An Update, The Massacre, and A Video

So it’s been over a month since I went over the deep end. Those who managed to attempt contact or at least note the media I created (social or otherwise) know that I am alive, and now those who read this blog (heh) know this fact too. I’m only better in the sense I can actually make things happen outside of working a job, sometimes eating well, and the favorite pastime of all depressives, sleeping. Those first couple weeks were really rotten, and I’m quite glad they are over and done with. All the same, odd thoughts continue to creep up on me (an example of which is noted below), and it’s going to be awhile before I risk giving myself up to the world again.

Despite the fact I’ve neglected updating here, things are still coming along despite me not making official notices of them. I’m still making the video production happen, though it’s tedious trying to work a worthless body when the soul wants to do so much. I’ve also moved onto my next lent, given the prior Lent was finished in the midst of last month. I’ll talk about it in its own post, though hopefully before the business finishes. No, not going to check the calender to make sure, because that’s too much stress and work for me to handle…really. Then there are the few times I go out and do social things with folk, but only if they are truly necessary under the government shutdown I’m in. I had one such event on October 12th when I went to The Massacre, a 24 film fest held at the Patio Theater.

The Massacre is something a friend of mine had been planning for months, and I always thought I would go to a 24 hour event like this, because damn am I big about movies. Not Hollywood, because screw the machine that churns out subpar media. Discovering and appreciating old classics, seeing what new media others can come up with from within the fanbase, and just being with the fanbase I’m most at home with. Me and my friend only managed to stay for 12 hours, mind you, due to the fact the next day brought many challenges for us both, and messing up our sleep schedule wouldn’t do our work life any good. But damn would sticking around have been cool. In total we saw a total of seven of the sixteen items in the official lineup, and that’s not including some of the short films, and were there some fine ones, let me tell you.

The afternoon started with Edison’s Frankenstein, which had the honor of having someone play the organ to it. I’m a bit conflicted with the piece, given it wasn’t that enjoyable to watch or listen to in that it was a poorly made movie. However, because it was made in 1910, slack needs to be given to the film, because they pulled off a collection of very curious effects that worked well. A corpse assembling itself from nothing was attained by burning said corpse to a crisp and then playing the footage backward. Maintaining the reflection of an actor in a mirror when said actor isn’t there was done by fiddling with the physical footage itself, frame by frame (or at least I think that’s how it’s done). While such things could easily be done with the magic of computers, all they had back in the day was a single camera that shot less than twenty frames a second in a market that didn’t even exist. Add in that it’s a lost film, and it’s obvious why respect needs to be given for Frankenstein’s impact on the history of horror and filmmaking. While I don’t think the audience of The Massacre understood that, I’m glad it was shown.

Next was Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (or FMtWM for short), which suffers from being made in a different era like Edison’s Frankenstein, but has just enough good flavor to gloss over the issues to enjoy yourself. What struck me the most was the werewolf transformation, which aside from being a laborious film task was slow and without much fanfare. This is in huge contrast to the transformations of today, which are loud, violent, and unnecessarily grotesque. What happened over the years to change this? Back on the film, I think it’s interesting to note FMtWM was released just a year after Casablanca, having me come to the conclusion FMtWM was a precursor to the film franchises we see today, given it’s a direct sequel to a horror classic and the fifth sequel to films involving The Monster. It was a cash in, albeit a good one, but it wasn’t seeking anything significant other than to hopefully entertain and get money. Even so, there are no more films with a scope like this being made today, and certainly not in theaters. How did this even come to be? I suppose if you’re George Waggner, it’s one thing, but there’s too many legal bindings to make movies like this again. Took how long to get Freddy vs. Jason?

Then there was the short film The Cask of Amontillado, which broke from the 19th century telling of the story and gave it a modern look and retelling. It was a realistically paced short (aka slow), and I was stuck by the silence present during scenes. Not that they didn’t have any background music for moods sake, because it was there, but the control of sound made the pauses in sound feel like they had weight. They knew what they were doing in the audio department, and for that they have my kudos. In terms of the story, I would like to think I knew of this Edgar Allen Poe story, but my research into the very fascinating man has been as flimsy as my understanding of H. P. Lovecraft. One day I’ll get my head in the game.

