I was seated in the courtyard of my hotel, the day after Morbido drew to a close, waiting for the bus ride back to Mexico City. It was an amazing weekend of cinema, culture and carnal delights. And I had some time to reflect on the final day, Sunday. We international guests would stick around for lunch together, along with Richard Stanley's press agent/demon guardian, a small doll representing this guardian complete with it's own black cloak. So imagine if you will Mr. Stanley walking around the streets of Patzcuaro with this doll in the cradle of his palm. Then we spent the afternoon basking in the sun doing what we do best, talk about cinema. We would not leave for Mexico City until the sun set on Patzcuaro, a fitting send off I think.
My Sunday was especially light as I spent the better part of the morning sleeping after a very long evening into morning (see previous entry). We did some shopping for our loved ones- I've almost have Christmas in the bag- and walked around this surprisingly busy countryside town. I am sure everyone had come to town because it was Sunday but I am also going to have to take a history lesson about Patzcuaro to better understand its place in Mexican culture and history. I also wish I had the time to get around the city more, further from the venues and see the surrounding area. But my mission was cinema this past weekend.
The closing film of the festival was listed in the program as Untitled Horror Project, a found footage horror film about a four amateur paranormal investigators who venture into an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Mexico City. Yes. Mexican Grave Encounters Parte Tres. This hospital is known to everyone in the city and since the festival got a work print (I have been told that we're two weeks away from getting the finished product) Morbido's director Pablo Koestinger told us before the screening that he was going to present it as raw footage delivered to him personally.
Unfortunately, for us gringos (I was informed that although I am 'Canadian' I get the honor of the gringo moniker as well) the director of the film did not see fit to include English subtitles with the screener. The production company, a young upstart call Dark Factory Entertainment, will get us a finished film complete with subtitles in two weeks. And hopefully we will be hearing a lot about Dark Factory in the next couple years. They will be producing five English language horror films, one every six months. The executive producer was in town with the film and their next film Storage, if executed well, could be a dandy.
As far as Untitled Horror Project goes though it does show some promise. We know we missed out on most of the story and exposition because of the lack of subtitles. Once we have the screener in hand I can speak better about the overall film. The local audience seemed to enjoy themselves though. There appears to be smatterings of comic relief throughout the first two acts. There are also some impressive set pieces as things begin to go wrong, as they often do when you run around an abandoned mental hospital.
After the film was the closing
ceremony and awards presentation. Adrian Garcia Bogliano's Ahi Va El Diablo took home two
awards; the Blood Skull for best picture and the Golden Skull audience award. Rodrigo Godino (The Will and Testament of Roslind Leigh) received a Copper Skull for Special Mention. Richard Stanley (Dust Devil) and the found footage horror film Untitled Horror Project also received a Copper Skulls for Special Mention.
Marcel Sarmeinto received a Skull for his short, Dogfight, from the ABCs of Death anthology. Ricardo Islas received a Skull for Frankenstein: Day of the Beast. While I had my own reservations about the movie I was later told that Islas is an exceptional figure in Latin American horror film because he comes from Uruguay, where no industry exists. So he has been making low/micro budget horror films since 1986 pretty much out of nothing. That is admirable. Jose Luis Gutierrez Arias was honored for his film, Dame Tus Ojos/Got Your Eyes, which we enjoyed despite the technical issues during the screening. David Michan also received a Skull for his film, Reacciones Adversas. I missed it at the festival but I have a screener so I will do some catchup later. If I am missing anyone it is because I am exceptionally jealous that you got a Skull award.
Rodney Perkins and Christen Bell, from Fantastic Fest, presented a placard specific to this edition of the festival. I am still unsure where it will hang; at the cinema perhaps? Film makers and guests will all receive a smaller version as a keepsake. At the end of the ceremony Pablo announced the theme for next year's festival: Superstitions. All of the guests on stage were given an umbrella to open indoors. There was a mirror brought on stage but I do not think anyone dare tempt fate and bring on seven years bad luck to such a great little festival.
There were also video tributes to
Federico Curiel (director, actor, writer), Lupita Tovar (actress) &
Bernabe Palma (stuntman). It is great to see that the festival
treasures past contributions to Mexican cinema and hold on strong to
that heritage. They, along with the Mexican wrestling legend Mil Mascaras received Golden Skulls.
My heartfelt thanks to Pablo and his staff at Morbido. Pablo is a great showman and great host; he always made time to check in and see how your festival was going. My thanks as well go out to Laura, Andrea and Abraham for their warmth and hospitality. If ever you get the opportunity to come down Pablo and his staff put on a tremendous weekend.
Hasta el próximo año, Morbido!