opening night at texas frightmare weekend was a bust on the film front, and that's being diplomatic.
we saw three, (well, two and a quarter) of the worst movies i have ever laid eyes on. first on the docket is blood night (2009). stale and completely incoherent, this is the filmmaking equivalent of the doctor's little rubber hammer on your knee - not even a genre exercise, more like a genre reflex action. there is no sense to it, it just happens. the addition of horror veterans bill moseley and danielle harris to this, director frank sabatella's first feature (the hell you say), does little to nothing to prop this thing up. one surprising effect with a bucket, maybe several buckets, of blood being thrown from offscreen functions as both the most shocking moment and (unintentional?) comic relief, otherwise this is a waste of time. the misogyny on display certainly gets your attention, though, as within the first few minutes we are treated to the rape of a mental patient and an episode where said mental patient is strafed with bullets by police officers, holding her ground until the climactic head shot. did i mention that she, coincidentally, was completely naked for this?
the next movie, stacy davidson's sweatshop (2009), was somehow even worse. it opens with a police officer strafing an inexplicably naked woman with gunfire until the climactic head shot. what? hold on. yes, it must have been some sort of prerequisite for inclusion in the festival. the rest of the film (which this gratuitous opening scene has nothing to do with) is essentially an extravagant game of whack-a-mole with a bunch of ravers that even my grandmother would refer to as complete douchebags. on the plus side, the special effects were remarkable on what had to be a shoestring budget and i did want every single character to die in the worst way imaginable. every other single thing about this experience was grating. if this is the state of modern horror filmmaking i simply want no part of it. it seems as if every participant has one cynical eye turned toward being the next "franchise" and creating the next iconic character, in this case "the beast".
they seem to forget there needs to be a point to the horror, even if the point is the existential puzzle of the pointlessness of it all. the torture genre just seems useless to me, in general. they kept referring to these things last night as throwbacks or homages to those stalwarts from the eighties but i simply can't believe we saw the same movies. sweatshop, we learned from the illuminating q & a that followed, was originally a porn script in development for hustler in which they simply replaced the sex scenes with kills. that sweatshop would have been better.
hell, watching two hours of this sweatshop would have been better.
the last movie of the evening, texas frightmare massacre (2009), did not begin with a naked woman dying in a hail of bullets so we walked out. actually, it was getting late and, as kristin succinctly put it, "i am not in film school anymore. i don't have to watch this kind of shit". it's kind of a shame it occupied the last slot of the evening, really, because this was the only thing all night that was even slightly clever and had a sense of humor about itself. it was shot onsite at last year's convention and it's pretty much what you would expect from fan fiction shot by horror geeks. in this case, to their credit, the geeks had a couple of good gags and their tongues were planted firmly in cheek. at least for the first fifteen minutes they did. i can't speak to the rest of it.
it wasn't all bad, however, as i did pick up this little gem:
we are about to begin day two which promises to be a good deal more entertaining and edifying. i'll let you know how it all works out.