As the days go by and the FanTasia Festival is about to end, things just seem to be getting better and better for reporter Dominic Marceau- who is by far having the time of his life. Today’s adventure brings him into contact with Marco Pecota of Rue Morgue magazine, which he says is the best. He also got to check out Tobe Hooper’s Toolbox Murders (review) with Brett Sullivan and then they finished the evening with a screening of the soon-to-be cult classic Freak Out! (review), read on for the cheese and wine…
Did you ever see the film “Hard Rain” with Christian Slater? Neither did I. But that’s how we all felt in Montreal yesterday. The skies above opened up. We had thunder, lightning, (“…the way you love me is frightening!”) the works. I arrived downtown just in time for a little rain break. Funny. You’d expect for everyone to welcome this stoppage of rain. Ha! You see, that’s when the heat and humidity hit us. All of a sudden, we were all in Bombay! With my clothes sticking to my body, I made my way to a newspaper stand to buy the new Rue Morgue magazine. Apparently, “Freak Out” is reviewed in it. Unfortunately, they were sold out of the latest issue. Bummed out, I made my way across the street to Concordia University, only to see a twenty-foot-wide “Rue Morgue” display! They were in town to experience the awesomeness that is the FanTasia festival. So, I finally bought the latest issue along with a T-shirt. I then chatted away with “Rue Morgue” controller Marco Pecota. He was a really rockin’ dude. How cool is that? “Rue Morgue” is bar none THE BEST horror entertainment magazine, but if that wasn’t cool enough, the people who run it absolutely rule! You owe it to yourself to check out their magazine. Your life will be changed for the better.
I then met up with producer Paula Devonshire, who came back for cinematic seconds with “Ginger Snaps Unleashed” director Brett Sullivan, and my new best friends: the “Freak Out” crew. We all went out for dinner and talked up a storm. Around 9:20 P.M., I asked around to see if anybody wanted to go see Toolbox Murders, which was starting in ten minutes. Paula didn’t want to see it, the “Freak Out” guys had to go back to their hotel to “freshen up”, but luckily, Brett Sullivan was keen on seeing it. That’s great because I wanted to ask him a few questions and stuff.
We entered the Hall Theatre and settled in our seats, anticipating Tobe Hooper’s return to form. Unfortunately, it never happened. I’m not going to bore you with my overview of the plot because there isn’t one there! “An unknown figure is killing people, living in a ****ty apartment complex, with various tools.” What else can I say? After about half an hour, I turned to Brett and said, “Are you liking this?” He replied, “Wanna split?” He didn’t have to ask me twice! So, we went out to the lobby, where we continued our conversation. You can expect a full transcript sometime in the very near future. Having all of this typing ahead of me, I’m not even going to try to explain what is wrong with this film. My review would be fifty pages long and this tripe doesn’t deserve that I give it that much attention! What a damn shame. After Dario Argento’s painful “The Card Player” (review), another horror maestro bites the dust. What’s going on? And if the advance word on Wes Craven’s “Cursed” is true, it appears that this trend will be on for a while. Thank God that new filmmakers are here to save the day!
Which brings me to the evenings (and perhaps the entire festivals) “piece de resistance”: the absolutely delirious Freak Out.
Slackers Merv and Onkey get their hands on a certifiable loony and set out to make him the next Freddy Krueger. But what they wind up with might be a tad more than what they bargained for.
I’m not telling you anything more as this film is something you have to experience for yourself. Do you remember when “Clerks” came out and we learned all of its cool quotes by heart? Well, this is something that’s definitely going to happen with “Freak Out” as well. The dialogue in this film is incredibly funny, mixing highbrow and lowbrow humor, with an incredible amount of references to horror movies and pop culture. But all these references work better in this film than in Kevin Smith’s debut feature because, in this case, they are not off topic. It’s normal for characters in a horror movie spoof to talk about horror movies! Right? But that’s not all! Thrown into the mix are some hilarious bits about “Dallas”, Dawson’s Creek”, and even “The Littlest Hobo”! Combined with a “Retro 80’s” vibe, these guys definitely have a winner. On top of that, the performances are very engaging, which is surprising for an ultra low budget feature. Jason Mewes-like “ham and cheese” performances are nowhere to be seen in this film. A standout is co-screenwriter and producer Dan Palmer. He takes the “wacky buddy” concept and goes to town with it. His performance has little subtleties that truly make it his own and not just “the same old thing”. Another surprising aspect of this film is Christian James’ direction. He obviously knows what he’s doing because, unlike other low budget films that have a very static camera, his flies all over the place. He’s not afraid of being daring and trying to show us stuff we’ve never seen before. The same goes for his editing style that just doesn’t give you the chance to get bored. His rapid-fire editing style, paired with his rapid-fire dialogue exchanges, make this 95 minute film fly right by, making you want to see it again! There are so many great things in this film that it would be a disservice to you to enumerate them all here! Some bits are inspired, some bits are hilarious, some bits are absurd brilliance, and well, some bits are just plain naughty!
Combining elements of the early films of John Landis, Peter Jackson, Sam Raimi, and Joe Dante, “Freak Out” is something that is destined for cult status. See it with your friends; see it with your pets, just plain SEE IT! Christian James and his cohorts have given us a gift with their film. Judging from the crowd’s reaction and constant belly laughs, they adored this film and ate it up like “Soylent Green”! These fledgling filmmakers definitely did something right! And trust me: if they hold on to their inspired dedication to their craft, they too might be doing their “Spiderman” in ten or twenty years… I will definitely be the first in line to go see that!
After an uproarious round of applause, Christian, Dan, and co-producer Yazz Fetto answered a few questions from the audience. But, it’s nothing you won’t read about in my exclusive three-part mega-interview with these chaps, which should appear on this site in the near future. So, after the T&A, uh… I mean Q&A (good one, Yazz!), the guys and I went out for a few “refreshments”…
Alas, on this night, there was to be no Karaoke.
Dan had lost his voice and was blaming me for it!
Cut to credits.