That’s how my screening day started, seated for Deadball and trying to figure out if, during the introduction, the director of the film had just said that the film was a “piece of f**k.” Seemed odd at the time, but when his translator followed it up with what sounded like “facef**k,” I was really lost. Was Deadball a piece of f**k that involved a facef**k!?! Turns out neither: they were actually trying to say “fist f**k.”
And, indeed, Deadball, a film about a violent juvenile detention baseball league (sure, why not use that as a description) has a couple comical scenes of fist f**king. That’s right, fist f**king played for laughs. And I did laugh, as did the audience.
The next film in the day was The Reef, which is a tale of a group of friends who crash their sailboat about 12 miles away from shore in shark-infested waters. They then have to decide whether to stick with the slowly sinking ship, or swim for the coast (which, at the time of the decision, they can’t see… it’s just ‘out there’ somewhere). The Reef manages to do more with folks swimming in water than I imagined it could (Open Water, I thought, covered most of these bases already), but, in the end, it’s still folks swimming in water… with a huge shark. I enjoyed it to a point, but then it got a little boring. I mean, they either get eaten, or they don’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t care much if they did.
After The Reef there was a quick spin out to the concession stand for some peanut M&Ms, and then back in for Ninja Kids!!!, which is like the ninja Harry Potter. Well, I only say that because the main kid looked like Harry Potter with the huge, round glasses and he was attending a fantastical school for ninja training. Other than that, the film is an exercise in fart and poo jokes coupled with my inability to keep track of all the characters they kept adding to the movie. Seriously, it felt like every three seconds I was supposed to keep track of a new ninja, and follow the plot and… I’ll admit it, I got completely lost. Figured it out in the end, but as I walked out of the theater I wondered if this film is for kids, for adults, WHO!?! Maybe my mistake was trying to figure it out instead of just laughing at the poo and farts.
After that flick, it was time for food. I was debating sticking around for the revival screening of the original Wicker Man (and even met Wicker Man filmmaker Robin Hardy outside the theater while fleeing; also finally met fest director Mitch Davis IN PERSON!!!), but I had to eat, after going all of the prior day without much sustenance beyond M&Ms (just forgot to eat; it happens sometimes). So it was back to the Irish Embassy where I hung out with Jeremy Knox, his buddy Al and Al’s fiance and Fantasia Fest programmer Simon Laperriere. Much food, and beer, was consumed in a short amount of time before we all set back out to the Hall Theatre.
The next film on the agenda was an anthology flick called The Theatre Bizarre, which contained films by filmmakers Douglas Buck, Buddy Giovinazzo, David Gregory, Karim Hussain, Jeremy Kasten, Tom Savini and Richard Stanley. The bits contained a wide variety of tones and genres, and I really, truly appreciated that it wasn’t just a collection of one-up splatterfests, but instead a grouping of similar-minded filmmakers telling their own stories in their own ways. Because the stories are all over the place (though quite a few do center on relationships), there’s something in here for everyone. Everyone who would contemplate seeing a movie called The Theatre Bizarre, that is.
After the film ended, practically the entire cast and crew of all the films was in attendance, and came down to the front for a Q&A. One of the few times being in the second row for pictures was far too close to get everyone in the shot, so I had to retreat.
My final film of the evening, and the capper for the entire day, was the home invasion sadist-fest Knifepoint. Murders, rapes, a knife-tipped strap-on (a la Se7en) and other brutality pile up in this flick, and it made for an interesting end to the day. It also added to the penis injury tally I had started earlier in the day. Deadball had an injured penis in it, so did the Theatre Bizarre and now Knifepoint. If you’re a penis at Fantasia Fest, LOOK OUT!
Which brings us to today, a much tamer screening schedule for my final day at the festival. It’s looking like I’m going to drop in on the “Bloody Breasts Presents: Women in Horror” and the “Architects of the Theatre Bizarre” panels before seeing A Lonely Place to Die, possibly Phase 7 and then some late-night karaoke (because film festival people love them some karaoke).