Another Hole in the Head 2013: Day 5 – “Found.” and “The Shining: Forwards and Backwards”

Room-237-superimpositionThough officially Day 14, this was only my fifth day at AHITH. Hey, when a festival runs as long as this one (21 days) I’m allowed to miss a few days here and there. After catching up with some like-minded festival friends it appears that I didn’t miss that much. Everybody’s favorite movies of the fest thus far happen to be ones that I saw in my first four days. So continuing with my apparent quality over quantity screening habits I settled in for a double dose of dysfunctional family films.


Found-Pic-7-600x335three-stars15I think Sean Lynch (another writer for this site) summed it up best in his review for this film when he wrote, “It’s the most heartfelt and poignant film you’ll ever see that involves intercourse with a severed head.”

In fact, because my take on this unwavering relentless film pretty much echos his, I’ll just cut and paste his initial four star review below.

12-year-old Marty has lots of problems. He’s mercilessly bullied at school and his parents don’t understand him. Oh yeah, and his brother is a serial killer with a closet full of human heads.

A razor-sharp hybrid of coming-of-age drama and gross-out splatter horror, “Stand By Me meets Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer” doesn’t even begin to do it justice. What begins as a gleefully gruesome horror tale matures into a harrowing examination of the cyclical effects of abuse as the violence begins to hit closer and closer to home. This microbudget slasher epic makes mainstream horror look pretty toothless by comparison.

Even with the inevitable shortcomings that come with a four-figure production budget, director Scott Schirmer and Todd Rigney squeeze this story for every bloody drop of its potential, with a pair of strong performances from newcomers Gavin Brown and Ethan Philbeck lending significant weight to the material.

 Were it not for my nitpicking at the narration element of the film I too would have given it four stars.

The Shining: Forwards and Backwards

tumblr_lk4v7abqdy1qi4nyc__largefour-stars4I went into this film an already huge fan of The Shining (still my second favorite horror film of all time, after Texas Chainsaw Massacre) and very skeptical as to it having any entertainment value other than its perceived mash-up gimmick. I was more than pleasantly surprised.

An experimental forwards and backwards dual-exposed overlap may not be the intended – or even best – way to take in Stanley Kubrick‘s 1980 masterpiece, especially for Torrance family virgins, but it’s not without its merits either. Up until now the euphoria of experiencing an out-of-body experience via the cinema was best had through Gaspar Noe‘s Enter The Void. But now I know what it feels like to be in the actual shining headspace of little Danny, I mean Tony (AKA Danny’s finger).

No doubt, this project has the recent documentary Room 237, to thank for its existence. That film featured a bunch of different Shining obsessed fans theorizing on Kubrick’s hidden meanings within the film. One of those theories suggests that the film was edited in such a way that when simultaneously viewed frontwards and backwards hidden messages would appear. My whole take on that is people see what they want to see. That being said, there’s still some irregularities taking place within this film that because they appear in a Kubrick movie are by their very nature troublesome. Conspiracy theories aside, I can’t just shrug off seeing numerous continuity errors made by a known-to-be obsessive perfectionist who was so meticulous in his filmmaking that the foley artist making the typewriter sounds heard offscreen was ordered by Kubrick to type the exact letters to which Jack has written on paper onscreen.

As gimmicky as it may appear, I don’t think this super imposed experiment would be as entertaining or even watchable with just any other film. The reason why it works so well with The Shining is a culmination of many aspects that few other filmmakers possess with the biggest perhaps being Kubrick’s affinity for symmetry, which leads to many shots having a natural aesthetic appeal to them. This use of symmetry may or may not have been taken into consideration during his script writing process, but viewing the film in this unconventional way one can’t help but be impressed with the timely way in which foreshadowing dialogue overlaps the very actions it is foreshadowing.


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Categories: Another Hole In The Head, Reviews

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