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The Vintage Tempest’s Picks on What to See at Fantasia Fest 2021

24 Jul

Fantasia Festival | 2020 Artwork

Fantasia Fest 2021 is now half-and-half, offering in-person and online screenings! People living in Canada have the option to either travel to the East Coast for this genre film celebration or stay at home. The pandemic is still lingering around, and we don’t need real life zombies roaming the streets of Montreal.

Please be aware there’s limited seating options for the in-person events, especially James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad (also opening theatrically at the same time). These are bound to sell out fast as sales opened yesterday. Online, most screenings are on demand, with a select group scheduled to broadcast at a select time. These details will be noted as needed.

In this two-part article are my top picks on what to see. There’s a lot to explore, as this festival is very diverse and month-long! I’m including seminars since this year will be honouring Phil Tippitt with a Lifetime Achievement Award (event ticket here). There’ll also be a masterclass with the master too, exploring the deeper roots of his art. His panel and film screening tops my list of must attend. The bonus is that the online discussion is free to view!

Other events or screenings include:

A Different Monster:
Black Women and the Monstrous

Presentation by Carolyn Mauricette

From Sarah Baartman to Grace Jones, Black women are often thought of as exotic creatures and grossly misunderstood, or, like Frankenstein’s monster, they have been put in a category where they are feared and disliked, with observers quick to vilify or dismiss. Yet, in horror, characters who are supernatural beings or “monsters” are actually an embodiment of Black women’s strength and perseverance. We’ll look at some of the most interesting characters, whether vampires, witches or supernatural beings, and see how even in their otherness and within problematic representation, they have power, agency and represent the vulnerability and strength Black women have possessed through the ages.

Haunting The National Consciousness:
The Rise of Indigenous Horror

Presentation by Dr Kali Simmons

In this lecture, expanded from work presented at the Miskatonic Institute for Horror Studies, film scholar Dr. Kali Simmons will analyze the ways that horror has been deployed in the service of settler-colonialism as well as the ways Indigenous writers, actors, and filmmakers spoken back to these troubling stories. Works by Indigenous artists like Jeff Barnaby, Cherie Dimaline, Stephen Graham Jones, Waubgeshig Rice, Gwaii Edenshaw and Helen-Haig Brown not only challenge our notions of horror and monstrosity but ask how to live as an ethical human being in a time of catastrophic and terrifying change. Does horror have the potential to unsettle audiences in meaningful ways? Following the talk there will be a Q&A period which is open to virtual audience members.

Alien on Stage

In the great tradition of pantomimes, a form of participatory community theatre, a merry bunch of bus drivers are working on a homemade stage play adaptation of Ridley Scott’s ALIEN.

This movie is as DYI as it gets, with costumes from charity shops and cardboard decor, we follow the ups and downs of the most delightful, down-to-earth and charming people you’ll ever get to meet, in Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer’s debut feature.

All The Moons

19 August 21h30
21 August 09h00

As war rages through 1876 Spain, an orphanage is bombed and a young girl (Haizea Carneros) is gravely injured. She is rescued by a woman (Itziar Ituño) whom she perceives to be an angel, and who heals her wounds, while telling the girl she must now avoid the daylight. She also promises the girl that she will see many more full moons, and when more soldiers attack, they are forced to flee into the wilderness.

The two become separated, and the girl is forced to take shelter, facing an uncertain future – and one that will last far beyond that of ordinary human beings.

The Deer King

21 August 13h00

Years of begrudging peace have held since the Zol empire subjugated the kingdom of Aquafa – except for its Fire Horse region, for fear of the Black Wolf Fever. The ancestral curse now returns. A horde of otherworldly wolves ravage the land, leaving deadly illness in their wake. A brilliant physician desperately seeks to cure the plague, and dispatches a skilled bounty hunter to track down those who might hold the key.

A terrible attack on prisoners in a mine has left only one man and a child alive, and salvation may lie with them. With his uncanny strength and command over animals, this is no ordinary man, but then, these are not ordinary times. As both his past and his pursuers draw ever closer, and palace schemes threaten to shatter the peace, the legendary warrior Broken Antler Van must reluctantly face his destiny.