And given The Tomb of Ligeia, the next movie seen, it should really be soon. Vincent Price was a treat to watch, and the beautiful Elizabeth Shepherd had me come to the conclusion movies don’t really give elegance to actress anymore. There’s something about older films that seem to give female roles a certain power over the screen. I’ve watched my share of older films with female roles, and the vast majority of them give performances that are hard to forget. It’s not just their beauty, because it can be noted there are plenty of modern actresses whose beauty is judged higher, but it’s how it’s presented that makes for a good performance. It could be said older films in general have this presence I speak of, but it feels like the role of women in film has diminished over time. Strange that thought, given our culture is supposedly not so sexist anymore, despite what others would say.

Back on the Tomb of Ligeia. If there is a fault to note of the film, it’s that it didn’t really know how to end. I enjoyed the ending a lot for the madness that was happening, but it still felt incredibly mishandled. The buildup to the climax was amazing, but then it dropped, came back up again, dropped again, and then sort of ended maybe. Those who have seen the film will hopefully understand what I mean? But aside from that, the performances and the dread inspired made for a fun time. Curious this piece, given it was directed by Roger Corman, who has plenty of bizarre horror flicks with sex and violence to his name. It would be worth checking out more of his work just to see the contrast with The Tomb of Ligeia.

And if The Tomb of Ligeia left any inkling I need to get my head in the game and comprehend the work of Poe, it was all settled with another short film based on his work. Well, based on a series of lithographs by Odilon redon inspired by Poe, but as it goes. Just watch…

I can’t begin to describe how enthralled I looked while watching this, let alone how I felt. My eyes were wide, mouth open, and I was frozen in place just so I made sure not to miss a single moment of the short. It struck me all the more because it’s a little of what I’ve wanting to come about from Korahl (parts one and two should you be curious), though I know I’m light years away from achieving such majesty. This work is incredibly inspiring, and watching this on the big screen is an amazing experience. Just so it’s known, I may be in love with Guy Maddin, the man who directed this bit of insanity. I don’t use the word “love” often, but what little work I’ve seen of his has opened a rabbit hole that I yearn to delve into.

The next film is what I think to be the best over the course of the evening: Martin. While George Romero may be known for his Living Dead films, I think he should be more well known for Martin. I walked into this movie blind, and was completely enthralled by the film. The script, cinematography, and the fact no one talks about it left me so dumbfounded I talked my friend’s ear off for the next two hours. While someone else is credited for the cinematography, the way the film was edited made it well known Romero knew exactly what he wanted for the shot, and given he was the one who edited the final cut and wrote the script, that’s intense. I would go as far to say Martin is a perfect film, and it shows that George Romero has amazing talent even without the Living Dead films under his belt.

Despite my praise, I can understand why not a lot of people would enjoy Martin. It’s about a killer, after all, and it takes an open mind to appreciate the dark world of such an individual. And this movie is incredibly dark, and the trailer of the film doesn’t give justice to the graphic nature of the story or even its pace. If all else, the very first scene of the film will make or break it for folk, and those who are still around afterword are given quite the treat. Seriously, Martin is deserving of a lot more praise than I’m showing here, and while there is so much to be talked about in this film, I do need to move on. In summary, give some love to George Romero for making some amazing art. I have disregarded Romero in the past because of the zombie craze he’s attached to, but Martin really shows I am a fool not to have given him credit. Very curious to know the rest of his body of work.

It was around this point me and my friend went to eat dinner and check out the vendors, because the both of us had already seen Dead & Buried. Feel bad about not seeing it, even though it was a priority we ate and bought what we could, because we wouldn’t have another chance the rest of the night. The feeling comes about mostly because the director Gary Sherman was there, and not watching his treasure felt like a dishonor to him. That, and my friend claimed the movie wasn’t that great, to which I talked his ear off (along with Martin) as more and more memories manifested about how Dead & Buried made me feel. It takes a lot for a horror film to be considered original, and just thinking about how the victims were killed off gives me chills.

After dinner shopping was had, and the number of vendors they could fit in the single screen old time theater was surprising. We were packed like sardines in that place, and yet commerce was still able to thrive. One of the items I bought that evening was a winter cap with the Demons title on it. It was more an ironic and memorable buy than anything, given I never saw the film, and with the “D” covered with other winter caps and the lettering being yellow…I thought it said “Lemons” instead. My horror cred is forever ruined. Bite me.

