Saturday, October 8, 2022

Reporting from Fantastic Fest 2022 ~ continued!

Hello! Ribbie here with another dispatch from Fantastic Fest @ home. This time we’ve got something of a theme running through the features at hand; Family discourse!

Everyone Will Burn

A weeping woman stands on the edge of a bridge ready to jump to her death when a young girl covered in mud wanders from nowhere claiming to be her child. The woman climbs down from her death perch to comfort the child and help her find her real parents. They drive off into the Spanish countryside and are quickly pulled over by the police; they’re looking for an individual who has killed off a good number of cattle in the area. Things escalate quickly when the police begin to question just who this filthy little girl in the woman’s passenger seat is. One cop ends up with a severely aerated throat and the other ignites spontaneously...

EVERYONE WILL BURN is a blood-soaked satanic telenovela with curses and lore out the wazoo, featuring a spellbinding performance by leading lady, Macarena Gomez. The stellar production design and lighting make every set piece, death, and scare pop. The decades-long secrets of the townspeople make for delicious melodrama and make this small Spanish town feel truly lived in.

Sidenote: I thought it was interesting that the cast/story used little people and never acknowledged or used as crux for the way they’re treated.


Amazing Elisa

Elisa has lost someone close to her and is coping the only way she knows how: through her favorite comic. Elisa comes to believe that she has superpowers and must avenge her lost loved one while dispensing baseball bat justice to any wrong-doer she may encounter on the way.

But this isn’t just another revenge tale, we get an intense study of grief and the lengths we reach to cope in the face of extreme tragedy. Elisa and her father are broken from day one. Her father struggling to balance not just his sanity, but that of his daughter as well.

That’s not to say there isn’t some of that o’ so satisfying violent revenge that makes it on screen, but it isn’t the main focus and it’s all the better for that restraint.

AMAZING ELISA ends very similarly to a recent film I won’t name and both films reach emotional highs in their final reveals. It’s the only film from Fantastic Fest I’ve considered re-watching, and that’s saying something with the vast number of titles waiting for me in the queue.



Rain is bringing a mysterious gas from the sewers of Italy and causing people to confront their innermost fears and insecurities in a town where everyone seems to harbor feelings of ill will toward someone or another.

FLOWING establishes a creepy hallucinogenic tone from the start and rarely takes its foot off the pedal of dread in its 93 min run time. I love a good downer horror picture and FLOWING delivers that in spades. Every character on screen is going through some shit and wearing it on their face, some with scars of the past and some with age. And while a lot of euro horror in the past couple years has skewed more toward drama than horror, FLOWING mercilessly leans toward the latter.

Props for being one of the only films I’ve seen that utilizes the ultra-emotional avant garde act XIU XIU to great effect. Very excited to see what this filmmaker does next.


The Elderly

Another Spanish film that begins with a woman about to plunge to their death from a high surface. What’s goin’ on out there? If there’s one through line in this year’s fantastic fest, it’s that everyone in the world has had quite the time these past few years. Familial discourse, loss, depression, sickness, distrust... The Elderly has it all.

Manuel has lost his wife of many years. She jumped from their balcony while he was still asleep and he seems to have no idea why she would end her life. Manuel’s son, Mario, doesn’t think that his father should be alone, so he takes him to live with him and his daughter, Naia, and his second wife, Lena. It isn’t long, though, until Manuel starts to behave strangely and is tinkering with disassembled electronics behind locked doors. There’s a record high heat wave causing tensions to simmer and Lena isn’t buying Manuel’s behavior as that of a distraught widower. And it isn’t just Manuel, every elderly person in town seems to be... off.

THE ELDERLY is a dread filled sepia nightmare sporting some truly frightening blink-and-miss sequences. Those with gerontophobia may want to stay as far away from this one as possible (and go to therapy).


Saturday, October 1, 2022

Reporting from Fantastic Fest 2022

Howdy! I’m Ribbie. I’ll be posting pocket reviews of films I’m covering for the 2022 edition of Fantastic Fest here at the Overlook Theatre. While I wouldn’t describe myself as a film critic, I have been considered a sort of tastemaker by some lowly individuals, and if you’re reading I have a feeling I know what your depraved ass might be into. 

