Sure, MMC! made the Buried Alive Film Festival’s first day of full programming sound great, but BAFF really comes into its own on Friday, November 16th. There, BAFF offers three feature-length movies, one live score, one supporting short, and a full program of 10 short films entitled “Bury Me With My Favorite Films.” There’s plenty to see and enjoy at the 7 Stages Theatre this Friday. Those on the fence about attending or those looking for a preview of what to watch thankfully have MMC! to point the way.
Here, dear reader, are MMC!‘s five favourite reasons to BAFF this Friday!
1. FP2: Beats of Rage
MMC! was already a fan of Jason and Brandon Trost’s The FP (2011), a Drafthouse Films selection that imagines a post-apocalyptic world where “ninjas” compete for dominance through a competitive dance-off arcade game. Granted, watching The FP always leaves me cursing incessantly and calling people “ham sandwich” (much to my wife’s disapproval), but the film is so unusual and absurd that its strange side-effects must be undertaken. After years of Jason Trost struggling to find funding for his long-desired sequels, JTRO finally returns to the screen thanks to some crowdsourced fundraising, this time exploring the Wastes that surround the FP in hopes of restoring the community’s much needed supply of booze. Beats of Rage (Jason Trost, 2018) imbues the FP‘s world with the epic scope (and walking) of The Lord of the Rings and the loose mysticism of Star Wars, seeing JTRO participate in a Beat-Beat Revelation tournament against a wretched hive of wack scum and appropriated villainy and then “re-ninj” to complete his hero’s journey. Fans of The FP will find the world they love largely intact, still full of dystopian b-boy fashions and ridiculous hip hop-tough verbiage, while late-comers will easily pick up what Beats of Rage is laying down. FP2 doesn’t always land and shows its limited budget on occasion (I wish more time and space was spent exploring Tallay Wickham’s CHAI-T or the giant, thrift store witches/sorceresses that appear periodically), but the film delivers where it needs to and expands its world in ways that are new and unexpected. We can only hope that another FP film won’t be quite the same wait.
Christopher Litten’s CLAW (2018) is a Creepypasta short film based on an early 2000 urban legend and considers an adult film star’s strange encounter with an unusual benefactor and his crustacean. The short is heavy with Eurotrash sensibilities, even offering an excellently off-brand Udo Kier and a film style that seems remarkably inspired by Panos Cosmatos. We won’t spoil this mini-body horror masterpiece, although its plot points are easy enough to anticipate. CLAW succeeds in its journey, a remarkably realized and stylish production design that elevates the short into something otherworldly.
The Irish film Catcalls (2017) is one of many BAFF shorts using horror themes to combat instances of toxic masculinity. Kate Dolan’s short is certainly Friday’s best example. Catcalls takes a simple idea – a man who flashes a couple of young women and speeds off in his car later discovers that their encounter isn’t over – and does it extremely well. Dolan’s short has a wonderfully tense atmosphere, some unnerving performances, and, most importantly, a memorable, visually arresting monster. Those eager to see society’s predators made into prey need look no farther than Catcalls.
4. Count Your Curses
Lorène Yavo’s animated short Count Your Curses (2017) concerns two roommates living in a town where supernatural beings are a part of everyday life. When their house spirit is regularly devoured by a mysterious creature overnight, they look for a replacement and begin searching for a solution to their pest problem. Yavo’s magical world is beautifully rendered and realized, no doubt inspired by the many twee fantasy cartoons currently in circulation. The short distinguishes itself by approaching its world with a lived-in attention to everyday, making Count Your Curses an intriguing effort in magical twentysomething slackerdom. The result is wonderful and I could watch a whole series set in this world.
5. Netflix and Chill
Michael Middelkoop’s Netflix and Chill (2017) is one of those single-gag horror shorts that is extremely difficult to discuss without spoiling its entire reason for being. A young man is invited over for an evening of movie-watching and fooling around and encounters an ulterior motive he hardly expects. The short film is wonderfully achieved and its pay-off had me laughing out loud. You can’t go wrong with all that PLUS a production design shout-out to The Shining.
So there you have it – five great reasons to get Buried Alive this Friday! Be sure to check out my Letterboxd list for BAFF and make note of some of Friday’s other great films like Chelsea Lupkin’s Lucy’s Tale (2018), Joshua Long’s Post Mortem Mary (2017), and Benjamin Swicker’s A/S/L (2018). And keep circling back to MMC! for more previews of BAFF hits to come!