caught footage of a few average American families eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
366 Weird Movies may earn commissions from purchases made through product links.
Quick links/Discussed in this episode:
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): Discussion begins. Read Gregory J. Smalley’s review. The perennial holiday classic gets the expected 4K UHD upgrade (in plenty of time for Halloween). Buy The Nightmare Before Christmas.
The Night of the Hunted (1980): Discussion begins. Read Gregory J. Smalley’s review. Indicator continues their hi-def rollout of Jean Rollin with this odd non-vampire horror about beautiful naked women with short-term memory loss. Several new features are included along with some recycled content (including a Rollin commentary), on your choice of Blu-ray or 4K UHD. Buy The Night of the Hunted.
Piaffe (2022): Discussion begins. A foley artist finds her body transforming as she spends time recreating the sounds of a horse for a film project. Opening in New York City this week after a successful festival run, a few more North American dates will follow in late summer before it trots off to home video. Piaffe official site.
The Rape of the Vampire (1968): Discussion begins. Read Gregory J. Smalley’s review. Another fine Indicator Rollin release, this time of his surreal (even by Rollin standards!) debut film; like Night of the Hunted above, it’s a limited-edition with new and archival special features on Blu-ray or UHD. Buy The Rape of the Vampire.
“Terror in the Ailien Realms” (2023): Interview begins. ‘s book is a collection of 50 surreal A.I.-generated movie posters, accompanied by imaginary reviews from writers like Michael Gingold, , and . It can be purchased directly from the author.
WHAT’S IN THE PIPELINE:
Next week, El Rob Hubbard will return to Pod 366 alongside Gregory J. Smalley to discuss a packed list of home video releases. In written reviews, Shane Wilson tries out Killer Condom (1996), while Greg looks into The Servant (1963). Onward and weirdward!
Raw audio of G. Smalley‘s interview with directorat the 2016 Fantasia Film Festival. Over a beer at the Irish Embassy Pub in Montreal, Tremblay discusses the origins of his latest budget neosurrealist epic Atmo HorroX in a “trippy photoshoot.”
Other Fantasia 2106 interviews:
Yesterday, I wrote that Joel Potrykus seemed like the “regularest of regular guys,” an impression that was only confirmed when I met him on the terrace of the Le Nouvel Hotel for a scheduled interview. The filmmaker from Grand Rapids, MI, known for his low-budget character studies of society’s outcasts (Ape and Buzzard, both starring Joshua Bruge) originally mistook me for a blogger named “Creepy Greg.” (I’m not sure who “Creepy Greg” is, or if he really exists, but I’m considering using the handle for my OK Cupid profile). He didn’t have a canned opening statement about his latest movie, the minimalist one-man horror show Alchemist Cookbook, so I suggested he use a tagline “as if Jim Jarmsuch does the Evil Dead” (the two influences he had cited in the previous night’s Q&A) for the film. That launched a conversation about Cookbook‘s influences, and how Sam Raimi‘s Evil Dead was the first film he saw that made him believe he could make a movie. “I love Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now, but as a kid watching those I never thought that was attainable.” We talk about the difference between inspirations and influences, and Potrykus makes the analogy of a heavy metal guitarist who loves listening to opera: it might inspire him to make music, but he wouldn’t be able to adapt the actual vocal techniques into his own licks. That’s how the director feels about movies like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark; they inspired him as a child to want to make movies, but it was Jarmusch and Raimi who actually influenced him.
Potrykus is happy making low-budget films in Michigan and shows no interest in “moving up” in the industry. I pose as a hypothetical producer offering him one million dollars with the stipulation he must spend it making movies, and ask how he will use it: one big movie, or many smaller movies? He starts off saying he’d make ten $100,000 movies, then decides he’ll shoot for one hundred $10,000 movies. (Since his first feature, Ape, was made for $2,500, he even fantasizes about making four hundred movies). “I don’t even know how to spend a million dollars”, he admits. But he does have a thought: “I’d love to put Leonardo di Caprio in a small movie like mine, and just see what would happen… it would be almost an a experimental movie for me, take a big actor and put him in a small, grungy movie.”
