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The Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival 2017 Report

October 27, 2018 | Posted by Bryan Kristopowitz
Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival

The Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival 2017 Report

BuffaloDreamsLogo

The Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival is a film festival that has been in operation, in one form or another, for several years now. The 2017 edition of BDFFF screened 110 movies (40 feature films and 70 short films) over an unprecedented eleven days, with the first eight days playing at the Dipson Theaters Eastern Hills Cinema at the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, New York, and the last three days at the Screening Room Cinema Café in Amherst, New York. 2017 was my second time attending the festival. I was able to attend days two and three and managed to see almost everything that screened. The films I managed to see included short films, feature length films, and documentaries.

Day 1

Wait: This short film by Emily Prism is a fascinating, mesmerizing bit of cosmic what have you about two people who, I guess, are bound to be together even though their life paths are different. Or something like that. I’m willing to admit that I may not be smart enough to completely understand this movie, but I still enjoyed watching it. If and when you see this you’ll notice how the one character’s eyes are really, really blue.

Once Upon a November: Written and directed by Jess Costa, this short is about a woman who chases a ball through the woods, walks through some sort of castle façade out in the middle of nowhere, and then finds herself in a Victorian fairytale type place. At first, the movie seems like it’s a celebration of all of the old time whimsy from that period of time, but then it all goes to shit when a dance she participates in becomes super aggressive and she gets assaulted. The woman then runs back to her house and, I guess, comes to the realization that the past sucks, or at least wasn’t that great. The look and costumes in this short are fantastic and the ultimate message, as I understand it, provides for a nice twist. I really didn’t see it playing out the way it played out.

PiecedTogether

Pieced Together: This wonderful documentary by Julianne Donofrio is basically about two things: first, a woman named Donna Sue Groves, who lost her job, turned 60, and then found out she had breast cancer. The second thing it’s about is the painted quilt square trail that she created and inspired, something that has become a major tourist attraction around the United States. Donna’s battle against cancer is harrowing, sad, and ultimately uplifting because she never quits. The painted quilt square trail is amazing to think about because it’s apparently a major thing and I’ve never heard of it. Not that I’m tuned into everything in the world, but, holy crap, this trail thing is a goddamn phenomenon that tons of people everywhere know about. The trail’s very existence makes me wonder where the hell have I been.

Heartfelt, informative, and deeply moving. I loved this documentary. Definitely one of the best things I saw at the festival. Check out the movie’s Facebook page here and the documentary’s official website here.

GreetingsFromTromaville

Greetings from Tromaville!: This is the second of two documentaries by Adrian Esposito (he had another documentary screen the first night of the festival, Diffability Hollywood, a movie about how Hollywood portrays people with disabilities) and it’s all about Troma Entertainment co-founder Lloyd Kaufman. Part Kaufman biography and part history of Troma, you end up learning all sorts of stuff about both, some stuff you probably never knew. Esposito manages to talk to tons of Kaufman collaborators and admirers including Gregory Lamberson, Ron Jeremy, Troma co-founder Michael Herz, Gary “Bozo” Schneider, Dan “Cigar Face” Snow, Debbie Rochon (via phone), and tons of other people. Even Roger Corman (yes, Roger goddamn Corman) appears.

The most fascinating thing about this documentary for me was the section on Kaufman’s and Troma’s movies before they both became known for The Toxic Avenger. If you look at Kaufman’s movies like Squeeze Play, Waitress!, and The First Turn On you’ll notice how the look of his movies haven’t changed at all, at least up until Return to Nuke’em High (more on that in a second). Squeeze Play and Terror Firmer look exactly the same, even though they’re two very different movies from two different decades.

My favorite part of the documentary? The use of the hard rock theme to The Toxic Avenger Part II in between sections. It’s sweet as hell to hear that song blaring loudly via a movie theatre’s top notch sound system.

As thorough as this documentary is, I’d suspect that there is cool stuff sitting on the cutting room floor (or whatever the digital equivalent is). Perhaps we’ll see some of that on the eventual DVD release.

Slapface: Written and directed by Jeremiah Kipp, this is another short film that I’m not entirely sure I understand. There’s a kid out in the woods, there’s an abusive father, there’s some hooey about the kid taking pills, and a game that involves face slapping. And then, at the end, there’s a monster for some reason. The cinematography in this short is amazing. I just wish I knew what it was really about.

ReturntoNukeEmHighVol2

Return to Return to Nuke ‘Em High aka Vol. 2: Vol. 2 is the first Troma movie I’ve seen in a movie theatre, on a big screen, and it was awesome. Gory, absurd, hilarious, gleefully offensive (there’s a fucking Auschwitz joke that will make you roar with laughter) and full of nudity, Vol. 2 is the most entertaining Troma movie I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t feel like any of the other Troma movies I’ve watched, and that may have to do with the digital nature of the movie. The way it cuts together is so different, almost like a “slick” Hollywood movie, and it just works from the second it begins until the very end. There isn’t one second of this movie that drags. You don’t need to see Vol. 1 to “get” the movie (I know this because I didn’t see Vol. 1 beforehand and I didn’t have a problem understanding the story), but Vol. 2 makes you want to see Vol. 1.

