Various min., Various
Written by Various
Directed by Various
My rating: ★★★★
Here we have the second year of the Tromadance film festival, held annually in Salt Lake City at the same time as Sundance. This time, the collection is considerably shorter, but there is a fine selection with very few stinkers.
* * *
Directed by Ian Fischer
This is the best of the collection. Based on a story by F. Paul Wilson, who created Repairman Jack and is best known for THE KEEP, a crappy movie based on an excellent book, it is a complete skewering of the fashion industry. What, exactly, is “foet” (pronounced “feet”)? It’s a special kind of material that very expensive and very hard-to-find purses are made of. Women will spend anything to get these purses, just so people can admire them, and so they can consider themselves special, members of the elite. The only problem is . . . foet is made of abortions. That’s right, human fetuses. And considering how hard it is to find, the most expensive of them all is made from white fetuses . . . . It’s a masterful approach to an amazingly gruesome idea. The drawbacks are very few. For example, the opening credits are far too drawn out, and there are far too many instances of unnecessary slo-mo. However, the dream sequence needs to be seen to be believed.
Directed by Jeff Bacon
This one isn’t horror, but it is kind of funny in certain moments. It’s a collection of suppressed beer commercials for a retro brand from the ‘Eighties. It has a very classic feel as a middle-aged man talks about how Arrowhead is for rugged men like himself. What it comes down to is, these are bloopers for the “real” commercial, some of which include the middle-aged guy rambling on in ebonics (which is pretty lame) and a botched taste test (which is actually funny). Ultimately, there’s not much here.
CHEESE THEATER: LIVE AT THE AQUACADE
Directed by Cheese Theater
This is a collection of bits from a sketch comedy troupe that advertises themselves as the “only sketch comedy group NOT from Canada.” Most of it is kind of lame, like the
businessmen who play stupid games on their way to the office (like red light-green light) and the future prank callers are possibly the worst parts from this collection. There are some amazing bits, though, like the abortion sardines one. Three Trimester Cans?! That’s some pretty grim humor right there, especially when the woman on the street gets pissed off at the scientists trying to market this product, so she opens up a can and starts shoving abortions down their throats. Another good one is RAMPS THAT LEAD TO NOWHERE, featuring people in wheelchairs being thrown down stairs. The PSA involving a father teaching his son about sex by raping him is pretty harsh (and wonderfully awkward), and the fist puppets (yes, it’s exactly what you think it is) one is also pretty funny. The bad parts are enough to weigh it down, though. If they were cut out, this would have definitely been rated PRO.
Directed by Scott Calonico
If this one fails to get a laugh out of you, then you’re probably a humorless fuck. It’s made up to look like an old-fashioned archival film from the ‘Sixties, except that it’s banned in this country (you can tell because the voiceover is in Italian). It’s some of the best conspiracy theories ever put to film. Who killed JFK? The least likely person ever: Gerald Ford. According to director Scott Calonico, he was a guard assigned to the JFK cavalcade, and Ford didn’t show up for work that day to ensure that JFK was open to assassination. How did he do this? With help from the aliens, of course. Oh yes, and Bigfoot taught him how to play football and helped him build Stonehenge. This shit is just off the rails! One of the funniest things EVER.
Directed by Chad Cardin
This one is about a woman who masturbates with veggies . . . and then eats them with her lover. That’s it. There is nothing else to this film. There’s no story; it’s a vignette at best. It feels like there could have been much more to this, but . . . nothing. Too bad; the cinematography isn’t half-bad. There is talent here, but it’s completely squandered on bullshit.
Directed by Gym Jones
This is the wonderful story of a man who brings his girlfriend back to his place for some great whiskey-fueled sex . . . until she asks him to beat her. He’s very uncomfortable with this idea (and he plays it very well as an Everyman; who wouldn’t feel weirded out by such a request?) and says no. She then goes about making his life a living hell by destroying everything he owns, hoping that he’ll finally deem her to be naughty enough to beat. The ending is kind of silly, but overall, it’s an excellent film full of great imagery and destruction.
Directed by Lloyd Kaufman
If you ever watched something from Troma on VHS in the old days, chances are you’ve probably seen this. In fact, why it’s here is baffling. Did they not have enough films to take up space on the DVD? It depicts a bunch of people dancing around in tights (including Kaufman’s daughter, Charlotte) while protesting the pollution of the world. While it is pretty silly, it’s also very heavy-handed. Yawn. Let’s move on.
Directed by Max Krueger
The atmosphere of this one is very creepy, filmed in black and white with a very haunting soundtrack. It’s very reminiscent of old David Lynch with a classic dash of Hammer. How can you mess that up? Well, in one easy step. It’s the story of a mother who calls a monster to kidnap her rebellious son. The kid is taken underground and put in a cage and terrorized, and it is all just a dream. That’s right, the kid wakes up at the end of it all in his own bed. None of it happened. Fuck that shit.
30 MINUTES OR LESS
Directed by Scott Pearlman
At least this volume ends on a good note. This is the story of a pizza delivery guy’s night on the job, hoping he can get through all of his deliveries and make it back to his angry girlfriend in time to not get dumped. Of course, it turns out to be the worst night on the job ever. First of all, director Scott Pearlman must be given credit for giving us the most sexual pizza preparation scene ever filmed, even if it is a bit silly and drawn out. It’s like they’re making the most important pizza in the world, and maybe they’re right. When he calls for the pizza boy, he says, “You are nothing. The pizzas are everything.” Weird. The pizza boy then goes on to have a crazy night in which he runs into redneck domestic abuse (for which he has to act as the negotiator between them), and he then goes on to an old lady’s place, where she wants to pay him in coins from a jar. That’s right. COINS FROM A JAR. Can you be a bigger cunt? Well, as it turns out, yes. She knocks him out and then hooks him up to a machine that will pump out all of his blood so that she can feed the cryogenically frozen Walt Disney, which she keeps in her home. Yikes. To quote the pizza boy when he wakes up, “I’m so desensitized I can’t even scream.” All right, so the story doesn’t make much sense, but it is very unusual and nasty while at the same time being pants-shittingly funny. The only complaint is the final frame, an homage to the end of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video. Pearlman deserves to be shot for that, but not in the head. Probably just in the meaty part of his thigh.
And that’s it! Stay tuned for the next installment of Tromadance, coming soon!Have You Read...?