Hey folks, Harry here with an update from the Sitges Film Festival, based at one of the most beautiful spots on the planet Earth! It is, without a doubt, the finest and greatest of all "genre" film festivals around the world. At least in my estimation. Fausto didn't come in with a set of reviews, but a report upon the fest in general. I'd love to hear more about this film, THE LOST and several others of the films he mentions below. Here ya go...
Dear Mr. Knowles,
I do not know if you know of the Sitges Film Festival in Catalunya, Spain, but it is the biggest and the best horror and science fiction film festival in Europe. It ends tonight with David Cronenberg with “History of Violence” and this year has been one of the best in years. This year there was a tribute to "Tiburon," which you know better as “Jaws” and Joe Alves, Carl Gottlieb and Greg Nicotero all presented the film. They also showed “The Shark Is Still Working” documentary and Jack Sholder, who made one of my favorite movies, “The Hidden,” film, “12 Days of Terror.” Joss Whedon came with “Serenity” and Summer Glau and Nathan Fillion which got a very mixed reaction, probably because it was more science fiction than horror. Everyoone liked Summer though. I saw mostly the late night films as I work during the day so I missed many good films, but most of what I saw was good. The biggest surprise was a screening of “Hostel” by director Eli Roth. Overall, I thought it was great. Lotsa of gore and sexy women. It’s a better film than “Cabin Fever” and even though the audience had a mixed reaction, I loved it. I think people were expecting more gore and less story and, in the end, there was a great story with less gore than one would have thought. Quentin Tarantino introduced the film and was very funny when he said if you walk out of this film “you’re a pussy,” but the translator actually said in Spain “if you walk out, you’re a bad person.” Eli was very funny too and has a very small role in the film. It was not the finished version and I do not know how it will change for when it comes out.
“The Lost” was a first time film by Chris Sivertson and produced by May’s Lucky McKee. It is a very dark and violent film and I liked it very much. Good performances with a psychopathic lead that reminded me of “The Rivers’ Edge” and Crispin Glover in that film. Very dark. Well done. A big surprise was “House of the Dead 2.” I hated the first film, but the new one has almost nothing to do with it and was great. Very funny, very gory and a lot of action. I could not believe how much I liked it. One of the people from the movie said “I know you’re wondering how could make a better movie than the first” joking about it, but it is really one of my favorite zombie movies since the “Dawn of the Dead” remake. At one point, the hero runs out of bullets and picks up an axe and everyone in the audience went crazy as he chops up the zombies, but the best part is when they’re driving in an ambulance and the AMS are talking when the patient changes to a zombie and they shoot him and just go back to talking.
Afterwards was “Zombie Honeymoon,” a zombie movie different than “House of the Dead.” This was much more emotional and personal, but I liked it too. In the middle of the film, zombies actually came into the theater and attacked the crowd. It was very enjoyable. “Sympathy for Lady Vengeance” also showed and may be the best film of the trilogy. It was great as was. It was not a good year for Spanish film as both “Trouble” and “Oculto” were not very good, but "Oculto" was better than "Trouble" which was disappointing to everyone.
There were tributes to Johnnie To, whose “Election” was one of my favorite films at the festival, Jodie Foster, Jim Henson, Greg Nicotero and Alex De La Iglesia (!) as well, very well deserved. All in all, a very good year for the Sitges festival showing many very good films with good guests from around the world.
Thank you, Harry. I hope to see you there next year.