Diary of the Undead
Hopping from one film festival to another is certainly the way to live – but it does cause one to adopt a certain diary-of-the-undead feeling. Which is perfect for my return to Austin from Toronto (and anyone wondering about that sticky passport situation I had let's just say that it proved disturbingly easy to re-enter the U.S. with expired papers). After a segue into putting out this week's issue – which had the ungodly number of 13 new film reviews (how does that much new stuff open in any given week?) – it's time for Thursday's opening night of Fantastic Fest. The third annual edition of this quickly maturing fest kicked off with a screening of George Romero's Diary of the Dead, with the horror legend Romero in attendance. I caught the movie in Toronto and had a thorough blast watching it there. It's smart, funny, and wise. Over the decades, nobody has demonstrated as well as Romero the malleability of the horror genre to speak to all eras. To those who think Diary of the Dead's use of video cameras is too Blair Witchy and derivative of recent J-horror, guess what: We're living in the Videodrome era. (Maybe Anyway, Alamo Romeo was introduced by Drafthouse and Fantastic Fest host Tim League, who spoke from the heart about why this particular filmmaker means so much to him. Romero answered questions from the audience ’til it was time to make way for the next screening, and left the auditorium spotlight only after commenting on what a great time he had with this crowd and what a hospitable town Austin is.