This year, like years past, offers a diverse selection of genre films ranging from horror to avant-garde to action to who knows what. The in-person event is currently crackin’ in Austin, TX, but for those of us that can’t make the trip, the FF@Home option gives you the opportunity to attend the festival from your couch or bed or sex dungeon at your leisure from September 29-October 4.

Join me here for coverage of all the wonderfully strange offerings the festival has to offer.


All Jacked Up and Full of Words


Wild, goopy odyssey through the homicidal clown-filled alleys of Chicago. Goes places you wouldn’t think are even legal to depict and turns the dial even further when you think it couldn’t get any more daring. I admire the restraint of filmmaker Alex Phillips, as it feels like they’re holding back, and that’s saying something.

The deformed bastard child of Born to Win and Brain Damage; ALL JACKED UP AND FULL OF WORMS is a film made for the midnight crowd and is sure to gain quite the reputation once it's unleashed on the worm-sniffing general public.


Deep Fear

You’d be forgiven for rolling your eyes at the premise of DEEP FEAR, a claustrophobic horror film set in the catacombs of Paris. You’ve seen The Descent with its glowstick-lit crawls through cramped spaces; You’ll get that here. And As Above, So Below and The Catacombs have used the setting, so how much more blood can be rung from this particular cloth? A healthy bucket apparently.

If you can get past some of the foolish decisions being made by our protagonists, you’ll have a blast. Deep Fear utilizes its 80 minutes expertly, filling the run-time with a gaggle of tense moments and scares.

I went in blind, only knowing the setting, and I suggest you do the same for maximum effect.


Unidentified Objects

A sex worker asks a little person, their neighbor and the only person they know with a car, to borrow said car to drive her to see her sister. She isn’t telling the truth. UNIDENTIFIED OBJECTS is an equal parts playful and ominous road dramedy that plays fully with its cast and their place in society on their journey to meet beings from another world.

There isn’t a weak link in the entire cast, but Matthew Jeffers (who also acts as Producer) is MVP as the wounded Peter and I suspect this film and his performance are going to propel him into much deserved spotlight.


Life on the Farm

Meet Charles Carson. A farmer in Somerset, England with a penchant for filming almost every moment in his busy life, editing that footage together, and distributing the tapes to neighbors. With the tape’s cut and paste craftsmanship, Carson resembles a sort of 4H Wes Anderson, equal parts charmingly funny and painfully tragic. We watch our Farmer as he buries a beloved cat, births calves, and rides his tractor with a million dollar smile; All the while presumably moving the camera and setting up shots to make these videos something his neighbors would actually want to watch.

Charles Carson was a man ahead of his time and seemed to be bursting at the seams to express this fact, even if he didn’t know how to articulate it. LIFE ON THE FARM is a beautiful documentary with some truly strange visuals and a charismatic subject at the forefront. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Bodies Bodies Bodies: A New Reason to Fear House Parties in the Woods

 Those that know me know that I can be very vocal about my hatred toward the term "elevated genre". To me this the coward's way of saying "I like horror films". It is the "elevated genre" fan and their cowardice that has led me to a healthy distrust of all things A24, since this brand above all others seems to be the church of the "elevated genre" lover. With that being said I was obviously skeptical about A24 releasing what appeared to be a fun "teen slasher" type film complete with attractive young people somehow trapped in a house as one by one they are taken out by a mysterious villain. 

This film is Halina Reijn's "Bodies, Bodies, Bodies". At first glance this feels like a 90's nostalgia cash grab. From the storyline to its "floating head" style poster (think first Scream poster or new Scream poster as reference) it would be easy to dismiss this title with a "been there done that attitude". It was that exact feeling that sparked my interest. Why would a respectable brand like A24 put out such a film? A "horror" film if you will. Well I had to see for myself and I'm glad I did. 

The setting is familiar, the characters are familiar, the setup is familiar, and yet it feels new and refreshing, kind of like listening to a favorite record to remind yourself why you first fell in love with it in the first place and falling in love with it all over again. We know people will die, and they do in ways that keep you guessing so that's fun. We know there will be "funny" people thrown into the situation to help ease the tension, and there are but with a strong social commentary that has us all laughing at ourselves and our friends. We know the phones won't work and the car can't start but has this ever stopped us from jumping headfirst into a good time at the movies?!? The atmosphere created by the lighting of glow sticks or a single cell phone flashlight was extremely effective. I had way too much fun playing along with the "Clue" like game of Bodies, Bodies, Bodies and hearing theatre goers around me gasping at the shocks, jumping at the scares, laughing out loud, and bobbing their heads to the music. What I am trying to say is this is a good movie that deserves to be seen and worked well with an audience who was ready for a horror film. Get your friends together, buy some popcorn and hit the theatre for a film I'm sure will be more entertaining than the next Scream. Nostalgia isn't bad but the future is bright and full of talented individuals ready to bring you new stories and new reasons to fear house parties in the woods.


