As I write this opening memoir about the Morbido Festival Internacional De Cine Fantastico Y De Terror I am trying to remember a few things. First, which day is it? Second, how many shots of Mezcal did I end up doing last night at the opening party? I believe the answer to the first question is Friday. And I am pretty sure the answer to the second question is "You'll have to ask the Aussies I met and see if they remember".
I'm pretty sure it is Friday because I arrived in Mexico City Wednesday night and spent the night there. So that means that yesterday morning was the beginning of Thursday and two van loads of international filmmakers and this Canadian oaf, armed only with a computer, a smile and a few hundred pesos to his name, made the four hour trek west to Patzcuaro. Rodrigo Gudino (Rue Morgue Magazine and The Last Will & Testament of Rosalind Leigh) and his partner are in my van. There are a couple of guys, Mike and Dave, from Missouri, who brought their Luchador film, Mil Mascaras vs. The Aztec Mummy.
And Richard Stanley. THE Richard Stanley. Mr. Stanley had come down from the Pyrenees Mountains. Literally. Caught a bus, a train then a plane out of France to Mexico City.
Over the four hour trip conversation ranged from mysterious tree people in Afghanistan, 70 year old Luchador wrestlers, hallucinogenic recreational pharmaceuticals, and the rest has disappeared under the fog of alcohol. I assure you though it was all really interesting. We arrived in Patzcuaro maybe mid afternoon? We struck out to our hotels split up for the time being. I caught up with a couple of friends from Austin and lo and behold it turns out Richard Elfman is at the same hotel. Cue at least an hour of a calm Patzcuaro evening punctuated by uproarious laughter. Then we reconvened at the Teatro Emerado Caltzontzin for the opening ceremony.
Now, on the off chance that pictures circulate, I should explain myself. There was a red carpet. There was a tonne (metric, even) of Mexican press. And everyone from the festival had to walk it. Had to might be too strong but there was no other way to make it into the theatre. The staff simply encouraged us to walk it and if we wanted to stop, well, we could. Just before stepping onto it I was asked if I was a director. With a chuckle I told the senora I was no one. I was not famous. I would like to be one day but last night I was not. We strode across but I think I heard the word 'stop'. It was probably my subconscious, or one of the 'others' in my brain, telling to hold up on the reins. So I reeled back, struck a few poses, said something along the lines of I only get to do this once then yelled 'Thank you, Mexico'! Cue cheer from the crowd. And, score!
All you festival directors and programmers want to start taking notes now because until this day no one has done an opening ceremony like Morbido festival director Pablo Guisa Koestinger did last night. The lights dim, the curtain opens and on the stage are a half dozen candelabra, a eerie mist and a coffin. The lids starts to buckle and out comes a vampiress. A nude vampiress (turns out it was just a really convincing sexy body stocking of some sort). With wings. Yeah. Awesome. I know. She flutters around the stage for a bit. Then from the ceiling Pablo, in full on vampire garb, channeling the great Bela Lugosi, descends upon the stage. Fucking. Epic.
He and the vampiress embrace, she flutters off, and the show continues with speeches from local dignitaries. There is a video tribute to local and international icons from genre cinema. Most of the night was in Spanish but Pablo assured his international guests that everyone was having a great time. The opening ceremony closed with a music/short film called that I will write about another time.
Then it was off to the after party. We were a little lax in getting outside the theatre after but as I understand it the vampiress might have been packed up in the coffin then a- for lack of better words- funeral procession- went through the streets of Patzcuaro to a former convent, . Bottle rockets the size of school children were launched every other foot it seemed (a former Twitch contributor Rodney Perkins told me this morning he was in his hotel room wondering why someone was shooting a cannon so much at midnight). The procession stopped at the doors of the convent and Pablo released the vampiress from the coffin. She bid the doors to open and we went inside to Mezcal cocktails and shots, local cuisine and lots of beer. A local jazz ensemble played for the next two hours as we drank, ate and played a festival favourite of mine 'Who do we both know?'.
So, yeah. Pretty awesome start to the weekend. And we have not even cracked into the program yet. There will be more to come as time and sobriety allow. In the meantime there was a full on school parade in the main square in town this morning. School bands. Costumes. Banditos. And most importantly, families together. And I am thankful to the Morbido family for their warm embrace on what was only the first night. I think Pablo was looking at my neck a couple times but with his Errol Flynn (Sorry, I do not know who his Mexican equal would be) good looks and charm I might have given in.