Welcome back to The Blood Sprayer‘s continuing coverage of Toronto After Dark 2010. It’s hard to believe that yesterday was Day 5, and we only have 3 more nights of films left… I guess time flies when you’re having tons of fun, and last night was no exception, as I thoroughly enjoyed both features, which included the Thai horror anthology Phobia 2 and the trashy homage to old school exploitation films, All About Evil.
It’s safe to say that the the theater was much more subdued last night, with the madness of the previous night behind us. Still, from what I could tell, there was a sizable crowd gathered for Phobia 2. I suppose this shouldn’t be surprising, as the first Phobia was one of the audience favorites at TAD 2008. I have that film on DVD, but still have yet to watch it. Lucky for me, this wasn’t a problem, as the two films are not really dependent on one another. Anyhow, before I get into my quick thoughts on Phobia 2, I’d like to talk briefly about the first short of the night, Game Night.
The filmmakers behind the short film were in the audience, and they came up to talk briefly about the film before it started. To be honest, they really didn’t have much to say except to let us know that Game Night was produced as part of a 100-hour film challenge. Considering the short time this film was made in, I think it came out pretty well. It’s about a group of friends that decide to play a board game and end up getting more than they bargained for. I wasn’t sure I would like it at first, but after a few minutes passed, we were treated to some inappropriate (and fun) humor. You should check it out below if you get a chance.
After the short wrapped, Phobia 2 started. Since it’s an anthology film, there really was no singular story to speak of. In fact, there wasn’t even much of a theme tying the films together. I guess you could say they all featured supernatural horror and/or ghosts, but isn’t that true of almost all Asian horror films? Anyhow, the first four stories in the film were well-done chillers that featured everything from angry ghosts to zombies. I guess a central theme among most of them, in true EC-Comics fashion, might be crooked folks getting their just desserts. However, unlike the old comics, these stories were far from campy and had little humor in them. Well, until the fifth, and final, story, anyhow…
The last story in Phobia 2 was easily my favorite, even though it featured a lot of humor, and may seem a bit out of place because of it. Most people that I talked to seemed to share my sentiments, however, and nobody really appeared to mind the change in tone. The story poked fun at the entire Asian Horror scene, and it featured the cast and crew of several previous films like Shutter, Alone, and the original Phobia. To be honest, Phobia 2 is a must-see for that final story alone, and I very much recommend checking the movie out if you get a chance.
After Phobia 2 wrapped, it was back to the line to wait for the final film of the night, Joshua Grannell‘s All About Evil. Once we were in and seated for the film, Grannell (who is probably better known under his drag-queen pseudonym, Peaches Christ) came up for an introduction. We also got to watch, and help judge, a competition for the best gore-themed costume that Grannell (out of drag) presented with Canadian drag superstar Fay Slift (who was definitely in drag). I got some footage of the festivities, and I plan to eventually get it posted here when I get back home. Anyhow, after the contest was over, and Grannell had said a few words about the film, the opening night short began.
That short was entitled The Pickles, Shane, and to be quite honest, it really didn’t make a lot of sense. However, I guess that shouldn’t surprise me, as it was made by Levi MacDougall, who was also behind the ridiculous (but funny) short, The Library, that was part of Shorts After Dark over the weekend (see my Day 2 Recap for more on that). Basically, Shane is about two roommates fighting because one realizes that the other’s name is listed in the ingredients of his favorite pickles. Yes, I know, that makes no sense, and I’m pretty sure that is the point of the short. Still, though it made no sense, it was humorous, and I enjoyed it for the stupid fun that it was. Not the best by far, but not awful. I tried to find it online, but since the TAD showing was the world premiere of the film, I guess MacDougall didn’t put it out there. However, the other film of his that was featured at the festival, The Library, is online, and I’ve included it below.
Once the short finished, All About Evil started. To be honest, going into the evening, I wasn’t sure if I would like the film. After all, the only things that I knew about it were that it was directed by drag queen and was about a theater owner who killed her patrons. I had also heard that it was pretty insane and campy, and camp is something, that if done incorrectly, can really make a film fall flat on its face. To my pleasant surprise, I actually ended up loving the film. In fact, I have to say that it was probably my second favorite of the festival so far (High School being my top film).
One of the reasons that I loved it so much was that I really got a huge John Waters type of vibe from the film. As such, I not shocked to later find out that Waters is one of Grannell‘s favorite filmmakers. There’s a lot of references and homages to exploitation pioneers like H.G. Lewis and those that followed him. There are lots of very cool, made-up, exploitation posters in the film, and there is quite a bit of blood and gore, including breasts being sliced off, intestines falling out, etc. The performances, including turns by such iconic character actors as Mink Stole (from several John Waters films) and Cassandra Peterson (aka Elvira), and the film is just great, trashy fun. It’s total midnight movie material, and I highly recommend it to everyone looking for some campy gore-comedy.
After the film, Grannell returned to the stage for some Q&A. During the session he discussed the road that led him to make the film, the challenges he encountered while making it, and his inspirations and plans to distribute it. Again, I have footage of the talk, and eventually, you should be able to see it here, so be sure to keep checking back, as it is very interesting stuff; especially if you are a fan of the film.
After the Q&A wrapped, it was off to Pauper’s for Pub After Dark. Grannell
was there hanging out, but I didn’t really get a chance to talk to him, as he was pretty wrapped up in conversation for most of the night. I did however get some time to chat with Sol Friedman who directed Junko’s Shamisen, which played in front of RoboGeisha a few nights prior (you can read my thoughts on both films in our Day 3 Recap). He was a really nice guy and we talked about everything from his film to the future of digital distribution. Surprisingly enough, he’s not a huge horror fan, as he said he doesn’t deal well with being frightened. Still, he sadi that didn’t stop him from watching The Last Exorcism the other night and chasing down Eli Roth to get him a copy of Junko. I really do wish him the best with that film, as it was very cool and had a unique look and style.
Anyway, that about does it for TAD: Day 5. Overall, it was another great day of films and socializing. Tonight’s lineup should interesting, as it features the British films Centurion (directed by Neil Marshall) and Heartless (directed by Philip Ridley). I’m looking forward to both, and I can’t wait to tell you about them here tomorrow.
As always, if you want to read about the previous days’ coverage, or just want to find all TAD-related articles in one place, you can go HERE. Also, for more photos from Day 5 of TAD, please visit the festival’s Official Facebook Page.
Enjoy the films below, and I’ll see you all back here tomorrow!