27 November 2014

FANTASM: A CONVENTION DOCUMENTARY

FANTASM:
A CONVENTION DOCUMENTARY

USA, 2013
Director: Kyle Kuchta

6/10










"Fantasm" (obviously not to be confused with the "Phantasm" franchise) is a documentary about horror conventions, shot at six different conventions between 2012 and 2013 (Monster-Mania 23 & 24, Rock and Shock, Spooky Empire, Horrorhound Weekend 2012 & 2013) where young filmmaker Kyle Kuchta talks with fans, webmasters, merchants and legendary horror actors about their convention experiences and horror per se. Plain and simple.


We get to see Elm Street stars like Heather Langenkamp, Amanda Wyss or Tuesday Knight, the great Tom Atkins ("Night of the Creeps"), director Joe Lynch ("Wrong Turn 2") and Troma boss Lloyd Kaufman, as well on-stage appearances by various actors of "The Walking Dead" or the Rob Zombie universe. We get to see awesome horror toys, amazing horror cosplayers, posters, VHS / DVD collections, all kinds of parents, teenagers and kids talking about their genre obsessions. That's it.

It's fun and diverting, but compared to recent fandom documentaries like "Comic-Con Episode IV", "Best Worst Movie" or "Adjust Your Tracking",
it totally lacks punch. There's nothing that makes you go "Wow!", no deeper stories, no unique characters. It's just people talking about the horror community, outsiderdom, geekiness and stuff - and what they're talking is mostly not that interesting.


It's cool to see Langenkamp rambling about how much conventions mean to her, or Atkins comparing horror films to amusement parks - but at the same time, it's rather boring seeing several individuals talking about the meaning/feeling/importance of community over and over again. Come on, I get it. Talk about something else *ugh* Also, at a length of only 55 minutes, it's still a bit too dull, too slow-paced.

The one bright spot in "Fantasm" is indie director Jack Bennett. Not only does he have a very pleasant voice, he's also saying lots of very, very cool, very true stuff:
"If we're arguing about politics, the winner is gonna decide the fate of our country, possibly. The stakes are higher. If you're now having an argument about slow zombies and fast zombies, or something like that, at the end of the day we're still having fun because whether we're talking, we're talking about zombie movies."
or: 
"When you saw the remake of "Dawn of the Dead" (the first movie that scared the shit out of the
director), you hadn't considered the possibility that a movie could do this to you... and then you step through that gateway and it almost becomes like a drug. I have to find other things that give me the same sensations. So, "Dawn of the Dead - The Remake" leads to "Dawn of the Dead - The Original" leads to "Day of the Dead" leads to "Return of the Living Dead". "Shaun of the Dead" is in there... everything in between... and then you're like "Okay, I've exhausted zombie possibilities. Are there any other things?" And so you're watching "Texas Chainsaw Massacre", you're watching "Near Dark", you're watching all the classics... you know, anything! You're watching "The Shining". You're discovering the possibilities for this genre... and it becomes like a roadmap. You can actually see how this leads to this leads to this."
Dayum, I could really listen to Bennett all day long!

Overall, "Fantasm" is a nice little flick, but far from being anything special. Hardcore convention freaks may dig it a bit more than
"average" horror fans like me.

Imdb

Thanks to Simply Legandary Publicity for the screener!

2 comments:

  1. I like to see and hear actors I like, so I'd watch this if it appears on a streaming service I have. But I'm not going to work to see it.

    ReplyDelete

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