In Memory of George A. Romero

People usually laugh when I tell them I have a mortal fear of zombies, but for many years I did. I had a mortal fear of the walking dead, for reasons I can’t really explain. Fears are meant to be irrational. I can however pinpoint to where it may have all started, and it was with George Romero. One of my earliest memories as a kid was when my dad took a four year old moi to visit a friend of his, who watching this horror documentary on VHS. Mid-way through the footage there was the epic finale of “Day of the Dead” where the humongous horde of zombies is slowly descending in to the military bunker with light cast upon them.

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Spectrum Fest: Films from the Autism Spectrum [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Spectrum Productions works with a day camp in Montreal which offers filmmaking mentorship and classes for people on the autism spectrum.  Spectrum Fest was a presentation of some of the films made by participants over the years for the first time at Fantasia.  It was a free screening for anyone interested in going and it was hoot.

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Boyka: Undisputed (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

Following the death of an opponent, Boyka questions why he is doing this sport and what he wants from it. As a means of atoning for the death, he goes to visit the deceased’s wife to try and help her as best he can to in turn be able to forgive himself.

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Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Diamond in Unbreakable – Chapter 1 (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

The most popular teen in school seems to have supernatural or at least extraordinary talent. As he learns how to use these and more about himself, he is called upon to help save a fellow high schooler and his small town from unexplained evil.

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A Ghost Story (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

After his death, a man goes home dressed in a white sheet to try to reconnect with his grieving wife.

A Ghost Story an intimate haunting film by David Lowery that explores themes of grieving, remembering, being remembered, learning to let go, and ultimately love.  Here Lowery creates an intimate look on a couple in a short time before killing the husband, leaving his wife in shock and trying to figure life out for herself.  He also explores this death from the deceased side of things without ever going in the cheesy or creepy worlds many ghost story films go to in order to do this.  Here he creates 2 strong leads that have very few lines, yet manage to pass emotions and feelings through watching these two people interact before the husband’s death and how they are after it.

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Undress Me (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

I can’t wait to see more from director Amelia Moses in the future, as she seems to be a promising horror director with a lot to say. Though “Undress Me” is a short film, it’s also a very grotesque and disgusting body horror film. “Undress Me” will inspire many audiences to interpret its message and I perceived it as an allegory for rape and the psychological fall out that comes with being raped.

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Adventures In Fantasia [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

I got started as a critic in 2004 when I covered the Fantasia film festival for Film Threat. At the time I was pretty active on the Film Threat web board and one of the moderators, I believe it was Eric Campos, asked if I could attend the festival and write something for the magazine since I lived nearby. I must have done a good job because he let me stick around to do more stuff, mostly review indie films and write a series called “Versus” where I compared remakes with the original.

It was fun, but eventually I had to slow down because I was burnt out. I realize that “watching movies” doesn’t sound exhausting, but I always felt a deep sense of responsibility to both the readers and the filmmakers. It felt wrong to just go “This film sucks!” or “This film rocks” without exploring every little detail on screen and analyzing every aspect of the production.

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