Screening at the Fantasia Film Festival August 05, 2023
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Real life YouTube occult celebrity Onyx the Fortuitous has a movie, and the brilliant mind behind this horror comedy is Andrew Bowser. After a successful crowdfunding campaign to get this film made, he’s ecstatic to play an evolution of what Marcus J. Trilbury should become. At the start of the film, he’s basically a nobody. In the eyes of his mean step-father, he’s insignificant. That also includes how he’s treated at a burger joint.
Technically, he’s a diamond in the rough and he wishes to do better. To see this character involved in a plot which includes the title “And The Talisman of Souls” suggests he’ll be going far should he make this item his own.
Here, what’s presented isn’t an evolution of his internet show. Instead, it’s a story that takes the character out of the world of YouTube and into a hyper reality where magik exists. And he’ll have to confronting his demons if he’s to become the fortunate one.
Because of his obsessive interest in Bartok’s (Jeffrey Combs) occult teachings, he’s more or less doomed himself. When most of his life has pelted him with a lot of lemons, he thinks turning to evil can help him turn things around. Even then, he still needs to prove himself to this overlord in order to curse those who treated him wrong. However, when his naivety shows he has no place in this world, what he must become is something better. Curiuosly, Farrah his assistant Farrag (Olivia Taylor Dudley) takes a bit of a liking to him, and I had to quirk an eyebrow….
It’s hilarious to see how he manages to survive in this cult. By sheer luck, he won a lottery to visit his mentor. And here Coombs is as delightfully sinister. Although I can’t shake the fact he’s basically using his Weyoun (Star Trek: DS9) persona, the performance works! As for whom he must sacrifice to attain immortality, maybe he should have thought twice about whom he chose to be his *ahem* inner circle. In addition to Onyx, there is also Jesminder (Melanie Chandra), Mr. Duke (Terence Carson), Marsha (Donna Pieroni) and Mack (Rivkah Reyes).
They have problems and distinctive personalities too. Although they’re more like supporting characters in the same vein as what we see from the animated film Hotel Transylvania, the synergy works. Onyx can finally call these people friends, and the craziness that fills much of the last act is full of Beetlejuice type references! The creature designs are very much inspired by this film, and that’s enough to get me to howl at the moon.
Also, the fact he loves his 80s and 90s music and pop culture speaks volumes. Although I think he loves Meatloaf too much, that’s okay. What’s presented is simply hilarious and I’m sure Meat would approve. And as for where it ranks in against films like Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, or rather viral sensations to which this film is really riffing on, I’m enjoying it.
In the story construction front, they have pasts which are similar to those from the Canadian black comedy hit, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil. Although this movie isn’t necessarily about stealing this tome away from the necromancer, what’s familiar is with the tone to which the comedy is at. We’re dealing with just how gonzo Onyx’s life has become, and for him to embrace the role he’s always said he’ll become requires multiple twists in the narrative to have me grinning.
5 Stars out of 5