Funky Forest

If you look at them just right, the most mundane elements of daily life can seem utterly bizarre. Conversely, the strangest, most inexplicable things can seem perfectly ordinary. That’s the lunatic logic behind 2005’s FUNKY FOREST, a sprawling omnibus of the obvious and the oddball, the casual and the completely insane.

FUNKY FOREST‘s daringly disjointed narrative is a mishmash of blackouts, non-sequiturs, flashbacks, lucid dreams, magical moments and so much more. Life’s little disappointments are woven together with all sorts of extraterrestrial freaks and incomprehensible biological curiosities, music-video mayhem and mind-bending theatrics, and psychedelic surrealism of the finest grade, delivered with a deadpan shrug.

Ghosting Gloria

11 August 18h30
13 August 09h00

Gloria (Stefania Tortorella) needs an orgasm. According to her friend Sandra (Nenan Pelenur), it’s written all over her face. When was the last time she had one? She doesn’t know. She doesn’t know if she’s ever had one.

So begins Marcela Matta and Mauro Sarser’s sophomore feature GHOSTING GLORIA, a film which blends genres – switching between horror, fantasy, offbeat comedy – all wrapped up in whimsical, somewhat unconventional and subversive, romance. Gloria’s problem with getting an orgasm is easily solved when she finds the right man. There is just one issue with her new love interest: he’s a ghost.

The Great Yokai War

25 August 19h00

Like many children his age, Kei learns to control his fears and constantly quarrels with his little brother Dai. One night, a strange creature comes to visit him, then a mysterious portal opens in his room. He is transported to the magical world of the Yokai, the gentle Japanese demons, each with an unusual shape and unique character traits. They tell him that a terrible war threatening their world will devastate downtown Tokyo in the form of the colossal Yokaiju.

Worse, the emergency meeting of the great international council of Yokai, where Dracula, the mermaid, what looks like a Trumpist, and their cronies have abandoned them, has designated Kei and Dai as their only hopes, as they are the last descendants of a legendary fighter. Frightened, Kei refuses. When he returns, Dai has disappeared. Kei must find the courage to fulfill his destiny in order to save his brother, the Yokai, and Tokyo.

Hello! Tapir

14 August 17h00

It has the body of a pig, the trunk of an elephant, the ears of a horse and the feet of a rhinoceros. At night, it passes through sleeping villages and gobbles up people’s pesky nightmares. This huge, fantastical beast, called a tapir, is real, and eight-year-old Ah Keat’s father once told the boy he had in fact seen one when he himself was young.

One grey day, the family’s fishing boat is towed back into the village harbour, and Ah Keat’s father is not on it. The adults around him – his distraught grandmother, his anxious mom who has returned from Taipei – are not forthcoming with Ah Keat about what has happened. He wants his father back, and he believes the tapir can help, so he and his friends begin a quest to find the gentle, benevolent beast.


Ah, children. The source of much joy, hope and innocence for many, but truth be told the little monsters are out to kill us all. Let’s be honest, they’re all selfish wretches who do nothing but drive you crazy and suck up your will to live.

And now, in a small Estonian village, two narcissistic little brats (Nora and Harri Merivoo, the director’s kids!), dropped off at their Grandmother’s (Mari Lili) farm for a few weeks while their parents attend a self-help retreat, may bring about the end of human existence as we know it. Complaining about the actual work they’re expected to do, these little snot-nosed pests bring the local legend of the Kratt – a Terminator-like demonic spirit that must always be fed work, or else – to life just so they can take it easy, but in doing so they may have set in motion the destruction of Grandma, her village and perhaps the world with it. And all because they couldn’t get internet access.

