Saturday, December 15, 2012

2012 Another Hole in the Head

The 2012 Another Hole in the Head ran from November 28 to December 9 at various locations.  I saw seven programs at the Roxie.

I Didn't Come Here to Die starring Indiana Adams, Emmy Robbin, Niko Red Star & Kurt Cole; directed by Bradley Scott Sullivan; (2010) - Official Website
Play Dead starring Todd Robbins; directed by Shade Rupe & Teller; (2012) - Official Website
Among Friends starring Christopher Backus, Jennifer Blanc, AJ Bowen, Brianna Davis, Kamala Jones, Alyssa Lobit & Chris Meyer; directed by Danielle Harris; (2012) - Official Website
The Killing Games starring Kelly A.H. Bird; directed by Barry J. Gillis; (2012) - Official Website
Eurocrime! The Italian Cop & Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s; documentary; directed by Mike Malloy; English & Italian with subtitles; (2012) - Official Facebook
Nervo Craniano Zero starring Guenia Lemos, Uyara Torrente & Leonardo Daniel Colombo; directed by Paulo Biscaia Filho; Portuguese with subtitles; (2012) - Official Website
Saturday Morning Massacre starring Ashley Rae Spillers, Jonny Mars, Josephine Decker & Adam Tate; directed by Spencer Parsons; (2012) - Official Website

Odokuro, a six minute short film, preceded I Didn't Come Here to Die.

Odokuro; directed by Voltaire; narrated by Gary Numan; stop motion animation; (2011)


Every year, I am conflicted about Another Hole in the Head.  Decidedly not a fan of their brand of "horror, sci-fi, dark fantasy and exploitation cinema," I am left to wonder which films to choose and which to pass on.  Although I only saw seven, it was my intention to see 10.  I purchased a 10 film  voucher.

A film I regret missing was Mon Ami, but I was ill that evening.  The second film that evening was The G-String Horror, "a horror film in a 100 year old...and actually haunted...Sid Grauman built movie palace turned strip club in San Francisco."  There are so many things that can wrong with that script premise but I was interested as to which movie palace was built by Sid Grauman and had planned to stick around for the film.  According to Jason Wiener, "it [The G-String Horror] once again proves that boobs + blood does not a movie make."  That's actually quite a damning indictment from Jason.  I could replace "boobs + blood" with "zombies + guns" or any number of nouns but my genre film curmudgeonliness does not need to be restated.

According to Jason, the Grauman built movie place is the Market Street Cinema!  For as long as I've been in the Bay Area, the "Skinema" has been the skankiest strip club in the City.  I knew it had been a movie theater originally but I was not aware it was a Sid Grauman theater.  Opened as the Imperial Theater on December 22, 2012, I would have liked to have seen some of the behind the scenes footage.  According to Jason, The G-String Horror is "based on true stories of alleged hauntings at the Market Street Cinema. In fact, it is supposed to be featured on an upcoming (i.e., sometime next spring) episode of one of those ghost chasers show." I missed the film but I doubt it was as scary as some of the stuff I've seen in there. See the Beauty, Touch the Magic Indeed!

By the way, Jason failed to mention that The G-String Horror stars Natasha Talonz whom I last saw in Black Devil Doll at the 2009 Another Hole in the Head. Along with her role in Vagina Holocaust (how did that classic get past the Hole in the Head programmers?), she carving out quite a niche for herself.

The 10th film I had planned to see was Zero Killed, the closing night film at the Terra Gallery. "Since 1996 film director Michal Kosakowski has been asking people with different backgrounds about their murder fantasies. He offered them the chance to stage their fantasies as short films. The only condition was that they had to act in these films themselves, either as victims or perpetrators. More than a decade later, Kosakowski met these people again to ask them about their emotions during their acts of murder or victimization."

Having missed four days of the festival due to illness and other plans, I just didn't feeling like going.  Zero Killed is the film I most regret missing.


Before I continue, I wanted to mention a conversation I unavoidably eavesdropped on at the 2012 DocFest in November.  I broke away from a film in the Big Roxie to get a drink at the concessions stand.  In the lobby, Faye Dearborn, long-time programmer of IndieFest and DocFest, was chatting with a man whom I presume was a filmmaker.  Anyway, Faye was saying that over the years, the festival has come to understand its audience as reflected in the programming.  Then she mentioned Fight Life, documentary about MMA fighters.  She said the DocFest audience doesn't watch UFC and the film was programmed to attract a new (but small) audience with the hope they would see other DocFest films.  Indeed, the audience for that film was the smallest of the films I attended at DocFest. 

