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Harry @ Fantastic Fest - Day 1: the genius of HAMSTER CAGE, the blood of TCM:TB, the Full Moon Titties, geek nirvana of GAMERZ!

Hey folks, Harry here... Holy Shit was that fun! Honestly - there's nothing like the first day of an event you've been planning and working on for a whole year - to just clear the butterflies and make you feel great. For months - I've been working with the greatest team of programmers around... Tim League, Kier-La Janisse and Matt Dentler to really make this year's FANTASTIC FEST a blast. In that realm of fun - you work real hard - but in the meetings where we get together - it's sort of like - a group of kids trying to decide what they should ask Santa Claus - or what they'd advise you to try to get for Christmas. Each of us have had the opportunity to see and program different films for this fest and we all have a great deal of respect for one another's choices... but really - we spend months talking about these titles - hearing each of us go off and campaign for one title or another - and when you get to this first day... we each have our duties - the film events and crazed events that we each want to introduce... and then just enjoy other events. Tonight I had two events to introduce - TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING with that big host of guests and the big FULL MOON ROLLING ROADSHOW with Charles Band event. And that gave me time to enjoy 2 other films - tonight - both of which were picks from Tim League - who found both of these films in Portugal at the famed FANTASPORTO FILM FESTIVAL. HAMSTER CAGE and GAMERZ. The wonderful thing about it all was... it all came off without a hitch. When Yoko and I arrived - we go through the lobby filled with tons of FULL MOON memoribilia and props from their films. AWESOME!!! Then we get to registration - where we got our "badges" - which this year are bottle-openers that are shaped like Hatchets (coincidentally - a title for one of my programming picks of the fest, HATCHET!) - each of these are color coded for your 'status' as an attendee. VIP is of course the bloody red Hatchet and the regular badge is... I believe green. This is awesome - as when the fest is over - you've actually got a memento that you can keep on using all year/life long. Great idea Tim. We also got our posters and glow-in-the-dark t-shirts! AWESOME!