Now, I’m not going to try to explain the plot to Vol. 2 because it’s something you just have to experience. The whole thing is insane. What I will do, though, is provide a B-Movie Rundown for Vol. 2, just to give you a glimpse of what to expect when you see it. And if you’re a Troma nerd, you must see Vol. 2.

So what do we have here?

Doobage: Naked women in a locker room, loofah throwing, a principal that sounds like Richard Nixon, a woman with a radioactive period, a woman’s vagina gets violent, a recap of Vol. 1, a hilariously offensive Auschwitz joke, a hot naked woman in the shower is attacked by a monster, lesbians, umbilical cord eating, a hilarious news crawl, naked fat guy running around, dick in the face, multiple Nazi salutes, a guy shoots himself in the head, a mutant duck, hot lesbian sex, monsters coming out of vats, a violent duck monster, an animated educational film on farts, bloody fingernail removal, nipple torture, a blind security guard, bloody decapitation, a great Caitlyn Jenner joke, a hilarious ejaculation scene, massive anal rape, massive gut punch, a great hot dog joke, neck biting, face slashing, a bloody gore montage, boob removal, tongue removal, hair removal, head destruction, guy jumping on a grenade, melting people, an epic neck snap, another decapitation, anti-Semitism, laser hooey, swastika farts, exploding school, a nudity montage, a Doogie Howser homage, boob fondling, a James Gunn reference, and a great closing credits dance bit.

Gratuitous: A new Troma Team release opening, a Carrie homage, a Stan Lee voice over, Lloyd Kaufman as a villain, Lemmy from Motorhead as President, lesbianism, “Talking Tromaville” the TV show, Lloyd Kaufman smelling his own farts, Zac Amico, Zac Amico smells like roast beef, a director’s commentary bit, jumping Jesus on a pogo stick, nipple Cheetos, Lloyd Kaufman superimposing his head on Warren from Class of Nuk’em High on VHS, Lloyd Kaufman with a nipple ring, Lloyd Kaufman doing a Silence of the Lambs parody, a parody of CNN, an Asian woman that announces that she wants to be raped, Mark Torgl jerking off with a mop, Pat Kaufman, Lloyd Kaufman wearing a Tupac hoody, Lloyd Kaufman eating a banana, the Angry Video Game Nerd, the classic Troma car flip, San Diego Comicon, Ron Jeremy as God, infinite Lloyd Kaufman heads in space, a repurposed boat explosion from Troma’s War, and a terrific end titles song.

Best lines: “Look what you’ve done with your pussy juice,” “Give Daddy his Jesus juice,” “What the fuck? That bitch is ragging hard!,” “Ah! To be fat and worthless!,” “Now that’s meta!,” “It’s Emmanuel Lewis!,” “Are they finally making Gremlins 3?,” “That is one angry lesbian,” “She’s an alcoholic. She’s slept through three gang bangs,” “I didn’t think giving birth to a duck would be such an aphrodisiac,” “Do American lesbians enjoy German scat porn?,” “Is it true you’re carpet munchers?,” “What does vagina taste like?,” “When Mr. Herzkauf says fart you fart!,” “Let’s all run into the school. We all know that’s the safest place during a school shooting!,” “Grab her by the pussy!,” “Suck out my gas! Suck out my gas!,” “Fuck this! I’m going home to listen to Michael Bolton!,” “Tell my story. But leave out the part where I shit my pants,” “You bastard! You have my nose!,” “Time to rape a baby!,” and “Sorry we’re late. Chip shit himself.”

Day 2

The Wright Kids: A Boy Named Sue: A nifty little movie made by kids with an anti-bullying message that hits home. There’s even a fairly decent live version of the Johnny Cash song “A Boy Named Sue” by some band that I don’t remember the name of. This short is more elaborate than the previous year’s effort by the Wright Kids. Fun, important stuff.

ThrillRide

Thrill Ride: Written and directed by Chris Parrish, this is a brilliant, fun as heck kid’s adventure movie about a group of kids that discover a secret amusement park that was somehow created by Al Capone. To say that the amusement park is magical would be a serious understatement. There’s tons of imagination on display here, and both kids and adults will find the movie highly entertaining and very, very funny. Kristen Johnson stars, and Sweetchuck hisself Tim Kazurinsky shows up at the beginning. This movie is currently available on DVD and streaming, so be sure to track it down and check it out. Definitely pick this up if you have kids. They’ll have a blast with it.

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever: A fake documentary made by kids at a California high school and based on a book by Jeff Strand, this short is a hoot and a half. It shows via multiple segments what it’s like to try to make a zombie movie for absolutely no money. It’s sad, impossible, and hilarious. Real deal moviemakers will no doubt recognize all of the problems the kids encounter. This short runs about 30 minutes but, man, this could easily be a feature length parody. Loved this.

