It’s Halloween on Monday, and Cineplex has a few events planned for those looking to celebrate the scariest of the holidays. First off, you can see Scream return to the big screen, October 28-31. This year is the 20th anniversary of the original release of the film, if you can believe that. Also screening is horror classic Halloween, introduced by director John Carpenter.
There’s also an encore showing of Frankenstein, the UK National Theatre performance. I’ve seen it, and it is stellar. Benedict Cumberbatch is The Creature on October 29, with Johnny Lee Miller as Dr Frankenstein. On November 2, they switch roles. And Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Til Dawn screens November 6 and 9.
Also happening in the region this weekend is the Charlottetown Film Festival at the City Cinema in PEI. They’re showing a bunch of local short films and a few features, including the documentary Bluefin, which I saw at The Atlantic Film Festival this year.
One of the screenings is of Head Space, a 68 min feature from writer-director Nicole Steeves, which producer Lynn Matheson kindly shared with me. It was made as part of the 1K Wave Project, where five individual women filmmakers had five months to make a feature film with a budget of $1000—which, by the way, is a herculean task if watchability is part of the criteria. .
I’m happy to report Steeves succeeded with her project. Floyd (Struan Sutherland) is a former stand-up comedian and TV pitchman who’s become an agoraphobe, living in his basement terrified of the outside world, his only company a broken mannequin constantly giving him shit, and feeding his neuroses. His only connection to the outside world is his pizza delivery guy, Stoo (Stoo Metz), who takes an interest in him and slowly helps him reconnect to life beyond the basement, including the prospect of his attending jury duty.
The film tells the story of Floyd’s reawakening without getting too much into the demons that forced him to withdraw. It’s just a sweet little story with a surprising romance waiting at its end, and a good introduction to what Steeves can do as a filmmaker. It brings character work, humour, and some surprising production value for a picture of this budget, including a score by Nathan Wiley. It’ll be interesting to see what she can make of a hundred or a thousand times the investment. Hopefully she’ll get the chance.
Speaking of Halloween, Carbon Arc‘s screening a weird little horror comedy on Friday night at 9:15pm. The Love Witch an unusual choice for the indie cinema, a campy love letter to ’60s exploitation and Russ Meyer pictures. Before that is a film from Guatemala—a country with no film industry, no technical infrastructure—and yet everything we’ve heard about Ixcanul is that despite the challenges, the film is exceptional. It screens at 7pm. Go here for more about both films.
Opening at the multiplex is Inferno, the third film in the Dan Brown book adaptations, about Robert Langdon (Tom Hanks), an American researcher who uncovers ancient mysteries. I used to think Langdon was a tweedier Indiana Jones, but now I’m realizing he’s actually a much duller James Bond. He travels all over the world, he faces mad, bad guys, foiling their world-destroying machinations, and he has a new female companion in every film. Felicity Jones, meet Ayelet Zurer and Audrey Tautou.
Another faith-based film arrives, this one the story of a victim of the Columbine High School massacre. While most of these films’ trailers feel like they’re literally preaching to the converted—and I’ve been meaning to watch a few to get a better sense of their appeal—the defensive title of I’m Not Ashamed and scenes with famed mass-murderers as a way to inspire passion for Christ feels especially exploitative. But a trailer isn’t always representative. If and when I see the film, I’ll let you know what I think.
Also opening in Bayers Lake is a Hindi romantic drama called Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, aka This Heart Is Complicated, starring Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Happy Diwali to all!