The 2020 Frightening Ass Film Festival is Coming!

This year marks the 10th edition of the Frightening Ass Film Fest (FAFF); the Chattanooga Film Festival’s seasonal festival held in and around Halloween. Slated for October 30 and October 31, FAFF will be an exciting mix of short films, new indie features, and carefully curated cult classics. Organizers are also putting together a series of live events, similar to the events that made CFF’s virtual edition in May an interactive fan-friendly experience.

Frightening Ass Film Fest (FAFF) All Access Badges are available now for the price of $25 with individual tickets for certain films being made available closer to the event. Attendees will be able to access all films beginning 12:00 am EST October 30, and access ends 6:00 am EST the morning of November 1st. This yearly event functions as a fundraiser for the Chattanooga Film Festival, a 501c(3), with all proceeds benefiting the staging of the 2021 edition of the fest.

Frightening Ass Film Fest (FAFF) also marks the return of Chattanooga Film Festival collaborators Media Team and Silver Scream FX Lab along with the much-anticipated return of fan-favorite characters Bubz, Professor Morte, and Guna, who will be on hand to host the weekend’s live offerings.

OFFICIAL FILM SYNOPSIS

76 HORROR BOOKSTORE: TIN OF FEAR | Directors David Chuang & Hung Tze-Peng
Taiwan, 2020
FAFF 10 is proud to present all four episodes in the first series of this bonkers Tawainese anthology series.

2011 | Director Alexandre Prieur-Grenier
Canada, 2020
The daily life of a night owl video editor working in his apartment, gradually slides into anxiety when a mysterious neighbor, whom he never meets, but whose presence is constantly felt, gradually torments his existence.

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10 on the 10th – October 2020

There’s some very weird stuff among this very solid list of films – the killer-style of Deerskin, the physical trauma of Tokyo Fist, the civil servant aspirations/delusions of Infinite Football, the cheap-o monster-fighting of Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters. Probably least well known of these unusual movies is The Million Game, a re-imagining of The Most Dangerous Game as a German reality television program complete with fictional advertisements and variety show acts. It’s tacky, cravenly commercial, and a weirdly singular TV-movie experience.

  1. ParaNorman (Sam Fell and Chris Butler, 2012)
  2. The Whistlers (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2019)
  3. Deerskin (Quentin Dupieux, 2019)
  4. Santo and Blue Demon Against the Monsters (Gilberto Martínez Solares, 1970)
  5. One Cut of the Dead (Shinichiro Ueda, 2017)
  6. Infinite Football (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2018)
  7. Tora-san, the Intellectual (Yoji Yamada, 1975)
  8. Tora-san Meets the Songstress Again (Yoji Yamada, 1975)
  9. The Million Game (Tom Toelle, 1970)
  10. Tokyo Fist (Shinya Tsukamoto, 1995)

Although Letterboxd lists it on its site, I’ve omitted HBO’s Watchmen series from this list despite having finished it between Tora-san, the Intellectual and Infinite Football. I must admit to feeling conflicted about Watchmen and to being one of the few people who consider it an admirable failure. While the HBO series obviously has its heart in the right place and is impressive in its world-building, its ultimate reverence for super-heroics and its othered villainy seems out of place with the cynical caution of Alan Moore’s original books. One might push back that the world today needs a certain amount of optimism, although Moore’s recent comments to Deadline about the “blight” cast by superheroes on cinema specifically and the culture generally seem equally applicable to the hailed HBO series.

Lastly, the Nightstream online film festival continues, providing MMC! with an opportunity to revisit The Eyeslicer Halloween Special. The fest continues until tomorrow night with plenty of great films and events still to come including Sunday’s “Dinner with the Masters of Horror: A Tribute to Mick Harris,” an evening with Harris with friends Joe Dante, Ernest Dickerson, Axelle Carolyn, Mike Flanagan, Tom Holland, John Landis, William Malone, Tommy McLoughlin, and some additional surprises! American friends of MMC! should be sure to check out Nightstream and support some excellent causes.

Nightstream is HERE!

Great news for MMC!’s American friends – the Nightstream virtual film festival kicks off today and ends on Sunday!

Not sure what Nightstream is about? The festival’s collaborative responsemission statement is offered on the festival’s website.

In response to the many challenges impacting the film community amid the Covid-19 pandemic and the concerns of safety and security that presently come with physical exhibition and festivals, a collective online initiative is being launched by organizers of a number of American genre festivals for the upcoming fall season to offer a singular experience for U.S. audiences. Together the Boston Underground Film Festival (MA), Brooklyn Horror Film Festival (NY), North Bend Film Festival (WA), The Overlook Film Festival (LA), and Popcorn Frights Film Festival (FL) have joined forces under the banner of NIGHTSTREAM to present a dynamic and accessible virtual festival in October 2020.

Nightstream has a killer program with MMC! favourites Dinner in America, Survival Skills, Hunted, Anything for JacksonLapsis, and Climate of the Hunter on the slate, as well as intriguing titles like Quentin Dupieux‘s giant fly caper Mandibles (2020), Alister Grierson’s Aussie-Finnish horror-comedy Bloody Hell (2020), Jesse Blanchard’s horror puppet show Frank & Zed (2020), Lawrence Michael Levine’s Black Bear (2019) starring Aubrey Plaza, and Chris Baugh’s Irish road workers versus vampire flick, Boys From County Hell (2020). Numerous short programs, panels, and special events round out Nightstream, including some tantalizing offerings like “The Morbido Crypt’s Guide to Mexican Fantasy and Horror” presented by The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies, “For the Love of Horror Comics” presented by Midnight Pulp, “The Eyeslicer Halloween Special: Sleepover Pajama Party, Hosted by Gwilliam,” Arrow‘s “The Future of Horror is Female,” “Horror Camp!” with Peaches Christ, and “Indonesian Horror” presented by Shudder.

