Sunday, September 30, 2007

"fuck the scene, everybody dies"

And with those words, we bid a tearful and fond farewell to another Calgary International Film Festival. This weekend, the resident offspring and I took in our final two film festival offerings. And when all the popcorn had been crammed into our gullets and the lights came back up for the last time, we voted for our favourites of the festival. the RI chose Bomb It as her ultimate favourite, and while I loved it and thought it was excellent, I had to go with the film we saw today - Monster Camp.

But I am getting ahead of myself. You might want to hear about both films we saw this weekend:

Murder Party

A group of artists lure unsuspecting victims to a Hallowe'en party at an abandoned warehouse where they plan to murder them to stage the ultimate installation art. But all goes very very wrong, as these deranged artists prove to be very dumb criminals indeed.

Murder Party screened at the old Plaza Theatre in Kensington, which is the type of theatre that holds midnight Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings. I love this theatre; the popcorn is still served in buckets, there are no cupholders at the seats, and it is a real retro film experience that you so rarely see anymore. Plus the producer and star of the film was in the audience and he gave a little intro and fielded questions after the screening.

I fully expected Murder Party to be to be a humorous flick, but I didn't expect it to be as silly as it was. And I mean that in a good way. It was hilarious; I expected it to be rather more precious than it was. It was a low budget but high quality production with tonnes of blood, just not necessarily where or from whom you would expect it.

Monster Camp
I've never had the inclination to participate in Live Action Role-Playing and I still don't after seeing Monster Camp, but now I do understand what drives people to spend their weekends dressing in medieval costume, assuming elaborate roles and participating in long exhausting hours playing an uber-complicated game that follows a 200-page rulebook.

Monster Camp is a documentary that tells the story of the Seattle chapter of NERO players, who meet regularly at a 15 acre camp to spend the weekend trying not to get killed permanently. While it would have been so easy to scoff at these LARPers, Monster Camp is never condescending. In fact I came away with real affection for these people who spend most of their lives gaming.

This is a truly fascinating look at the highly regulated and almost painfully elaborate fantasy world of people for whom playing World of Warcraft or Dungeons and Dragons is no longer a sufficient escape from reality. Ironically, staging these Monster Camp weekends is a huge undertaking in reality, from writing the ever-evolving plots, to organizing and assigning the roles, to providing the costumes to the non-character players whose roles constantly rotate, to refereeing the squabbles and conflicts that occur over the course of 48 hours.

I loved this film!

Monster Camp has already won some Audience Favourite awards at the 2007 Film Festival rounds. It's not hard to see why.

If you think this trailer looks fun, head to the website where you can determine what role you would play at Monster Camp (I'm some sort of pompous Scholarly Elf apparently - what about you?):


phlegmfatale said...

omg - now _I_ want to see Monster Camp - looks like fun viewing!

Toccata said...

I don't know too much about the Live-Action role playing but I have a number of students obsessed with Warhammer which sounds sort of similar except they assemble and paint their own models and then get together in large groups and go to war using their miniatures and following a book of strict rules. Why is it they can memorize a 500 page book of rules for a game but not a measly number of 7 physics formulas!!

Karen said...

Sounds like a great time Barbara. All the movies you've discussed for the film festival sound like Must-Sees! And apparently I'm a Scholarly like and smart.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You and yours seem to go to every cool thing around that prarie city of yours. I'm glad you do and that you write about it later.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

It's a blast, Phlegmmy, and you actually come away thinking that these people are not really so damaged at all.

That, or a variation of it, has been the burning question for eons, Toccata. I guess it's for the same reason I still know all the lyrics to all the ABBA songs, but couldn't tell draw you the Krebs cycle. Because we remember the important stuff!

Cat-like and smart, I can certainly see that describing you, Karen. I loved some of the questions they asked in the quiz, like "do you hate trolls and think elves are pompous"?

We are working hard to fight the cowboy stereotype around here, Dr M even it it means staying out too late on a school night,

justacoolcat said...

Very nice. Now I want to see them both.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Get thee to thy local film festival, Just A!

Deb said...

So and Eva sure do make the rounds...AND you find time to exercise??

When my friends/neighbours died apparently they were into those figurines that tc speaks of...when we cleaned out their place there was an entire closet FULL of those things (new, still in the boxes & the books) and I remember thinking, "what the hell do two 70 year old women have these toys for?". Now I know their secret.

If I were to see the Vancouver festival, I'd take in the horse racing flick...The First Saturday In May.

justacoolcat said...

BTW - D&D players are NOT lame! NERO players are!

Umm . . .I'm just sayin' . .

Beth said...

Totally ignoring this post to spread news. Have you seen this?

Zed said...

Both sound great. I'm more likely to want to see a comedy, so Murder Party will be my first choice.

Movies such as these pass through my neck of the woods so quickly I could easily miss them if I blink. I need to be super vigilant if I want to catch these two. No blinking allowed! :)

Dale said...

Yikes, I'd be a Dwarf, Rogue class! Fun looking films!

BeckEye said...

Both of them sound like fun. Especially if there are tubs o' popcorn to be had.

John Mutford said...

Sounds very entertaining indeed. And to let you know I take your reviews seriously, I picked up Shaun of the Dead tonight, still waiting to put it on though.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Your 70 year old neighbours were into fantasy figurines, Deb? How odd. And rather disturbing.
You SHOULD go to the film fest, and you know you'd love the film about horse racing. Do it!

Ooo, they touched a nerve there, did they, Just A? I think all geeks are cool, no matter what weird games you guys play.

Two steps ahead of you, Beth for the first time in my life! I placed my order last night and could not be more excited! Thanks loads for thinking of telling me - you are a honeybunch!

They are gone in a New York minute, are they Zed? Damn, no time to sit and ponder as I like to do then. Murder Party is a good goofy comedy, but still has enough gore and subversiveness to be indie and cool.

Rogue class, Dale! Ooo la la, that makes you sound so dangerous! For a dwarf!

And good popcorn, Beckeye with real butter and the butter is free. You would die of bliss, I guarantee.

I hope I haven't over-hyped it, John, because I love it so. Even if I have though, you cannot help but enjoy it.

John Mutford said...

No over-hype at all. I loved it!!!