The Buried Alive Film Festival wraps up this Sunday and MMC! is here to tell you why you should go! In addition to another screening of The Golem with a live score by the band Samadha (just in case you miss the screening and performance this Friday), there are two feature films, two supporting shorts, the “Why Bury Good Meat?” short program, and BAFF’s awards ceremony.
There’s plenty of good stuff to see on BAFF’s final day and MMC! has its favourites. Here, dear readers, are five MMC!-approved titles to BAFF this Sunday:
1. Survival of the Film Freaks
Bill Fulkerson and Kyle Kuchta’s documentary Survival of the Film Freaks (2018) takes a narrow approach to cult cinema, focusing on how these films circulate within its small but devoted subculture and tracing a line from grindhouse theatres to cable television, from duped cassettes to hi-def discs, and from online piracy to streaming solutions. SotFF sidesteps the question of what defines these films, instead letting the enthusiasm of its interviewees and the films’ common circulation practices provide some coherency. And there’s a veritable who’s who of cult fandom on display of SotFF, including actor Ted Raimi, Troma impresario Lloyd Kaufman, Hatchet-man Adam Green, Shock Waver Rob Galluzzo, and many, many others. Perhaps even better are the clips shown throughout SotFF which turns the doc into a veritable sizzle reel of cult film content and a primer for those looking for an introduction to cult cinema’s canon. Fulkerson and Kuchta’s greatest success is found in expressing the enthusiasm that perpetuates cult cinema’s survival and making it contagious.
2. The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds
Supporting Survival of the Film Freaks is Anthony Cousins’s short film The Bloody Ballad of Squirt Reynolds (2018), a horror comedy that riffs on the campers-in-peril trope. Set at the hilariously named Camp Nawgonamakit, Bloody Ballad nostalgically mocks the styles and fashions of previous decades and tells the tale of a beefed-up runt still seeking his vengeance. Cousins’ double-stuffs his 8-minute short with fun and leaves us wanting s’more. (I’m so ashamed I wrote that, but I can’t help it.)
3. BFF Girls
From Brian Lonano, the twisted mind that brought us Gwilliam (2015) and Crow Hand!!! (2014), comes BFF Girls (2018), a short made for BAFF-ers who like Entropia but wished it was less about a reclusive old woman and was instead inspired by a tokusatsu version of Sailor Moon. The film’s summary says it best:
This fantasy-comedy is about Rose, Lily and Violet; three dorky American girls who magically transform into beautiful Japanese Superheroes and fight a tampon monster as they begin their journey into womanhood.
No bait and switch here. BFF Girls is a menses-centric girls’ adventure and it’s even more bizarre than it sounds. Those familiar with Lonano’s other works may have a sense for how strange this short might be, but I suspect that even those estimates might prove conservative.
4. Riley Was Here
Jon Rhoads and Mike Marrero’s Riley Was Here (2018) offers a surprisingly mature and affective take on a tired genre – the viral outbreak/undead apocalypse film. Elena Devers and Julio Trinidad are extremely compelling in their strange, slow burn transaction and the short’s modest production design is perfectly spare and evocatively worn down, creating a palpable tension that promises anything might happen. I don’t want to say to much more and risk spoiling Riley Was Here‘s magic, but this is certainly a BAFF favourite for MMC!
5. We Got a Monkey’s Paw
Jakki and Zack are best friends and roommates. Zack likes bringing home creepy and dangerous occult stuff. Zack is also kind of an idiot. When Zack offers up a monkey’s paw on which to make some wishes with unintended consequences, Jakki has enough of his nonsense. Aaron Pagniano’s We Got a Monkey’s Paw (2018) is a genuinely funny and clever short film that on the one hand understands what it means to have a good-natured friend whose enthusiasm occasionally outstrips their common sense and on the other is familiar with horror’s lexicon of cursed items and pitfalls. Actors Jacqueline Jandrell and Zack Ogle have great chemistry, no doubt assisted by Ogle’s able editing that keeps the short’s brisk comedy pacing alive. With breezy, sit-com-style wackiness, We Got a Monkey’s Paw is a thoroughly charming oasis among BAFF’s bloody spectacles.
And there you have it: five great reasons to BAFF this Sunday. Big thanks to the Buried Alive Film Festival for letting MMC! preview its program and congratulations to BAFF’s organizers on a wonderfully gruesome collection of films! Now get out there Atlanta and fill up the 7 Stages Theatre!