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|Written by April Yorke|
|Thursday, 13 October 2011 23:10|
With apologies from dropping this on you in the middle of the month (April was, quite literally, bed-ridden), we welcome you back to our new/old feature, This Month at the Mayfair. This time, (Cult)ure chatted with Josh Stafford, one of the theatre's co-owners and its resident geek-in-chief, about what's (still) coming up in October, superlative horror movies, and how every month at the Mayfair is Hallowe'en.
(Cult)ure: Top 5 Hallowe'en movies. Go.Josh Stafford: Hallowe'en, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Evil Dead 2, American Werewolf in London, The Nightmare Before Christmas. That list likely change if asked at another time, though. We start with Hallowe'en kinda themed stuff the first of the month and carry all the way through to Hallowe'en.
(C): How does Killer 63 fit into that?
JS: Killer63 is a mini film fest. One night of short horror films. It's in its sixth year. There are submissions. Some are made just for the fest. Some I track down.
(C): How do you balance between submissions and selections? Do you have a preference?
JS: Not really. I'm sure it's been different percentages every year.
(C): What of the name?
JS: Well, it began as a 63 day challenge, but that got thrown out the window.
(C): To make a short horror movie in 63 days?
(C): When did that concept go out the window?
JS: Maybe by year two. No one ever hits deadlines anyhow.
(C): But the name (and the fest) stuck.
JS: Indeed. It's just a lil thing. One night. But we show some really good stuff. Very diverse, not just 90 minutes of slasher movies. There's been comedic stuff, animation, puppets, documentary . . .More serious stuff, and all manner of monsters and vampires and zombies etc.
(C): Horror . . . docs?
JS: One early one was about the horrors of war.
(C): Ah. Of course, it's not all horror this month.
JS: No, lots of awesome horror stuff, but there's diversity as per usual.
(C): What is this Wiebo's War I keep hearing about?
JS: It's another in a long line of eco docs that we seem to have been on a role with. Really good stuff like The Cove, Eco Pirate, Plastic Planet. This is an eco-terrorist or hero kinda thing.
(C): Terrorist or hero? You don't know which?
JS: That's the crux of the movie. Some call him an eco-terrorist, but it's from an area where flames spit from faucets, and kids are getting hurt. And it's got a religious cult angle, too.
(C): Also on the non-Hallowe'en but totally awesome angle: Senna.
JS: Yeah, I like that we're continually showing really diverse docs. It's become a big chunk of the schedule.
(C): I feel like people are a lot more open to them than they used to be in part because the documentarians have become names like with Werner Herzog and Cave of Forgotten Dreams.
JS: I love Werner 'cause he's nuts. Like not eccentric . . . I actually think he's insane.
(C): He seems oddly sympathetic with very strange subjects.
JS: Sometimes I think he's messing with us, playing a character. Then I'm taken aback by some madness he undertakes and am convinced he's an actual madman.
(C): Just wait 'til he starts talking about the albino alligators.
JS: And his voice . . . if he was a character in a movie you'd think he was over the top.
(C): Joaquin Phoenix described it as calming when Werner pulled him out from an overturned car.
JS: Even that! Like that's unbelievable in itself. Werner saved Joaquin's life. Weird.
(C): He would. What else thrills you in this month's schedule?
JS: I'm dying to see Attack the Block. I loved Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead and Scott Pilgrim, and this is from a lot of the folks who worked on that.
(C): Yes, I saw Nick Frost's name there.
JS: And Edgar Wright.
(C): He's sort of my hero.
JS: He's a producer on this one. It's a shame that it didn't get a wide release, but I'm happy that we get to premiere it here in Ottawa. I think in the States they were afraid to show it 'cause the accents are so heavy on the kids in it. The writer is working on the Ant Man script for Edgar Wright, too.
(C): Oh, goodness, Ant Man. I don't know how to feel about that one.
JS: Excited, of course!
(C): Don't you worry that we've gone too far down the comics rabbit hole?
JS: No. No, I do not. Ant Man's a great character. And if Edgar Wright is directing it!
(C): That's true. He has to be one of the most kinetic directors working today, and he really had a feel for the medium.
JS: There's like a movie a month about comics. Way more are based on books or remakes or TV shows or true stories. As long as they're good, who cares what they're based on.
(C): Speaking of movies based on books: Winnie the Pooh.
JS: Disney was ready to scrap hand drawn animation, then Pixar folks got put in positions of power at the studio and fixed that horrible idea. They're instigated shorts in front of features, documentaries, no more crappy straight to video sequels. And Winnie the Pooh has Craig Ferguson as Owl, which is awesome. The poster alone makes me think the movie is on the right track.
(C): The trailer is charming! I approve. Meanwhile, what about Critters? Besides the fact that it is a low-rent Gremlins?
JS: The king of the Gremlins knock-offs. There were a lot more of that kind of film back in the 80s.
(C): Knock-offs? Gremlins knock-offs?
JS: Yes, there were lots of knock-off films in the 80s. Four Ghoulies movies, four Critters movies.
(C): Were we really that obsessed with creepy little creatures?
JS: It isn't a direct copy-cat as the Critters come from outer space and have intergalactic bounty hunters chasing them. And it's directed by Stephen Herek, who went on to direct Bill and Ted.
(C): And for that reason we are forever in his debt.
JS: And Critters 3 is famously the first Leo DiCaprio movie.
JS: Though, it did receive two thumbs up from Siskel and Ebert . . .
(C): Well, in that case. But you are showing famous, not-so-original Critters.
JS: Yes. Starring the mom from ET and Billy Zane.
(C): Also on the Hallowe'en side of the programming, you've got The Exorcist and The Shining back to back. Are you going to have EMTs on call?
