Fangoria’s Trinity of Terrors – Las Vegas, Nevada October 30 and 31, November 1st.
With the imminent rollout of our Horror section, we decided to take a ‘small’ road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for the first Fangoria Trinity Of Terrors event at the Palms Resort and Casino.
Since the weekend was Halloween it would be even more fun than just the event by itself. So we hoped in my car and drove 16 hrs to get there, thanks to the awesome weather forecast indicating that all roads were clear in Montana, we took the shortcut that ended up costing us an extra 3 hrs since we drove through a snow covered road for the first 200 miles.
Driving through the night, we arrived in Vegas around 2 pm the following day. Once in Vegas we made our way to the Palms and found the registration booth for the event. Everything was well organized and quick enough so we got our weekend pass and headed to our hotel in order to rest and shower since we would have a very intense 3 days coming ahead of us.
We made our way back for the 6:30 pm screening of “Bitch Slap”, a B-movie that was advertised as an exploitation film. Going into this film with no expectations actually provided one of the first surprises of the weekend, read our short review of the movie in the next few paragraphs (full review will be up once the Horror section is open).
“Bitch Slap” (2009)
Just by reading the title I assumed this movie will be either really bad, or very funny. Actually this movie provides good laughs since most of the one-liners of the movie are extremely funny and witty. The plot seems to be very basic at the beginning but it gradually evolves into a very interesting (and not completely ‘hard’) movie to watch while enjoying the super hot female leads provided by: America Olivo, Julia Voth and Erin Cummings.
The people that I’ve read that trash this movie is probably because they don’t understand the intention of the director in creating a tribute to older exploitation films, and B-movies in general, the whole ‘shitty looking’ green screen sequences are supposed to look that way, I can assume if they wanted professional looking things they could have budgeted them into the film’s cost. The raunchy dialog is also intended this way and it works wonders with the brilliant cast of the movie.
And the best part of this movie is the awesome slow-motion boob shaking sequences that I’ve rarely seen in other movies, makes me wish Megan Fox was in this movie. However the 3 females leads are more than well endowed in this department and do a great job at kicking ass, shaking boobs and looking great while doing it. The fight sequences are very intense and very well choreographed, while using many different camera angles.
The whole story telling style of the movie of going back in time to fill in the blanks fits the movie narrative very well and adds that extra element to make this film engaging. The whole back story that culminates in the twist at the end of the movie is pretty clever and if you are not a huge movie buff (or over analyze things) you will be greatly pleased by it.
I must say that “Bitch Slap” might not big recognition on the box office, but it will surely become a DVD cult hit. I hope this is enough for director Rick Jacobson to keep doing this kind of work.
We stayed around after the end credits of the movie for the Q&A with producer Brian Peck and Erin Cummings. During the Q&A they both talked about their experiences making the movie and how well it’s doing in the international market among other things.
After the movie we decided to take a break and do some gambling and some sightseeing in Vegas, so we drove down to the strip for a few hours before our next film of the day.
Returning just in time to line up for the screening of “Black Devil Doll” the quintessential ‘blaxploitation/plain weird’ movie of the last few years. Probably as disturbing as Teeth. So of course we had to be there to watch it on the big screen and introduced by none other than Jonathan Lewis the infamous director and writer of the movie.
“Black Devil Doll” (2007)
After watching the trailer online for quite a while, all screenings where located thousands of miles away from our location, and never seeing this movie released on DVD (it was first available few days before this screening) I was all about watching this movie if it was the last thing I’ve do before dying.
“Black Devil Doll” did not disappointed me at all in any single aspect, the film is a B-movie so your expectations should be lowered right at the door, and if you do so, then you are for the ride of your life with this film.
The whole movie is one bizarre ride down to memory lane of the good-old exploitation films of the 70’s, plus an edge of Grindhouse cinema. A ouija board experiment gone terrible wrong brings to life the ‘devil doll’ and this is the beginning of the most bizarre move I’ve seen in quite a while. The film has puppet sex (and lots of it), gore, brilliant one-liners, massive amounts of boobs, the combination of all these elements is what makes this movie great.
I don’t mean great in an Oscar winning type of great, but in the sense that it accomplishes what it sets out since the beginning: to gross you out and make you laugh. The puppet sex scenes are hilarious and the dolls dialog lines are some of the funniest I’ve heard in a movie of this kind. The casting of all the characters on the movie is very well matched to the whole idea behind the movie and make it look extra raunchy when needed.
If you can’t take a joke then don’t see this movie, if you are a little whiny baby that cant watch a movie for what it’s trying to mimic and make fun off then do not watch this movie. But if you have a good sense of humor and want to see a ‘jive-ass’ puppet murder and rape a bunch of people then you are in for the ride of your life.
After witnessing the hilarious exploits of the “Black Devil Doll” it was time to call it a night and go back to the hotel and get a few hours of sleep. For the first day at the Trinity of Terrors it was a very productive one, watching a couple of films and walking around the ‘expo’ floor for a while getting a bunch of posters and movie related stuff.
