Saturday, 28 May 2011

FEAST III (aka FEAST III: THE HAPPY FINISH, 2009)

Running to barely more than an hour, FEAST III is subtitled ‘The Happy Finish’, and closes off the carnage begun in the first two films in a suitably sleazy modern grindhouse style. Shot back-to-back with FEAST II: SLOPPY SECONDS, the film follows the survivors of that film as they continue to battle against the marauding legion of monsters in a bid for survival.

Well, without giving too much of the film away, most of those survivors don’t make it past the first five minutes, and many other new characters that show up in its 65 minute running time are torn to pieces, eaten, mauled (and in one seen taken roughly from behind) by those huge-fanged beasts.

The film is nonsensical, extremely violent, tasteless, funny, brutal and gloriously awful. There may as well be no script, with the film going from one set-piece to another seemingly at random. The characters don’t help things much either, although they all certainly look the part. The gang of biker girls has shrunk following the last film, and the assorted band of misfits that make up the rest of the cast aren’t given all that much in the way of characterization, but they seem to be having a blast with the one-liners and screaming.
The style of the film is highly kinetic and edited in a music video style that tends to hide the limitations of the budget (although not all of the rough edges are glossed over), and the use of lighting and lightning-fast cuts is overused but effective. The finest performance of the piece comes from Tom Gulager as the redneck Greg Swank, and that’s mainly down to the character spending 99% of the film with a metal pipe through his head, moaning and mumbling (with subtitles). The other decent performance comes from Diane Ayale Goldner as the Biker Queen, a true badass.

Feast III is exactly what you’d expect from a film with that title. I mean, when in the first five minutes you see the main character from the previous film decapitated, her head eaten and then violently shat out of the monster, right at the screen, you know this ain’t going to be The King’s Speech. The ending of FEAST III makes no sense AT ALL, but the credits sequence, with an old Mexican guy singing an acoustic song about the Feast movie themselves (by just walking onscreen in a snazzy outfit and singing to camera) is possibly the best thing in the entire series.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Free Comic Book Day: Bringing Back Memories

It was Free Comic Book Day (aka FCBD) in comic stores around the world today, and I joined in the fun at my local branch of Forbidden Planet, where staff were dressed up and free stuff was flowing. It gave me a warm glow inside to be amongst that atmosphere again, to be honest, as during the nine years I spent working in a comic shop, FCBD was always a fun time of year.

There are a lot of things I really don’t miss about working there, like traveling for three hours a day or not finishing until 11pm some nights due to the opening hours of the shopping centre it was in, but there are some very cherished memories for me in those years too. FCBD was always a good thing for us. Sure, most people just came in for free stuff and then left again, but I remember talking to a great many families and parents about the comics medium, and was asked to suggest appropriate titles for children or titles that people with certain likes might enjoy.

Those times were really satisfying, and gave us a real sense of the community that goes hand in hand with enjoying graphic storytelling in comics and graphic novels. I would make sure I got to work on FCBD (I usually had Saturdays off) as I wanted to feel like part of the action, and handing out stacks of comics to people for free was an absolute pleasure.

Granted, there were many times when people wouldn’t believe the books were free, which did get old very quickly, but after the hundredth time you’ve said ‘No, there’s no catch, it’s free! See? It says FREE on the cover!’ you tend to hit a plateau and go with it.

You see, I’ve probably been out of the game long enough now to start to get nostalgic about it all, but today in Forbidden Planet, I got a taste of something I do genuinely miss from my days working in that little comic shop (which is now gone and has been replaced with a children's clothes shop), and that is a sense of being amongst my own kind. My people. I miss you, geeks. I really do.