Jenny’s SXSW 2016 Diary: Day 3

2016/03/14 23:58:37 +00:00 | Jenny Nulf

As hinted in my Day 2 article, I was a zombie on Day 3. After staying up way too late the night before, I had to get up very early to make it to my interview with Ti West and Jason Blum. Skipping breakfast, I drove my little blue Honda Fit over to the Four Seasons.

Not to give away too much from my interview, but chatting with West and Blum was a dream. They’re both some of the smartest men in the business, and two people I greatly admire. Even in my tired haze, I knew that I needed to remember this moment forever, engrain it in my brain so that even when I’m old and Alzheimer’s has kicked in, I will still remember the moment when I interviewed my two favorite people working in horror.

The time after the interview was a little bit of a haze. I got breakfast tacos and a chai tea latte and drove over to the Alamo Lamar, where I planned to see three films in a row. Waiting in line for Master Cleanse, I knew I couldn’t physically watch four films that Sunday. I had a caffeine headache and my stomach was churning from my awkward eating schedule (was I hungry? Was I too full? I wasn’t sure.). Somehow I made it into a seat at Master Cleanse, but as the Alamo preshow rolled and my brain slowly shut down I knew what I needed to do: eat the brains of my neighbor.

Just kidding, I went and crashed for two hours in my car.

Waking up perfectly at 4:15pm, I knew the nap was a brilliant idea. Normally I hate naps, but this one was worth my sanity. I made it in time to see my most anticipated film of the day, American Fable, I ordered a fried goat cheese steak wrap (subbing fries for chips and salsa – this is the best Alamo Drafthouse menu cheat you’ll ever discover), and sipped on my Earl Grey tea as the fantastical thriller unfolded around me.

As much as I loved Don’t Breathe and Under the Shadow, American Fable could be my favorite film of the festival (it’s too early to say, but when I find something I love I’m pretty stubborn about changing my mind). A little like Pan’s Labyrinth, the film perfectly blends fantasy and thriller, creating a remarkable story that feels incredibly unique. Beautifully shot, the movie feels like a classic children’s tale, but its adult themes about friendship and family make it accessible to both a younger and an older audience.

After American Fable took my breath away, I Am Not a Serial Killer was up next. I had heard mixed things already, but the person who was let down apparently was over the moon excited for the movie, and if I know anything about high expectations it’s that they're a dangerous thing to have. But after collecting a cool pin and a shirt, I sat down for my first official horror movie of the day, and I was so ready.

I will admit, I Am Not a Serial Killer was a little too slow, and probably could have benefitted from a 15-minute shave, but overall the film had that wonderful, slow burn retro style that seems to be very popular among indie horror at the moment. On top of it all, it’s a great acting piece, with knock-out performances from both Christopher Lloyd and Max Records. My interviews went really well with the whole gang today as well, but more on that tomorrow.

Easily the best part about I Am Not a Serial Killer is the film’s monster. A mixture of great practical effects and CGI, the monster is totally gruesome and its final reveal is epic. I was not expecting a monster movie going in, and I was so glad I got one walking out.

And finally, I drove over to the Stateside to watch I Am a Hero, a Japanese zombie film adapted from the manga of the same name. I was a little nervous I was going to be the only girl in a theater with two other drunk guys (ugh, sometimes SXSW patrons can be the worst), but Hardcore Henry let out right before the theater filled up very nicely. I wish I could say the film was worth staying up until 2am for, though. The first half of the movie was unique and subversive, blending the Japanese’s style of horror with the all-American zombie quite well. However, the film took an odd turn when it became a more traditional piece, and suddenly all the laugh out loud moments that occurred in the first act felt few and far between. There was something so charming about the film at the start, and it’s unfortunate it became so run-of-the-mill by its end.

Things I missed that I wished I had experienced:

  • Honestly, I wish I was a robot because I feel so disappointed that I missed Master Cleanse. I haven’t see an uplifting movie yet, and that seemed like one that would have been down my alley.
  • I wish I had found free alcohol, but the Alamo Lamar doesn’t give out that stuff for free and it’s also an arm and a leg away from all the main action downtown.

Goals for SXSW Day 4:

  • Sleep eight hours.
  • Eat at Voodoo Donuts, because everyone has been walking around with the bright pink boxes and I hunger for something sugary and delicious.
  • Talk to someone random sitting next to me and see what their favorite movie of the fest has been.