Best Of Tromadance Film Festival, Volume 4 [Movie reviews by John Bruni]

Best Of Tromadance Film Festival Vol. 42005
Various directors
My rating: ** (for the entire collection; individual ratings below)
Tromadance Official Site

The fourth (and so far, penultimate) volume of films from the Tromadance festival brings us a hell of a lot of flicks, but sadly, it’s
the weakest collection so far. There is a lot to go into, so maybe it’s just best to jump right in with . . . .

* * *

LE BAGMAN
Directed by Anouk Whissell, Francois Simard, and Jonathan
Prevost
19 minutes
Rating: Pro

It’s not often that a foreign language film makes it to Tromadance, and this one is, with the exception of one character, French. A young woman on the run from a monstrous hitman known only as Le Bagman accidentally gets hit by a car full of gangsta wannabes. When she tells them what’s going on, they scoff at her, especially after she says that if you say Le Bagman’s name three times, he’ll arrive, much like Candyman or Bloody Mary. Sure enough, Le Bagman shows up, and we see that he’s dressed like a bad-ass with an arsenal of weapons in his trenchcoat, except . . . he wears a grocery bag on his head. Since when did the Unknown Comic become a killer? Anyway, the phony gangstas call for help from a real gangsta, and the blood bath begins. The gore in this one is wonderfully Tromatic, and so is the humor. You will not see so many ridiculously over-the-top violent deaths in any other Tromadance film out there. There is a scene where Le Bagman stabs someone in the head with a gun and then pulls the trigger. There are some great intestine tricks here, as well. Not to mention that it has one of the greatest umbrella scenes ever put to film. If you’re looking for social commentary, you might want to go elsewhere, but if you’re looking for a few thrills and laughs, this is your movie. The only flaw is, when the protagonist is being interviewed by a cop in the hospital, he wears a deputy’s uniform, but is apparently FBI. And he’s not even American, he’s French. A small thing to mention.

VIOLIN
Directed by Pat Yaney
2 minutes
Rating: Mixed

There isn’t much to this one. It’s a bad CGI animation about a guy who plays a violin with a stick in his ass that he sucks in and pushes out by flexing his muscles. It’s pretty stupid, but there are a couple of laughs here. Best of all, it doesn’t overstay its welcome, unlike other films in this collection. More to come on that soon.

DOOMED TO FAILURE
Directed by DJ Summitt
6 minutes
Rating: Con

This is a movie about NOT making a movie. Or rather, it’s a movie about trying to make
a movie and utterly failing. The original plan was to do an anthology film about pizza delivery guys who have spectacularly fucked up evenings. Unfortunately, none of these filmmakers seem to know what they’re doing, from the sound equipment to loading film into the camera. It’s a clever concept, but it would mean a lot more if this involved someone we could recognize. For example, fucking up movies is pretty funny when it’s a behind-the-scenes documentary on a Troma movie. But for a bunch of nobodies who take themselves far too seriously? Nope.

LITTLE HOUSE IN SASKATOON
Directed by Mathieu Aubin, Yannick Nolin, and Nicholas
Archambault
3 minutes
Rating: Mixed

Think about the quality of early episodes of SOUTH PARK. It’s something like a kid would do, right? Well, here we have stop animation that is worse than anything a kid would come up with. A bunch of nude swimmers are attacked by a giant lizard monster, and the beast then goes on to Saskatoon to crush the entire town and do battle with the Canadian military. Nothing fancy here. The animation is fucking lousy, but they have some good blood and guts effects. It’s a bit funny in a silly way, but it’s nothing impressive.

