Saturday 28 September 2013

Diecons (2012)

Director: Lomai
This film was an official selection at the 9th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Phoenix in 2013. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 films.
A highly appropriate way to kick off a set of horror shorts at a genre festival, Diecons is a trailer for a nonexistent feature. It stars the cinematic equivalent of a slasher supergroup, most of those iconic monsters from eighties movies attempting to make a comeback in an era that sees them as camp and doesn't take them remotely seriously. There's only a hint of a story but that hint only puts it in parity with many of the movies to which it pays homage. The puppeteer appears to be a psychiatrist with a Hannibal Lecter fixation, who gets most of the dialogue, perhaps appropriately given that he was one of the few modern monsters to get any (and this is an odd moment for me to realise that most of the great monsters of the eighties were just as silent as those of the twenties). 'They do not see you as I see you,' he pronounces, sliding a new mask over to Michael Myers. If I caught the dialogue correctly, he sees them as 'proud slayers of the degenerate mongols that plague this plane of existence.'
And so you can write the rest of the script yourself. He talks up their collective achievements and how they're forgotten, their legacies bastardised, timely with the Hannibal series and a host of modern day franchise reboots. Pop culture sucks in his view, which is mirrored in the response of one victim who points out that it's all about paranormal activity nowadays (and you can make that genre a movie title if you wish) 'You must let them know who the real icons of death are,' he tells his oversized minions. 'Take your weapons and carve their flesh!' I can't resist quoting this overblown dialogue, which is one of the best reasons to watch this short, but unfortunately the sound quality is a little murky so I wasn't able to catch all of it. That's surprising, as the piece was put together by musicians, Chicago rappers called 21st Century Hip Hop. Even there the horror influence is apparent, as director Lomai surely takes his name from Lo-Mai, the cat/man hybrid in The Island of Dr Moreau, not the Fijian rugby team.

Given that this is a fake movie trailer, it has to be judged as if the imaginary feature it promotes isn't quite so imaginary after all. Would this entice potential viewers away from the Hollywood eye candy on offer on the other multiplex screens? Well, maybe. It has a vision that's as fun as it is cheesy. There are fan films out there, like Freddy vs Jason vs Ash, that cover this territory and they're popular with a certain flavour of horrorhound, even if they play parties and cons rather than national theatre chains. Certainly to succeed, they need to be made by fans rather than studio executives, but even Freddy vs Jason made back three times its budget and its ending still prompts discussion whenever its name is dropped. This is definitely on the party scale, as the acting is poor to mediocre, the action is generic (though phrased knowingly) and the technical side is capable at best. After the idea, it's the dialogue that keeps us, as overdone as anything given a mad doctor in the forties. Ed Wood would mouth it all.

Diecons can be watched for free on YouTube.

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