Today was a big day for me and I sit here exhausted as I write this. My day began with my stupid body waking up way earlier than I wanted to. Still, it gave me time to get shit done and shortly after midday I made my way back into town. Another day of Monster Fest and another 3 films checked off the list.
The first film of the day was Duncan Cunningham's ultra violent FORESIGHT KILLER INSTINCT. There's not a lot I can add to this that I haven't already said in my previous review of the movie (see here). I've been right behind this one since I saw it several months ago when Duncan was kind enough to send me a copy. Having officially met Duncan and his brother (star & producer) last night I am stoked that such an impressive debut film has such genuinely nice guys behind it. I was a little nervous that the film wouldn't pull much of an audience but it was great to see a bigger attendance than was expected. Duncan greeted everyone wearing a gnarly blood-splattered suit while Martin wore a traditional Scottish kilt. They are two showmen, that's for sure and their introduction banter was hilarious. Arriving to the front stage a few seconds late Martin says to the audience "sorry I'm late. Had to take a pre-screening piss". His humour put everyone in a good mood. The film played and everyone responded to it well. We all hung around for a post screening Q&A and then left the cinema thoroughly entertained. I enjoyed it even more this second time.
Next on the line-up was Richard Wolstencroft's documentary THE LAST DAYS OF JOE BLOW. I hadn't planned to see this at Monster Fest but when I contemplated filling in 3 hours between films I realised that there's only so much coffee I could drink and I may as well check out JOE BLOW. So I purchased a ticket and went in. To be honest with you I haven't been a fan of Richard's previous films and there was relief when this new one of his surpassed my expectations. It's certainly his best work to date and it would seem that he is more at ease with the documentary format. It opens with a kick-ass intro credit sequence and my enthusiasm lifted. Unfortunately I, personally, didn't take to the film itself. It tells the story of MICHAEL TIERNEY (nephew of Lawrence) as he steps into the world of pornography. With intimate access the film chronicles his life in the porn world, through his decline and his attempts to get out of it. There is no doubt that this is a personal film but it also felt exploitative. The narrative arch is kind of skewiffed and the storytelling goes off on tangents at times. During the middle of the film Michael seems to be forgotten as the doco examines various porn-related issues such as the internet age, wikiporn and art-vs-porn. The film lacked direction and seemed self indulgent... but nevertheless it did look great. Richard Wolstencroft came to the stage for a Q&A and seemed more content talking about himself than he did fielding questions and I switched off at this point. I am scratching my head as to why this film was included in Monster Fest at all. It doesn't suite the profile and it certainly isn't horror (no matter how "existentially horror" Wolstencroft says it is.) Sexpo is on right now and it would have been better off debuting there... after all Richard's old pal (and mine) Jason Turley is over there doing promotion.
Next up was THE JUNGLE. This is amongst three films that I have been most excited about at Monster Fest. I have been super psyched to see it and tonight was the night. The film is the third in Andrew Traucki's man-vs-nature trilogy following the impressive BLACK WATER and THE REEF. How disappointed I was. I really don't like hating on films but I did hate this one. It more or less plays out like a redux of THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. In fact it's almost identical. The movie is presented as the "lost footage" of an expedition into the jungles of Indonesia to document an endangered leopard. The two Australian researchers and their jungle-guides find themselves being stalked by something big hidden in the dense environment around them. Most of the film is walking, walking, walking and some talking.... talking... talking. The performances are average at best and I felt like I was watching actors, not real people (like they're supposed to be). I will give the movie some credit in that it's tense moments are genuinely scary and they're well handled. But it's nothing we haven't seen so many countless times before. For a third film following two really impressive creature features, this was a huge let down.
And so that was my day. I have to admit that the whole vibe of the day was slightly off. Not quite sell-out screenings (but still good) I actually reakon most people were feeling the effects of the previous night's after-party. With that said, there was still proper enthusiasm for the films and of the three, it was FORESIGHT KILLER INSTINCT that received the best response. Everyone seemed to genuinely "get it". Well done to those guys. It's a micro-budget film that delivers in spades... oh and is ranked something like the 3rd most expletive film in history. HATS OFF TO THE CUNNINGHAM CLAN! lol
By this stage I was exhausted and utterly knackered. Sadly I missed the final screening of the day, which was APOCALYPTIC. There's been a lot of festival buzz about it and I'm sorry to have missed out. I'm sure there will be other blogs and reviews online soon and I will link them for you.
Another Monster Day wrapped. Another big one tomorrow. I'll be there with bells on!