Review Fix’s Anthony Benedetto’s Blog of the 2009 New York City Horror Film Festival: Day Two

Festival LogoI haven’t been to the Tribeca Cinemas in ages and for that reason, I allowed myself a of couple extra hours travel time. The extra time didn’t help much because I ended up getting lost an hour before the first showing. However, with the help of many New Yorkers, I was able to find my way to the theatre and attend the festival I was anxiously awaiting to see. I was so hyped about it that I had spent the night before planing out what programs would best suit me for a full day of movie watching.

Sadly, a small delay with program four caused the disruption of every single film to be screened and my plans to get the most out of the day. At first, the delay was great because I was one of the people attending program four and I thought: “Great, this won’t affect me seeing the maximum amount of movies before boarding a Q train back to Brooklyn.” The problem, however, was that program four wasn’t a solid line-up of shorts, as it had only one major highlight.

Program four kicked off with the abysmal “Teatro” from director Jacobo Concepcion. Picture, if you will, a Puerto Rican, melodramatic adaptation of “Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D.” That is, stripped of all the charm and appeal of that low-budget picture. This film takes itself way too seriously and should not even be considered a horror short. The end may leave you confused, as preachy narration discusses the theme, which should not be needed if the picture was strong enough on its own merits.

Then came “Together” by Gigi Romero, which dealt with some interesting subject matter, but was overall a mess with no real conclusion.  That was followed by “Humanos Con Patatas (Humans with Potatoes) by K. Prada and J. Prada, which forgot to add subtitles for the audiences. This short seemed to house some very interesting ideas, and a realistic depiction of cannibalism, but all is effectively lost without proper translation.

It was not until “The Familiar,” by Kody Zimmermann, that I was reminded where actually was because of the sheer brilliance encompassed within it. Zimmermann constructed a spoof of the Dracula myth, while creating a stable and intriguing concept. It is the story of a young man who loves vampire movies and has a chance to become a familiar for a local vampire. Now, for the people living under a rock for the past century that aren’t get “down” with vampire jargon, a familiar is the person that takes care of all a vampire’s finances, and personal grooming habits, since they can’t cast a reflection. We never seem to realize that when watching a film about Dracula that he manages to deal with day-to-day issues, despite not being able to come out in the daytime. The acting is superb for a low-budget short of this nature.

Then the feature started to roll with an introduction by Lloyd Kaufman, who had a hand in producing the 3-D version of “Nosferatu: Orlok The Vampire.” This 1921 silent film that was a pioneer in the genre was kind of made to be a joke at times and the 3-D felt kind of gimmicky. (Stay Tuned to Review Fix for the full review.)

After the feature, I went to see program five, which was delayed because of the screening I was attending. That meant there was no time for the trivia games and brief introductions- just right into the program.  Expectations were low after the following program, but the movie gods smiled upon me: Program five was phenomenal.

The shorts started with the amazingly funny and dark “Thirsty,” by Andrew Kasch. This short featured a few familiar faces, including the luscious Tiffany Shepis (“Tromeo and Juliet”) and the voice of Sid Haig (“Galaxy of Terror”). It is the comical tale of man traveling across the desert and dying of thirst- all he wants is a drink. Oh and did I mention there is a deranged serial killer on the loose, that hacks up gas station patrons? But it seems everywhere this poor guy goes for a drink, you guessed it, something goes wrong. In the end, this little picture will leave a smile on your face. Kasch is one director to watch for in the future.

What followed was the short, but great “Mauvaise Erreur” (Bad Mistake) by Xavier Hibon, which tells all in the English translation of the title and boosts some wonderful cinematography. Telling you any more about it would ruin the surprise ending, which is extremely effective.

Then came “Sutphin BLVD” by Ivan Cortazar, a tale of a local pervert on a train that gets exactly what he deserves and is done very well.

Next, the feature “Maidenhead” began to play, which a real surprise and featured the great Michael Parks. Parks was the star of the great little film called “The Evictors” from 1979 and has steadily been working in movies with an impressive career which includes both “Planet Terror” and “Deathproof” in the Grindhouse double feature.

“Maidenhead” was part art house and horror that was stunningly original with an exceptionally moving performance from Lorri Hamm as the lonely Meredith, who, with the director (James Spanos), was on hand to take a bow after the picture. Spanos made an exquisite film that is different then anything on the market and seemed heavily inspired by David Lynch.

(Stay Tuned to Review Fix for the full review.)

A day of mixed blessing leads me into the final day, Sunday November 22, of the festival for Programs eight through 10.  The fun starts at 2 P.M with filmmaker panel/brunch with William Lustig (“Vigilante”) and Frank Henelotter (“Basket Case”). Followed by the latest from Steve Guttenberg  entitled “Cornered” and the première of “Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet,” featuring Danielle Harris and Bill Moseley.

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I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges. On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become. Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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I have always had a tremendous passion for the cinema. For me, movies provide a great escape. When done right, the characters and stories are something that I am instantly drawn into. Over the years, I’ve unintentionally become a movie encyclopedia that I often find myself the recipient of late night phone calls from my friends while at Blockbuster [One such conversation between the Editor of this site and the film “Redbelt” immediately comes to mind.] As far as my preferences go however, I love both the cult cinema and the classics. My love of film ranges from features such as “Amadeus” to “Sorority Babes in the Slime Ball Bowl-A- Rama.” I have a long range of film heroes as well that include, Michael J. Fox, Lloyd Kaufman, Robby Benson, Michael Caine and Jeff Bridges.

On this site, I hope to teach people about cult cinema and have them rent films that they normally would not, turning you into the monster that I have become.

Someday, I hope to be the star and director of my cult film, employing the old stop motion techniques used in films like “Flesh Gordon.”

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