So, having returned from the beleaguered Burger Island 2 (the burgers were tasty, and quite large, I must say), we settled back in as Chris Holland began the true horror of The Lapland Reindeer Festival. This is an extra on the Something Weird DVD for Terror in the Midnight Sun/Attack of the Animal People, and I have written about it before, most notably in the my last blog about T-Fest. There were a number of virgins in the room, and really, the only reason to show it is to get their reaction. So I’m not going to talk about any further, as some day you might be the virgin we are watching.
This was followed by my second pick, Mystics in Bali (1981), which was supposed to be shown last year, but was foiled by my DVD, which was Region 2-encoded. I managed to get my mitts on a Region 1 copy this year, much to the… well, I guess dismay of the crowd. Mystics is an Indonesian movie, and one of the very few out there about the penanggalen, a witch whose head detaches from her body and flies about, entrails moistly flapping about underneath, searching for blood.
I’ve written about the movie at length, in the review linked above. Like a lot of low-budget horror movies, this one is incredibly talky, but the novelty of seeing how the horror genre is handled in another culture, and the plentiful WTF moments peppered throughout, were soothing enough to get the audience through to the bizarre final fight scene, and the next movie:
Ken’s choice, The Brainiac (1962).
I enjoy Brainiac, especially the typically painful K. Gordon Murray English dub version. Ken brought the Casa Negra DVD release, which has a couple of extra scenes in it, and somehow the DVD player insisted on showing us the English subtitles anyway, which made for a good contrast with what we were hearing (Though I wish someone had proofread those subs). Anyway, as you can see in the trailer above, Baron Vitelius is sentenced to burn at the stake by the Inquisition, Mexico City branch, when he takes off on a passing comet and curses all his judges, proving that the Inquisition was pretty spot-on in its judgement.
300 years later, the Baron returns, along with the refrigerator-sized comet, and has, in the meantime, become a monster with a pulsating head who sucks people’s brains out with his tongue, and then daintily eats them later with a sherbet spoon. All the Inquisition’s descendants have (thriftily enough) all continued to live in Mexico City, so he sets about getting his revenge and gray matter goodies. It’s often effective in its horror movie moments, and wouldn’t you know it? Mexico City, like Miami in Blood Feast, only has two homicide detectives, and they’re both idiots.
The Fest was drawing to a close. It was time for the traditional closing T Rex movie, and there was a problem: apparently the scheduled closer, King Dinosaur, had been shown before, and we didn’t want to repeat ourselves. I actually had a solution: I always carry extra movies (which is how we watched Sugar Hill last year, instead of Mystics in Bali), and one of the movies I was carrying was Dinosaurus! Ken said to Max, “This will be known as the year your father saved T-Fest!” which I somehow do not think is how my son is going to refer to this year at all, but it was nice of Ken to say that.
Dinosaurus! was a childhood fave of mine. You have your typical remote island, which is somehow like a microcosm of Mexico, and some Americans trying to industrialize it, starting with building a harbor facility. Dynamite dredges up two long-buried dinosaur carcasses, a T Rex and a brontosaurus, somehow quick frozen by an incredibly cold subterranean stream. In a plot twist that delights Creationists everywhere, they also discover a frozen Neanderthal. There’s a terrific storm that night, the bodies are struck by lightning, and you know what that means…
The lightning of course takes out all the island’s power and single telephone. There’s a mail boat coming in the morning, but the island’s population is going to be dino kibble by then. The caveman character quickly becomes an audience favorite, not only through the comedy bits as he works his way through a modern house, but because this guy is a combination of caveman Einstein and MacGyver. He is constantly saving the hash of the annoying urchin Julio, not to mention the only blonde hottie on the island (see? he’s a genius!), so when he dies – heroically – the audience is bummed. That’s some quality entertainment, right there.
The T Rex mortally wounds the brontosaurus, who then stumbles off into some quicksand (as was pointed out, doubtless bellowing at T Rex as he sank, “Ha! Come eat me now, you dick!”), and there is a relatively thrilling steamshovel vs. T Rex fight. Like a lot of my favorite movies, Dinosaurus! does not aim to be life-changing or meaningful, it just wants to entertain, and does that grandly. A goodly send-off for this year’s line-up.
We were finished at 9:50, ten minutes before our supposed leaving time (and ten minutes after the local tin fascist had told us to get out), so we cleaned up, stood outside in the humidity for another 20 minutes saying our goodbyes, and then Max, the Chrises. Veronica and myself stopped for ice cream. gelato to be precise, and I discovered that yes, Virginia, there is such a thing as bacon ice cream.
T-Fest is such an educational experience.
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