(The following are some of the negative comments that sparked interest in Bodies Bodies Bodies) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2022



After a year in cyber captivity, the Unnamed Footage Festival is returning to theaters of San Francisco for four days of found footage horror, faux documentary, and first person POV programming from March 17th through March 20th. Opening night will be held at the screening room of the Mission District gallery Artist’s Television Access, followed by a late night screening at the Roxie Theatre on Friday, and culminating at the historic Balboa Theater for two full days of shorts and features.

Following the success of last year’s virtual event, UFF has brought on Dread Central as the official media sponsor for the 2022 festival. Dread Central has shown an incredible enthusiasm for the found footage horror genre, making their team the perfect partner for exclusive coverage of the fest.

The 5th edition of UFF will kick off on Thursday night with our annual Recalibration Party at the Artist’s Television Access. The party will begin with a screening of Ben Ben 7: Haunted Highway, followed by a Found Footage Horror Power Horror – 60 nonstop clips of strange and scary moments from our favorite movies – with free beer provided by our beverage sponsor, Lime Ventures Distribution.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon

As found footage continues gaining popularity and evolving into a broader genre, the UFF line-up has been diversified to highlight ARG (Alternate Reality Game) content, screenlife, and hybrid found footage. To commemorate this expansion, the Unnamed Footage Festival will be co-presenting Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon as a pre-festival Terror Tuesday screening at the Alamo Drafthouse New Mission. The much loved cult classic is one of the most notable examples of hybrid found footage horror, with the footage of a documentary crew interviewing a movie monster bleeding into the monster’s real movie.

While the scope of the festival has grown, the Unnamed Footage Festival promises to keep delivering what brought audiences to the event in past years: a chance to watch obscure, bizarre, and ambitious “in-world camera” movies on the big screen. In addition to Behind the Mask, this year’s repertory screenings also include a lost Italian plague movie titled The Gerber Syndrome (2011), the 2017 intimate base-jumping thriller Base, and screenlife pioneer The Collingswood Story (2002), with the cast and crew in attendance.

PUTREFIXION a video of Nina Temich

And the main slate titles will certainly not be overshadowed, including up-and-coming and established talent experimenting in this wild genre. Our 2022 selections will include the world premiere of Jacob Aaron Estes’ (Mean Creek) experimental pandemic haunted house movie You Belong To Me, a music video shoot gone wrong in an endless desert in The Outwaters, a young man’s document of his own abductions on a head mounted camera titled The Alien Report, the world premiere of the first feature film shot entirely on 360-degree cameras, PUTREFIXION a video of Nina Temich, and the meta sequel to UFF2’s late night serial killer stand-up comedy smash Murder Box, My Inner Demon: A Geraldson Tale.

Short film selections include Kane Pixels’ viral creepypasta short Backrooms, the faux doc that launched an ARG about a lost N64 game, What Happened To Crow 64?, UFF alumni Thomas Burke’s screenlife oddity SHC Freak Accident, the stop motion animation feed of a night vision camera in the woods Posted No Hunting, and the world premiere of the new short film by Adrian Tofei (Be My Cat: A Film For Anne) titled Lost Footage.

In 2021, the Unnamed Footage Festival moved into the online space, breaking the mold with their 24-hour long hosted livecast of shorts and features accompanied by an ARG. Returning to theaters, the team still promises plenty of bizarre occurrences for badgeholders throughout the 4-day festival. Saturday and Sunday will include a marketplace of vendors and local artists in the lobby of the Balboa Theater. Be sure to visit with them and ask about any strange symbols you may have seen.

The Outwaters

The sense of community that developed during the #UFF24HR livestream was undeniable and has inspired the organizers to continue a virtual component going forward. For those who cannot attend the in-person event and any attendees who want more, an online festival is set for April featuring a different program of films. Details will be announced soon.

