Saturday, 9 November 2013

My Weekend of MAYHEM!

My weekend of MAYHEM!

Well MAYHEM Festival has come and gone for yet another year and what a fantastic festival it was! Not only were there were some great films shown yet again but one of the highlights for me had to be the idea to show the Lon Chaney classic The Unknown with the backing music superbly performed by the 8MM Orchestra, Truly Breath-taking.
The festival opened up with the bizarre PuffBall  directed by Nicholas Roeg who was also in attendance for a great Q&A session, Followed by another superbly organised event which was the showing of the Nicholas Roeg classic Don’t Look Now shown in St Marys Church which again was a great addition to this year’s festival, Pretty much packed out complete with an organist it made me see the film in a whole different light, As with last year’s Showing of the Classic The Shining when you get to see such films back on the big screen it adds so much to them, A truly great opening Night. The night ended with the showing of Haunter which unfortunately I had to miss but heard good things about it and really looking forward to the DVD release!

So onto the Friday, 3 films ending in Discopath! 1st up was The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, From the directors of Amer this was a truly visual mind fuck to say the least, It was obviously a homage to the best years of Dario Argento and stunning, The 1st 45 minutes was transfixing and the longer it went on the more insane it got, One definitely to look out for on DVD and must be watched with a clear mind and high volume! After that I needed a beer, so straight to the bar before the next movie,Delivery, Also in attendance was the Director of Delivery and thoroughly nice and very interesting chap Brian Netto. An
interesting take on the found footage genre with the 1st half playing out like one of those cheesy American reality shows, brilliantly done I must say. The young lady in the lead role then discovers that she is pregnant and what turns out to be joy at 1st quickly turns out to be a nightmare, kind of a mix of Paranormal Activity and Rosemary’s baby, But the ending was one of those “What the fuck just happened! “ A truly shocking ending which I shan't spoil. So with that I needed another beer and duly got one. Onto a film I was really looking forward to Discopath. It was late, for me anyway! But with the beer flowing we decided that we would indeed stay for Discopath and I am very glad we did! A grind-house style homage to the creation of disco with a guy that when he hears the funky beats he kills! Yes it had a simple plot and more cheese than the bass player from Blur but it was a blast, especially the 2 cops on foot chase scene, definitely one for you to keep an eye out for. There was a Halloween themed 70’s Disco in the bar afterwards at midnight but by the time that came around I had drank my fair share of the Broadway's Polish lager selection to have the mind to get in a taxi and head on home ready for the big Saturday that was to come.

So Saturday opened up with the really quite Insane The Demon’s Rook, directed by and starring James Sizemore this was an 80’s tribute at its loony best, The tale of a boy that grows up in the backwoods when one day he finds a glowing hole within the woods and decides to enter it, He emerges many years later looking like an acid induced cross between Jesus and Charles Manson! It transpires that whilst he was in the hole he met a demon master who teaches him his ways then is killed off by 3 bad ass evil demons that follow him up onto earth to find him and kill him. The thing I liked about this and this was explained by festival organiser Chris Cooke was the fact that all the FX were practical, The demons make up was insane as was a guy that got transformed into a demon as their slave and looked like a cross between Quasimodo and the toxic avenger! There was gore by the bucket load, a great zombie attack and insanity in pretty much every shot, Great stuff!

Next up on the Saturday we had Kiss of the Damned which due to work commitments I had to miss but did return for The Borderlands with a Q&A session with cast and crew. The Borderlands is a British film directed by Elliot Goldner, Starring Gordon Kennedy and Robin Hill. It’s a found footage tale of a mysterious haunting in a remote church, So the two fellows go to investigate and what turns out at 1st to be fun and a bit of a laugh soon turns very dark indeed, Gordon Kennedy's character is known as the Deacon and has been sent by the Vatican to investigate the claims and his side kick Robin Hill is known as a “Tech” guy who has all the equipment they will need including audio and great use of head camera’s. Upon their arrival they meet the priest who has taken on the church and they are shown a video taken by him and set out to disprove him, but they couldn't be more wrong. What stood out for me was the mix of humour and scares, not solely reliant on jump scares but the sound mix is used to maximum effect, making me jump a good few times and nearly spilling me beer! A low budget affair but brilliantly done with a solid cast and crew, Great Q&A after especially from Gordon and Robin who bounced of each other with much hilarity. Definitely one for you to look out for. Now months ago me and my good lady had booked tickets to see Pokey La Farge at the rescue rooms in Nottingham so unfortunately I missed out on the Saturday night movies Scary Shorts, The Machine and The classic Life-force but I heard great things about The Machine on the Sunday and I'm very much looking forward to catching up with it, To be Fair Emma had agreed to attend the whole festival with me so I thought it would only be fair to go to the gig and then it was on to Sunday and what a great final day it was!