I also purchased a little something from Adam Michaels, who apparently is a big enough deal to have stalkers? You really wouldn’t know, given he was very easy to talk to and really just seemed like any other talented artist trying to sell their gear. But I guess that’s the case with most celebrities, as he also shared with one of the many stories he told? Also had an Alan Rehbein selling a lot of comics which caught my eye (Darkman, Man With The Screaming Brain, Logan’s Run). I was unable to make a purchase from him before I ran out of cash I could “afford” to lose, even though I couldn’t afford to lose it to begin with. The man still made an impression on me, however, so he deserves a mention here, especially given the fact he seemed to take an interest in the works of Screamerclauz. Hopefully he’s actually interested and won’t be freaked out?

With food and shopping cared for, me and my friend settled in for the rest of the evening and watched April Fool’s Day, a film that is a mixed bag. The movie was well made for its time, had good jokes, a great ending (more on that in a moment), but the pace of the film felt incredibly off. Thankfully the director Fred Walton was present for the evening, and a question asked of him revealed the ending we were shown was tacked on to what was actually the end of the second act. There was an entire third act of the film cut because the company releasing the film felt it didn’t fit for the movie. But because the third act was cut, the length of the film was still too short. So a new final scene was tacked on and the movie was made longer with subpar editing. This is why filmmakers should be allowed to make the films they want, without “guidance” from those with the money. Companies don’t know how to make good movies.

The April Fool’s Day we were shown gave a glimpse of what could have been a very good movie, but without that third act to round it out and the crisp editing it would call for, the film was very bland. There is still some treasure to grab from it, especially from the intro and from the production history behind it, but knowing the film it could have been just makes me sad. I’m keen on seeing how Fred Walton did on a film unhindered by a company, given he obviously knew what he was doing before they intervened. And on a side note, there was apparently no name given to a certain sexual position used in the film. They just pushed and pulled the actors into some sort of knot and rolled with it. Thanks for addressing that for me, Fred.

The final movie watched at The Massacre was A Nightmare on Elm Street Part 2: Freddy’s Revenge, and it was a fun watch. Having only seen the first Nightmare and two other Freddy films before the remake, seeing the evolution from there to now makes my brain abuzz with excitement. The feeling was charged by the fact I enjoyed the character of Freddy as a character when I was a kid, because I was never allowed to watch the films. The film had its moments of poor filmmaking as most films of that era do, but like always there was gold to be found. I’m quite fond of Freddy’s rampage at the pool party, along with the graphic Freddy transformations. But what was most prominent from the watch that evening was the audience appreciation for the seemingly gay overtones throughout the film. Dialogue and the way certain situations played out would make some viewers think the film was a story about how a teenager coped with his sexuality.

I thought the entire audience was just being immature, even if certain elements were questionable. Some insight from Mark Patton revealed the script was altered to magnify any homoeroticism to be found. Curious enough, Mark himself is gay, making the situation a can of worms I don’t think I have the sense or time to speak on in the now. What I can say is Mark is quite the character. For a film that many people seem to beat into the ground, the man is still going round to festivals talking about the film and the franchise it spawned. Because that’s something that needs to be addressed: it was a good enough film to show that Nightmare on Elm Street and Freddy himself had lots of potential to be more than just a single film (as Wes Craven originally sought). It’s a piece of horror history to be admired, regardless of criticism.

And after that, me and my friend drove back to his place almost two hours away and crashed. Films I missed but saw prior to The Massacre include Hellraiser II and Army of Darkness (which is not a horror movie, but okay), while those I didn’t see include The Gate, Deep Red, Wild Zero, Slither, and a short called Fist of Jesus. Lowcarbcomedy also made a couple entries, which had the entire audience in deep belly laughs. And…that’s pretty much my experience at The Massacre. Quite the boost it gave me in my time of dissociation, and the taste of so much film has me raring to have another go. Eventually. Still too many other things to do on my plate.

And here’s the “video” as mentioned in the titled of this post. The short film was just an extra treat is all. Anyway, the video below contains some other updates on things that are going on. Enjoy. Yes that’s how I’m ending this post, because I already spent too much time talking, and I’m tired, okay?

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