Friday, November 14, 2008


My eyelids were getting heavy before going to SHOCK AND AWE, and my night was pretty much starting. During the day I was running around picking up this and that (including prizes and dropping off film prints) and of course, ATTEMPTING to look good for my audience (Insert plug here for my barber Justin @ CUT AND RUN, the best barbershop in the city).

I wasn’t too concerned about the sleep thing however. The week before, I went from being in Frankfurt, Germany’s red light district (where I fell asleep to the techo music of a nearby strip club) to finishing off my day in Toronto doing a screening of “Night of the Living Dead” at the Fox. Jetlag and me were hand in hand.

SHOCK AND AWE 2 (as some people are calling it) was another huge hit. It seemed like more people this time and they all seemed to be wound up like 25 hour clocks. They knew what they were in for, and seemed ready for the long haul. For the first time ever, I forgot merchandise and things I needed for the evening, and had to make my way BACK to the hood, then back to the theatre, missing the first film. For the second, famished from eating a chuck of Carolyn’s pizza slice and a handful of popcorn, I devoured the BURRITO BOYS that was given to me.

This time around, we also featured a “mystery movie” which about 5 of us knew what it was going to be, and nobody else did. The suspense seemed to build beforehand when people at the snackbar were thinking it might be an Evil Dead or Texas Chainsaw franchise flick. It wasn’t and hopefully the fun nature of the film (which is a secret between the folks that went to S&A and myself) still entertained. Before it started, the audience was given party horns to blow during long shot car scenes and a certain word to warn others that a car was on the road. Anyone wishing for sleep was surely out of luck. I told them as well that it was a film that I told them in film school was one of the reasons I came, which I’m sure they prolly scratched their heads. But for me, it was what a film comedy should be, entertaining, fluffy, and maybe not reinventing the wheel, but putting nice rims on it.

What was shocking, was how people gushed about the Jimmy McNichol vehicle “Night Warning”, easily the surprise hit of the evening. When many came out in the early morning doors of the Fox for air, they gushed about the flick being “unbelievable” and “something special”. It would be doubtful many would have given the time of day, if not FORCED to watch it (ahahaha), but it’s great when you see a flick, expecting nothing, and being pleasantly surprised. I love that feeling.

A grindhouse fest wouldn’t be complete without a sex film. This one seemed to kind of shock people for well, delivering the goods, and then even more. Perhaps my views on sexuality are just too Scandinavian, cuz I never really bat an eyelash or get shocked by this type of thing. The one thing they didn’t say, that it was a poorly made film. It’s an interesting artifact to see something so painstakingly made and to give all of the characters such dimension in a decade where we see people on the internet f**k and s**k with no real context to them or the act itself. Who are these people? Anyhow, at least Canadians aren’t as shy about sexuality as Americans (or I can rephrase that, their government!)

It all ended with THE TOXIC AVENGER, and the most uncut print of it ever seen. It looked great on the big screen, but maybe needed a bit of tightening as it was almost TOO uncut. It so wouldn’t be a film Hollywood would make, but that’s such, such a good thing.

By the end, I was wishing people “have a good morning” and after spending 12 hours in a theatre with everyone and meeting such nice people with such warm wishes towards SHOCK AND AWE, I felt like a Dad sending his kids out to battle the world. As we left the theatre, for myself, you look at the world and people outside so much differently. You notice every person walking a dog, cheery parents pushing kids in strollers, and every car on the road when you drive home.

I can’t wait to do it again!

But heck, first off we should thank our sponsors for this one who really showed a TRUE sense of community buckling together to get the word out: RUE MORGUE, BLOGTO.COM, SUSPECT VIDEO, EYESORE CINEMA, AFTER DARK FILM FESTIVAL, AND WATCHER COMICS. But biggest hats off is to all those who come out to support it. Your enjoyment has totally been my payback!

Look for SHOCK AND AWE again for June 2009. Would we stop Toronto’s best all-night grindhouse fest? Hellllllllnooooo!

Andy’s right. Sleep is for suckers.

(Photo: During intermission, SHOCK AND
AWE 2 patrons enjoy a short film on
horse racing from the 50's)


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