Thank God for VOD! – The Void

thevoidI don’t get to go to the movies as often as I’d like to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t watch awesome flicks at home. Thank God for VOD!

The Void

So often, we wear our inspirations on our sleeves.

In the very literal sense of the concept, it manifests itself in the way we present ourselves to the world, our fashion choices culled from pop culture icons, high end photo shoots, and older siblings.  As an adolescent, I happily donned the familiar grunge uniform, ripped jeans and worn t-shirts, flannel and Converse One-Stars, hoping, if even for just a moment, to emulate Kurt Cobain.  My fashion sense eventually evolved according to whatever I was into at the time, aping the styles of certain Britpop frontmen, before settling into a perpetual combination of preppy and general slacker (I never had the balls to go full on S&M leather a la Nine Inch Nails, but that’s probably for the best).

I would see my inspirations in the stuff I created as well, whether it be the punk, psych, shoegaze, or folk influence that worked its way into the music I (poorly) made, or the over-the-top violence and pop culture references that flooded my scripts with the oomph of a Tarantino disciple when I thought I might be a screenwriter.  I bled what inspired me…and it was all so obvious.

But that’s not a bad thing.  Far from it in fact.  All art is cribbed from somewhere else, at least at first.  It just takes practice and time before all those influences and inspirations we draw from are worked and churned enough to hone our own distinct styles.  I think Paul Thomas Anderson is probably one of the very best filmmakers making movies today, the director gradually becoming auteur as his career moves along, but his earlier films have Kubrick and Scorsese all over them.  Again, not a bad thing.  What filmmaker wouldn’t take notes from those guys?

Inspiration leads to creation, a sentiment wonderfully evident in Jeremy Gillespie’s and Steven Kostanski’s nightmare inducing new film, The Void, a loving homage to John Carpenter and Lucio Fulci, with a dash of Clive Barker thrown in for good measure.

The film opens at night, a man fleeing terrified from a farmhouse and a woman behind him, fleeing as well.  Two unnamed men exit the house and shoot the woman in the back, the man too far ahead of them to stop.  They approach the still breathing woman, and they set her on fire.

Meanwhile, a local deputy discovers the terrified man, dazed and crawling in the middle of a dark stretch of lonely country road and takes him to the nearest hospital.  From that point on, we are greeted with almost maniacal glee, an array of terrors including creepy cultists, horrible creatures, twisted mutants, scenes of body horror, gore soaked visages, and passages to hell.  And all of this under a thick haze of dread and impending doom.

The cast does a fine job, giving little extra layers of character to their rolls despite playing what would primarily be considered horror archetypes and monster fodder.  But oh, what fodder they are.  The film moves briskly, tension mounting and blood oozing, the filmmakers opting for practical effects and moody lighting to set the tone.  Characters are dispatched quickly and terribly, the body count rising, with no clues or hints as to who might make it to the end credits still among the living.

Directors Gillespie and Kostanski really know their genre filmmaking, and you can sense an unabashed love for the era of cinema that The Void intones.  The duo are still wading in their influences, but doing so while crafting a fun and entertaining movie that feels like they had me in mind while they were making it.  It’s like someone took Assault on Precinct 13, The Thing, Hellraiser, and The Beyond, scrambled them all up, and then reformed it together with an unflinching enthusiasm for genre and goopy practical effects.  Inspiration firmly stitched to sleeve, the adoration and fervor are palpable, and it’s hard not to revel in it yourself.  These guys are only going to get better.

“This isn’t the end.”

 

Thomas H Williams

Thomas H Williams

From a bunker somewhere in Central Texas, Thomas H. Williams spends most of his time with his wife, his two sons, and his increasingly neurotic dog. He listens to a lot of music, drinks a lot of excellent beers, and gets out from time to time. For even more shenanigans, visit heavenisanincubator.blogspot.com.

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