The 13th annual Whistler Film Festival is under a week away (December 4 to 8) and as always I am psyched about the Late Night line-up — programming director Paul Gratton's nod to genre and horror filmmaking.
The Late Night flicks screen at the Village 8 for the duration of the fest and it all kicks off on Thursday at 10 p.m. with Ice Soldiers, a Canadian-made flick about a team of arctic scientists who uncover some genetically modified Russian super-soldiers. Wisely they defrost the ice soldiers and unleash all sorts of snowy, blood splattered mayhem. Ice Soldiers looks to carry some heavy action (snowmobile chase!) and stars Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers) and Canadian Adam Beach (Windtalkers). This one also plays on Saturday at 12:45 p.m.
Savaged screens extra late Thursday night at 11:30 p.m. and it looks pretty gnarly. Brutally raped and left for dead in the desert, a deaf girl ends up instilled with the spirit of a native warrior and goes on a hell-bent-for-leather revenge-killing spree. Savaged is a supernatural action flick with horror elements, a cross of voodoo and ripped out entrails, it sounds kind of like The Crow but with a chick (newcomer Amanda Adrienne in her first feature).
Back to frozen landscapes and creeping doom, The Station is an Austrian monster movie wherein climate researchers discover toxic ooze seeping around creating pissed-off mutant beasts and twisted grotesque creatures. It's an eco-The Thing with a B-Grade twist as the filmmakers opted for traditional prosthetic/mechanical effects rather than CGI. The Station plays on Friday, December 6 at 11:30 p.m. and by all accounts there is a lot of fun to be had here.
Saturday night sees director Stephen Sommers (The Mummy) adapting some Dean Koontz stories into Odd Thomas. Odd is a flashy short-order cook who can see the souls of the murdered but things get a bit hairball when he starts noticing hordes of Bodachs, evil spirits that might also be the harbingers of doom. This one has flashy CGI and snappy dialogue as well as Willem Dafoe (Platoon) Anton Yelchin (Charlie Bartlett, The Beaver) and a smoking hot Addison Timlin (Californication). Looks like fun and it plays at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday night and again on Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Other flicks of interest include Filthy Gorgeous: The Bob Guccione Story about the eccentric publisher of the Penthouse empire. Bob was a bigger influence on today's culture than he's ever been given credit for and he also bankrolled what has to be the most expensive porno ever — 1979's Caligula. Awesomely, Whistler Film Fest has procured Caligula from whatever vault they keep the so-bad-its-rad films in and are screening it right after Filthy Gorgeous for the ultimate cinematic double-ender. The fun starts at 7 p.m. on Friday at Millenium Place.
Also from the vault: Dark Blood is River Phoenix's last film. He died when it was 80 per cent shot and insurance companies apparently sat on the footage for two decades. Now released, director George Sluizer narrates the missing scenes. It's kind of morbid but also great to be reminded what a tragic talent River Phoenix was.
Speaking of talent, Bruce McDonald is a Canadian legend (Hard Core Logo, Highway 61, Pontypool) and no stranger to the Whistler Film Fest. This year he's back with The Husband, a dark comedy about a poor sucker stuck raising his toddler alone after his wife is caught and imprisoned for cheating on him with a 14-year-old boy. It's the feel-good movie of the year.
And that's just the tip of the cinematic iceberg. Check out the full program because with five epic days of movies in the mountains Whistler Film Festival starts on Wednesday, Dec. 4.