Concert/Film/TV Reviews

Buried Alive Film Festival 2019, Day 3 Recap: The ‘Wretched’ Eat the Children, Cursed Porno and Toxic Avenger Burlesque

Day 3 of the Buried Alive Film Festival spotlighted women in horror (both in front and behind the camera), a fun IFC-backed feature called The Wretched and capped off the evening with a hilarious burlesque/cabaret-style retelling of the cult classic Toxic Avenger.

SHORT BLOCKS #3: “WHO SAID DIGGING GRAVES WASN’T FUN?!”

astray_sharpe

Ashtray (Kyle Sharpe, Canada)

A dark, moody and animated tale of a woman who stalked and later devoured inside a haunted house. I loved the animation style but didn’t care for the choice of the monster being a visual from the real world of someone’s hand and face. It took away from the animation’s immersive feel.

stars-2.5

Toe_OBryan

TOE (Neal O’Bryan and Chad Thurman, USA)

The story of Toe is found in the legends of numerous societies. The version I heard as a kid was the Appalachian version called “Tailypo,” in which the creature of the same name comes after a hunter who cut off and ate his tale. Here we get a bit of cannibalism as a hungry farmer whose crops have yielded no food eats an intact toe he finds within a graveyard.

The monster’s frightening appearance goes right along with the bleary worldview and the last shot of the dead farmer in the ground is memorable.

stars-3.5

TerrorRoad_Shephard

Terror Road (Brian Shephard, USA)

You’d best avoid Terror Road unless you’re in the mood to be confronted by a fanged demon child! When a young woman’s car breaks down, she’s forced into a cat and mouse game of survival with a bloodthirsty kid looking to get into her car.

Spoiler alert, the kid is smarter than he looks. Throwback horror that’s tame enough for the whole family to enjoy.

stars-3

SkeletonInTheCloset_Malkki

Skeletons in the Closet (Tomi Malkki, Finland)

Meet a literal skeleton tired of his mundane existence inside a closet. He suffocates the man whose house he’s living in and then tries to take over the victim’s professional and romantic life. No one seems to notice that a damn skeleton is walking around, but the skeleton quickly realizes there’s plenty of practical barriers to prevent him from having success (no organs to food, to have sex etc.). And back to the closet he goes.

Kudos to the writer for the originality of this one.

stars-4

O.I._Heerden

O.I. (N’Cee Van Heerden, Canada)

In a world where complacency is the norm, being an original can be lonely and frightening. But in the story of O.I., it can also be deadly.

Barry has come up with an idea so original and profound that it causes anyone who hears it to have their head explode. This has dire consequences and even the CIA gets involved.

No, I’m not telling you the idea. But you’ll definitely want to see this one.

5stars

Exhibit Man_Mirosh

Exhibit Man (Trevor Mirosh, Canada)

Usually when dealing with parasite horror like Aliens, once the victim becomes a host that’s the end of the line. But Exhibit Man gives us the twist of having the wormlike entity be symbiotic with its own narrative voice (and benefits to the host like an amazing sex drive and few extra inches of girth). But when the host, who is a forensic investigator, has to solve a murder possibly tied to the parasite, hijinks and conflicts abound.

stars-4

Old Meyers_Crognale

Old Meyers (Gino Crognale, USA)

Michael Myers has put on the pounds in retirement. This mockumentary follows old man Myers around to see his everyday life long after the glory years of the 70s and 80s. We even get a short appearance from a geriatric version of Leatherface. Some of the humor fell flat with the audience but overall a light-hearted and fun take on a horror icon.

stars-3

Playtimes Over_Reames

Playtime’s Over (Tony Reames, USA)

Who says horror films don’t have a long-lasting effects on children? In Playtime’s Over, a horror-obsessed child terrorizes her babysitter with an assortment of pranks inspired by her favorite films. The director revealed there are over 30 references here and some of the ones I noted were Suspiria, Blair Witch, The Shining, Saw, Psycho, and Carrie. Thoroughly enjoyed this one as a former horror-obsessed kid.

5stars

Kissed_Walker

Kissed (Elwood Quincy Walker, USA)

A disgusting coroner who takes too many liberties with a woman’s dead body gets his due reward when she reanimates. Straightforward with no frills or twists, but still satisfying.

stars-3


Porno_Racela

[Feature Review] PORNO (Keola Racela, USA)

In Porno, five teen employees of a conservative Christian-themed movie theater have their sexual morals tested when they unwittingly unleash a succubus from a mysterious old film.

You already know from that premise and title that you’re getting a ridiculous film, but there’s a lot of subtle charm and social commentary that director Keola Racela packs into Porno. One older college dropout, Heavy Metal Jeff (Robbie Tann), deals with social anxiety that forced him to leave school and self-medicates behind a facade of rigid Christian beliefs. Ricky (Glenn Scott) is a gay teen that forced into a “rehabilitation” camp after Chastity (Jillian Mueller), who’s secretly in love with him, outs him to his conservative parents.

These subplots alone could make for a decent teen angst film, let alone having this group battling Lilith incarnate, who rips off genitals as her signature kill.

