Death To All Good Things
The dark damp days are coming, and so is the end. As if it were proving the Vancouver curse, that all good things die here, this October is the seventh and final chapter of the Cinemuerte Horror Film Festival, and it brings bloody tears to my eyes. Since 1999 festival curator Kier-La Jeunesse (now living in Austin, Texas) has hosted horror heroes from the past and present and boldly programmed some of the most shocking, gory, freaky and campy horror films from around the world. Reading a little like a suicide note, the Cinemuerte website hosts her reasons for the festival’s demise and it’s hard to argue with her. For years it was only the true horror freak who would dare, try or care about unearthing these impossible to find horror gems. But now, in a time of internet accessibility, all it takes is a little reading, the click of a button and any number of fiendish films can arrive at your door within the week. Death, I suppose is the legacy of progress. But from October 26-31 at the Pacific Cinematheque there will be enough on-screen evil to scar your minds for some time.
With films from Japan, the US, Canada, Germany, Spain, France and Belgium, this years’ festival boasts a disturbing and bloody mix of cinema, from religious exploitations films — School of the Holy Beast (1974) to blood-spattered prison films —Shadow: Dead Riot (2005) and Malefique (2002). There is also a Canadian Feature Competition offering audiences a chance to see what kind of contemporary craziness is being made in this big block of a country.
Casuistry is the true story of three Torontonian cat killers who in some perverse attempt to make an artistic statement go about killing, skinning and eating their pet cat. The Eternal Present (2004) is the story of a guy who moves to a new town and takes a job processing obituaries. Things get weird when he has to process obituaries of people he meets, while Sigma (2005) complete with surveillance camera footage, split-screen and multi screen techniques, is about a guy who must follow a series of bizarre and crazy instructions if he wants to see his kidnapped wife alive again.
Besides the films themselves there will be celebrity appearances by euro-horror icon Jack Taylor who stars opposite Corey Feldman (of the two Coreys fame) in The Birthday (Sunday Oct.30) as well as Eternal Present director Otto Buj and Sigma director Jesse Heffring. Also in town for the festival, as part of a panel discussion called Canadian Horror: The Tax Shelter Years (1975-1984) are Black Christmas director Bob Clark and author of They Came From within: A History of Canadian Horror Cinema Caelum Vatnsdal.
For those of you who can’t, don’t, or won’t sleep there’s the traditional Exploitation All-Nighter, which starts at 12:30 am, Saturday Oct. 29 and goes to 8:30 Sunday morning and screens scream classics like Class of 1984, Creep, Vice Squad and Don’t be afraid of the Dark.
Finally, now is your last chance to prove you’ve got the guts, literally, with the return of Bloodshots: A 48-hour horror filmmaking challenge. Here aspiring horror filmmakers have a chance to make a short horror film, which will be judged by a celebrity panel and screened at the Cinematheque as part of the festival on October 28th and 31st. Go to www.bloodshots.org to register. Go now, or let the maggots eat your eyes.