Saturday October 31st – Halloween Day
After sleeping for more than usual we decided to do some sightseeing attack some buffet and then go and watch our first movie at 2:30 pm, a movie called “The Intervention” and I wished I would have attended John Waters Q&A instead. Just read along the next few paragraphs to read our review of this awful movie.
“The Intervention” (2009)
Reading the brief description of the movie, it looked pretty decent and since I’m a sucker for ‘psychological thrillers’ I was sold on watching this movie, and it was just dreadful.
The whole movie starts with a couple of people gathering at a ‘creepy old house’ to have an intervention with one of the movie characters, I will not go into any spoilers to not ‘ruin’ the movie for the rest of the people interesting in watching it. The movie quickly gathers momentum and features a few cheap scares that were enough to catch a couple of audience member’s off-guard.
And this was the rest of the ‘scary’ stuff, they dive into the whole ‘real plot’ that revolves around demonic possession (WTF) and then it just gets plain bad after that. The acting was pretty dreadful and the scares got cheaper and cheaper by the minute. Luckily this movie is somewhat short and it all concludes in a very un-inspired ending that only a handful of people might find amusing (in my opinion).
Overall the movie was pretty bad since the beginning the ‘creepy house’ was pretty lame and the whole back story was pretty weak, and while the ending might not be imminently predictable, it turns out to be laughable. I wish I would have waited to rent this one and watch John Waters instead.
After that dreadful movie I quickly made my way to catch the last few minutes of Malcolm McDowell’s Q&A and was there for his story on how he got the part in “A Clock Work Orange”. Right after his Q&A he was followed by none other than Bruce Campbell himself.
Bruce Campbell’s Q&A was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in an event of this type, since he brings his sick sense of humor to the event and gets most of his laughs at other people’s expense.
He told a couple of stories while answering questions about his characters in some of his ‘cult’ movies like Evil Dead and Army Of Darkness. All dumb questions were answered with a backlash of humor than had most audience members laughing out loud. After almost 50 minutes of great comedy his time was up and the evening was gearing towards George Romero’s Q&A.
During his Q&A Romero addressed several questions about his new movie “Survival Of The Dead” that will be screening later that night, and about the undead in general. This Q&A was very informative about current and older projects and his movies in general, the main ideas behind them and how he came up with the whole ‘undead’ concept. It’s very nice to see that he is still happily working on independent projects in order to no compromise his artistic views and do the movies he wants in the way he wants to.
After Romero’s Q&A we made our way to catch the ‘world premiere’ of “Dead Air” featuring Bill Moseley, and while I had no expectations for this film, it turned out to be quite decent.
“Dead Air” (2009)
“Dead Air” is an apocalyptic tale that takes place during a terrorist bio-attack in downtown Los Angeles. The film is obviously low budget, but they the director managed to get great performances of its actors (except the main terrorist dude, he sucks badly) something that with the secluded setting of the movie was more than needed to make it work. Bill Moseley gives probably his best performance so far as a radio talk show host that gets lucky by being on air when one of the major crisis in US history is happening.
The whole movie flies by and feels shorter than it actually is because it keeps you engaged from start to end. While the story is not very original and features very simple twists, is still very effective in creating the whole ‘what if it does happen’ feeling. The bio-attack induced ‘maniac’ condition is very similar to the one of the ‘infected’ of 28 Days later and similar movies.
The plot revolves around Logan (Bill Moseley) staying on the air while the crisis is happening, he also remembers that his family is out there and does what he can to try to reach them, on the other side the perpetrators of the ‘closest’ terrorist attack to the radio station are on their way fleeing when they make it inside the building the radio station is located. The rest flows very naturally (and I will not spoil it), the director manages to create a very tense environment that many movies fail at.
I assume Dead Air will be directly released on DVD and this is a shame since the movie is quite decent, the low budget does get in the way a few times since some stuff looks just plain cheap, but other than that this movie is very decent and will surely grace my DVD collection once it’s released.
After “Dead Air” we had a gap of several hours until the next movie we wanted to watch: “Survival Of The Dead”, during this time we made it to the Vegas Strip and watched all the crowd wearing their pretty interesting Halloween costumes, during the several hours\ we spent walking around we watched a wide variety of different costumes.
Once the time was getting closer to midnight we made our way to back to the Palms for the most expected movie of the whole weekend. So we stood in line for a few minutes and then after a brief introduction of the movie by George Romero, we all sat anxiously waiting for the movie to start playing, and we waited, waited, waited, waited, and nothing!! there were some technical difficulties with the projector and we did not get to see the movie!!, very disappointing but the organizers made up for it by screening the movie several times during the last day of the convention.
After the temporary disappointment we made our way back to our hotel since the next day would be a very long one (see a couple of movies and drive back home for 14 hours).
Sunday November 1st
For the last day of the event we had a light schedule of watching a few movies and then embarking on our road trip back home. The mission of Sunday was to watch “The Fourth Kind” and “Franklyn”, but due to the technical difficulties of the midnight showing of “Survival Of The Dead” we had to replace the “Franklyn” showing at 2:30 pm for the 2:00 pm showing of Romero’s latest opus.
