bit in the middle. I’ve been a fan of this weirdo ever since I saw “Audition”. If you haven’t seen this “put your nuts to a cheese-grater” version of “Fatal Attraction”, then run to your local video store and demand they carry it. It is an absolute must-see! Well, remember yesterday when I told that Miike keeps coming up with something new for each film? The reason why I’m perplexed by this film is that I believe that for the first time, he’s repeating himself. Those of you who have seen his brilliantly twisted “Visitor Q”, will see some of its more shocking elements repeated here. I won’t go too far into its similarities but let me tell you this: Takashi Miike must have been breast-fed as a baby. He must have. I mean, come on… Overall, I’m a bit disappointed but I’m still really happy to have seen it, even under such strenuous circumstances.

After I came back from a well-deserved oxygen break, the crowd was already going insane at the thought of seeing our next feature presentation: “Haute tension”. The people that were lucky enough to catch this flick sure weren’t disappointed! This baby delivers on (almost) every level! All types of power tool and sharp objects are displayed in this piece of unrelenting thrills! When the main character, Cécile De France, who is SUCH a babe, takes a 2X4 and rolls barbed wire at the end of it, someone behind me yelled “Mick Foley!” I thought I was going to piss myself I laughed so hard! (Thanks man, whoever you are!) This film has to be seen on a big screen and with a receptive audience. Every single gore set piece, and there are quite a few, were met with uproarious laughter and applause. FX Maestro Gianetto De Rossi hasn’t lost his gooey touch. Heads roll, throats are slashed, limbs are severed, and blood flows by the gallon. One thing you have to remember though: this is essentially a good old slasher flick. Yeah, there are immense plot holes and the climax is ridiculous beyond belief, but what do you expect? This isn’t Woody Allen! It’s a slick as hell, grindhouse flick. Period. So leave your brain at the door, and bask in all its blood-drenched glory.

Well, that’s all for tonight kiddies. Remember to wash behind your ears, flush after you pee, and please, PLEASE, remember to brush your teeth. You never know who you’ll be sitting next to tomorrow…

Cut to credits.

Source: Dominic F. Marceau, FanTasia Festival