Over the past week Screamfest LA has once again blown our minds with an amazing selection of films that ran nine straight days of terror at Universal City Walk in California. Today we’ve posted part two of the event, which features mini-reviews for Wolf Creek, Boo!, 2001 Maniacs, Death Tunnel and the first ever look at Robert Rodriguez’s Curandero! Read on for the skinny…
Screamfest LA 2005: Part 2
By: Spooky Dan
Over the past week Screamfest LA has run its course, with some amazing films that scared the pants off of many. Tonight is the closing night with the awards ceremony and again I just want to say that Rudy and Rachel and the rest of the Screamfest crew have really thrown a spectacular festival with an amazing body of films. Congratulations to all the filmmakers whose films were screened. Bloody-Disgusting was there for the majority of the festival, meeting new friends, filmmakers, and an assortment of crazy people that were on hand. And here we have the second batch of reviews…
This highly anticipated film is one of the best films I have seen all year! Produced by The Weinstein Company, and with Robert Rodriquez in an executive capacity, expectations ran high. No one was disappointed in what they got. Curandero is a Spanish term for “spiritual healer” the Curandero in question is played delicately by Carlos Gallardo, as he is thrown into this peculiar world. There is a serial killer of sorts running around and satanic symbols and signs are left behind at every murder. Our hero is needed to come in and “clean” up the bad spirits left behind by the gruesome murders that keep happening. What makes this film work on many levels is that its not a typical horror movie, sure you have your typical bodies strung together on the ceiling, gore galore, and devil goat people, but, come on, that’s to be expected. Here we have an intricate, if slightly confusing, tale that leads you through a path of murder, devils, spirituality, and all set in Spain where things are (spiritually) quite different than here in Hollywood. As the film moves along you’re never quite sure what is real and what is not, which makes it all the more involving as a viewer. In theme its similar to Angel Heart as the story unfolds, but without the twisted trick ending, it knows what to do to make you uneasy and keeps you at the edge of your seat from the opening sequence. A must see for any fan of horror that is sick of the spoon-fed horror clichés, and Hollywood crap.
Death Tunnel (review)
Tagline: 5 girls, 5 floors, 5 ghosts. Reality: 5 hot girls, and what feels like a waste of 5 hours! OK so here we have a good example of a great location, a creepy vibe, and super kick ass style. But what we don’t have is a good movie. The never-ending film will test your patience with its boring repeated shots and very typical and predictable story. The premise is five girls wake up in a haunted hospital that of course has a shady history attached to it. One by one the girls get picked off and the secret back-story is revealed. The biggest problem is that nothing happens, and when it finally does you saw it coming from a mile away. The Booth Brothers are the filmmakers that created this bore-fest, and they would be great at making music videos, but when you sit through what seems like (and often is) the same scene over and over, it makes for a lousy movie-going experience. The lead actress Steffany Huckaby plays Heather, and she really does a fantastic job keeping her parts of the story moving along. She is attractive and seems to be a genuinely good actress, the same I cannot say for the rest of the cast. The other chicks are there to be ultra hot, occasionally naked, and bitchy, but instead of coming off in a fun campy way, it just feels heavy handed. Save your time and avoid this movie…. Here is the funny part; if the editors who “cut” this film didn’t have to show off there cool stylish editing techniques then it might have been a fun, if predictable film. Bummer
Look out Eli, Anthony C. Ferrante is going to be doing some very cool things in the future and if this movie is any indication of the coolness he can create we may have a NEW “Master of Horror”. With that said BOO is not the best film in the world; it makes up rules as it goes, and the ending only kind of makes sense. But it doesn’t matter when you get what feels like a great 80s style horror flick! As the film opens it looks feels and smells like Scream, and every other horror crap that we have seen before, but then just as you are about to write it off, it turns on you and reveals that it’s a fun Halloween ride, full of humor, blood, and slime. Some of the acting is crappy, but I almost feel as if its intentional to give it a fun vibe. All in all we have a bunch of classic moments; a slimy zombie/ghost dog exploding, creepy as hell floating clown, and one of the coolest and creepiest sets that you have seen in a long time). An entertaining film that should have you pleasantly surprised, but could have been great if the story didn’t fall apart at the end. Boo is a clear-cut Halloween classic for years to come. Too bad it didn’t have any nudity, then it really would have ruled! The best part is that it comes out on DVD in a few weeks so everyone will actually be able to see it in the near future. Click here to read a full interview we did with the films producer David E. Allen.
Wolf Creek (review #1, #2)
This was a must see film for the festival and it certainly showed by the packed theater! A much-hyped Aussie film about 3 college aged kids going across the outback to a place called Wolf Creek, where a meteorite crashed into the earth years ago. Now the less you know about this film the scarier it is, so you wont be reading much here about what its twist is, but lets just say that thing go really ***ked up for the 3 kids. Allegedly based on a true story, the film has some very scary moments, but overall felt a bit empty. It’s hard to write a review for a film that was decent but just didn’t keep me scared. With a bunch of “straight to DVD” movies that are not nearly as good, but occasionally fun, Wolf Creek is miles ahead of the pack. It does pack a punch where it should, and keeps you guessing for the first half of the film, but then about an hour into it, it turns into the horror film you were expecting, and seemed to take a while to get there. I would go so far as to say that Wolf Creek is a slightly flawed great film.
2001 Manaics (review)
The red carpet was out, as were the fans and cast members for the premiere of Tim Sullivan’s Horror /comedy. You may have heard about the troubled production getting this film made, but it’s finally here in all of its bloody and gory glory. It’s not quite what you might expect if you are a big fan of HG Lewis’s original film 2000 Maniacs, but it does take a cue from its predecessor and spread the blood, all around. If you are a fan of campy horror, you are in for something special. A well acted cast and sidesplitting script, which never feels like a spoof. Do yourself a favor and watch this with a group of people that are getting drunk or stoned because it will make for a much better film experience. While its a big crowd pleaser; it is what it is, a silly fun film, where Robert Englund steal the show, just like he did back in the Freddy Krueger days.
Saturday night: was the big birthday party for Friday the 13th, with a whole bunch of cast members from the series were on hand to celebrate the release of the new Book “Crystal Lake Memories”, and see the films creator Sean S Cunningham get a bit of love for his contribution to the horror community. Rumor has it that Jason himself, was there to cut his birthday cake as well! And for the lucky people that got tickets to Project Greenlight’s film, “Feast” was screened. I for one missed it, but I did hear that it’s a really fun ride with gallons of gore! Gobs of monsters! And a film to make Peter Jackson’s early films jealous. I assume we will get a proper review of it up soon. Good luck to all the filmmakers at Sundays award ceremonies, and we will have the winners up for you as soon as we know who they are.