The first film on the list was the Canadian twisted blacker than black murder comedy THE HAMSTER CAGE by the legendary Canadian director, Larry Kent, who was there in person!!! The film starts off like you'd imagine rich family get-togethers - well, get together at places like the Hamptons. You've got a patriarch of a family, that's being honored with a Nobel Prize, his brother who received a prize from Kyoto I believe, a retired legendary Ballerina mother, then the siblings... both of which are PHDs... and then there's Candy - who is attracted to brilliant people, "Wow I just blew a ________, freaky!" As the film continues, you just realize how wrong your first impressions were. These people are definitely more fucked up than any family you know - and if they aren't - I'm very very sorry. Incest, pedophillia, incestual pedophilia, all sorts of familicide... all done in the most frank and out in the open. There were whole sequences of the film where the audience was squirming, laughing, covering their eyes and just freaking out. It's a film where you'll laugh not only at what's on the screen - but at the people around you reacting to what is on the screen. Just a complete JOY! It next plays on Saturday around 6:30pm, don't miss it if you get the chance! Then there was the first public screening of THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE: THE BEGINNING - a film that was created to kick off a genre festival in Austin, Texas - and one that I have already sung the praises of. However, I have to say - the film has been tweaked just a bit since that first screening I had. Or at least I think so. There's a line R. Lee's character has that I absolutely swear wasn't in the original cut - roughly - it goes, "I guess you don't want to play with me since you called me a pussy, My nephew Thomas isn't a pussy, let's see how much you like playing with him!" And the way R. Lee delivers that line. Fucking Awesome! Then upon second viewing - there's a subtle thing that I think Jonathan Liebesman and Andrew Bryniarski worked out with Leatherface - in regards to his Chainsaw - that I just love. When he first uses it on screen... It isn't on - it just happens to be in his hand and he uses it sort of like a blunt instrument. Then when he first gets to use it on a victim... and it's through R Lee's utter delight of the moment - that I think he imprints a certain love for the instrument. This isn't IN YOUR FACE - but after that scene, it kinda feels like he can't wait to use it again. Like a kid in band finding the right horn, drum, saxophone or whatever - he has what makes him feel best. And as a horror fan, specifically a CHAINSAW freak like me - there's a perverse beauty to seeing him find his weapon of choice - and bloody embrace it! In the Q&A afterwards - Everyone was lively and fun. Jordana's delightful answer to my question about finding inspiration or motivation during a key bloody scene of the film - well - to just see a lady at Jordana's beauty talk through an absolutely beaming smile about the fun of being covered in blood and just letting go with the screams - it's just awesome! BTW - Leatherface's voice (Andrew Bryniarski) in person (he's mute on screen) is fucking scary deep. Awesome. Next was Charles Band's FULL MOON ROLLING ROADSHOW. The show is just so much fun. This time he found a Suicide Girl out in the audience that whilst chained to a very College Coed type girl for a Lesbian Bondage scene - while the GQ guy (played by long time BNATER - JJ) tries to rescue them - then this very awesome guy in the most studded leather jacket and gauntlets that I've ever seen (playing the monster) comes for them - only to have the girls want him - and the Suicide girl ripping her top off exposing exquisite pert pink tipped titties live for the audience... Well... Life was good at the Alamo. Then the guillotine trick with the blonde girl from the audience had it's own hilarity as it went totally wrong, then perfectly right. If you find this show coming to your town... join the show - it's fun-filled and a blast!!! I bought the dvd for KILLER BONG, as well as the KILLER BONG toy. Every kid needs one! Then in-between that show and the final for the night, for me - I get voice mail from a super special surprise that was moving from this SUNDAY to SATURDAY - forcing Tim League and I to juggle schedules and move heaven and earth - because... this shit is gonna blow so many minds. So - you better be sure to be at the Drafthouse South Saturday night - if it comes together - cuz man... this is going to be one of those Harry surprises that nobody sees coming! Lastly - I got to see the Scottish film GAMERZ, not to be confused with the U.S. film GAMERS. They're both sort of about the same thing, but frankly - I think the glory of these Scottish accents made the Gamerz less pathetic and distanced from the GAMER geeks in my own culture... like Massawyrm - who I bet writes 20,000 words on this movie. It's funny and real in its take on the seriously unreal world that Gamerz conjure for themselves. Robbie Fraser really knocked this out of the park. It's a low budget film that stretches it without showing stretch-marks. The visual fx for the shadowplay world of the game - seems to reflect the waking dream of the pencil sketched wandrings that one goes on while playing role-playing dice games. For anyone that's taken a hit and had an asshole dungeonmaster... this film will be hilarity. Btw - Danielle Stewart as Marlyn - the quasi-goth/elf chick was INCREDIBLY geekilicious! Especially with the elf ears on. Rowr! That's it for this first night, well - technically - after the film I had a long good chat with Ryan Schifrin, Lalo's son, and the director of the incredibly fun film ABOMINABLE that is playing the fest, it's festival premiere. Honestly - I know you may have seen it on SciFi being constantly bombarded with commercial breaks. And the DVD is coming out soon - but dammit - there's no excuse this movie didn't get a theatrical run. It's just going to be a wonderful film for an audience. Or... gulp, at least I hope so. We'll see tomorrow. It's a hard toss up for me, ABOMINABLE and INSIDE - both are great choices - but then - that's sort of what defines this festival's line-up. There's usually 3 wonderful choices all playing at the same time. Choose, but choose wisely - your quest continues! Continue to check AICN for more reviews throughout the day - and also be sure to check out: FANTASTIC FEST as well - as attendees are posting thoughts there as well!

Readers Talkback
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  • Sept. 22, 2006, 5:47 a.m. CST


    by DrSurvey

    Woo yeah, finally a Scottish movie getting some of the limelight - good on ya Harry for allowing my own small country some glory overseas, rather then being described as that "State of England"

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 5:58 a.m. CST


    by DrSurvey

    How bleeding long does it take for Talkbacks to show up now?

