This past weekend I had the pleasure of once again attending the Drunken Zombie International Film Festival. For the eighth year in a row, our friends at Drunken Zombie assembled a collection of independent horror movies from around the world.
How did the 2016 festivities measure up against previous years? The return of perennial fan favorite Lord Blood-Rah to perform hosting duties augured well for an imminent geekstravaganza.
Then there were the movies themselves. I'll do my best to keep the reviews spoiler free, but to start I'll just say that this year featured one of the strongest indie film lineups I've ever seen.
Let's dispense with the pleasantries and get on to the movies, shall we?
Whether intentionally or not, each DZ film fest seems to have one or more themes running through each of the entries. This year was no exception--in fact, this lineup had multiple common threads, including but not limited to: dogs, nose piercings, evil kids, etc.--and HAG exemplifies the well-represented genre of horror movies based on folklore.
You can check out the trailer here.
HAG featured solid performances, a consistently eerie, paranoid mood, and workmanlike special effects. Recommended for a good, quick scare.
An Italian zombie film composed of three segments made by four different directors, E.N.D. is a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated genre. To be honest, I found the middle section a bit weak, but the opening and concluding chapters more than made up for the sagging middle act.
Saying anything else would risk major spoilers. Go and see it for yourself!
They Will All Die in Space
Sweet Ridley Scott, is this film a winner! It might be poor form for an objective reviewer to play favorites, but a) I never claimed to be objective, and b) the sheer awesomeness of They Will All Die in Space makes it impossible for anyone except emotionless androids to remain impartial.
Full disclosure: SF-horror is my genre. Seeing someone do it this well is highly gratifying on multiple levels. What you get with TWADIS is a high tension thriller set aboard the claustrophobia-inducing confines of a ship in deep space. With set design in the venerable tradition of 80s SF noir films and shot in black and white, TWADIS pays homage to its predecessors while carving out some new territory of its own.
Hands down, my pick for the Best of Show award. What? the DZFF doesn't give out prizes? Let's see what's in my pockets...$12.62 in small bills/loose change and a used parking deck pass. It'll have to do. How much is postage to Spain?
Enough! The trailer.
Suffer the Little Children
A prime example of this year's evil kids theme, Suffer the Little Children is a short film based on the Stephen King story of the same name. See, if you want to film a Stephen King IP, he'll sell you the rights for $1, provided it's one that hasn't already been made and you promise not to profit from it. I've seen a few of these "Dollar Babies" now, and StLC ranks among the best.
Synopsis: at an ordinary American middle school, that one teacher everybody hates comes to suspect that some of her students may not be what they seem.
Highly recommended if you can track it down.
Ninja Eliminator 4
A short film made in the distorted image of a French crime/martial arts flick, NE4 is the most hilarious thing I've seen at the DZFF since 2011's Decapoda Shock (the comedic predecessor to They Will All Die in Space).
But why waste any more words when the whole movie is available right here:
Those are my thoughts on the 8th annual Drunken Zombie International Film Festival. I had a fantastic time watching one of the strongest lineups that DZ has assembled to date. The superb quality bodes well for festivals to come, and I can't wait for next year.