Hey, Toronto. If you are in the mood to have your mind blown without the aid of recreational pharmaceuticals this Saturday then you will want to check out the What The Film Festival happening at The Royal this Saturday.
Hosted by the Laser Blast Film Society, a monthly curated series of VHS action oddities at the cinema, the programmers Peter Kuplowsky and Justin Decloux have a knack for finding cinema that runs outside of the norm. They pick the best of the crop each year and we willingly subject ourselves to their selections.
Of the three selections this year, I have only seen She’s Allergic To Cats, but I am looking forward to seeing the Japanese version of Evil Dead, Bloody Muscle Body Builder in Hell. Also, who wouldn’t want to see a Gorilla in sunglasses with a hand puppet in the movie Sylvio? The descriptions and times for all three films are below.
What The Film Festival runs this Saturday, June 24th at The Royal.
WHAT THE FILM FEST is Toronto’s premiere showcase of eccentric cinema. Hosted by THE LASER BLAST FILM SOCIETY, it annually champions outlier and outsider films that intersect definitions of both genre and avant-garde cinema and operate outside the traditional parameters of taste and convention.
Tickets to individual screenings are $10 at the door, or you can purchase an advanced all-access wrist-band to see the entire programme for $20! BUY YOUR PASS HERE: universe.com/wtf17
4:30 PM – BLOODY MUSCLE BODY BUILDER IN HELL
7:00 PM – SYLVIO
9:30 PM – SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS
THE LASER BLAST FILM SOCIETY is made possible in part by the funding support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario.
BLOODY MUSCLE BODY BUILDER IN HELL
Dir. Shinichi Fukazawa
Cast: Shinichi Fukazawa, Masaaki Kai, Asako Nosaka
Japan / 2014 / 62 min / CANADIAN PREMIERE
First (and only) time writer/director/actor/editor/cinematographer/special effects creator Shinichi Fukazawa’s deliriously named film is a winking homage to Sam Raimi’s THE EVIL DEAD, transplanting the story of hapless folks getting besieged by anarchic evil spirits from a cabin in the woods to a traditional and claustrophobic Japanese home. Unfortunately for the vengeful ghosts, one of the hapless ain’t so helpless, as they happen to be the titular BODY BUILDER (portrayed by the director himself), and have brought along some barbells to this spook-a-blast brawl. Shot on grimy Super 8 in 1995, but only completed and released in 2014, Fukazawa impressively distills his love supernatural splatter to a lean 62 minutes, while colliding a familiar barrage of low-fi gore, stop-motion monsters, and verbatim Evil Dead one-liners without ever feeling like a rehash. In era of remakes and reboots, it is the rare cover that remixes its source into something fresh and surprising; a treasure of a cult film that desperately deserves an audience so that it can swallow their souls.
Dir. Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney
Cast: Sylvio Bernardi, Kentucker Audley, Albert Birney
USA / 2017 / 80 min / CANADIAN PREMIERE
OFFICIAL SELECTION, SXSW 2017
A downtrodden debt collector named Sylvio Bernardi becomes an overnight celebrity after he trips and inadvertently smashes up the set of a public-access television show in the middle of a broadcast to the delight of its audience. Recognizing the audience’s hunger to see more comical wanton destruction, the show’s producer and host (Kentucker Audley) invites him to be a regular guest. Sylvio accepts the opportunity, but only in the hope that this platform will permit him to expose the world to his true passion: performing micro-narratives with a hand-puppet of a balding middle-aged man named Herbert Herpels. Oh, and Sylvio is a gorilla that wears sunglasses; did I not mention that? Based on a popular VINE channel that chronicled the banal struggle of a working-class primate across 814 six-second clips, SYLVIO conjures up an absurd, but legitimately heartwarming (and coherent) satire and idiosyncratic character study that remarkably transcends its humble social media origins.
SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS
Dir. Michael Reich
Cast: Mike Pinkney, Sonja Kinski, Flula Borg,
USA / 2016 / 82 min / TORONTO PREMEIRE
OFFICIAL SELECTION, FANTASIA 2016
When a dog groomer (Mike Pinkey) who aspires to be recognized in Hollywood for his avant-garde video art asks out the girl of his dreams (Sonja Kinski, granddaughter of Klaus) and she accepts, he panics at the thought of inviting her over to his rat infested apartment. His anxiety leads him to illicitly procure a cat to help rid his apartment of the vermin… but oh god… the title of this movie… THIS WILL NOT END WELL! Funded entirely by working as a body double for one of the DAFT PUNK robots, Michael Reich’s incredible debut feature is a Linklater meet-cute soaked in an experimental VHS aesthetic that gradually escalates into a full-on Lynchian fever dream that dares to call out the disturbing nature of William Huyck’s HOWARD THE DARK and make a DVD copy of Frank Marshall’s CONGO look devastatingly sexy. (FILMMAKER MICHAEL REICH WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE!)
EACH FEATURE WILL BE PRECEDED BY SHORT FILMS AND MORE!
Dir. Mike Olenick
USA / 2017 / 20 min / CANADIAN PREMIERE
Precedes BLOODY MUSCLE BODY BUILDER IN HELL @ 4:30 PM
A hypnotic sci-fi soap opera that collides the idiosyncratic private lives of both humans and aliens in a parade of sublime slow-zooms and kitschy feline totems.
Dir: Steven Kostanski
CANADA / 2017 / 4 min / WORLD PREMIERE
Precedes SYLVIO @ 7:00 PM
Director Steven Kostanski (The Void, Manborg) has partnered up with Transformers rockstars The Cybertronic Spree to lend his creative vision to their first original anthem, “Cybertronic Warrior.” Taking inspiration from Japanese mecha anime, TV and video games such as Robotech, The Super Sentai series, and Cybernator, this video follows the band through a dangerous space fortress filled with evil cybernetic life forms hell-bent on their destruction. They’ll have to load their courage files to make it through. But will they all survive?
LA TRISTESSE DURERA TOUJOURS
Dir. Vinny De Ghoulie
Cast: Vinny De Ghoulie, Vera R. Taylor
USA / 2017 / 10 min / CANADIAN PREMIERE
Precedes SHE’S ALLERGIC TO CATS @ 9:30 PM
Vinny De Ghoulie returns to WHAT THE FILM FEST with what may very well be his 8 1⁄2 – a maddening deconstruction of his own process culled from the remnants of a feature film he mounted, but failed to to realize. As amusingly bemusing as it is devastating.