As Faye said that, I thought "I watch I not DocFest's core audience?"  The answer is no, I am not part of DocFest's core audience.  I am just a cinematic satyr; I'll watch anything they put up there.  I'm certain my politics run to the right of most of the DocFest audience and my interests are equally different.

The reason I mention this is because with DocFest, I'll just go to anything which suits my schedule although the passion is definitely lacking.  With Another Hole in the Head, I pre-selected 10 films and didn't have many qualms about missing 30 percent of the total.


My favorite film was Among Friends.  Needlessly set in the 1980s, the film follows a dinner party where the hostess (screenwriter Alyssa Lobit) has plans to confront her "friends" about their behavior.  I vaguely recall a film with a similar setup except instead of horror, it was drama.  Essentially the dinner party devolved into acrimony and stirred up long standing issues.  The friends left the party knowing they could never again pretend to like each other.  I wish I could remember the film.

Anyway, Lobit's character took issue with her acquaintance's sex lives.  Frankly, I didn't think their transgressions (except for the rapist) were particularly egregious.  Certainly not worth the torture they endured.  They did prove themselves petty people but who isn't.  Lobit's character could have used a little more development and backstory but the film mixed drama and violence nicely.

There was some guy in the audience who kept talking a la MST3K.  More than one person told him to shut up but he continued to the end.  He should have been kicked out but this Another Hole in the Head. He didn't ruin the viewing experience but did detract from it.

Saturday Morning Massacre was a live action Scooby Doo adaptation.  Thankfully, the Great Dane (cleverly named Hamlet as in Shakespeare's Danish tragedy) didn't talk.  The twist is the gang wasn't going up against fraudsters trying to scare people away but real people.  At first it was assumed they were ghosts, it became clear by the end that the gang had encountered some freaks akin to Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  The film deftly pivots from light comedy and conforming to the audience's expectations to a darker story.  That change-up made the film seem fresh and new.

Eurocrime! The Italian Cop & Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s was a long as its title.  Eurocrime refers to the poliziotteschi genre of Italian films.  Low budget, action packed and ultraviolent, poliziotteschi films were immensely popular in Italy in the 1970s.  Eventually, the movement collapsed under its own weight and devolved into self-parody which is easy given the excesses of the film.  Clocking in at over two hours, Eurocrime! would have benefitted form some editing and less gratuitous animation, but was a nice introduction into a film genre I was unaware of.

Nervo Craniano Zero (translation - Cranium Nerve Zero) was kind of interesting.  A doctor develops a microchip which can be attached to the brain (specifically Cranium Nerve Zero) to stimulate creativity.  The downside is it also regulates blood flow making the heart a dangerously redundant organ.  The solution is to remove the heart lest the patient's head explodes from pumping too much blood to the brain.  The two lead actresses (Guenia Lemos & Uyara Torrente) do a nice job.  A montage scene set to Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart was the highlight of the film.

Russell Blackwood of Thrillpeddlers was at the Nervo Craniano Zero screening and mentioned the filmmakers run a Grand Guignol style theater in Brazil (Curitiba I believe) and that Thrillpeddlers will be going to visit and collaborate with them in 2013.

I Didn't Come Here to Die wasn't a bad story about some Peace Corp-type volunteers who start killing each other (and themselves).  It didn't really capture my interest.  The actress Indiana Adams stood out amongst the cast.

Play Dead was a stage show in Brooklyn which was filmed.  It had some magic trick, comedy and dark stories.  I thought the play looked more interesting than the film.  Produced by Teller of Penn and Teller fame, it had that same P&T sense of humor and showmanship.

That leaves The Killing Games which was pure crap and I should have walked out on it.  Amateurish in every facet, the film was supposed to be "so bad it is good" but it was just modern day schlock.  Boring and seemingly unending, the film had a bunch of characters who were disjointed and desultory.  The gangster who talked like a pirate was the crowd favorite but I thought the character Birdman (Kelly A.H. Bird) was the worst.  Bird is a wooden actor who reminded me of Joe Pesci on downers with a thick Canadian accent.  There was also an Indian who must have sang for 20 minutes total in the film.  Each time he started playing his guitar, the audience groaned with disapproval.

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