I wish there were more movies like Jesse Blanchard’s “Frank & Zed” in theaters and midnight movie showings. It’s a movie that promises to become a cult classic and for good reason. Not only is it wildly inventive, and absolutely charming, but I was completely sucked in to everything from the story, the gruesome gore, and the shockingly incredible production values (40 Handmade puppets!). While the movie is low budget, Blanchard’s ability to make every single element of his film feel epic in scope, keeps “Frank & Zed” consistently brilliant and absolutely entertaining.
If ever there was an argument to be made about movies being cursed, there is “New Mutants.” This is a movie that even people that don’t like superhero movies will be re-visiting for decades, discussing how it has such a streak of bad luck, it’s become kind of heartbreaking by now. Reshoots, delays, rewrites, shelving, postponing, delaying, and the big Marvel purchase of FOX studios have made “New Mutants” one of the modern Hollywood disaster stories.
It’s a great premise, based on the climax of a great movie like “Logan,” that promised a brand new direction to a beloved Marvel series, that definitively closes the FOX “X-Men” movies and features a great cast of dynamic young stars like Maisie Williams, Anya Taylor Joy and the like. And it almost seems like we’re never going to see it until Disney breaks down and finally decides to put it on their streaming service.
The indefinite postponing on April 3rd to TBD, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic has struck “New Mutants” once again, infuriating fans. But until Disney decides to release the movie finally, if ever, here are five great dark fantasies you can watch to fulfill the appetite.
Thirteen years later, Guillermo Del Toro’s period dark fantasy is a masterpiece of the genre telling a tale of loss of innocence and good versus evil that’s touching, gripping and a bit spooky in its way. Del Toro’s film is one that warrants repeated viewing and continued analyses as it’s a fairy tale that masterfully mixes “Alice in Wonderland,” the Brothers Grimm, “Wizard of Oz,” along with classic folklore.
This year, Fantasia International Film Festival is screening a nice collection of vintage titles and anniversary screenings. One of these is The Crow coming up on the 30th of July at 7pm and it’s one screening I hate to miss.
The Crow turned 25 this year and it has been just about as long since it became my favorite film, hence why this is one of the hardest films for me to write about. There is no being objective, this film is entwined in my teen years and my adulthood. It’s one of those films that had such a big impact, it’s almost impossible to separate the emotional from the reality of the film. So, as it’s playing, I wanted to write a deeply personal piece, a piece that it nowhere near objective, a piece that is about my history with The Crow.
Just in time for “Women in Horror Month,” Andrew Fleming’s “The Craft” is one of those movies that’s gained some heavy cult momentum over the years, and for good reason. Even with the nineties aesthetic, “The Craft” has aged quite well offering up a mature genre picture that begins as a coming of age supernatural drama and gradually transforms in to a horror film. There just aren’t films like “The Craft” anymore, and that’s a shame, since Andrew Fleming offers up a unique tale of good and evil, and power corrupting absolutely.
From The H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society and Andrew Leman comes the excellent “The Call of Cthulhu,” a short film I was lucky enough to experience years ago and was lucky enough to re-visit. From 2005, the independent effort channels the horror and sheer terror of HP Lovecraft’s mythology so well, the time manages to fly by without a hitch. “The Call of Cthulhu” is a brilliant throwback to the silent film era channeling the likes of Val Lewton to bring audiences a love letter to a time in film when horror meant the twang of the score, and focusing on the horror of our actors.
Courtney Joyner’s “Lurking Fear” is classic Full Moon Entertainment from the nineties. It has a modicum of a budget, some great production value and a solid horror story. Thought it’s a loose adaptation of the HP Lovecraft tale, it does take the elements and combine them to form a classic folklore horror tale about greed and criminals getting their comeuppance. John Martenses is an ex convict who has just been released from prison and is seeking a new start. As well as the fortune apparently left behind by his family.
I assume somewhere down the line we had to fill in the holes and explore how the battle between heaven and hell ensued. I’m just not sure we had to spend the majority of the sequel doing so. “Allelulia!” is mostly a misfire of a sequel to the raucous and wonderful “The Devil’s Carnival” that fills in the questions from the first film. In the duration of the follow-up, we get to discover how the war began, how the battle became personal for hell’s minions and heaven’s warriors, and there’s even the origin of one of the Devil’s Carnival’s most infamous minions who we see a great deal of in the original film.