JOHNSON 2: PASSION OF THE JOHNSON
Directed by Andy Bauman
34 minutes
Rating: Pro

This is probably one of the most unusual private investigator stories ever filmed. A
mustard-obsessed, drunken slob of a detective discovers that America has put an embargo on Swedish Silk mustard, and he must find out why. In the meantime, his protégé is giving him crap left and right, and the other detective at the agency is having real adventures, trading bullets with criminals and getting tortured. As it turns out, the mustard in question was actually based on a recipe for a condiment that was present at the Last Supper, and the Swedish mob wants to get the final bottle so they can use it at their new restaurant. Oh yeah, and one of the villains is a hack comic with bad Michael Jackson jokes coming from a Jerry Seinfeld kind of direction. “I mean, what is with Michael Jackson? Didn’t he used to be black?” *sigh* All right, so this isn’t horror, but it’s funny as shit, even though some of the story makes no sense whatsoever. The best part is when Big Johnson, the protagonist, wakes up and realizes he’s sober. He flies into a grand and terrible fury that will make even the most humorless fuck in the world laugh his ass off. Not only that, but there is a scene in which Big Johnson squirts mustard all over his face in a very pornographic way, licking and sucking it all up. It’s almost as bad as the cheese bath from ZITLOVER.

REVENGE OF THE KILLER MEAT
Directed by Patrick Meimari and Elie Zananiri
2 minutes
Rating: Pro

This is the first stop-motion LIVE ACTION film we’ve gotten so far, and it’s creepy as all hell. The goofy-faced protagonist is a guy who can light candles from his fingers and
then make eating utensils appear out of nowhere. He’s ready for dinner, and it comes to him in a rather grotesque fashion. Meat just crawls up into his plate. Nasty. And then, when he tries to eat it, it resists by evading his fork and knife. To top it all off, the score is the perfect compliment to the imagery. The ending is pretty cool, too.

976-LARS
Directed by Scott Carroll
18 minutes
Rating: Pro

First of all, this has a lot going against it because of really, really bad sound quality. You can barely hear what anyone is saying, so you turn it all the way up, and then the music comes on, which will practically blow out your speakers. Despite this, the film does pretty well. Lars is a loser working at a liquor store who just can’t seem to get a date. Finally, one day when his brother comes home to catch Lars jerking off to newspaper ads, Lars decides to call 976-DATE and set up a profile. Not surprisingly, no one wants to leave him a message. His brother Berry, who is a porn star and has no problem with women, takes pity on Lars and hires a prostitute to sleep with him. After a very embarrassing sex scene, Lars, who has finally lost his virginity, falls in love with her without having a clue as to who she really is. So he starts stalking her, and he’s disturbed to see his “girlfriend” with strange men. It’s not horror, but it’s a fun movie, and a really silly romance. There’s quite a bit of unexpected violence, but nothing too outrageous. The best part is the ending, though.

THE DUBYA
Directed by Art Kochukov
6 minutes
Rating: Mixed

This is a mock commercial for a translation device promoted by Homeland Security called the W. The ad starts out with a regular joe who sees a scary looking German, shouting into his phone, and carrying a mysterious box. Our hero then calls Homeland Security to report the guy. The only problem is, it’s just a mistake. The guy is just angry about his daughter’s failing grades, and he’s taking her video games away from her and keeping them at his office. In the meantime, real terrorists are committing real atrocities, and Homeland Security is distracted by the bullshit calls. The funny thing is, the W translates all languages with a hick accent. The problem with this film is, even though it’s only six minutes long, it drags like a motherfucker. Cut it down to two minutes, and it should be good.

NOSFERATU: THE FRIENDLY VAMPIRE
Directed by Karla Davis
5 minutes
Rating: Pro

Poor Nosferatu. All he wants are friends, but he’s so ugly and awkward that no one wants to hang out with him. Filmed in black and white (silent, naturally), we watch as Nosferatu tries to make friends. It’s funny (and also kind of sad), but the thing that really throws off viewers is the fact that Nosferatu doesn’t drink blood; he eats bananas as he sits around his mausoleum.

THE PASSION OF THE KINGDOM REBELS
Directed by James Bernadinelli
5 minutes
Rating: Con

Wow. It would seem there are a lot of PASSION OF THE CHRIST thoughts going around at Tromadance for this volume. This one is really bad CGI animation. It’s about two space blobs who meet Gay Black Jesus, who gives them drugs from the holes in his hands. This is possibly the stupidest entry in Tromadance history. The only point of this film seems to be to offend religious people. There is no meat here. The only thing it has going for it is its brevity.

