Hello! Tapir is exactly the kind-of film that hits me in the emotional feels; one of those kind-of films that use fantasy to deal with our own grief. Films like Bridge to Terabithia come to mind for that, as well as more direct comps in A Monster Calls and I Kill Giants. In this Taiwanese film, a young boy, Ah-Keat (Run Yin-Bai) is told stories by his father, Ah-Sheing. His main tale is about a tapir – a creature with the body of a pig, trunk of an elephant, ears of a horse and feet of a rhinoceros. The tapir is a benevolent creature who passes through villages at night, gobbling up all nightmares.
Back at last October’s first edition of the Nightstream Film Festival, I was able to watch the wild puppet horror film Frank & Zed, written and directed by Portland filmmaker Jesse Blanchard. I loved it a lot as a love letter to the horror genre and monster movies, and I loved seeing all the effort that went into a puppet film of nature, especially with the climactic Orgy of Blood. I spoke with Jesse at that festival, but as our conversation came at the very end of the festival, we thought it best to hold the conversation for either its release (On Demand or what have you), or its next big festival stop. It’s now playing at the Fantasia Film Festival – available On Demand through Wednesday, August 25 – and I’m super excited to unveil our conversation.
For a different kind-of article, I was able to take part in an animation workshop for the film WOLFWALKERS. I've included some coverage of the event in the form of quotes and interesting tidbits, as well as my experience trying to follow along in the tutorial and how my own drawings turned out (like the one seen in the featured image).
I am a huge horror fan but I actually haven’t seen the feature films Creepshow or Creepshow 2, and evidently I have not watched Shudder’s revival of the character. Suffice to say, I’m no expert on the Cryptkeeper’s tales, though I was a big fan of that Tales from the Cryptkeeper animated series that ran on Teletoon in the 1990’s. With this special being the Creepshow Animated Special, I felt like it was right up my alley. The special features two stories, the first segment is called “Survivor Type,” based on a short story by Stephen King and directed and adapted by Greg Nicotero is a segment about a man stranded on a deserted island adamant to survive. The second segment is “Twittering from the Circus of the Dead,” based on a short story by Joe Hill and adapted by Melanie Dale, about a girl named Blake (Joey King) who live tweets a very unique circus.
Sometimes watching a film, it’s easy to forget just how much craft goes into creating it. With the super unique gorefest Frank and Zed, though, it’s also easy to appreciate the effort that writer/director Jesse Blanchard – and the whole team, really – put into this nutty puppet spectacle that took seven years to make. Two reanimated corpses – the titular Frank and Zed but known more commonly as Frankenstein and Zombie – have lived a peaceful life for the past 200 years in a castle by a nearby village. In that village, 200 years ago, they were attacked by a monster, and to save the people, the King made a pact with a demon to protect them. In exchange, when the royal bloodline ended, the villagers would have to fulfill an ancient prophecy called The Orgy of Blood. Nudging this into action are two power-hungry villagers who trick the others into attacking the castle where Frank and Zed live.
I love animation in general, but I haven’t watched a ton of R-rated animated films, so I was happy to watch To Your Last Death. It's a 2-D hand-drawn animated film whose style compares closest to TV’s Archer, and is a great mix of horror, action and animation. Miriam DeKalb (Dani Lennon) and her siblings are invited by their powerful father, Cyrus DeKalb (Ray Wise) to his office building and learn that he has ulterior motives. As Miriam recovers from the night in the hospital, she’s visited by a powerful entity called the Gamemaster (Morena Baccarin), who offers her the chance to jump in time 24 hours earlier and do things over in order to save her brothers and sister. This is all the while members of the Gamemaster’s species gamble on the evening's outcome.
Directed by: Ron Clements, John Musker. Starring: Anika Noni Rose, Bruno Campos, Keith David. Released: December 11, 2009. Runtime: 1h 37 min. There are so many Disney films I still haven’t seen and 2009’s The Princess and the Frog was near the top of the list. The story follows a waitress named Tiana (Anika Noni [...]
Directed by: Jay Oliva. Starring: Matt Ryan, Camilla Luddington, Jason O’Mara. Runtime: 1h 15 min. Released: February 7, 2017. Beings with supernatural powers join together to fight supernatural villains. This supernatural team includes John Constantine (Matt Ryan), Zatanna (Camilla Luddington), and Jason Blood, also known as the demon Etrigan (Ray Chase). The film opens with [...]
Directed by: Cecilia Aranovich, Ethan Spaulding. Starring: Frank Welker, Grey Griffin, Matthew Lillard. Runtime: 1h 20 min. Released: September 3, 2019 (video). Some spoilers follow. I’m sitting here eating some of those Betty Crocker’s fruit flavored Scooby Snacks (not a sponsor). I’m 25 yet still have the snack preferences of an elementary school child, but [...]