Tag Archives: Zombie

[Fantasia 2021] Dreaming About “Strawberry Mansion” and those Fields too…

23 Aug

Strawberry Mansion: A great sci-fi premise with trippy, arthouse execution  | Ars TechnicaBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Fantasia Film Festival 2021
Screening Online until end of event (Aug 25, 2021)
Tickets can be purchased here.

Writers/Directors Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley may well have been listening to The Beatles song, “Strawberry Fields Forever” when they came up with the story for Strawberry Mansion. There’s an 80s nostalgic quality in this film’s design. Part of it is because it was filmed that way, and the other with the set design. Another layer includes 50s style science fiction elements set against a 80s fantasy in a mostly character driven drama about what makes Arabella Isadora (Penny Fuller) tick.

She’s a widow, and all the dreams she’s catalogued are being audited. In the future, there’s technology which allows people to record their dreams. As for why anyone would want to, the reasons aren’t entirely clear. It’s definitely offered to those who want to look back at their lives. However, I don’t think she’s strapping the Doc Brown (Back to the Future) invention on just so she can collect all those subconscious thoughts. Neither has this film once said she’s using it herself to make sense of her past.

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[Fantasia 2021] Building a “Kratt” to Conquer Boredom

23 Aug

Kratt (2020) - IMDb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Fantasia Film Festival 2021
Screening Online until end of event (Aug 25, 2021)
Tickets can be purchased here.

Kratt is one of those types of horror comedies that I can see underperforming because not everyone is familiar with Estonian folklore. Technically, there is no creature to fear. Instead, it’s what the kids fear as they spend a summer without technology, and at grandmother’s house! They can’t run away, but find friends to play with.

Writer/director Rasmus Merivoo crafted a wickedly funny fable which considers what tweens can do when left on their own. They’ll have to create their own entertainment and after making local friends, they find a spell book and make a golem. However, unlike the traditional Jewish servant of lore, who is inherently neutral, answering to their master’s commands, the Kratt will deviate when no further work is asked of it. It’ll turn on their master and kill. 

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Barely Scratching the Surface on the “Skinwalker”

18 Jul

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

October Coast
Now Available on VOD & DVD

It’s rare to get a movie about the Weird West these days. When it concerns Skinwalkers, also the title, I couldn’t help but want to look at Robert Conway’s film. His take in what the Indian legends of these shapeshifters are about is easier to understand, but it has nothing to do with recent investigations of a certain highly secure ranch. I secretly wanted his work to connect to the latest folklore, but alas no signs of aliens from Mars are spotted here.

Instead, we have a very traditional horror tale set in the yesteryears of American colonization. Two cowboys disturb a grave and the chaos that erupts is true to form. The items they stole are haunted, and are a beacon for the spirit to follow. This director also tosses in a few moments in how locals treat the indigenous tribes. And when the dead want justice, there’s certainly hell to pay. If only a voice for the tribal children lost in the residential schools in Canada also existed….

The film begins by showing two cowboys (Nathaniel Burns and Conway) not knowing any better about the stuff they found. Instead of a creature completely ethereal trying to be reasonable with these grave-robbers, it’s simply out for blood. Real-life interpretations of the Skinwalker say it can take on the shape of anyone. So why couldn’t it become someone these robbers know and try to be reasonable? Ghosts are rarely that in entertainment, but when considering the human mind can’t comprehend the paranormal, their flight instead of fight response is normal.

I like the setup and there’s an air of trying to be authentic, but there are times the dialogue doesn’t always measure up. In what is basically a zombie film, anything that’s authentically characteristic about the folklore of the Skinwalkers is not there. Maybe this filmmaker should’ve spent more time reading Louis L’amour than going for a Wild Wild West (the TV series) meets Evil Dead.

3 Stars out of 5

Arriving in Home Video, Ancient Korea is Rampant with Zombies!

27 Feb

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Ancient Korea has a problem and it’s coming from two fronts. Night Demons are everywhere, and there’s a plot to overthrow the Young dynasty (Josen period, 1392–1897). To say which is worse, fans of Asian horror will have to see. Rampant is now out on home video by Well GO USA Entertainment.

The bonus materials are light. It consists of a making-of and behind the scenes piece, discussing production elements. With this work, attention is more with the story! The set design is spot on to bring this feudal period to life.

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