Sunday, July 18, 2010

Fantasia Day 9 - Re-Animator midnight show

(I've slipped behind a bit on my Fantasia blogging, due to other geek work that had to be done yesterday and took longer than I thought.)

So finally, our first midnight show of this year! We warmed up to it with beers and friends at Benelux (two big movie fans who scored a free pass to Just For Laughs and have been having so much fun at that festival that they have almost entirely eschewed Fantasia!). We arrived at the Hall just as the line was going in and I did something I've never done before and would never have been able to do had it not been for my ten years of having the polite Canadian beaten out of me in NYC, plus the many beers in my system: I cut into the line! In the end, I don't think it made much of a difference, as we were 4 rows from the top (though aisle seats) and the show didn't sell out. Still, it gave me a nice boost of adrenaline and self-confidence that got me psyched for the movie!

I believe that this audience was the largest collection of true fans for any Fantasia movie I've seen so far. These people were into Re-Animator! They went bonkers when the director came out and even more nuts when the main actor came out (and they were loving it when he did the signature "I gave him life!" line). After it was over, almost the entire audience stayed for the Q&A, a greater proportion than I have ever seen. So kudos to those Re-Animator fans! You guys are the real deal! (If you want to read a good overview of the Re-Animator team's work on Lovecraft, check out another very good essay by Kier-La-Janisse on the Fantasia site.)

As for the movie itself, I really enjoyed myself, but I have to say that I didn't think Re-Animator was so great when I saw it in grade 8 and seeing it as an adult didn't really change my opinion much. It feels small to me. The serum that actually re-animates the dead is never dealt with or explained at all and left at such a simple level (it's basically a syringe with glowing yellow stuff in it) that it is basically a maguffin to cause a lot of havoc. The antagonist is great and what he gets up to as a corpse is richly nasty (though I seem to remember the head-only cunnilingus scene to have been much longer; perhaps it was my feverish adolescent state that exaggerated it), but the whole thing ends up feeling like a zombie play or something. There doesn't seem to be that much at stake and the threats never escalate to what one would expect from Lovecraft. Still, I'm an asshole for even weighing in on this. The movie is a ton of fun, with great spirit all the way through and it was certainly pushing the envelope for its time.

There are two things, historically speaking, that struck me while watching the film today. First is how nice it was when you could just show chicks being naked in movies. It's so weird that today, where the nastiest shit ever is available at a click of the mouse and yet you get no nudity in mainstream movies anymore. Second, is how utterly, utterly awful women's clothes were at that period. They managed to hide all flesh and figure on a woman. Absolutely astoundingly ugly clothes and yet the stupid, hipster girls in my neighbourhood today walk around trying to emulate that (though they don't quite cover as much skin). Hey, hipster girl, having no waist that starts at your rib cage and a flat ass is not attractive, whatever the American Apparel ads on the back of the Mirror might be telling you.

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