Fantastic Fest: Moebius Spiral (Day Two)



Day Two of Fantastic Fest didn't have the partying excitement of opening night, or any secret screenings, but all that means is that I don't have a lot of photos or breaking news. All I did was to watch two good movies, each followed by interesting Q&A sessions with the filmmakers, and hang out with a bunch of film-geek friends. Oh, and I got a squishy skull that bubbles blood out of its eyes when you squeeze it -- a promotional item for Flight of the Living Dead. I'll have to take a picture.

The first movie I saw was one of the few documentaries screening at Fantastic Fest -- Moebius Redux: A Life in Pictures. I met the director, Hasko Baumann, at the opening-night party, and he seemed concerned that no one would want to watch a documentary at this festival. He was wrong -- a good-size crowd was in the theater when he introduced the film.

I don't want to say too much about the movie because I'm in the middle of writing a review for Cinematical that should appear in the next few days (I'll add a link when it does). It's about the life of artist Jean Giraud, aka Moebius, whose distinctive style has appeared in a number of science-fiction comic-book stories he's written and illustrated, as well as in the design of several science-fiction films. The story is narrated in Giraud's own words, taken from interviews with the artist, supplemented by interviews including director Alejandro Jodorowsky, Stan Lee, screenwriter Dan O'Bannon, and artist H.R. Giger. The interviews are compelling, and Baumann integrates examples of the artist's work into the interview backgrounds, which is an excellent way of adding interest and also adding a layer of meaning. The soundtrack from Karl Bartos fits the movie perfectly.

Afterwards, Baumann answered a few questions from the audience. He is considering whether his next documentary will be about Jodorowsky's attempts to adapt Frank Herbert's Dune books into a movie back in the late 1970s, before the project with David Lynch ever started. He said the first cut of Moebius Redux had more about the Dune project in it (Moebius was involved, as well as O'Bannon, Giger and other well-known artists) but it shifted focus away too much from the biographical subject, so he had to trim that section of the film. The failed Dune project sounds fascinating and I hope he will pursue a documentary about it at some point.

I had a quick break before my next film, where I ran into Peter Martin, who writes both for Cinematical and Twitch, and whom I'd met at Fantastic Fest last year. He introduced me to Todd Brown, founder of Twitch, the film blog that covers all aspects of international sf/fantasy/horror/animated films. Todd lives in Toronto so I hadn't met him before. Todd and Peter had been talking with Nacho Vigalondo, who wrote and directed Timecrimes, which
had screened the night before. I have heard more buzz about Timecrimes since its first screening than any other film at Fantastic Fest -- everyone who saw it seemed to be gushing over it. I'm hoping to catch the film when it screens again in a few days.

The second film I saw on Friday was Spiral, a suspense film that Scott Weinberg had urged me to see because he said he thought I'd like it -- also, he's good at letting me know how gory/torture-y a film is going to be. Joel David Moore starred in the film, co-wrote the script with Jeremy Danial Boreing, and then asked Adam Green (Hatchet) to co-direct with him. Moore and Green were at the festival and introduced the film. The feature was preceded by a short Green made with some friends a year ago called King in the Box, which I reviewed for Cinematical (I'll post a link as soon as the entry goes live).

Spiral is not at all like Green's previous film Hatchet. It's the story of a painter who has a past that haunts and terrifies him, and we're in suspense about exactly what he's done versus what he's imagined. Again, I'm reviewing the movie for Cinematical, and I'll let you know when I'm done and the review is published. I was impressed with Moore's performance as Mason, the painter with no social skills. I also liked Amber Tamblyn, who played a co-worker who wants to befriend Mason.

As you can see in the photo at the top of this entry, co-directors Green (middle) and Moore (right) held a Q&A after the film, moderated by Scott Weinberg (left). It's a weird photo -- Moore had some gummy bears he was enjoying just before the session, which he was oddly excited about. So in the middle of the Q&A, for no discernable reason, Weinberg asked him for some gummy bears and he handed over a few. Then they went back to talking about how the original cut was 45 minutes longer than what we saw at the screening. After I took my photos, I had to get out of the way so some video cameras could get footage of the Q&A, so I missed the second half. (Sorry, guys.)

And now it's Saturday, and I'm about to leave the house for a secret screening, Sex and Death 101, and Uwe Boll introducing his latest masterpiece, Postal. I'm not sure I can have a camera in the theater for any of those films, but I'll let you know how they went.