Monday, August 3, 2009

Mexican Wrestlers, Runaway Minecarts and Gore! Oh My!

In my various posts with the Eerie Horror Film Festival (I was head of judging back in '08, been a board member for several years and now do double duty as webmaster), I've had the opportunity to view a lot of independent genre films. What's cool about this is that occasionally, amongst the onslaught of no-budget-filmed-on-vhs fare, we find an up and coming filmmaker who has a natural talent for the medium.

Why am I explaining all this background? Well. Not to put too fine a point on it, I've just found several guys who I'm sure you'll hear a lot more from in the future working on the short film The Ballad of Angel Face.

Written and Directed by Brian Thomas Barnhart, the film (Barnhart's 2nd) follows the tale of a small town sheriff who makes a decision during an arrest that comes back to haunt him. At the start of the film, the sheriff gets his comeuppance and is left for dead. From here, it becomes a revenge flick (a la Kill Bill) as the Sheriff hunts down and kills those responsible for his predicament.

That Kill Bill reference was no mistake. The film is very reminiscent of Tarantino even down to the out-of-order chapters (complete with text chapter headings) and the added 70's grindhouse film grain (but alas, it's missing the great Tarantino dialog).

Formulaic. Yes. But the direction, cinematography and score make this a brilliant little piece of filmmaking. With beautiful spaghetti western cinematography from Parker Tolifson (who's resume is about as short as the director's) and a musical score to match from dark classical composer Le'rue Delashay, the film transcends the weaknesses in the script and makes for a fun little grindhouse romp that satisfied that dirty little part of me that loves that type of flick.

If you get a chance to see this film (and you may get the chance at this year's EHFF), be sure not to miss it. I can't wait to see what this crew does in the future, especially given a better script to work from.


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