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 5:58 a.m. CST

    Very subtle

    by DrFarben

    "the regular badge is... I believe green", you don't like to mingle with the plebs, huh?

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 6:03 a.m. CST

    actually VIP BADGES were available to anyone that...


    purchased one at a very minimal price difference. It just guarantees that you get into the films you want to get into.

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 6:30 a.m. CST

    In that case

    by DrFarben

    let me apologise for insinuating that you're elitist. Ok, enough of the sucking up! Re: Abominable - Sasquatches are butt-ugly, face-eating motherfuckers.

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 7:33 a.m. CST

    "this is where the creature roams"

    by Trevor Goodchild

    Anyone remember The Legend Of Boggy Creek?

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 9:42 a.m. CST


    by Thunderpants

    I remarked to a friend recently how funny/sad it is that Harry likes EVERYTHING. I said "He'd probably watch a movie about pedophilia and say "I love pedophilia". Well, he's come pretty close. And yes, I know he's talking about the reaction of the audience. But fucked up can you get?

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 1:44 p.m. CST

    Gamerz? The original is "The Gamers."

    by Nodwick

    "The Gamers" by the Dead Gentlemen was out years ago. Trailer:

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 3:43 p.m. CST


    by The Game Master

    Thank you, Nodwick, for your recognition of "The Gamers". Wait until we unleash "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising" on an unsuspecting world (Nodwick, you are in this movie, literally!) To anyone at AICN who may be reading this, you should really look at this film. We screened it at GenCon Indy last month to an unprecedented five standing ovations at the biggest game convention in the world. If you want the ultimate geek-out movie, send me an email and I'll fix you up. May the dice be with you . . .

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 3:52 p.m. CST


    by The Game Master

    If this is posted twice, I apologize, but the first time it didn't enter for some reason. Anyway, thank you Nodwick for mentioning the old "Gamers" movie (and you're a part of it, literally). Wait until you all see our new one, "The Gamers: Dorkness Rising". Total geek-out movie. If anyone at AICN wants to geek-out, let me know. May the dice be with you . . .

  • Sept. 22, 2006, 4:32 p.m. CST

    What's with all the new gamer movies?

    by FrankBigelowDOA

    I remember when all we had was "The Gamers", but just this year we got "Gamers", "The Gamers 2", "Geekin'", and now "GamerZ". (Note the big Z. That's what makes it scottish, I guess.) Something in the water, I guess. How many geek movies can the market hold?

  • Sept. 23, 2006, 6:39 a.m. CST


    by Gamerfanz

    GamerZ is genuinely the best British film for some time. I urge you all to see it. I have started a fansite on myspace. Come and check out the trailer there.

  • Sept. 24, 2006, 8:42 p.m. CST


    by Wyrdy the Gerbil

    Is`nt a new film is was given a short release last year and had its premier at Interaction:Glasgow in Aug 2005(had a hard time getting in to see it)..dont get sucked into the hype though, its halfway decent but not a truely great film

  • Sept. 26, 2006, 5:33 a.m. CST


    by Gamerfanz

    It was screened at WOrldCon, although I must say that I didnt see it until later. However, the version that is at Fantastic Fest is a different cut. The narration has changed and it has undergone a transfer to film, so you should check it out again. xx

  • Sept. 26, 2006, 11 a.m. CST

    Thank you Harry

    by where_are_quints_hobbit_set_reports

    For reporting on the pert pink-tipped titties. I am now going to put down my laptop and go fuck my girlfriend.

  • May 19, 2007, 12:06 p.m. CST


    by IAmJack'sUserID

    test <b> test </b>

  • May 19, 2007, 12:17 p.m. CST


    by IAmJack'sUserID

    test<br> test

  • July 4, 2007, 11:01 p.m. CST

    Thanks. :)

    by Random Zufall

    I'm Random and I was the guy in the leather playing "monster". Thanks for the glowing review! BTW, The girl with the boobs is a friend of mine you can contact me (and see the pics from that night) @ She's on my friends list as Tank Girl. :)

  • Feb. 11, 2010, 8:48 p.m. CST


    by orcus