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By Jeremy Knox | July 16, 2007

I knew I’d meet up again with Dahlia from Fantastik Asia again on Saturday since 13 Beloved was playing that night and she covers the Asian films. It’s always fun watching a film with her since she’s so knowledgeable and passionate.

I’ve heard Beloved was picked up for a remake, which is excellent news since that means they’ll be a 2 or 3 disc DVD release in America, though I can’t imagine how they’ll Americanize it or tone it down without taking all the piss out of it. This is a film you’ll be hearing a LOT about once more people see it and pass the word. This truly is brilliant. It’s not quite as hyperkinetic as Chan-wook Park but it’s as creatively sadistic by a mile. The story about a recently fired salesman named Chit who is contacted on his cell by a mysterious caller that offers great prizes if he can do 13 increasingly difficult tasks is twisted beyond belief at times.

After that, I stayed for the next film and was in for a surprise. I’d heard about “Mulberry Street” and had spoken about it in an earlier article about the Festival. However, I wasn’t ready for the ultimate quality of the filmmaking. The script was co-written by actor Nick Damici, which is something that normally makes me wary. Actors (especially lead actors like Nick is in the film) will often try to bolster their own part and tend to write talky scripts that are page after page of long winded dialogue. However, Damici and Director Jim Mickle have crafted a subtle minimalist script about an infection transmitted by rats spreading through New York City that reminds me of what John Carpenter used to do in the 1970’s. They let the characters be natural and real and slightly nudge the plot along every now and then while standing back and letting the film unfold all by itself. There’s almost no expository dialogue and every character gets their share of screen time to fully flesh them out without having to give them a long a*s back story. This is purity in directing and purity in acting. I f*****g loved it. 

A little bit of trivia for you: Someone blew chunks at the showing of “Mulberry Street”, the p***y. I would have thought for sure that this might have happened during 13 Beloved, but not Mulberry which doesn’t have many gross out scenes. Too bad I only heard about the incident after it was over. I would have taken a nice picture for all of you”¦ hehe.

After the films we went to the Irish Pub again, and again I forgot to memorize the name of the place. On the way over a guy introduces himself to me and goes “”Hey, I’m Bob Kurtzman” so I shake his hand and ask him what sort of thing he does because I’m a goddamn dumbass. He just smiles and says “”I was the K in KNB.”

Awww”¦ f**k.

Of all the people I could have NOT recognized. Robert Kurtzman wrote the original script that later became From Dusk Till Dawn. He did the effects for almost every single horror movie in the 90’s. He’s a f*****g legend. I couldn’t have looked stupider if I’d been a priest who met a guy calling himself the Apostle John and then went “”And who sort of thing is it that you do Sir?”

Anyway, after the shaky start we sat down and talked about effects and all the stuff he’s done, which is something that fascinates me. As a kid I owned Tom Savini’s Grande Illusions book and the Dick Smith’s Monster Makeup book. Long before I became a writer I wanted to be an effects man. I knew how to make stage blood with karo syrup and red food dye, and how to mix liquid latex and bread crumbs to make masks and s**t. I even knew the old trick of making scars with rigid collodion, which I think is still in use today.

So meeting Kurtzman was definitely a highlight. It was cool as f**k listening to him talk about working on the films he’s done, which is almost everything cool ever made in L.A since about 1990 or so. We also both share the view that a lot of s**t looks LESS realistic now, with all the new technology, than it did almost 30 years ago. So we got along great.

I ended the night talking to local filmmaker Phillippe Spurrell who also is one cool m**********r. I’ve bumped into Phillippe for years now here and there and we’ve always only had these half-conversations where we’d start talking about something but never really get a chance to pick each other’s brains about stuff. We got to do it Saturday and he’s one smart and cultured dude. I really feel privileged to come here and meet such fascinating human beings.

P.S.: My apologies to Lloyd Kaufman, who was there that night, for not going to see Poultrygeist but I was f*****g beat. I love Lloyd, I truly do, but there’s just so much the old Jer can go see and can do before the body decides to rebel and his brain decides to fry.

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  1. Felix says:

    Dude, I saw “The Fifth” last year, you were right, the movie is hilarious! The dude from “Scrubs” was maniacal.

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