Badges are now on sale for entry to all festival events except the Terror Tuesday screening at Alamo Drafthouse New Mission. Day passes are available for 3/19 and 3/20. Individual tickets for all showings will be available at the box office of each theater. More than half of this year’s screenings will have talent in attendance for Q&As and discussion. Visit the website for UFF5’s full schedule and more details.



YOU BELONG TO ME (2022, USA, dir. Jacob Aaron Estes)

WORLD PREMIERE - Filmmaker Jacob Aaron Estes (Mean Creek, Rings, Don't Let Go) transforms a pandemic quarantine into the groundwork for a household horror story. As brother and sister document their day to day life in isolation, the lines blur between a fun family project and a deeply disturbing work of avant garde horror. Strategically breaking the format of in-world camera, You Belong To Me utilizes found footage horror storytelling to amplify the fears of parents separated from their children and children trapped in their own house forced to fend for themselves

PUTREFIXION a video of Nina Temich (2022, Mexico, dir. David Torres)

WORLD PREMIERE - After purchasing a 360 camera, Nina starts recording her daily life as a way of developing her skills as a director in hopes of getting accepted into film school. But while dancing and doing drugs, strange things begin to happen. PUTREFIXION utilizes the disorienting nature of a 360 lens to transform Mexico city, accentuate the ritual of dance, and open a new chapter of in-world camera narratives. As Nina, model and dancer Dalia Xiuhcoatl commands the space and movement of the camera, giving this portrait of a young woman's brush with the supernatural a mesmerizing feminine energy.

THE ALIEN REPORT (2021, USA, dir. Patrick Donnelly)

WEST COAST PREMIERE - An alien abductee figures out a clever way to secretly record his own alien encounters revealing telepathic aliens, human hybrids and the elusive “men-in-black”. Shot guerrilla style on the streets of Chicago with a small yet very dedicated crew, The Alien Report takes the raw energy of a found footage horror movie and combines it with a script influenced by testimonies from the UFO abductee community and the most wild alien special effects you’ve seen since Fire In The Sky. – Screening followed by Q&A

BOLT DRIVER W/ CRAIG FIXADA AMERICA (2021, USA, dir. Van Alpert & Nick Corirossi / 2019, USA, dir. Scott Gairdner)

An unofficial remake of TAXI DRIVER modernized for the social media era, BOLT DRIVER navigates Trumpism and incel culture through a collection of animal face Snapchat filters. Paired with CRAIG FIXADA AMERICA, an episode of a political satire show that never existed, in which international superstar and former Clip Cup host Craig Healy (Nick Corirossi) raises awareness about voting.

CURSE OF AURORE (2021, Canada, dir. Mehran C. Torgoley)

US THEATRICAL PREMIERE - While researching the historic murder of Aurore Gagnon for a script inspired by her story, three filmmakers cross a line. By the time they realize they've tampered with something they shouldn't have, their footage is already on its way to being sold in a mystery box on the dark web. – Screening followed by Q&A

DEADWARE (2021, USA, dir. Isaac Rodriguez)

THEATRICAL PREMIERE - Set in 1999, Deadware explores the early internet through masterful use of the screenlife format, following two friends who decide to play a questionable online point-and-click adventure game to test out their webcams and brand new DSL connection. – Screening followed by Q&A

MALIBU HORROR STORY (2021, USA, dir. Scott Slone)

A team of paranormal investigators search a sacred Native American cave for clues in the unsolved disappearance of four local teens. While celebrating the completion of their project in the cave and reviewing the documentary edited from the teens footage they discovered, the team begins to notice anomalies they missed on earlier watches, and begin to fear for their lives. A hybrid found footage / horror film narrative, Malibu Horror Story is the bombastic crowd-pleaser of UFF5 that will have the audience shrieking and leaping out of their seats in terror. – Screening followed by Q&A

MASKING THRESHOLD (2021, Austria, dir. Johannes Grenzfurthner)

An oddity of hybrid mockumentary, Masking Threshold tracks the descent-into-madness of an isolated would-be scientist, who sets out to understand a peculiar form of tinnitus he’s developed. Ostensibly a found vlog composed entirely of macro and extreme closeup footage, Masking Threshold is a deeply unsettling film with stomach churning sequences of violence, depravity, and grossness.

