This past week I was one of the lucky individuals who attended the World Premiere of Gris Grimly’s short film CANNIBAL FLESH RIOT! In Hollywood, CA. If you’re unaware of who Gris Grimly is, he’s the artist behind the Mad Creator products and quickly becoming an infamous storyteller. You’ve read his books and his rhymes… now you can see how it translates to the big screen!
In CFR! Stash and Hub, two redneck ghouls, take a journey through an ancient graveyard to do what ghouls have done for centuries: grave defiling, necrophilia and cannibalism. On their midnight walk, they rant about their idiosyncrasies. But this morbid journey to feast on the dead does not unfold as it has the numerous nights before. Stash and Hub have raided the resting place of the deceased one too many times and the dead do not take lightly being fed on for centuries.
In order to truly appreciate CFR! you have to either be a fan of Gris Grimly’s masterful work or be into those classic cheesy B movies from the ‘50s. The film knows what it wants to be and sticks with it throughout the entire 30-plus-minutes. Shot entirely in black and white, CFR! opens with a brief introduction by creator Gris Grimly which beautifully transitions into our story of Stash and Hub.
Although limited by budget constraints, in this imaginary world created by Grimly, the costume design is unique along with the landscape in which the story inhabits — we even get a brief shot of the cemetery as a miniature setting up the scenes to follow! Just like a Tim Burton film, CFR! embodies everything Grimly and leaves his own personal stamp throughout the film. One specific stamp is the screenplay, which carries a slight Seinfeld-esque tone in the content and delivery (a long discussion about condiments). The only major problem with the film is that the conversation runs a little thin towards the end as it feels a little long, a shorter cut of the movie might flow a little better.
Either way the film has a magical look that it both captivating and charming. The worn-out print look (bleeds, spotting and scratches) and black and white tell you right off the bat you’re here to have a good time and not take anything seriously. Our main characters, Stash and Hub, are unique to their own and help carry us through the story, Stash is arrogant, loud and opinionated while Hub is more of the quiet, self conscious, follower type. They work well together like a Silent Bob and Jay or maybe even Batman or Robin… only they’re ghouls (and aren’t gay).
But the greatest treat of all is that Grimly experimented with stop-motion animation and actually made miniature Stash and Hub figurines. In an homage to THE EVIL DEAD, we are treated to an awesome fight between an underground monster and Stash and Hub in stop-motion, which puts the final nail in the coffin on an exciting experimental film.
My only major disappointment with CFR! is that it wasn’t a feature. I think Grimly has proven he can (and should) be taking bigger risks if his ultimate goal is to be a director. Although far from perfect, CFR! is a fabulously entertaining lesson that is sure to translate to bigger and better things by this first time director. But until that time comes again, we’ve always got the Gris Grimly children’s stories, which don’t appear to be slowing down one bit.