Massawyrm Fantastic Fest: CHAINSAW, GAMERZ & HAZE!!
Hola all. Massawyrm here.
Well, Day 1 is done, it’s Five-thirty in the morning and honey…I just don’t have time for foreplay.
So here goes.
Wow. This was just Fuh-cked up. Here’s a peculiar 49 minute film showing as a feature from the brilliantly deranged mind of Shinya Tsukamoto (Tetsuo the Iron Man.) Essentially the best parts of Saw without all the bullshit – this is the story of a man who wakes up in this bizarre, low tech death trap, with a mortal wound and no knowledge of how he got there. Strange, unnerving and absolutely toe curling, this movie messes with you and puts you through the wringer something awful. It’s a fantastic little film for anyone who’s a fan of Tsukamoto or who just enjoys rough, physical experiences watching a film. Certainly not for the timid, this is a perfect festival film and comes Recommended. Haze plays once more, Saturday Sept. 23rd at 9:15pm.
Now this was just plain cute and played to my sensibilities like nothing else. Being an avid Dungeons & Dragons gamer, I’ve got to admit this was the film I was most looking forward to today. I was curious about Chainsaw and Haze, but this was the one that screamed out to be seen. And it didn’t disappoint.
GamerZ is the story of a young D&D obsessed geek who usurps the local “Master of the Maze” to take the lead of a college gaming group, which just happens to contain a vivacious, young D&D obsessed girl. A budding romance ensues. Things become much more complicated when the local bully, who had a transcendental experience dropping acid and watching Lord of the Rings, decides that he not only wants in on the group, but falls for the girl. As our young hero’s frustration rises, so does the level of lethality in his fantasy world and slowly the complications span both worlds.
Gamerz does a great job of being funny, without throwing gobs of geek specific jokes and jargon at the audience to alienate them. Yet there’s still plenty of “Oh I’ve so been there” moments that anyone who’s ever played D&D will double over laughing at. A good-hearted and well-constructed indie, this is a film that any RPG fan cannot miss and one that those who wouldn’t know a d4 from a d12 (here’s a hint, one of them is almost useless in 3.5) can just as easily fall in love with.
My only complaint is this: It’s a Scottish film, and seemingly no one has told them that American rules D&D requires that anyone with a Scottish accent must be a Dwarf. It’s the rules. Although, since these aren’t bad Scottish accents, I’ll let them slide. Highly Recommended. Gamerz plays once more, tonight, Friday Sept. 22nd at 9pm.
Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
You know, this is a film that has a lot of strikes against it. It’s the sixth film in series that most tend to regard the first as being the only really good one. It’s a prequel, which is almost universally never a good sign. And it’s directed by Jonathan Liebesman, the director behind Darkness Falls. And yet, despite everything that could have gone wrong here, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning turns out not only to be good, but ridiculously good. There’s just no way this should have worked. But it did.
What’s so striking about this film is that they really cut loose – they found the soul of the series and crafted a very well written story that is heavy on mood, theme and subtext. I know, I know. It sounds impossible, but there it is. This is a genuinely scary film that sets out to create a very believable, carefully honed origin story for the most famous Texas family never to exist, and accomplishes it at every beat. By the time the credits roll you will 100% understand this family. They make sense. Their motivations are plausible, their story clear and their methodology a thing of necessity. Sure, they’re still all sorts of bugfuck crazy psychopathic – but the logic in what they do is sound. There’s nothing random or simply sadistic about it. It’s layers of psychosis laid atop a foundation of survival instinct…and pride.
There are some amazing character dynamics here that you just don’t see coming – most notably that of damaged Korean war vet Ermey pitted against the young damaged Vietnam war vet (played my Matthew Bomer.) The result is this great horrors of war theme that creates a raw, visceral animosity as these two play off of each other. And unlike most films in this day and age that deal with war, this is done so without message or agenda. It’s just two pissed off, fucked up vets that end up facing of against one another, each using their own strength forged in the horrors of their past to get the upper hand.
And the film is brutal. I mean BRUTAL. No less than a dozen times as savage as its predecessor, this film doesn’t hold back one bit. It hurts, time and again, delivering gory painful death after gory painful death. There’s a scene with a sledgehammer that messed me up 7 different ways from Sunday – easily being the best use of a sledgehammer since Misery. Yeah, it’s that kind of disturbing. In fact, this film is so bloody, my first question for the film makers was going to be to ask what they were going to have to cut to get an “R” rating, only to find out that THIS was the “R” Rated cut.