“The Fourth Kind” (2009)
After watching the trailer earlier this year, I had very high expectations of this movie, since it seemed to combine creepiness with aliens, what else can you ever dream off. The movie starts with star Milla Jovovich and director Olatunde Osunsanmi setting up the mood of the movie by claiming that it’s based on ‘true events’ and that most footage used was archival footage from the actual Dr. Tyler that the movie is supposed to be based on.
As you can expect this film switches back and forth from ‘archival footage’ to re-enacted scenes, this technique proves to be very effecting in convincing the audience that the archival footage is real and that the reenactments are done very well. Also the main hook is the interview of the movie’s director with Dr. Tyler, the person that Milla’s character is based on. This interview goes on throughout the whole movie and provides some of the fundamental parts of the story as well as shock value nearing the end of the movie.
The whole summary of the story is that on a small town in Alaska (Nome) the psychologist Dr. Tyler finds a common link between several patients therapy and it comes down to be related with alien abduction (as the movie title states) from there on several things happen with some patients and then Dr. Tyler finds her self involved directly with this issue, without giving away anything this turns out to take a turn for the worst.
If you are the 100% Hollywood person that needs closure and ‘happy’ movies you will not like this one at all. As for the rest of the people interested in aliens or just looking for a different type of movie to watch, “The Forth Kind” is a very solid movie that has an engaging story, it features some creepy moments and the acting is pretty decent (except for Sherif August). If you choose to believe (or not) watch you see on the movie, I would advise you to do a Google search after watching the movie (and this is as much as I will say about it).
Having some time to kill between the end of “The Forth Kind” and “Survival Of The Dead”, we decided to catch a sneak peak of “Live Evil” and let me tell you that while I was comfortably sitting in the theater I felt the rapid urge of getting the hell out of the theater since this move is by far one of the worst ones I’ve seen in my life. A samurai vampire killing priest… c’mon I rather see people wipe their asses with money instead of this terrible movie. After the bad taste left by this movie, I made my way outside to have a cigarette break and do some gambling before “Survival Of The Dead”.
“Survival Of The Dead” (2009)
Being a huge zombie movie fan and an even bigger George Romero fan, this movie was the ‘highlight’ of my weekend. “Survival Of The Dead” has not found US distribution yet, so this was a golden opportunity to watch this movie on a movie theater setting.
“Survival Of The Dead” tells the story about the National Guard unit that robs the protagonists of “Diary Of The Dead” and their objective of going somewhere they can be away from the undead, so they find a clip on the internet about an island that is small and self contained. Little do they know that there is a trouble lurking in that island in the form of a feud between two families.
These two families have a chip on their shoulder for each other and once the undead affect their island they have different opinions on what to do with the undead. This sparks more problems within them and they cast away one of the family leaders. The National Guard sides with one of the families on their way to the island in order for all of them to have a peaceful stay on this island.
This is as much as I will give away from the story and will continue to tell you about the movie it self. This movie features a very interesting mix of spaghetti-western style with some funny moments, that are very different from anything I’ve seen in the “Dead” movies. As Romero stated on the Q&A he wanted to add different elements to the series and he manages to do this in a very creative and witty way.
Romero states that he had full control over the direction of the movie, and this turned out to be a very interesting experiment in adding other elements to his undead movie franchise. The human aspect of what to do with the undead is deeply explored in this movie, making it different from all the other ‘get rid’ of the undead style of movies.
In this script he touches human relationships as well, making it a very diverse movie to watch, since you get to have a high undead body count, funny segments and a huge western style showdown, all in the same movie.
In my opinion the direction taken with this movie adds freshness to the franchise itself and makes it more than just another ‘zombie movie’. Hopefully we get other films to follow this one, and see where Romero takes his legendary franchise. But for now this is a pretty solid addition to the “Dead” series and will surely please most hard core fans.
After the end of “Survival Of The Dead” we reunited with the rest of our party and embarked on our long way back home after a very different and exciting Halloween weekend.
The Trinity of Terrors was a pretty good ‘horror’ convention and hopefully it gets repeated over the years, especially in Las Vegas, Nevada since this city is always a fun one to spend a weekend on.
The booth space featured plenty of legends in the horror genre and they were all accessible for people to take pictures and autographs for a fee. Also they had quite a few vendors selling everything from posters, movies and music. A few distribution companies were present as well, including my favorite: Palisades Tartan with their Tartan Asia Extreme line, and of course After Dark Horror films, plugging their newest wave of movies to be released on movie theaters in early 2010.
With your entrance fee you had access to the convention booths, all movie screening and Q&A’s and if you wanted to take professional pictures with several celebrities (like Bruce Campbell and George Romero) you had to pay an extra fee.
Quite different than the Metal festivals we are used to, Trinity Of Terrors was a very well organized event featuring great stars and good films all around. We will definitely make it back for this event next year. Special thanks to: Bekah McKendry for granting us press access to the event.