EMILY
Directed by Tate English
13 minutes
Rating: Mixed

Emily’s boyfriend has finally decided to bring her home to meet his ineffectual police officer father and his complete cunt of a mother. Every time Emily opens her mouth
to say something, Mom demands in the filthiest language she can that Emily shut the fuck up. This doesn’t stop Emily from trying to make friends with Mom, but each time she tries, Mom chases her away violently. And . . . oh! By the way, Emily is a serial killer. Anyway, she decides to use her serial killing abilities to win Mom over. The plan makes no fucking sense at all. It involves framing her boyfriend for murder. How that will do anything is up in the air. It’s a funny little flick, but if you’re looking for coherency, this is not for you.

TEENAGE BIKINI VAMPIRE
Directed by Devi Snively
7 minutes
Rating: Pro

Yep, another funny and sad vampire movie. Poor li’l vampire teenybopper. All she wants to do is dance on the beach in the sun. Too bad being a vampire kind of prohibits that, at least until she meets a surfer boy who might help make her dreams come true. This one is pretty funny, especially when the vampire family has their most recent victim sprawled out on the dinner table, and the father is squeezing blood from her wrist into a wine glass. Or how about when the tiny brother and sister team of vampires are hitting each other with severed limbs? Even odder is the Jimmy Dean commercial sun and moon hovering in the sky. It’s weird and funny and also kind of cute.

FABERVILLE: SPECIAL DELIVERY
Unknown director
2 minutes
Rating: Pro

This one is short and sweet. It’s about a world populated by wrestlers and referees. In this world, a retarded luchador with a bad set of WRONG TURN type teeth who rides a tricycle delivers everyone’s morning paper. It’s funny as all hell in a bizarro kind of way. Even the dog wears a wrestler’s mask. Too bad the director didn’t want to be credited, and after an internet search, nothing could be found about this movie.

LICK-IT MAN
Directed by Adam Antonucci
25 minutes
Rating: Mixed

Lick-It Man is a superhero who brings orgasms to unappreciated women with the power of oral sex. He gets his power from a lollipop given to him when he was a kid by a gigolo mailman. His real name is Beaver Sparker, and he works as a mailroom guy at a newspaper. He battles with the villain, Stick-It Man, who terrorizes people through the power of sudden violence and rape. It’s a funny idea (and should probably be used by an actual director of porn), but it relies too heavily on its influence, ORGAZMO. Also, its duration kills the joke. There is so much excess weight to this one that by the time you reach the ending, you just don’t care about anyone or anything in the movie. Still, there are a lot of good scenes, especially when Lick-It Man goes down on a bunch of women, and everything is slowed down, so their moans of pleasure turn into monstrous growls.

MERRY CHRISTMAS MOTHERFUCKER!
Directed by Marco Magni
10 minutes
Rating: Con

Well, it starts out with a pretty awesome title. The problem is, this one takes far too long to get up and going. The first five minutes is essentially a Russian guy watching TV, drinking, smoking, and stoking the fire in his tiny little heater in a stone house during winter. When you only have 10 minutes to work with, you shouldn’t waste it in such a mindless fashion. It turns out this guy hates Christmas and thinks Santa is a capitalist pig. Then, one of Santa’s helpers comes for a visit, and the Russian hacks the guy up, cooks him, and eats him. There is some good gore, but aside from that one scene, everything else sucks. There is no story, there is no character arc, there’s nothing.

And that’s it for the fourth year of Tromadance. Stay tuned for our review of the final
volume, coming soon!

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About John Bruni

John Bruni is the author of DONG OF FRANKENSTEIN (New Kink), POOR BASTARDS AND RICH FUCKS and TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE (StrangeHouse) and STRIP (Riot Forge). His short work has appeared in anthologies like A HACKED-UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE (Pill Hill), ZOMBIE! ZOMBIE! BRAIN BANG! (StrangeHouse) and the critically acclaimed VILE THINGS (Comet). He edited STRANGE SEX 3 for StrangeHouse, and he was the editor and publisher of TABARD INN: TALES OF QUESTIONABLE TASTE. Find out more at www.talesofquestionabletaste.com and www.talesofunspeakabletaste.blogspot.com.
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2 Responses to Best Of Tromadance Film Festival, Volume 4 [Movie reviews by John Bruni]

  1. Erik D. says:

    Mark Mattis (www.merth.com) seems to be the person behind Faberville.

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