Puchon International Fantastic Film Fest 2013 Part 1

Posted: August 1, 2013 in Movies
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I was really happy to be able to go to the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival again. It’s been my favorite film festival as I saw a lot of great movies there over the years and it’s always well organized with a friendly and helpful staff.

The first movie I saw was Rewind This (2013), a documentary about the home movie business in the 1980s. While mostly focusing on the United States, it does spend some time covering the home movie scene Japan had, since that’s where the technology originated.

Rewind This talks about how the home movie business changed the film industry etc. And yes it does confirm that the reason VHS won out over the better quality BETA was because of the Adult Entertainment Industry. However there were also other factors such as BETA tapes were only an hour. So VHS tapes, even though they were of lower quality, could be used to record movies and sporting events.

The demise of VHS is covered as well as the current subculture of collecting and still watching movies on VHS. Footage is shown from the director’s home of Austin Texas where one theater has a VHS night. The 2009 horror film House of the Devil is mentioned, as it  was actually released on VHS. It’s noted that while some people still like records and argue that the sound quality is better, VHS fandom is pure nostalgia, because it’s obviously not better quality that Blue Ray etc.

The director Josh Johnson was present for a Q&A afterwards. Someone asked him about the home video scene in the U.K. Josh said he did do some coverage on that because it apparently is an interesting story itself but basically didn’t have time to put in in the film. I asked him about his inspiration for the film and he said that 40% of movies on VHS were never released on DVD/Blue Ray. I thought that was interesting.

All in all it was a well made and very informative documentary about one of the key components of the 80’s generation.

I was going to see something after this but it sold out, so next I saw Robocop. It was fun watching that on the big screen and the audience seemed to like it.

Continuing the theme of VHS tapes I then saw V/H/S/2, a sequel to last years found footage anthology. This installment has a private investigator couple hired by a mother to look for her son. The couple wind up going to this house where various tapes are found, and strange events unfold. As in the last movie each tape they watch is a separate story.

The stories include a nice take on zombies, a story about a cult that was pretty suspenseful until the literal laugh out loud ending, and an alien abduction story. I liked what they did with the alien story as it deviated from traditional abduction accounts and allowed for the greys to give chase. Also before this happens there’s some great humorous moments with the characters involved.

The stories in this entry are much better than it’s predecessor and overall the story makes more sense. There’s a few references to the last movie. I think the missing kid might be a character from the last movie, but I could be wrong about that. Either way it’s enjoyable and I would hope for a solid third entry as well. However, like the first movie, I am wondering why people in this series use VHS tapes in the first place. When watching the first movie I mistakenly assumed it was a period piece, but both movies take place in the present.

That night I saw The Shooter, a 2012 Denmark film about an environmental activist who feels pushed over the edge and begins attacking people involved in a project to drill for oil in Greenland. He comes in contact with a reporter who was also covering the drilling issue. Mia, the reporter, attempts to walk away from the story as she is in the process of adopting a child from another country (I think it was India). However, circumstances keep pulling her back to the issue and eventually she comes in contact with the shooter. Each day of the story begins with a shot of ice melting. The shooter delves into issues of what is the line between activism and terrorism and how far is too far to support a cause. The shooter is not a cold blooded killer per say, and at first appears to not really want to hurt anybody, but he continues down this path to the point of no return.

The next day I saw three movies, I’ll cover them next.

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