I took the 4:40 train from London to Manchester and hit up Grimmfest. The horror festival up North which has been running since 2009. Manchester is two hours on the train from London and has a industrial vibe going on. With fog covering the streets and canal it looked exactly how you would imagine any horror film to begin. I hurried to the beautiful big Odeon Printworks cinema and sat down for the first film Synchronicity.
Based in what could be any generic Gotham like city where day never seems to arrive Synchronicity excited and confused me all at once. Telling the story of Jim Beale who invents a time machine with two of his long time friends, he comes into contact with femme fatale Abby and quite soon we are introduced to worm holes, parallel universe’s and love that knows no bounds. The film takes many of its queues from films such as Blade Runner and similar Sci Fi noir films, there were also hints of Memento, Gattaca and even Bill Murray’s Groundhog Day.
With an obvious tight budget director Jacob Gentry has made a fun and entertaining piece of cinema. I can’t say I am one for sitting down and spending my days chilling out to science fiction films however Synchronicity makes time travel accessible for a wider audience which is always nice. The acting is cheesy at times but works well in harking back to schlocky sci-fi dramas which I’m sure Gentry knows all about.
The music fits, the setting fits, the characters all fit. It really works and is ‘synchronistic’ in it’s execution. Like any film that explores time travel at times it did become confusing and for a simpleton like me when explained to about parallel universes my mouth was left open with a wondering glance at the screen. Yet I didn’t really care if I understood or not by the end, it had been a fun ride.
Then I come to Deathgasm!
F*&K YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!! This is what I’m talkin’ bout! A film disgusting, crazy, filled with dildos, demon possessed parents and teachers who shit blood out of their orifices. My kind of film!
Set in a small town in New Zealand misfit metal head Brodie, feels powerless against the tirade of school bullies and life in general. Metal gets him through the day. With three of his friends they start a metal band and find mysterious sheets of old music. Unbeknownst to them once playing the mystic music notes the town becomes possessed by demons with satan himself ready to rise on the red moon.
The film begins so strongly and sets itself above and beyond with other New Zealand horror comedies. Unfortunately there are times in the film where it does dip and the narrative becomes a bit of a wish-wash compared to the insanely fantastic gore and kills. Saying this though the film is such a blast that you can forgive any grievances the script raises.
Having metal head friends I loved the references and it’s obvious the admiration director Jason Lei Howden has for the genre of both metal and horror and how they interchange with the themes of the wild, dark and crazy. As mentioned before the scene with death by sex toy is truly inspired and mixed with New Zealand’s dead pan humour Deathgasm is easily one of the funnest horror films I have seen in a while.
We Are Still Here
The problem for this film was expectation. TOO much. So once the film started rolling and then once it came to a close I felt like it wasn’t as funny or exciting as everyone had kept telling me. We Are Still Here is about a couple who recently move to a deserted town house where they hear strange things at night, thinking it’s their dead son but only to find out there is a much larger and darker force at the bottom of their house.
Barbra Crampton is always a joy to watch and the gore in the film is lifted to 1000000 but I can’t say it engaged me as I would have liked. It is an entertaining piece of cinema and by gosh there are definitely worse horror films but this one didn’t reach its maximum potential.
So there we have it. Part 2 of my time at Grimmfest coming up including reviews and a Q&A with the makers of the original Hellraiser.