Love, Life and Goldfish

6 August 19h30
8 August 09h00

They say it’s unhealthy to bottle up your emotions. Makoto, an elite employee at one of Tokyo’s biggest banks, has learned this the hard way. The poor guy is so closed off, and has built up so much frustration, that when he is about to receive an important promotion, he can’t help but shower a volley of gratuitous insults on his boss. As a result, he finds himself transferred to a small rural town, in the middle of nowhere. Once there, he meets the sweet Yoshino, the owner of a strange establishment where the customers compete in goldfish fishing. He immediately falls in love with her, but strongly resists this unwanted feeling. Then there is the exuberant local pub owner, Asuka, who seems to have a crush on him. Caught up in an emotional whirlwind, Makoto will have to learn to tame and express his emotions before he explodes again, and unwittingly sends everyone packing.

Phil Tippett's MAD GOD

Mad God

22 August 19h30
24 August 09h00

Under a barrage of enemy fire, an intrepid special agent in a suspended container is lowered steadily into an ominous shaft. Down, down, inexorably down, through the strata of ruin and residue bearing enigmatic witness to time’s passing.

At last, the pod touches down on terra firma, and its occupant emerges, map in hand and mission in mind. The surrounding landscape is a broken place of corruption and decay, of casual horror and degradation. Our hero will not be deterred, though the path ahead holds only more horrors, so many to behold…

Operation Luchador

The Second World War still holds so many mysteries. You think you know everything about WWII? Well, this world war still holds many surprises for you. Did you know that Mexico, in the 1940s, was the home of the Eagle of the Reich, a famous fascist masked wrestler and follower of Nazi teachings? That the American intelligence service had recruited a Mexican masked wrestler, The Golden Angel, to infiltrate the ranks of the Führer to curb his Machiavellian plans.

Thanks to OPÉRATION LUCHADOR, you will learn all about Hitler’s horrible machinations, including the bombing of the Gatún Dam to block the Suez Canal, the infamous cosmic mirror known as the Sun Cannon, intended to literally fry the United States of America, the creation of a squadron of trained dogs converted into kamikaze pilots; and the existence of a National Socialist hideout protected by a certain Nazi Yeti in Patagonia. You will discover what may have happened in the Führer’s bunker on 30 April 1945, and more importantly, what may have happened to Hitler’s brain after his supposed suicide.

Pompo: The Cinephile

7 August 13h00

“Is there a secret to making a great movie?” That’s the question that Gene Fini asks of retired producer J.D. Peterzen, a legend in Nyallywood, the world capital of filmmaking. Gene is a lowly, anxious production assistant, taking careful notes on everything he sees in the studio while handling countless minor tasks for his boss, Joelle D. Pomponette – aka “Pompo”. A bundle of energy with a sharp eye and fast decision-making reflexes, Pompo is Peterzen’s granddaughter, and a B-movie mogul in her own right. Gene has no plans of becoming a director himself, the idea terrifies him in fact. But Pompo has plans for Gene, plans that will turn his life upside-down – and lead him ever closer to the secret of cinematic success!

Prisoners of the Ghostland

20 August 21h45
23 August 19h00

Two American men, Hero (Nicolas Cage) and Psycho (Nick Cassavettes), walk into a Japanese bank in Samurai Town toting guns and screaming “Banzai!”. A small boy offers them gumballs. It does not end well. In another part of town, Bernice (Sofia Boutella), granddaughter of the town’s tyrannical ruler, The Governor (Bill Moseley), attempts to escape. It does not end well. Bernice is now trapped in a lawless locale known as The Ghostland, that The Governor deems too dangerous, and he wants her back. For this mission, he plucks Hero out of prison with an offer of freedom if he can find Bernice and bring her back, alive and “unsoiled”, in three days. It will not end well, if it ever ends at all.

We’re All Going to the World’s Fair

8 August 21h30

Somewhere in a typical American suburb – a big house and an attic bedroom containing an unknowable adolescent universe orbiting around the World Wide Web – a lonely teen stares intently at her computer screen.

“Casey here. Today I’m going to take the World’s Fair Challenge.” A worrisome ritual, at once banal and bizarre, proceeds. Over the course of the next few days, Casey documents every step of this viral challenge – which takes hold of her body and mind, and spins her in an increasingly dissociative state.

