This lovely Slovenian hillbilly horror is out from Artsploitation Films on Vimeo and I could not be happier. While it does have a lot of elements some many people cry foul over when it comes to splatter slasher down n’dirty films, those are the elements I do adore. When four city folk get taken hostage in deformed and drunken rednecks basements, I get all kinds of interested. Sure, it could be due to being unable to take the ‘country out of the girl’ or what have you, but I also find this a scary situation. And horror is supposed to scare you. And make you think. A lot of those things that make people ‘cry foul’ are also set to make you think. The illness of alcoholism, the poor treatment of women, having to survive with limited resources in unknown territory, and having your heroes be interlopers to a land they will never belong and can only damage: all things I love in film. Add to that a refreshing summer-scape of blue sky, tall trees and green grass and I’m even happier. It’s a wicked tundra here already so this was welcome. Hence, the original title of ‘Idyll’ since it is quite idyllic, and that is the main reason our four friends find themselves deep in the land ‘where men are men and sheep are nervous’. A few times I found the score a little out of place, too loud and jarring, but it is a fairly good soundtrack with some experimental noise that I really did like. Quite brutal, steeped in the inbred strain of the genre and not without it’s own quaint countryside charms, Killbillies was all I’d hoped it be, and then some. The end left me a little stunned, which is a nice cherry on top when it comes to this sort of film.
Wild Fell, by Michael Rowe
Worthy of the Shirley Jackson award and then some, I’m very glad I’d taken Sean Moreland’s advice (and of the ChiZine crew) and picked this up. I love a good ghost story and now I’ve been able to read one of the contemporary best. Based in Alvina, Ontario, it has a special resonance since I’m from the north and did have an ancestor named Alvina. Always thought that was a pretty name and wondered if it were a pretty place…
According to Wild Fell it may be but it’s also terribly haunted. Haunted in that way all small towns can be. The mansion itself, Wild Fell proper, is right up at the top of the list of fine literary haunted houses now. Rowe is also now at the top of my list of fine Canadian authors too.
Recently I’ve been participating in a workshop group of writers. It’s been really helpful already. Just having others work to dissect, new stories to dig into, and some feedback on my own work. Precious. I’d spent most of my learning to write by reading wonderful stuff like Wild Fell. Maybe a little too much reading and not enough writing, but that feels like splitting hairs. Between having some really great new authors writing this new dark weird and some of them to toss ideas around with, I feel much better equipped in my own work lately. It’s a nice feeling to have.
The Red Pill (2016)
How do you review a film you haven’t seen? Well, you can’t so this is not a review at all. It looks like I will be waiting for the VOD version of this to hit since this documentary has been deemed so dangerous that many groups are protesting screenings. The Mayfair cancelled this film under pressure (online or in person, bullying or suggestion, I have no idea but there was a protest planned) and now the screening is going forward at a new location presented by another group. It’s unfair that in order to see this a person may find themselves aligning with one group or another. That by stating they want to see it, people assume too much about the future viewers morals, political makeup or lifestyle goals. I found it unfair that to go see a documentary in my favourite theatre I might have had to don headphones and a hoodie in line while people yelled at those buying tickets. Some people may think that’s exciting, but I find it highly disturbing. So, I’ll be waiting to see this in the comfort of my own home. Making up my own mind, like I normally do. Accepting that there are opinions I may or may not agree with, in whole or in part, and that everyone has a right to express those views without threat of violence. Hell, even without being shouted down, which I find just as violent. I’m just as disappointed that this screening was cancelled, as I am with feminist groups accusing the theatre of aligning with anti-femininsts as well as anti-feminists accusing the theatre of bowing under pressure. It’s all very disappointing considering only very few people involved – if any at all – have even seen this. They are reacting to propaganda. They are letting people tell them what to think and in turn telling people what to do. I’d have much rather seen reactionary programming of more human-rights, equal-rights, feminist and mens-rights documentaries. Then maybe we could all watch ‘Chicken Hawk’ together and have a real reason to question the humans we live alongside.