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And so this concludes my coverage of Fantastic Fest 2012. This final wrap-up ends things on a real high note, covering three entries that all ended up near the top of my list of favorites. I'm already looking forward to next year's FF, but it's gonna have its work cut out for it. This year most definitely rocked.


Danger 5
Directed by: Dario Russo

It's World War II and Hitler's arsenal of Nazi dinosaurs, Lizard men and giant robots threaten the allies at every turn. Only the international team Danger 5 can stop this week's threat, and of course kill Hitler.

Readily available on dvd, it's still a no-brainer as to why a complete big-screen viewing of Dario Russo's and David Ashby's enormously campy TV series was a perfect choice. A blend of 60's sitcoms like "Get Smart" and "Hogan's Heroes", any of Gerry Anderson's Supermarionation shows such as "Thunderbirds" or Fireball XL5", "The Land that Time Forgot" and every other cheesy WWII-set adventure movie, "Danger 5" is geek crack.

Every aspect of the production is a slavish replication of 60's production values, from the cardboard special fx, set and costume design, and often hilarious overdubbing. Along with recent neo-retro standard bearers like "The Artist" or "OSS 117", "Danger 5" is so effective with its gimmick that the only things giving away the illusion are the decidedly modern and bizarro undercurrents to much of the humor.

If you haven't seen this show yet, you should probably drop what you're doing and hunt it down right now.


Errors of the Human Body
Directed by: Eron Sheean

Geneticist Geoff Burton (Michael Eklund) is a brilliant but unstable scientist who relocates to Germany in order to continue his work finding a cure for the rare ailment that killed his infant son. Eron Sheean's (who also wrote Xavier Gen's "The Divide") directorial debut has already been written about a few times here at Quiet Earth, and for good reason; this is one of the most unique films of the year.

It often feels like sci-fi but technically isn't, often feels like horror but isn't, and is also part medical thriller, part dark romance, and part mystery.

The small handful of off moments, particularly Tomas Lemarquis' eyebrow-less, shifty villain, are eclipsed by Eklund's excellent performance, and he and "Antiviral"'s Caleb Landry Jones are two of the year's best tortured protagonists.

"Errors" is that rare genre film that will appeal to both the fanboys and the intelligentsia.





Vanishing Waves
Directed by: Kristina Buozyte

A new breakthrough in neural transmission makes it possible to transfer thought digitally from one subject to another, and Lukas (Marius Jampolskis), one of the innovators of this new tech, volunteers to be a neural receiver in the first human trials. The transmitter's identity is kept hidden so as to preserve general objectivity, but after just a few shared experiences Lukas realizes the subject is a clearly troubled woman, and he falls in love with her in spite of himself.

Make no mistake, "Vanishing Waves" is real love-it-or-hate-it stuff, and I personally found myself squarely in the former camp. Cribbing bits from "The Cell", "The Matrix" and most notably William Gibson's "Neuromancer", director Buozyte uses the open-canvas license of the mental landscape to tell this sensually attuned and dynamically visual story, and does a fantastic job of conveying that fuzzy-around-the-edges sense most of us have when remembering our dreams.

This is definitely an uncompromising and occasionally obtuse vision, and won't win over many fans who expect superhuman feats or never-ending gun battles. But viewed as an example of (literally) cerebral sci-fi drama, it's a tremendously satisfying break from the norm.

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