Woodlands Dark &
Days Bewitched:
A History of Folk Horror

Winner of a Midnighter Audience Award at SXSW, WOODLANDS DARK AND DAYS BEWITCHED navigates through 200 films and 50 interviewees, including Robert Eggers (THE VVITCH), Alice Lowe (PREVENGE) and Piers Haggard (BLOOD ON SATAN’S CLAW), to name a few. WOODLANDS DARK is produced by Severin Film’s David Gregory, masterfully edited and precisely paced. A groundbreaking work, extensively researched and made over a period of many years, and, cherry on top, features an eerie paper collage sequence by Canadian treasure Guy Maddin. As for the director herself, Kier-La Janisse, she’s the author of acclaimed House Of Psychotic Women, founder of the Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, film curator, critic, producer – Janisse has proven time and time again that she is an infinite well of wisdom and knowledge on all things within genre cinema. In her own words, WOODLANDS DARK “investigates the many ways that we alternately celebrate, conceal and manipulate our own histories in an attempt to find spiritual resonance in our surroundings.” How about that?

Yakuza Princess

18 August 21h00
20 August 09h00

Sao Paulo, Brazil is the largest Japanese diasporic community in the world, home to over 1.6 million Japanese-Brazilians and many former Japanese residents. Among them is Akemi (Japanese-American singer MASUMI), a young Japanese woman raised in Brazil and trained since childhood in martial arts and sword fighting by the benevolent but strict Chiba (Toshiji Takeshima). Akemi knows nothing of her heritage or her family, and yearns to break free and find her own way in the world – but her family’s past will soon catch up to her. Elsewhere in a Sao Paulo hospital lies the mysterious Shiro (Johnathan Rhys-Meyers), badly wounded and an amnesiac, with only an antique Japanese sword to provide any answers to the riddles of who he is and how he got there. The two mysteries will soon intersect and the criminal underworld will be rocked by the answers the pair uncover together. And it won’t be pretty.

Changing Destinies In Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans

22 Jul

Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021) - IMDbBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

On Netflix
Spoiler Alert

The finale to the Tales of Arcadia has all the key players–Jim Lake, Tobias, Claire, Binky, AAARRRGGHH, Crown Princess Aja, Prince Krel, Douxie and Archie–not ready to take on the Arcane Order. They’re the next threat in a long line of villains who want to restore the world to its old ways, a time before gods walked the Earth, and magic was pure. However, to do so means convincing one of their own, Nari, that their ways are true. 

This movie is very crowded and needs that prologue to explain everything that’s happened prior–including why Armageddon must happen. The concept is very much taken from Nordic design (Ragnorak); everything must be destroyed before the world can be remade and this theme plays out anyways, much to my chagrin. This introduction could’ve been trimmed out in favour of new material, but not everyone will know Trollhunters, 3Below and Wizards inside and out. It’s terrific to see all the supporting characters return for even a few minutes, but that finale–a good portion of the fans for this series are angry. Spoilers follow:

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10 Summer Blockbuster Movie That Still Sizzles

2 Jul

Guardians of The Galaxy Poster: 30+ Printable Posters (Free Download)By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

The summer season is in full swing, and so are many more theatres as restrictions ease. Yes, some of us will be hiding in those well ventilated movie houses with the air conditioner jacked up. Assuming everyone is vaccinated, there’s no worry for an outbreak to happen. In my years of going to the theatre, my definition of an ideal marathon (or way to beat the heat) are the following, ranked to my number one pick.

Guardians of the Galaxy
Released: August 1, 2014

If Starlord and his gang can’t destroy a sun, then I don’t think anyone else can–short of a Celestial. Although we don’t want that to happen (it’d cause the death of any nearby civilizations), we can dance along to this hilarious action packed adventure and origin story of the gang going up against Marvel Cinematic Universe’s baddie, Thanos. Well, not yet, but this work properly gives him that backstory to know why he is who he is. He can snuff out a star without a problem.

