Never mind SXSW — the real action in psychotronic film events was happening in Chicago, with the sixth annual Sci-Fi Spectacular held at the historic Portage Theater. As usual, the event featured a wide variety of flicks to whet your alien appetites, ranging from Joe Dante’s MATINEE to Don Hertzfeld’s amazing IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY to more traditional cult faves like BATTLE ROYALE. Frank Henenlotter was on hand to talk before the screening of BRAIN DAMAGE as well, nearly halfway through the twenty-four hour spectacle put on by the good folks at Terror in the Aisles.
But the best part was the premieres.
Oh, sure, SXSW viewers may have had a chance to see I AM DIVINE or REWIND THIS! or the EVIL DEAD remake, a fact of which I am NOT THE LEAST BIT JEALOUS, but the Sci-Fi Spectacular gave its audience a chance to see over a dozen new pics from filmmakers. And best of all, you could see them all within twenty minutes.
The marathon held a competition for filmmakers to contribute their best takes on a ’50s-era Roger Corman trailer, with the prerequisite that each film be no longer than a minute. Audience applause served as the judging panel, resulting in three winners, though no entry overstayed its welcome.
The results were varied, but it’s clear everyone involved had a great time putting the pieces together, and we here at Daily Grindhouse love a good fake trailer. Below are the three winners, and a few of my favorites as well.
SCREAMS ON PLANET ZERO by David Schmidt is a fantastically loyal take on ’50s sci-fi trailers, following a group of astronauts on an alien world apparently ruled by a giant tentacled brain.
Ryan Oliver’s THE DAY THE EARTH SPUN takes a slightly more tongue-in-cheek route, and adds some narration that sounds an awfully lot like Billy West to the tale of a world spinning out of control, maniacal giggling and havoc being wreaked on an art exhibit. Oliver’s Deathblow Productions is also responsible for the excellent short AIR CONDITIONS, the trailer for which is visible here.
ATTACK OF THE COSMIC FRANK-EINSTEIN FROM HAUNTED SPACE AND THE MOON by Low Carb Comedy’s Zoran Gvojic, who had previously entertained this site with JASON VOORHEES, PERSONAL TRAINER, is just as hilariously overwrought as its title, and was one of the funniest shorts on display.
Jason Coffman, previously mentioned here for his faux trailer for “Una Chiave di Ghiaccio in un Campo di Lillà (A Key of Ice in a Field of Lilacs),” was so inspired by the concept that he made a full short film for his trailer THE GAMMA-RAY MAN, an incredible sixteen minute B-movie monster tale that would have been a great substitute had the print for MATINEE’s meta-movie MANT! gotten irreparably damaged.
Jessica Christopher’s MAN-VASION features some excellent makeup work and the promise of dangerous beefcake.