MY INNER DEMON: A GERALDSON TALE (2022, USA, dir. Gerald Varga)

This meta sequel to UFF2 selection Murder Box follows director Gerald Varga as he navigates his depression after the underwhelming reception of his first film. My Inner Demon is a crash course on found footage horror filmmaking by two old friends who are slowly driving each other insane. – Screening followed by Q&A

THE OUTWATERS (2022, USA, dir. Robbie Banfitch)

THEATRICAL PREMIERE - Four travelers encounter a menacing phenomena while shooting a music video in a remote stretch of the Mojave Desert. Filled with indescribable creatures squirming their way out of darkness, THE OUTWATERS is a dizzying slow burn of other-wordly terror caked in dried blood. – Screening followed by Q&A

WESENS (2020, South Africa, dir. Derick Muller)

Two days after an unidentified object landed on a farm in South Africa in December of 1967, four government agents, equipped with a Super 8 and 16mm camera, drove out to investigate it. What the agents treat as a concrete anomaly to be examined through Geiger counters, cameras, and beakers evolves into an all-encompassing, existential conundrum.

THE ZAND ORDER (2021, USA, dir. Sarah Goras Peterson)

A grieving mother hires a filmmaker and a tracker to help document her search in the Florida jungle, as she hunts a cult she believes murdered her daughter. Imagine The Blair Witch Project except it's an all female expedition and they hate each other… and it sure doesn’t help that each night they spend in their single tent something visits them to set up strange puzzles for them to solve. The Zand Order is a perfect example of the passionate, no budget / no rules filmmaking that can only happen in found footage horror.



The next great psycho horror slasher has given a documentary crew exclusive access to his life as he plans his reign of terror over the sleepy town of Glen Echo. A ground-breaking hybrid of mockumentary and traditional slasher movie, Behind the Mask has grown a well-deserved cult following of fans of horror comedy and slashers in the years since its release.

THE COLLINGSWOOD STORY (2002, USA, dir. Mike Constanza)

Shown through turn-of-the-millennium desktops, The Collingswood Story is a pioneering digital horror film. Josh and Rebecca begin using webcams as a way to maintain a newly distanced relationship when a curious encounter with an internet psychic complicates their lives and uncovers dark secrets about Rebecca’s new home. Before Skype and MySpace existed, filmmaker Mike Constanza’s revolutionary, essential film embodies a phase of internet culture midway between the ‘90s acceptance that, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” and the unblinking, totalizing digital platforms of the present. – Screening followed by Q&A

FTW (2010, USA, dir. Jorge Torres-Torres)

When Shep suddenly dies, Kristopher and Ryan become less attached to reality. As they wander the southern landscape of Louisiana they slowly descend into a state devoid of hope and order. Jorge Torres-Torres (Fat Tuesday, Sisters of the Plague, Toad Road) combines the heart of Errol Morris with the satire of Harmony Korine in this adolescent romp through above ground cemeteries. Join us for this rare screening as we explore themes of life, death, and (faux) reality. – Screening followed by Q&A

THE GERBER SYNDROME: il contagio (2011, Italy, dir. Maxì Dejoie)

A virus ravages Europe. Phase I brings flu-like symptoms. Phase II attacks the central nervous system. Phase III: withdrawal, irrationality, extremely violent behavior. There is no cure. Filmed like a documentary, The Gerber Syndrome captures one nation's desperate, under-resourced efforts to fight a disease it can barely understand, much less contain. Though made eleven years ago it offers images and moments that could have been lifted directly from our media in today's age of COVID. – Screening followed by Q&A

BASE (2017, USA, dir. Richard Parry)

Part love-triangle drama, part extreme sports vlog with a hint of horror, ex-war photographer turned filmmaker Richard Parry transports us into our own squirrel suit and launches us into the sky. BASE is a faux documentary about base jumping shot in actual dangerous situations.

BAD BEN 7: HAUNTED HIGHWAY (2019, USA, dir. Nigel Bach)

Tom Riley tries to take a break from the Paranormal and starts a job as a ride-share driver for DropUoff. The strange passengers and encounters he has on Halloween 2019 are all captured on surveillance cameras, dash cams, and his personal body cam. He encounters a blood thirsty passenger, a young woman transporting something odd in a bag, a not so friendly scarecrow, and a witch.

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