Music is going to be a bit of a theme on this list, as next up is…

Released: June 16, 1978

John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John as teens in love imagines the glory days, the 50s when romance was innocent. The movie popped into the theatres at the height of when the television show Happy Days was popular and the music is the word. Some kids may have that summer fling that can blossom to true love, but is it? People can dream. But to dowop the what dreams may come ideal makes this film a must to relive what many grandparents (or older parental units) may have gone through themselves.

Released: July 20, 2007

Admittedly, I have a soft spot for works Travolta appeared in, including this adaptation of the musical. He shows that even under heavy make-up and prosthetics, that he can still strut his stuff. The real hero is technically Tracy’s (played by Nikki Blonsky) who must fight against racism and stigma in the sweltering summer of 1960s Baltimore. The music is even more infectious, and you just have to dance along to it by the end!

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) — The Movie  Database (TMDb)

Pirates of the Caribbean:
Curse of the Black Pearl

Released: July 9, 2003

Sailing the seas isn’t safe in this film (or the next one), but for quintessential viewing (especially for fans of Disney products), this introduction to a franchise shows its possible to adapt a ride to a film, complete with an irrepressible antihero to boot! Like him or not, Johnny Depp is a character and when he completely tosses himself into the role, he’s a hoot to watch!

Spider-Man 2
Released: June 30, 2004

Sam Raimi’s masterpiece is just that. He gave us a mad scientist whom we come to understand, a superhero going through the ropes of being an overnight sensation and a threat that can destroy the Earth! The concept is the epitome of every single comic book for the past few decades before the post-modern wave gave us brilliant writers who’ve upped the ante to delve into the psyche of why these heroes do what they do. Plus, with the trademark style Raimi is known for in his Evil Dead films, we have an everyman’s film to appreciate.

Independence Day
Released: July 3, 1996

No top ten list can be complete without mention of the celebrations that take place on the first week of July. That’s mostly in North America, but elsewhere, it’s hard not to see the star-power of Will Smith shine. Fresh off his television series, everyone knew this personality will go far, and he did! He blew up one huge alien ship. It’s no spoiler by now in how it’s done or just how big that mothership is.

Amazon.com: (27x40) Back to the Future Michael J Fox Movie Poster: Prints:  Posters & Prints

Back to the Future
Released: July 3, 1985

Who doesn’t want to go back in time with Michael J. Fox? Honestly, the entire trilogy must be watched to bolster that theme of young love, interfering with that romance and then fixing it so you’ll live to see tomorrow. The soundtrack made the first in the series even more dynamic because they were either rightfully selected or composed specifically for.

The attention on Marty, Doc Brown (and Jennifer) made up the basis for the first two films. Its focus on how to make Lorraine (Lea Thompson) happy made up for one layer of the narrative. The third film, in my opinion, diverged to a point where I say its standalone because the demand was huge to bring back Fox and Lloyd.

Terminator 2: Judgment Day
Released: July 3, 1991

James Cameron knows how to make action films and this sequel show what he can do with computer animation in film. Earlier attempts were lacklustre at best, and for him to be pioneer (especially concerning the T-1000) says a lot about how he earned my respect. He gave us a great film of contrasts. We see that in a spunky kid with a muscle bound guardian. From the T100 to the 1000 series, we learn thin is in and having a shrewd intelligence of a computer can help find hollow victories. That’s until the end where the only way to save the present is to destroy the future–utterly.

The Blues Brothers
Released: June 20, 1980

Anyone who loves Saturday Night Live during the 80s will know who these brothers are. They’re a fictional pairing (created by Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd) who loves to sing the blues. On the small screen, there’s no story about who they are and why they do what they do, other than to sing covers of various songs already made famous by greats like Taj Mahal.

On the big screen, we get that origin story and why they’re notorious. They’re ne’er-do-wells. Thankfully, Jake got to see the light and wants to save the orphanage where they were raised. The crazy extended chase that results (they somehow manage to get the ire of a local cult and the law) while making stops to sing their best tunes makes for a must watch for the season.