So the final day was here, what better way to spend a cold wet November Sunday than in a nice warm cinema with movies! Up on Sunday we had Wake in fright, Painless, BAFTA presented In Fear, The Unknown, Big Bad Wolves as well as the annual quiz The Flinteragation!
First up was Wake in Fear, A kangaroo killing lost classic from the Ozploitation genre, Recently rediscovered a while back it tales the tale of a teacher who finds himself stranded in a small Australian town. Now I thought after seeing it that you could really tell the influence it had on such modern day Ozploitation films such as Wolf Creek, It had a real desolate and desperate feel to it, brilliantly shot and a great addition to this year’s festival. Now onto what I must say was the best film of the festival for me, Painless ((Insensibles) The story opens up with a girl in the woods with her arm on fire but feels no pain, Another girl approaches her and is asked to try at which point she is dowsed in petrol and goes up like a bonfire! The movie cleverly flits between the story of children in the 1930’s who feel no pain, much to the disdain of the local towns government who see them as a danger and duly lock them all away in a mental asylum in individual padded cells complete with strait jackets, their only reprieve is the arrival of a Jewish doctor who has managed to escape Nazi Germany and offers them help, The modern day side of the story is equally intriguing as our main lead is involved in a superbly filmed car crash with his pregnant wife who is killed in the crash but they manage to save his child. But that’s not the only bad look he is having, He is diagnosed with cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant that will only work from his mother and father, so he heads off to see them only for his mother to reveal later that they are in fact not his biological parents, His quest begins to find his real parents and the mysteries that surround it.It’s visually a striking film with its fair share of twists and brilliant acting, well worth a watch in my opinion.

Next up was the BAFTA presents IN FEAR, Now it has to be said that from all the films shown at Mayhem what i could tell from people’s reactions this was the film of the weekend that divided people’s opinions the most, For me I liked it, It tells the tale of a young couple who make their way to a remote Irish island to attend a music festival, Being together for just two weeks the randy young fellow has decided not to tell his girlfriend that before the meet up with friends he has booked a hotel for the night which at first she seems not to keen on but eventually comes around to the idea, The head off and with this being a horror film they obviously lose both signals on mobile phones and the sat nav,  They drive along many a deserted road before coming to a sign for the hotel, They follow the sign that leads them to another sign and yet another sign then eventually back to where they started. Confused they try again but to no avail. Eventually it starts to get dark and the petrol is low, Frustrations mount and come to a head when the girl thinks she spots someone hiding then they do eventually see someone in the road….I shan't say any-more as this may probably spoil it but as I said I really enjoyed it, it was a nice easy watch with a good few jump scares and twists. So I’d say on In Fear don’t expect too much and you may well be pleasantly surprised.

Next up and a festival 1st was the Todd Browning/Lon Chaney classic silent movie The Unknown, This was a 1st in the fact that it had live accompaniment by the brilliant 8mm Ochestra The film tells of Lon Chaney and his love for a lady, But as you would expect this is no ordinary love story, Once again touching on Todd Browning's love of the travelling circus as seen in his later movie Freaks, Lon Chaney plays a character that is said to have been born without arms and performs his act's including knife throwing with his feet, Chaney in this is brilliant, it's stunning to see him perform some crazy things with just his feet but then it is revealed that he and his dodgy sidekick know the secret that he does in fact have arms, But he uses the lie that he doesn't to try and win the love of a lady that cannot stand to be touched, Very similar in tone to Freaks the black and white shadowing show Chaney's expressions brilliantly, An insane ending and such a classic, Although saying that it does make me a little sad every time I see a Todd Browning film and think that his career was basically ended because of his movie Freaks and the outrage that followed whilst films like The Wizard of Oz had midgets aplenty and was applauded by all things Hollywood. The 8mm Orchestra it had to be said did a fantastic Goblin Style soundtrack to accompany the film perfectly. A great event.  

So with 3 films done we headed to the bar for The Flinterrogation, A yearly horror quiz hosted by David Flint of strange things are happening and it's always fun, This year was no different apart from my score which was embarrassingly bad! The quiz this year used Broadway's Cafe Bar to maximum effect in having the questions project on to the wall, Some hilarity ensued, People whispering answers, Last minute answers changed and I came nowhere, but hey folks it's not about the winning it's the taking part, right?
One last film was shown on Sunday, Big Bad Wolves but unfortunately we didn't make it to the showing as friends had travelled down to have a beer (or 3!) and to take part in the quiz and I felt it would be a little rude to say hello for an hour then back into the cinema but I was itching to go back in! So hopefully I will catch it soon and bring you my review of Big Bad Wolves.

That was my weekend of  MAYHEM and what a great time we had, Chris Cooke and Steven Sheil did a really fantastic job this year, Especially on the St Mary's church showing and The Unknown 8mm Orchestra, I would like to thank them for organising such a great festival as well as all the staff at Broadway who always no matter how busy it gets always seem to find the time to talk to you and keep the whole thing flowing amazingly and friendly.So I got home Sunday night and raised a glass of Vino to MAYHEM and on the Monday I felt lost! Not being able to see what time the next film starts or what shall I have to eat later and I wonder what Beers I have yet to taste at the bar, Detox starts this week!! 
I will give this years MAYHEM a solid Spinal Tap style 11/10 (Or is that 12? That was an in joke relating to the quiz questions!)
See you next year MAYHEM!
Jonny T. 

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