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.
Director Brian Henson explained in an interview that he hopes the wrong audience doesn’t accidentally see “The Happytime Murders.” So I have to ask: Who is “The Happytime Murders” meant for? Who is the target audience here? It certainly has aroused the ire and vitriol of Muppets fans, horror fans mostly dislike it, and it has inspired nothing but groans and eye rolls from comedy movie buffs, so who is this movie for, anyway? Despite Henson’s best efforts to pad the wet thud that is “The Happytime Murders” by labeling it a “guilty pleasure,” you’d have a much better time putting socks on your hands and barking random expletives to yourself.
What puts you in the Holiday Spirit? What puts me in the Holiday Spirit? Honestly, as I grew up in and near Montreal, Quebec, Canada, some of my traditions are a tad different from those I live surrounded by now in Southern California. Growing up, every Holiday Season, some movies and TV shows were broadcast in Quebec for all of us to watch as an odd little community spread out over a huge, snowy territory.
Nowadays, these movies and TV shows help me get in the mood for the Holidays and as I am having a hard time getting in the Spirit this year, I figured I’d watch a bunch of them and share them with you all.
Fantasia International Film Festival is renowned for showcasing some of the best and weirdest of the film world. As someone who started going their second year and started seriously going for multiple screenings per week in 1999, some of the weird films I’ve seen cannot be unseen. So, just to bring some to attention and have a bit of fun, here are five of the most WTF films I’ve seen.
It’s the sheer absurd humor of Director and Writer David Cornelius’ short comedy film that I really enjoyed. It’s such an inexplicable scenario transformed out of a mundane situation involving a group of friends playing poker that I quite enjoyed where he was going with it. Even if director Cornelius never quite drew attention to the fact that a group of friends were casually playing poker, one of whom was a puppet, I still would have gotten a good laugh out of the unusual humor on display.
As we saw from the chronological mythology that unfolded in the first half of the “Puppet Master” series, the puppets owned by Toulon were once kind and heroic. The puppets were the products of a man kind at heart, whose own lust for vengeance and hatred for the Nazis turned him evil. And in effect, he transformed his puppets in to evil beings that did his bidding. Toulon was once a nice man, and evil transformed him in to the villain we eventually met in “Puppet Master 2.” The third film, which is my favorite by far, features the origin of the puppets and how they were just beings living and doing their own thing until they found an inherent purpose in snuffing out the ugliness in humanity.
It’s refreshing in this day and age that some indie filmmakers aren’t just content with splattering the audience with red ooze and goo and calling it a horror film. There are some filmmakers that really want to convey a story, and Larry Longstreth seems to be one of those directors who aren’t happy with just grossing people out. “The Murders of Brandywine Theater” is a complex, and very unique horror film that isn’t just eerie, but it’s also damn spooky to boot. To say Moxxy is a creepy antagonist really is underplaying the top notch puppetry that’s put to work here. Moxxy seems very rigid when we first see him, but soon enough he not only begins to take on his own life, but his limited expression make him a menace to be reckoned with.
Director Darrell C. Hazelrig’s “The Dark Companion” is an odd animal to make out. It’s darkly comedic, but also kind of grim when you think about it. It’s about a world where humans and puppets live beside one another, and drink in the same bars, and yet puppet Howard’s plight can be interpreted in both ways, when you boil it down. Director Hazelrig has a good time toying with this premise of a puppet that realizes it has a sentient hand up its back, and I like where the story inevitably goes.