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David House [Film Festival 08.06.21]

Fantasia is currently in full swing. We'll be bringing you a series of capsule reviews over the coming days. Streaming details and passes available at Fantasia Festival.

King Car

I started my virtual visit to Fantasia 2021 with this zany gem from Brazil. It's a wild and crazy film that combines many different elements with a big dollop of black humour and some great music. At its core, the film is about social justice, environmental concerns including pollution and food production as well as the complexities and negative impacts of technology and modernization on people's lives, but it takes us on a wild ride in some unusual cars in telling this tale.

There are a couple of juicy 'auto-erotic' scenes that add some other unusual flavours to the film. An all together fun journey to kick off the film fest.

My favourite line in the movie is - "I am your 'automatic' lover".

Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror

This is a documentary that explores the folk horror phenomenon from its beginnings, through its proliferation on British television in the 1970s and its culturally specific manifestations in American, Asian, Australian, and European horror, to the genre's revival over the last decade.

It is an excellent documentary film. Not only is it a comprehensive look at the genre with over 50 interviewees and clips from more than 200 films, but it's beautifully presented with terrific sound and music. It's not only greatly informative but is also highly entertaining.

Yes, it is over 3 hours long (194 minutes) but the avid horror fan won't want it to end. It was great to watch it at home with a pencil and pad of paper at hand because I kept discovering titles that I look forward to finding to watch one day soon.


Rumors of demonic possession at a religious convent prompt a church investigation of the strange goings-on among its nuns. A disaffected priest and his neophyte are confronted with temptation, bloodshed and a crisis of faith.

This is a terrific genre film. I was so taken with it, that I immediately re-watched the first 30 minutes of the movie before finishing it. I was excited to see this upon realizing that it is directed by Mickey Reece. His film Climate of the Hunter was one of my favourites of the 2020 Fantasia Film Festival. Several of the cast have worked with Reece before and the acting here is excellent across the board, as are all of the film's production values; outstanding soundscape, music, effects and cinematography.

The film is very much a horror in the first 45 minutes, but it takes a sharp turn in the second half, where it slows the frantic pace and bloodshed and becomes more of a drama. Reece has made over 25 features since 2008 and seems to get better with each one.

Mother Schmuckers

This is a very broad comedy about two extremely stupid brothers in their twenties, and a series of over-the-top misadventures that they have in one day. It's a very silly, dumb and stupid work of juvenile humour that seems to be trying to be as offensive as possible. In the opening minute we find the brothers cooking poop in a frying pan. We then move to eating a sandwich that's crawling with maggots, and from there to thievery, vandalism, prostitution, violence and fighting, playing with guns and dead rats, and then on to bestiality. The brothers enter a private club where people bring their pets, an orgy ensues, and then a dog bites off a penis. And at this point, there's still 30 minutes left in the film; plenty of time to move on to necrophilia.

All of this is served up with some jumpy and shaky handheld camera work. This is not only uncomfortably disorienting and dizzying, it's just so totally unnecessary; even for low-budget filmmakers. The steadicam has been around for a while, and the tripod and dolly a whole lot longer.

I'm certainly no prude and I absolutely loves me a good weird, wild and wacky comedy of absurdity like Rubber, Deerskin or Wrong Cops from Quentin Dupieux, the French master of this genre of cinema. Quentin's latest film Mandibles also features a couple of very simple-minded young men, (who on finding a giant fly decide to domesticate it and teach it tricks in order to make money). Dupieux may be the Guit's idol, inspiration or role model in deciding to make Mother Schmuckers but they need to go back to school before attempting another such film.

You need to do more that shock and disgust to entertain us.

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