Um. No. This isn’t an “R” Rated film. This is pushing the envelope on that so hard that one can only attribute brilliant maneuvering on the part of the studio and producers to get this through. Gore hounds and fans of disturbing violence are going to go positively apeshit over this. It hurts, a lot, and delivers at least a half dozen wince inducing kills.
This is a lightspeed jump for Liebesman, who frankly, its time to let out of the box. Watching this reminded me of the few really good little moments of Darkness Falls (despite the hours of really bad ones) and has given me an itch to return to it – just to re-examine it. Those moments were glimmers of the director he was to become, and this here and now is the proof. The guys got a lot of talent. He helmed a film that shouldn’t have worked, with a visual style crafted by another filmmaker and absolutely made it his own without straying from the formula. This isn’t the guy from Darkness Falls, this is a brand new confident filmmaker who managed to pull out some really layered performances and sell some truly gruesome moments. Really, what do you say we let him out of the box?
Is this a better film than the Chainsaw Remake? You bet your ass it is. It’s smarter, sharper and has levels of pathos the last film didn’t even come close to. In fact, if I were to compare it to anything, I would end up more closely comparing it to Rob Zombie’s The Devil’s Rejects in the sense of overall mood, the rampant nihilism, and just how deviously fucked up it is. The closest thing anyone’s ever come to recapturing the magic of the original Chainsaw, Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning is a film that’s going to surprise a lot of folks out there. Horror fans and anyone that enjoys the seething, dangerous films of the 70’s are going to find a lot to like, if not simply love, here.
Until next time friends, smoke ‘em if ya got ‘em. I know I will.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
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Sept. 22, 2006, 10:33 a.m. CST
I went to show the pics of a crossdressing christopher walken and john travolta and they were gone!!! DAMN YOU!!!
Sept. 22, 2006, 10:33 a.m. CST
by Da Coach
I thought you were done with that avatar, Massa?
Sept. 22, 2006, 11:29 a.m. CST
They fired him, reshot most of the movie and edited it completely withzout him. It's not his film in any way.
Sept. 22, 2006, 11:30 a.m. CST
A New Line mailroom worker explained to me that AICNers get payoffs for certain good reviews. Just sayin' is all ------------------- And the studio needs all their help trying to convince people to see a CHAINSAW prequel.
Sept. 22, 2006, 11:44 a.m. CST
by The Ender
Now I'm actually interested to see what all the fuss is about. I'll take my cousin, she can do all the screaming for me.
Sept. 22, 2006, 11:48 a.m. CST
Yeah.... Good choice with the contest winner guys.
Sept. 22, 2006, 11:48 a.m. CST
NO!!! There were NO really good little moments of "Darkness Falls". It was a complete Jugg Fuckled mess. That said. The guy also directed the short film "Rings", which was on "The Ring" DVD, and that was a cool well done short, which was miles better than "The Ring 2" or "How To Fuck Up A Franchise" aka "X-Men 3".
Sept. 22, 2006, 11:54 a.m. CST
Day 1 of 3 go? I was looking forward to him doing Day 2 in three months and never doing Day 3.
Sept. 22, 2006, 12:11 p.m. CST
by El Scorcho
is set to take on Friday the 13th next... So this review makes me ecstatic. In fact, all 3 reviews I've read now have been raves. Can't wait, and I really hope they can get going on a new Friday film.
Sept. 22, 2006, 12:13 p.m. CST
by Lando Griffin
but all the reviews have me really intrigued, hope I'm not let down
Sept. 22, 2006, 2:04 p.m. CST
...might be on the credits of Darkness Falls, but any reason for that film's artistic failure should not be placed on his shoulders (like a lot of movies that people around here blame/praise the director). That project was a tangle of problems that he happened to get snared in. He's served his time in Director's Jail, and the Chainsaw prequel shows he's got the chops he didn't get the opportunity to show before. He's been attached to a few other interesting horror projects that haven't surfaced (The Watch, Fatal Frame, The Immortals). At least he's getting something out there now.
Sept. 22, 2006, 3:18 p.m. CST
by Borgnine JR
I bet he was a elf cleric.
Sept. 22, 2006, 3:22 p.m. CST
by Borgnine JR
...he was a Bard, a half -elf Bard.
Sept. 22, 2006, 7 p.m. CST
I'll see it, but if it sucks, you've got a vicious ass whipping coming for making me say, "One for Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, please."
Sept. 23, 2006, 6:20 p.m. CST
was cut out the scene where R Lee Ermey and Leatherface kiss. the MPAA is fine with blood, guts and violence, but they don't like the gay stuff.
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