Saturday Spent at “Dark Carnival” Movies; Mr. Happy Head, Murder Mayhem Arrive in Maibox

Saturday this week offered a farewell of sorts, afternoon and evening retrospectives as a final tip of the hat to ten years of the Dark Carnival Film Festival, a.k.a. in its final sessions, Diabolique International Film Festival at the Indiana University Cinema (cf. September 28 2015; September 21, 20, 19 2014).  These were films from past years, fifteen shorts for the matinee session that proved to be favorites from previous screenings, some that I’d seen before, some that I hadn’t, starting with one in a dentist’s office and ending with killer shopping carts, and by small boys reading an Ancient Tome from their devil-worshiping deceased grandfather’s chest.  The best of these tended to be black humor, of which there were quite a few, while another trend was for movies that set up horror situations, then left the outcomes to viewers’ imaginations.

Then evening brought, taint02well, to quote the catalog:  Long one of the Dark Carnival Film Festival’s favorite features, THE TAINT is a throwback to classic Troma films — with all the goopy horror and absurd humor that implies.  Tainted water begins turning men into misogynistic head-smashing psychopaths, and our two young heroes must brave the bizarre world that results in order to find a cure.  Contains mature content, including violence, language, and sexuality.  To which the docent offered before the screening, “A great one to go out on . . . a very extreme film,” and, “offensive is a dime a dozen [but] is wonderfully measured.  [Director Drew Bolduc] knows exactly what he’s doing.”

Or as Kevin Dudley on Amazon put it:  one particular quote from the Fangoria.com review stated “THE TAINT is exactly what happens when smart filmmakers intentionally make a stupid taint1movie.”  The basic plot involves an experimental penis enlargement drug that turns men into oversexed misogynistic maniacs is unleashed into the public water supply and all manners of depravity cut loose.  To which I might add, while not one to invite the whole family to, as Troma films go it was not a bad one.

Then back at home, Saturday’s street mail brought its own prize, Flame Tree Publishing’s deluxe edition of MURDER MAYHEM SHORT STORIES (see September 6, July 11, et al.).  My story in this is “Mr. Happy Head,” originally published in WICKED MYSTIC, Spring 1996, and sandwiched between Dick Donovan (J. E. Preston Muddock, 1843-1934, who took his pen name from his fictional Glasgow detective, who in turn, some theorize, supplied the slang term “dick” [to pardon the expression] for an American private detective) and, in a non-Sherlock Holmes adventure, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Also expected from Flame Tree Publishing is CRIME & MYSTERY SHORT STORIES, for which keep watching here.

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