Indiana Jones Raiders of the Lost Ark Movie Poster 24x36 – BananaRoad

Raiders of the Lost Ark
Released: June 12, 1981

Different people will define the pulps according to what they like about them. For myself, it’s about the quest and high-stakes adventures that go on to which this franchise successfully kept the action going.

Honestly, the idea to pay tribute to the science fiction B-movies in the last film, Kingdom of Crystal Skull, was a terrible one and it should have stuck to lost worlds, forgotten artifacts and the Nazis. Well, we have to deal with the many loves of Indiana Jones too, and the television series did a terrific job on that. But to know how it all started defines my top #1 pick.

Sorry Star Wars, but you’ve lost me when The Mouse took over and never released A New Hope, unedited on bluray or 4K. 


Star Wars The Bad Batch Isn’t Without Its Rough Spots

7 May

Star Wars: The Bad Batch Gets All-New Poster

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Dave Filoni’s love for Star Wars makes this latest instalment, The Bad Batch, a must watch. One reason is simply because it’s a continuation of the ongoing narrative which started in the animated Clone Wars series, and another is how the psychological action-adventure drama sees the loss of freedom (and will of an individual) a permanent theme. It’s safe to say knowing the movies, Episodes 2 “Attack of the Clones” and 3 “Revenge of the Sith” will do more to establish the backdrop for anyone needing a refresher.

The first ten minutes of the pilot reveal when this tale takes place in that timeframe. One detail to take note on is that Caleb Dume, a.k.a. Kanan Jarrus of Star Wars Rebels is a Jedi in training who’s escaped death.

A hundred eighty rotations later, the team of Hunter, Tech, Wrecker, Crosshair finished their mission and are headed home to Kamino. They are still wondering what Order 66 is supposed to be about and whether that kid died “a long time ago.” When they land, the newly minted Empire is setting up shop. The passage of time is perplexing because, according to most resource guides, a cycle is often in reference to a day instead of an hour. Unless we’re dealing with a theory that there’s 42 hours in a cosmic day (aka rotation), not much time has really passed.

The team soon has Grand Moff Tarkin wanting to see how well they function. Their way of independent thinking is a result of their faulty programming. They are one of the first batches of clones created for the Republic’s War against a Phantom Menace, and since their introduction in The Clone Wars Season Seven, I’m enjoying this look at the war from a conscript’s perspective (even though they’ll eventually turn into mercenaries).

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The Details are on The Last Action Hero 4K Release this May!

29 Apr

Finally, Last Action Hero Is Coming To 4K Blu-ray On May 18thRELEASE DATE:
May 18th, 2021

Available to preorder on Amazon USA

The magic of action cinema can’t look any more pristine in this remaster of an 80s classic which stars Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger). All those explosions and crazy stunts is sure to colour this release–and we get a well-meaning fantasy to boot!

This movie is cheesy in its tribute to the many action adventure films this era is famous for. In reality, the movie is about a young boy who doesn’t have a father-figure in his life. We can relate in how this boy retreats to a movie house in order to live out a fantasy. He finds solace and a strength to be his own hero by the film’s end.

There’s all new features included in this 4K release! The blu-ray edition had none and anyone who has been patiently waiting will be glad to find this definitive edition will have everything you’d want, including an alternate ending!

Young Danny Madigan (Austin O’Brien) is a lonely 11-year-old boy who escapes from his bleak reality by watching the action adventure movies of his favorite film character, Jack Slater (Schwarzenegger). When his best friend, Nick the projectionist, gives him a special ticket to the new Slater film, Danny is magically transported into Jack’s world, where the good guys always win. Danny becomes his helper as Jack battles a trio of nefarious bad guys, Benedict (Charles Dance), Vivaldi (Anthony Quinn) and The Ripper (Tom Noonan). But things get out of hand when Benedict steals Danny’s magic ticket stub and transports himself into the real world, where crime can, and often does, pay. Jack and Danny must leave fictional Los Angeles for real-life New York and battle the villains without the aid of movie magic or stuntmen.

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