This is a great cause that has the benefit of being a slamming festival as well, so be sure to show your support for Nightstream tonight and cancel your weekend plans!

Dinner in America (Adam Carter Rehmeier, 2020) – Fantasia International Film Festival 2020

AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE AND PUNK ROCK

In a dreary Michigan suburb, aggro punk rocker Simon (Kyle Gallner) finds himself on the run after a bout of arson and a close call with the police. A chance encounter with eccentric and socially awkward Patty (Emily Skeggs) provides him a place to hide from the law, though she fails to realize that her new friend is the anonymous lead singer of her favourite band. The pair embark on a series of misadventures and while their radically different personalities make them an unlikely duo, Simon and Patty realize that they have a lot more in common than first expected.

Dinner in America is an ode to the ’90s Nebraska punk-scene of writer-director Adam Carter Rehmeier and a hilarious underdog love story boosted by a generous helping of absurdity and some instantly quotable dialogue. Set to the beat of brilliant original songs and perfectly casting Skeggs and Gallner as a suburban Bonnie and Clyde, Dinner in America is a wild and empowering ride through the places and people of Middle America — in all their peculiar forms.

Special Edition Contents:

  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
  • 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Uncompressed Stereo PCM
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • Feature-length audio commentary with director Adam Carter Rehmeier and producer Ross Putman
  • One Night Only, new interview on the film’s music with Rehmeier, Emily Skeggs, Kyle Gallner, and composer John Swihart
  • Freedom from Want, new interviews with supporting cast members Lea Thompson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Pat Healy, and Griffin Gluck
  • Straight Shooting, new interview with cinematographer Jean-Philippe Bernier
  • Apocalypse Yow, new interview with musician and actor David Yow
  • Detroit Punk City, stories from cast and crew on the shoot
  • Outtakes and deleted scenes
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Soundtrack CD including a remix of “Watermelon” by Bernier
  • Reversible sleeve featuring two artwork choices

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by producer-director Ant Timpson

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My Fantasia Top Twelve Features

The 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival and its inaugural online edition officially reached its conclusion earlier this month and MMC! is so grateful to have been given the opportunity to participate. Scores of films were screened and new favourites were discovered. MMC! must thank Fantasia’s outstanding staff for their unbelievable work and their smoothly run festival. Shout-outs to Steven, Alyssia, Lorenzo, and Marie-Jade! Jusqu’à l’année prochaine!

This year’s Fantasia was full of very entertaining films and whittling them down to a selection of favourites wasn’t easy. Depite this challenge (and because I’m a consummate professional), here are MMC!’s ten twelve favourite films from the 2020 FIFF!

Dinner in America (Adam Carter Rehmeier, 2020)

There was no film I more purely enjoyed than Adam Carter Rehmeier’s Dinner in America. A tribute to the director’s ’90s-era Nebraska punk scene, Rehmeier creates a wonderfully antagonistic, feel good rom-com that matches Simon, a drug-dealing, bio-pimping, stridently punk arsonist, with Patty, an overly sheltered, overly medicated, dim bulb fashion disaster. Their suburban Michigan environs are enjoyably flat, most frequently centred around cringe-inducing meals, but the pair bring out the nuances in each other that create fuller, even likeable, people. In true punk spirit, there are no engineered misunderstandings, no changes of heart, and no makeovers. Simon and Patty are just two unusual people who already adore each other (even if they didn’t already know it) and are happy to flip off the rest of the world in exchange for a few memorable days of hell-raising. And if that weren’t enough, Dinner in America brought Fantasia’s most magical single moment, a goosebump-raising original song that confirms the film’s brilliance on four-tracks. This is an aggressively adorkable romance and a surprising demand for punk rock’s antiestablishment voice during these tense times. (Where are you punk rock?) In a just world, there would be a generation of high schoolers and college kids that call Dinner in America a touchstone film. Bang your head and warm your heart, dum dum.

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My Fantasia Top Ten Shorts!

The 2020 Fantasia International Film Festival comes to a close today with a handful of screenings (including MMC! favourite, Gabriel Carrer and Reese Eveneshen’s For the Sake of Vicious, and its closing film, Keil McNaughton’s The Legend of Baron To’a)! Be sure to check out my Letterboxd list for the 2020 FIFF which has nearly 150 reviews and ratings of Fantasia features and shorts and which will continue to grow beyond the conclusion of the Festival.

MMC!’s round-up of its favourite feature films screened at Fantasia will be coming soon, as will individual posts imagining the Festival’s best titles for spine-numbered glory. In the meantime, MMC! celebrates its ten favourite short films screened at this inaugural online edition of North America’s greatest fantastic film festival. Here we go!

Who Goes There? (Astrid Thorvaldsen, 2020)

I often get cranky with horror shorts for cheating themselves by offering contexts rather than stories and passing off tone as plot. Who Goes There? is a case study in creating a proper horror short. Made by Norwegian-born, British filmmaker Astrid Thorvaldsen and shortlisted for the 2020 Student BAFTAs, the film is set on an 1880 Minnesota homestead where two sisters, one pious and fearful and the other assertive and irreligious, struggle to care for a third sister taken by a grave illness. The arrival of traveling doctor on the verge of death himself raises concerns that a supernatural force preys upon them and leads to a series of fearsome twists and revelations. The 24-minute film is purposefully paced and totally assured in its direction, avoiding the types of ostentatious visuals that too often plague such shorts. The result is a mini-masterpiece with a convincing period-setting, foreboding and dreadful tension, and a clever conclusion that keeps up the film’s “show, don’t tell” approach to character-driven storytelling. Who Goes There? is currently being developed by Thorvaldsen into a full feature and deservedly so.

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