JS: I do think it may be the best horror double bill of all. And worthwhile because it's proof that the horror genre can be good. It's not all slasher films and mindless guts and gore. The Exorcist is 38 years-old and still stands up. The Shining 31 years-old and stands as Nicholson's cornerstone role, I think most would say. They're great big screen movies. Scarier to see with an audience.
(C): Doesn't matter the movie. It's always better on the big screen with an audience.
JS: I concur. Especially for scary stuff, though.
(C): So larger than life axes can come through doors?
JS: Precisely. Even if you have the biggest of big screen TVs it's only a small fraction of the Mayfair screen.
(C): Plus that way you are seeing the movie the way you were meant to. No one designs their movies for my 21" TV.
JS: No. Kubrick was never like, "I want this to be enjoyed by one person in their house on a tiny TV."
(C): Exactly. I do like how if people are too freaked out by that combo, you've got the comfort of Our Idiot Brother on either side.
JS: Yes. . . the friendly comfort of Paul Rudd playing a dumb guy will alleviate the Hallowe'en terror.
(C): He's just so darn likable! You always want things to work out for Paul Rudd.
JS: If you see Paul Rudd on Letterman or The Daily Show and don't think he's an awesome guy, you might be dead inside.
(C): Not might be. Are.
JS: I'm glad he's reuniting with Judd Apatow soon, but Our Idiot Brother will hold me over till then.
(C): Plus all the sisters are such lovely actresses, especially Emily Mortimer.
JS: My heart belongs to Zooey Deschanel. And Elizabeth Banks 'cause she's Betty Brant.
(C): More Emily for me then. What does that leave us with this month?
JS: The Debt? Another Earth?
(C): The Debt and Another Earth is an AMAZING combo. Everyone should see them in tandem.
JS: Yes, both look great. I like that Another Earth is opposite of the Michael Bay explosion and chaos kinda sci-fi. It's science fiction. . . but not what a lot of people might think of as sci-fi. More Twilight Zone-y.
(C): There are elements of that. It's wonderful in that it is completely accessible. People who think they don't like sci-fi have no reason to think they won't like Another Earth.
JS: I love alternate universe stuff, which usually rests more in the realms of comic book stories or Star Trek. And it's got William Mapother from Lost in it! It's a movie from Sundance that seems like it should actually be a Sundance movie. The last little while, too many big projects with big names have snuck in there.
(C): They got it right with this one. It's a definite moody pairing with The Debt.
JS: The Debt looks cool, too, like how it's two movies in one.
(C): Though even the grand Helen Mirren stumbles over the Israeli accent.
(C): You shall hear.
JS: And it's got that Sam Worthington guy. I'm curious to see him in a non-Avatar setting. I'm in the great minority of not being a fan of that one.
(C): That's the minority? I thought that was all of us. I almost fell out of my seat in boredom.
JS: Well, someone liked it. It made a bazillion dollars.
(C): Yes, but that doesn't count. But how have you avoided Sam Worthington in the interim?
JS: I'm pretty sure I haven't seen him in anything.
(C): How is that possible? Oh, Terminator Salvation came out before that.
JS: I lied, I saw Clash of the Titans, and it was horrible. I didn't hate Terminator 4. Forgot he was in that.
(C): He plays a pretty pivotal role.
JS: Though it is a good example of something that I wish I hadn't seen the trailer of first and would have maybe liked it more without that.
(C): Completely ruined the movie!
JS: Trailer spoiled everything!
(C): And then you are watching the movie thinking, "Hello? That man is also a machine."
(C): Well, seriously. They built the movie around the idea that we didn't know, but we did.
JS: But The Debt will be the first thing I see him in where he's not fighting monsters or robots.
(C): Nope, just Nazis.
JS: And, interestingly, it's written by Mathew Vaughn, who the last couple years has just done comic book stuff mostly: Stardust, Kick Ass, X-Men: First Class.
(C): But, let's get real. Six Rocky Horrors. Six! 'Tis madness!
JS: Madness. And it'll be packed. Some people will go multiple times. Especially cause Hallowe'en falls on a Monday. So there'll be folks out to Rocky Horror on Friday and Saturday, then some going out for actual Hallowe'en. I've joked before that I want to do a non-participation screening of Rocky Horror . . . not sure if that would fly, though.
(C): They would riot.
JS: "Please everyone . . . no singing, throwing things, or costumes! Everyone sit quietly and enjoy the movie."
(C): That's a winner. I'm kind of surprised that you aren't showing Night of the Living Dead.
JS: Well . . .we've shown it a bunch. We've shown Hallowe'en and Evil Dead and Psycho and American Werewolf in London in past years. I mean . . . we kinda show Hallowe'en stuff at least once or twice a month anyhow. Have to diversify a lil.
Josh Stafford also programs the annual festivals 'Killer63' and 'Fake Trailers, Reel Festival.' Life highlights include: having a letter read on-air by David Letterman, shaking hands with Bruce Campbell, going to the mall where Dawn of the Dead was shot, going to the graveyard where Night of the Living dead was shot, and being killed by Jango Fett in a Star Wars comic. Josh watches a lot of movies, reads a lot of comics, and loves roller derby.
April Yorke is a young woman with a demure disposition who gives her opinions in a soft and hesitant voice. Deep down, though, she possesses the silent knowledge that she is right about everything pop culture -- because she has memorized every single book, film, and TV show in the history of Western society -- and thus looks down with secret scorn upon anyone who has the temerity to disagree with her.
Tags: critters, hot docs, luck, mayfair, ottawa, spoiler alert, trailers spoil everything, we all love paul rudd, werner herzog might be crazy, winnie the pooh