“Alchemist Cookbook was doing something much different than I had done before,” he responded when asked if this latest film reflected a new direction. “I feel like every filmmaker has a moment when they need to tell a poem instead of a story. That’s what Alchemist Cookbook was for me.” He says his next two scripts are already written and are very different. When asked if future movies would continue to focus on society’s misfits, he answers “It’s unconscious, I never think about writing a movie about an outsider.” He’s simply drawn to characters like A Clockwork Orange‘s Alex DeLarge or Taxi Driver‘s Travis Bickle.
The Alchemist Cookbook stars Ty Hickson, who is required to be on screen for almost every shot. I ask him how much Hickson improvised for his part, and he answered that they finally came to an understanding when he described the script as like “playing jazz. You Continue reading FANTASIA FILM FESTIVAL DIARY, 7/21/2016 (JOEL POTRYKUS, SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS, PAT TREMBLAY)
DIRECTED BY: Pat Tremblay
FEATURING: Navin Pratap, Jamie Abrams
PLOT: An amnesiac man awakens in the post-apocalyptic future encased in a protective suit
and patrols the desolate landscape searching for explanations.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: With its microbudget aesthetic of abandoned barns and homemade black leather cyborg-suits, this sci-fi indie set on the post-apocalyptic Canadian prairie is nothing like a Hollywood movie; but the minimal story is not engaging enough to justify considering it for a List of the 366 Best Weird Movies of All Time.
COMMENTS: In a sense, it may be pointless to review Hellacious Acres. This is a movie that doesn’t care what you think of it; it just wants to be itself. It stars a character who wakes up trapped in a synthetic, computerized black protective suit without knowing who he is or why he’s there, and who ends up in a hallucinatory delirium without accomplishing whatever his goal was. In between, he consults his video-game console glove for info on the world around him, learns how to eat and expel waste through the hose attached to his suit, and walks, walks, WALKS. (The trailer takes a perverse pride in pointing out the amount of WALKING in Acres, as does the soundtrack, which launches into an epic, doom-laden sludgy drone whenever John Glass puts his heels to the prairie grass). Events play out in real time. When Glass needs to find something to eat, most movies would either skip the sequence or compress the action through editing; here, we watch every second of him searching every inch of an abandoned house, forcing his way into a stubborn cabinet, studying each label he finds, laboriously sawing through the tin can, then discovering the contents are rancid—and starting all over again with a new can. It sounds like a cruel joke on the audience, but Acres‘ subtle sense of humor about its own lack of pace helps win you over: that involuntary wince you give when you see Glass reach for that second can, or the way he throws up his hands in exasperation as he circles through a menu on his control panel while trying to arm his deadly plasma weapon in the middle of a melee. The effects are not that special but Tremblay has uses his minimal budget with maximum effectiveness; the faceless costuming is creepy, and the video-game interface looks futuristic enough for the film’s purposes. The blasted farmland setting, with its almost comical number of barns repurposed to house teleporters, is also novel; it’s a more laid-back, rural apocalypse than we’re used to seeing in the movies. Most importantly, there’s plenty of weirdness filling up the empty spaces: a psychedelic opening with a disembodied voice giving the backstory while we look at a heat-imaging map of the resuscitated John Glass, a mutant baby encased in a jar, Glass carrying around (and carrying on conversations with) the severed hand of a fellow soldier, bad trips caused by teleportation drugs, a hallucinated waiter of the wasteland, and of course the lightbulb-shaped alien energy jellyfish that now prowl the Earth. In a final spit in the face to storytelling conventions, the tale ends in futility, with the protagonist insane, having failed at a mission that was never really clearly explained, having learned nothing of importance about himself and having unlocked no significant mysteries about the strange world he found himself in. This whole exercise in perverse pacing and post-apocalyptic hallucination is likely to leave even weird movie buffs perplexed about what they’ve just seen; imagine how “normal” folks would feel if they rented this by accident looking for a straight sci-fi adventure?
Pat Tremblay‘s first film was the still-unreleased surrealist experiment Heads of Control: The Gorul Baheu Brain Expedition (2006). He was last seen at 366 trying to provide us with a top 10 weird movies list (he was unable to limit himself to just ten titles).
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
DISCLAIMER: A copy of this movie was provided by the distributor for review.