Sleeptalker: Written by, directed by, and starring Jillian Lebling, this short film will creep you the fuck out. It’s about a group of young girls having a sleepover and the group not liking one of the girls (played by Lebling). The way this thing plays out still gets to me (and Lebling’s performance will give you nightmares). If you want to check this short out you can watch it on YouTube here. I’m not going to watch it again, though, because I want to go to sleep tonight. I’m not kidding.

Gone: This short film by Billy Chizmar is all about a group of friends on a fishing trip in the woods. Atmospheric, creepy, and confusing in a good way, this is another short film that will mess with your head. Stephen King provides his voice in a key scene towards the end (I didn’t realize it was Big Steve until the guy next to me blurted out, “Hey, that was Stephen King!”). Awesome stuff.

Countrycide

Countrycide: I saw this “woman chased by a group of asshole killers in the woods” slasher flick as part of the 2017 Scareacon Film Festival (read what I said about it here), but that was on a relatively small screen in a convention room. Seeing it on a big screen in a real deal movie theatre was a totally different experience and the movie played differently. It still needed some tightening/some cuts, but the pacing on the big screen wasn’t as big of a deal. And the sound was elaborate and phenomenal. If you’re a slasher or survival horror fan, track it down and check it out.

Bride of Frankie: This black and white short film by Devi Snively is an homage to both the literary Frankenstein and the movies made by James Whale. It takes a little while to get going, but once it does hit its stride it’s quite lovely. It’s also easily the most whimsical Frankenstein adaptation I’ve ever seen. It looks good, it’s entertaining, and it’s thought provoking, too. I do believe that Snively wants to make a feature length version of the short, but, as far as I know, that hasn’t happened yet. Be sure to check out the movie’s website here for news and updates and whatnot.

666PMPoster

6:66 PM: I did a full on review for this horror comedy from Chad Ridgley and Jim Klock, which you can read here. This movie is a riot. It’s available to own on DVD and it’s streaming on Amazon, so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already. Terrific stuff.

BuckoutRoad

Buckout Road: I missed the first twenty minutes of this movie (I apologize, I had to go eat something before this movie started and I clearly didn’t chew fast enough), but I don’t think I missed anything all that important. This flick has Sgt. Roger Murtaugh/Lt. Mike Harrigan hisself Danny Glover in it, and the immortal Colm Feore shows up as a religious figure (a priest or reverend or some shit). The movie has something to do with an urban legend surrounding a Buckout Road in “upstate” New York (Poughkeepsie, but then that’s not really upstate New York). This movie is slick looking, well made, and is shockingly, as I write this, still not available on DVD or streaming. I mean, it has Danny Glover in it. How the hell isn’t this available at Walmart right now with Glover holding a gun on the cover (that image wouldn’t make any sense in the context of the movie but that has never stopped DVD outfits from doing something like it anyway)? I liked this movie for the most part, but there was this annoying thing that happened every now and then where the movie would “go grindhouse” and have fake scratches and shit on the screen. I have no idea the moviemakers thought it was necessary to do that. I’m not sure if anyone else in the audience felt the same way as the audience I saw it with, in general loved it. Hopefully this movie gets a wide release soon because, grindhouse nonsense aside, it needs to be seen. Horror movie nerds will love it.

Ghoulish: A horror short that also functions as an homage to the grindhouse cinema of years gone by. This grindhouse homage worked and made sense. It’s also as the gonk from Dawn of the Dead in it. That’s always cool. Written and directed by Sebastien Godin.

BonehillRoad

Bonehill Road: This low budget horror flick was written and directed by the great Todd Sheets and has scream queen Linea Quigley in it, so right there it’s an automatic must see. I’m still not entirely sure it totally works, but I can’t say that it isn’t entertaining because it is. The movie starts out as a “holy shit! We’re being attacked by goddamn werewolves!” movie, morphs into a “psycho tortures women in a house for some reason” movie, and then becomes a werewolf movie again. I liked the werewolf part of the movie more than the torture part (the werewolves all look different and, as a result, are scary as fuck. I’m serious, these fucking monsters will freak you the fuck out) and kind of wish it had been a full on werewolf movie from beginning to end. The psycho-torture part of the movie is gross and nasty, and that’s before characters start dying in absolutely horrific ways. The blood and guts here all have a “Scrambled eggs slathered in barbecue sauce” look about them and are quite unsettling.

The movie opens with a dreary acoustic version of “Bad Moon Rising” that you will want to listen to over and over again (I wonder how much that cost to license, though). I also want to watch the mid credits sequence a few more times because I want to, one day, figure it out. Bonehill Road is now available On Demand from Uncork’d Entertainment, so be sure to track it down and check it out.

Some Other Movies That Screened but I didn’t See

Conclusion

I once again had a great time at the Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival. I saw a wide variety of movies, some of them truly great, and hope that more people get to see them as they move around the country (and world) playing at other festivals or on home video or TV or whatever.

The Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival 2018 will run from November 2nd to November 8th at the Dipson Theaters Eastern Hills Cinema at the Eastern Hills Mall in Williamsville, New York . Check out http://www.buffalodreamsfantasticfilmfestival.com/ for details.


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