‘Here Comes the Devil,’ ‘Big Bad Wolves’ and ‘Thanatomorphose,’ or How I Lost My Lunch and Loved it
For the last few weekends, I’ve spent every hour of each day watching horror films. OK, maybe not every hour. But most of those days were dedicated to watching a girl’s skin rot, people getting tortured and kids possessed by the devil.
Anyhow, I watched all these films in prep for an article I wrote about Kansas City’s Panic Fest. This annual festival showcases new and iconic horror, sci-fi and thrillers for three days. This year’s fest was downright stellar. Although I only got to one day of the fest this year, I did get to hate-watch Spaceballs (I hate – HATE — that film). I also got to tipsily watch Haunt, which, sadly, wasn’t so great, either (unoriginal plot, bad acting, boring writing).
But the movies I screened for the fest were great: Here Comes the Devil, Big Bad Wolves and Thanatomorphose were fun to watch and uniquely weird. While Here Comes the Devil was my favorite of the three, Big Bad Wolves was quite enjoyable, too. And although Thanatomorphose was a bit repetitive and frustrating, it was the most disgusting thing I’ve seen in a long while (that means I liked it).
While writing The Pitch piece, I had the pleasure of speaking to Adam Roberts, Panic Fest co-founder and Screenland Armour’s co-owner, about the movies I screened. Here’s a bit of our nerdy film conversation.
Abbie Stutzer: So, I didn’t know what Here Comes the Devil or Big Bad Wolves was about prior to watching them whilst exercising (yes, I’m very Patrick Bateman). I really enjoyed Here Comes the Devil for the most part. I think it mainly worked because: 1. The story was a relatively new twist on the good ol’ possession storyline and 2. The writer/director did a nice job of depicting the real horror of the situation, and didn’t shy away from using the kids in an effective (aka horrific) way. I also enjoyed how the parents’ personalities transformed throughout the film.
Next up, Big Bad Wolves. The dialogue was top notch, and the film straddled funny and creepy incredibly well. I, however, got really irked at the whole torture sequence. I mean, I get why it was there (as it tied back to the victims, etc.), but I’m so tired of seeing people get mutilated on film just to make the audience clinch their assholes. I mean, if you’re going to torture someone, I want it to make me sick (à la Cannibal Holocaust). It was, however, an effective thriller and held my attention.
What are your thoughts on Here Comes the Devil and Big Bad Wolves?
Adam Roberts: Here Comes the Devil: I’m a sucker for anything possession and Satan related, and this one tickled me to death. Its characters were refreshingly not ignorant and the tension slowly builds to a nice climax. And who doesn’t like a nice climax?
Big Bad Wolves: Maybe I am a bit more deranged than I thought because this thriller really had me smiling and laughing at how sadistic and ridiculous the story got including the torture scenes. I’m not crazy about torture porn but it still is porn so I have to give it some props in that arena. It makes absolute sense that Tarantino called it his favorite film of 2013. I believe the Coen Brothers might agree.
AS: I stopped worrying about my laughter reaction to torture, mutilation and all that a long time ago as I’ve accepted my personal insanity.
AS: Was that (Thantomorphose) an elaborate art installation?
AR: Thantomorphose? Is that the elaborate art piece?
AS: Yes. I think we (the human race) were punked.
AR: Thantomorphose: When I first saw the disgusting and bizarre trailer for this film, the first thought I had was ‘I must see this.’ When the director said he would show it at our film festival I got giddy because the trailer promised a very Cronenberg meets Lynch, by way of French Canadians, and it definitely made good on its promise. The film itself is very low budget and does the absolute most disgusting it can and pays off for me. This is one, like Cannibal Holocaust or Pin-Up Dolls on Ice, is one that you want to see with a crowd to watch them squirm. Did you like it? For the budget, he killed it.
AS: I liked it, but I’ve got to admit that I really wish there was more of a plot point (I’m a story and dialogue sucker). But as far as body horror goes, it was very effective. And I did enjoy the end. And for sure. That was really effective with the teeth and the nails and… sex… which was so not sexy. I wish I was a virgin now. She made a name for her self in one way or another, that’s for sure.
Next week, I’ll screen 24 Exposures and Raze.
Image source: MES Film Club