Speaking of which, the word of mouth will spread quickly on this courtesy of one of the more squeamish sequences you’ll see this year. One of the teens has his balls explode. To save him, a tourniquet is made and you’ll get to see all the ripped open and hanging flesh.

stars-3

 

SHORT BLOCKS #4 – “THE LADIES OF THE GRAVEYARD”

Lili_Berckelaer

Lili (Yfke van Berckelaer, Netherlands)

Lili is here to nail an audition and seemingly falls victim to a “casting couch” nightmare. Fortunately, Lili isn’t the bubbly-eyed, fearful young actress she puts on and the would-be predator gets his comeuppance.

Many women will be able to relate to how quickly things can go from professional to nefarious in the workplace.

stars-4.5

MaggieMay_Russel

Maggie May (Mia’kate Russel, Australia)

There is horror in doing nothing. We don’t know what’s quite wrong with Maggie May, but her condition causes her to have no empathy for others (even her own family). When her sibling is impaled and lying helpless by a freak accident, May does nothing to help while her sister goes into shock and eventually perishes. Making things even more frightful is two bawling infants May refuses to feed.

This is right up there with the more disturbing flicks of the festival.

stars-4

Ramshackle Blues_Rewels

Ramshackle Blues (Sharai Rewels, Canada)

Buckshot and Pearl are two redneck, serial killer cannibals whose love for each becomes their undoing. Jealousy comes between them and the star-crossed lovers go out in a blaze of gore. While neither character is particularly likable, the kill scenes (pregnant woman shot, hatchets to the head etc.) gives this enough grindhouse flair to keep you engaged.

stars-3

OneLastMeal_Gevargizian

One Last Meal (Jill Gevargizian, USA)

Serial killer and cannibal Otis Boyleis is scheduled to be executed. For his final meal, he requests the unthinkable — human flesh. Due to the crazy Warden having a hard-on for not breaking tradition, the prison Captain must make a foul choice in order to keep his job.

The actors did a fine job with the material, but it was hard for me to get past the illogical nature of the plot. It does yield a brutal scene where the Captain slices off strips of his own forearm.

stars-3

How to be Alone_Trefry

How To Be Alone (Kate Trefry, USA)

Solitude is when your darkest thoughts manifest. Lucy, who clearly has mental health issues, is left home alone after her doting boyfriend is required to complete an overnight work shift. He clearly has concerns about leaving Lucy alone and we see it’s for a good reason once her “dark passenger” emerges.

I enjoyed the message of confronting your fears and the ending shot drives home that Lucy’s battle will be a constant struggle for her and everyone in her life.

stars-3.5

Lizard Queen_Vlasan

Lizard Queen (Anca Vlasan, USA)

Hey, lizards need love too. A few light-hearted body horror elements abound when a humanoid lizard gets ready for a blind date (including regrowing limbs and head-eating). A nice critique of beauty standards within online dating.

stars-3.5

Ouija_young

Ouija (Ashley Young, USA)

Two dumb kids and an ouija board. What’s the worst that can happen? Director Ashley Young worked on this during her senior year at the Savannah School of Art and Design. What inspired her was her own dumb activity with friends during her youth. The two kids have puppy-like appearances and snorts, which made it extra funny when they’re confronted by an inter-dimensional demon.

stars-3.5

toothache_palmer

Toothache (Stacey Palmer, USA)

Inspired by a real-life story of a woman finding maggots in her gums, Toothache takes it a step further and shows to the horrible results of those maggots continuing to grow. Go to the dentist regularly!

stars-3

TheLoop_Ragsdale.PNG

The Loop (Rich Ragsdale, USA)

Mikey’s obnoxious older brother Tommy brings home a creepy VHS tape of an 80s slasher that transports you into the film. Now, Mikey has to fight for his life to survive. The 80s theme was nailed from the music down to the furniture and big hair.

stars-3


TheWretched

[Feature Review] The Wretched (Brett and Drew Pierce)

The Wretched brought one of the bigger crowds for the Buried Alive Film Festival. It didn’t disappoint, either. Ben, played by John-Paul Howard, is a troubled teen struggling with drugs and dealing with his parents’ divorce. While staying with his father, Ben comes up against a thousand-year-old witch who eats children and has the ability to wipe minds. Therefore, Ben gets stuck in Fright Night syndrome where none of the adults believe his stories about the witch living next door.

What raises this above your standard horror fare are the special effects. The witch inhabits her hosts like a parasite and when discovered, slowly rips out of them, hands first. There is a late twist dealing with memory wiping mentioned earlier, but it’s not over the top and makes sense within the story.

However, the suspension of disbelief is spread a little thin over as the story progresses. I mean, not a single adult noticed anything amiss? Nonetheless, The Wretched is a creepy and enjoyable ride that you’ll see soon courtesy of its just-announced distribution deal through IFC.

stars-3


Blast Off Burlesque_Toxic Avenge

BLAST-OFF BURLESQUE BRINGS THE TOXIC AVENGER TO LIFE

I had no clue I needed a live version of The Toxic Avenger, but here we were last night having a ball courtesy of Blast-Off Burlesque. With a nice mix of burlesque, cabaret and modern dance numbers (Britney Spears’s “Toxic” was an easy choice), we all felt like we were right back in 80s Tromaville. The hazmat suits and glowing colors was another excellent choice along with our two potty-mouthed hosts (think Golden Girls but much freakier).

Catch more of Blast-Off Burlesque at https://www.facebook.com/BlastOffBurlesque/.


Check back here on Monday for the final day recap of Buried Alive.

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