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2008 Calgary Underground Film Festival: Official Lineup

Calgary Underground Film Festival

Now in its fifth edition, the Calgary Underground Film Festival is offering its usual mix of edgy genre films plus movies about folks living on society’s fringes. It’s six gloriously twisted days, on April 15-20, of mostly features with a pair of short film programs thrown in. Some of the films have been or will be released in limited theatrical engagements in the U.S. (noted where I could below), and some are really “out there” Japanese gore flicks that I keep reading about, but never see released, much less remade by Hollywood.

April 15
7:00 p.m.: What We Do Is Secret, dir. Rodger Grossman. A biopic on Darby Crash, the lead singer of L.A. punk band The Germs, who committed suicide in 1980. Shane West stars as the doomed rock star.

9:30 p.m.: Adam’s Apples, dir. Anders Thomas Jensen. A Neo-Nazi is sent to live with a priest so he can “reform.” While tending to an apple tree so he can bake a pie, the skinhead tries to get the man of the cloth to renounce his faith.

April 16
7:00 p.m.: Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story, dir. Jeffrey Schwarz. This documentary finally gives cinema pioneer William Castle his due. He’s the guy who “invented” innovative movie gimmicks putting electric shocks in seats, selling life insurance policies before horror movie screenings, passing an inflatable skeleton over moviegoers’ heads, seeing “ghosts” in a film via special cellophane viewers and installing a “Coward’s Corner” in theaters. Great stuff. The documentary features interviews with Castle fans such as John Waters, Joe Dante, John Landis, Leonard Maltin and Roger Corman. (Watch online)
Screens with Tokyo Rock ‘n’ Roll, dir. John Canciani

9:30 p.m.: Baghead, dirs. Jay & Mark Duplass. A quartet of wannabe actors head out to a cabin in the woods to hammer out their next project, but they end up terrorized — or ridiculized — by a dude with a bag over his head. Sony Classics is releasing this film in the U.S. in July.

April 17
7:00 p.m.: Frownland, dir. Ronald Bronstein. A lonely NYC resident tries to get his gross roommate evicted, save the life of his suicidal best friend and earn a modicum of respect in an uncaring world.
Screens with A Room With Askew, dir. Gregory Godhard

9:30 PM: Frank & Cindy, dir. GJ Echternkamp. A documentary on Echternkamp’s unusual family. When he was 5, his drug-addicted mother, Cindy, married Frank, a member of a Menudo-style rip-off band that immediately broke up following the wedding. Stepdad has never worked in his life, mom supported the family for 25 years as best she could and now son exploits both of them for movie. (Read the review)
Screens with I Have Seen the Future, dir. Cam Christensen

April 18
7:00 p.m.: Portage (aka Crooked Lake), dirs. Sascha Drews, Matthew Miller, Ezra Krybus. Four teenage girls plus one dude go on a canoe ride that ends in disaster faster than you can say “Squeal like a piggy.”

9:30 p.m.: Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer, dir. Jon Knautz. A rage-prone plumber must stop a demonic invasion he himself pulls out of the pipes of a local school.
Screens with Greycon 4, dir. Brandon Blommaert

11:30 p.m.: Machine Girl, dir. Noboru Iguchi. After watching her family get massacred by the Yakuza, a young Japanese girl replaces her arm with a machine gun and seeks a bloody revenge. The trailer’s one of the most disgusting things you’re ever going to watch. Seriously.

April 19
2:00 p.m.: “Shorts Package #1”
Summersong, dir. Doug Cook
You Better Watch Out, dir. Steve Callen
Fly, dir. Juan Arata
Their Circumstances, dir. Jihyun Ahn
Tight, dir. Sergi Vizcaino
About Socks and Love, dir. Michaela Copikova
G&G: Superman’s Tights, dir. Jeff L. Burke
Feast, dirs. Adel Kerpely, Jihyun Ahn
The Outhouse, dir. Jack Truman
The Windfisherman, dir. Anna McRoberts

4:00 p.m.: “Shorts Package #2”
Accident, dir. Veronika Obertova
The Darkside, dir. Jose Corral
Sometimes, dir. Scott Amos
Side Effects May Include, dir. Shad Clark
It Came From the West, dir. Tor Fruergaard
Sunday Holdup, dir. Sean Smith
Anticipation, dir. Ryan Gustafson
Victor y La Maquina, dir. Carlos Talamanca
Spektr: Things That Go Bump in the Night, dir. Thomas Pors
Made in Japan, dir. Ciro Altabás
Spider, dir. Nash Edgerton

7:00 p.m.: The Wackness, dir. Jonathan Levine. The film allegedly includes a scene of Ben Kingsley making out with Mary-Kate Olsen. There’s a reason to go right there. Also coming out in July in the U.S. from Sony Pictures Classics.

9:30 p.m.: On Evil Grounds, dir. Peter Koller. A murderous, psychotic couple take over an abandoned warehouse to turn it into a love nest slash torture chamber.

11:30 p.m.: Exte: Hair Extensions, dir. Sion Sono. In this horror-comedy from Japan, demonic hair extensions kill people in a variety of gruesome ways that only hair can do.

April 20
1:00 p.m.: “48-Hour Sci-Fi Movie Making Challenge Shorts”
Nobody knows — not even the filmmakers really — what you’re exactly going to see before the lights go down.

7:00 p.m.: “Picturing the Yukon”
A product of the Yukon Film Society, this is a traveling show of shorts made by Yukon filmmakers. Official lineup of films are currently TBA.

9:30 p.m.: “Picturing the Yukon”
See the above.

For more information, please visit the official CUFF site.