Fantasia: life, death & Troma

The Fantasia film festival’s programming can be overwhelming, so the discriminating minds at Cult MTL will help steer you in the right direction.

Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1

The Dead Experiment

The Dead Experiment

The Dead Experiment is about a young scientist, Chris, who returns home to his fiancée, Maggie, after being dead for two weeks. He and his partner Jacob have been conducting experiments on the regeneration of necrotic tissue, hoping to cure cancer and other diseases, and have now met some success. Traumatized by his sudden reappearance, Maggie resists their efforts to continue experimenting as god complexes and egos arise.

The solemn, quiet film relies heavily on your interest in the concept, as its slow, meditative pace makes its mere 74 minutes seem much longer. The actors’ inexperience doesn’t help matters — they’re often unconvincing. Plausibility isn’t the film’s strong suit; the pseudo-science is often vague, making it difficult to accept the premise. The concept is what keeps you watching, with some rewards, as the filmmakers pull off an impressive twist. Overall, The Dead Experiment feels overstretched; you can’t help thinking it would have been great as a longer-length short film. (KF & MC)

The Dead Experiment plays today, Thursday, Aug. 1, 7 p.m.

Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1

Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1

If horror films poke at the repressed recesses of our psyches, Troma movies represent the internal punk adolescent who lives to piss off and offend for its own sake. Nearly 40 years in, Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman hasn’t changed his gleefully immature approach by one iota.

In his latest, Tromaville High is once again contaminated with nuclear waste, causing mutations among the student body. But this threadbare plot is merely an excuse for an avalanche of violent gore, gratuitous sex and nudity, vaudevillian slapstick, wholesale abandonment of narrative logic and broad political satire that skewers the sensitivities of left and right alike with Mad magazine-like abandon.

From the music and fashions to the title fonts and cinematic style in general, this could have been shot back-to-back with Class of Nuke ’Em High in ’86; only the references to blogs, Bieber, Juggalos and Obamacare date it to today. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends on your taste, but I for one am happy that some things never change. (MF)

Return to Nuke ‘Em High Volume 1 plays Friday, Aug. 2

The Fantasia film festival runs until Aug. 7. For the film schedule and locations, head to their website.

By Katie Ferrar, Mark Carpenter and Malcolm Fraser

Leave a Reply