Monthly Archives August 2020

Fantasia 2020: Survival Skills Plays With All Sorts of Conventions

Writer/director Quinn Armstrong’s Survival Skills is exactly the sort of VHS worship which I can absolutely get behind. Taking the visual aesthetic of grainy, worn-out video, replete with tracking issues, and combining it with acting which contrasts overt enthusiasm with wooden roboticism, Survival Skills uses its opening scenes to set you up and flip you around. “Survival Skills is a lost police training video from 1988, which tells the story of Jim, a rookie cop who gets in over his head when he tries to resolve a domestic violence case outside the law.” Armstrong’s film is all about the set-up,
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Fantasia 2020: Clapboard Jungle Offers Insight Into a Different Aspect of Filmmaking

Director Justin McConnell’s documentary, Clapboard Jungle, tackles the side of filmmaking not frequently explored – the financial and business aspect of an industry most usually looked at from the creative angle. Thanks to McConnell’s many years in the indie horror trenches, along with the wide swathe of individuals with which he manages to speak, the end result is something that’s both personal and a series of lessons for the burgeoning filmmaker. “An emotional and introspective journey following five years in the life and career of an independent filmmaker, supported by dozens of interviews, posing one question: how does an indie
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FANTASIA 2020: Crazy Samurai Musashi Gets Right to the Fighting, for Better or Worse

In Crazy Samurai Musashi, director Yûji Shimomura pairs up with martial arts star Tak Sakaguchi for their third collaboration, this time for a film that features literally 2-3 minutes of plot. How is the remaining 77 minutes spent, you may ask? Through an extended, single-shot action sequence in which Sakaguchi’s Musashi battles several hundred swordsmen in his attempt to tear through an entire clan. It’s a movie that asks, “What if we cut out all the bullshit and got straight to the fighting, which is why you’re all here anyway?” A bold move, but does it pay off? The film
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FANTASIA 2020: A (very) Small Selection of Our Picks for This Year’s Festival

August 20 through September 2 marks the 24th annual Fantasia International Film Festival! Of course, due to the ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, the programmers have decided to forego an in-person event this year. But not to worry! They’ve lined up an exciting virtual edition of the festival, with a wide array of funky genre films from all over the world, and Cinepunx is thrilled to come at you with some great festival coverage. Join me (Bryan Christopher) and Nick Spacek as we take our first foray into the realm of Fantasia. Nick, there’s a lot of interesting stuff
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THIS JUSTIN: We Love Those Who Make The Music.

Welcome to THIS JUSTIN, a column dedicated to my love of all things weird and spooky. Each week I’ll be taking you on a deep dive into something creepy and/or crawly and talking your ear off about why I love it so much. Quick…when I say ‘shark’, what sound pops into your head? There’s a solid chance most of you heard John Williams’ iconic theme from Jaws, that splendidly ominous two note sequence that is ingrained in the dark side of America’s collective idea of summertime. It’s a perfect score, and it accomplishes exactly what a film score is supposed
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New Bomb Turks release a ‘Diamond Edition’ of Nightmare Scenario to benefit Columbus orgs

Columbus, Ohio’s New Bomb Turks have been making pedal-to-the-metal, jet-fueled rock ‘n’ roll for 30 years now. While they don’t tour quite as much as they used to, the band is still kicking. Today, the band drops a 20th anniversary release of Nightmare Scenario on Bandcamp. The LP is New Bomb Turks’ fifth full-length album, and is presented in a “Diamond Edition,” featuring unheard mixes and a bonus track, all re-mastered by Jim Diamond. The reason behind all of this, says the band’s singer, Eric Davidson, ends up being a pretty simple one. “Crypt did a reissue of our very
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THIS JUSTIN: Why Found Footage?

Welcome to THIS JUSTIN, a column dedicated to my love of all things weird and spooky. Each week I’ll be taking you on a deep dive into something creepy and/or crawly and talking your ear off about why I love it so much. In the summer of 1998, Eduardo Sánchez released The Blair Witch Project. Hailed as a groundbreaking horror film and being the first film I can remember having the eye-roll-inducing acclaim of being “the scariest film since The Exorcist” attached to it, the film was nonetheless legitimately scary. Much of the fear of it was due to the
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