Queer*Welten 05/2021

Queer*Welten is a queer-feminist fantasy and scifi magazine, edited by Judith Vogt, Kathrin Dodenhoeft and Lena Richter. Issue 5 contains three short stories and an essay.
Finished on: 5.10.2021
[Here are my reviews of the other issues.]

I’m really happy with my Queer*Welten subscription. Each magazine is different in tone and style, and there’s always something to discover. There’s really nothing more you could hope for.

The magazine cover showing a painting of a futuristic greenhouse with a cupola, a pool and pillars with plants winding around them.
Read more about each of the stories

Werewolves Within (2021)

Werewolves Within
Director: Josh Ruben
Writer: Mishna Wolff
Based on: the video game
Cast: Sam Richardson, Milana Vayntrub, George Basil, Sarah Burns, Michael Chernus, Catherine Curtin, Wayne Duvall, Harvey Guillén, Rebecca Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson, Michaela Watkins, Glenn Fleshler, Patrick M. Walsh, Anni Krueger
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 3.10.2021
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Plot:
Finn (Sam Richardson) is a ranger who was just transferred to Beaverfield, middle of nowhere. When Finn arrives, there appears only one thing that is happening in the town: a new gas pipeline is supposed to be built right through it and the town is very divided about it. As Finn tries to get his bearings in the city with the help of postal worker Cecily (Milana Vayntrub), he discovers some strange things that seem to point towards a werewolf. With an on-coming snow storm to boot, Finn barely knows what’s happening and what he can do.

Werewolves Within is a very entertaining horror comedy and it was just the right film to close out the SLASH Film Festival for me this year, leaving me with a bounce in my step and a smile on my face.

The film poster showing Finn (Sam Richardson) in the middle of all the film's characters, a full moon shining behind them.
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We Need to Do Something (2021)

We Need to Do Something
Director: Sean King O’Grady
Writer: Max Booth III
Based on: his novella
Cast: Sierra McCormick, Vinessa Shaw, Pat Healy, Lisette Alexis, John James Cronin, Ozzy Osbourne
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 3.10.2021
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Content Note: homomisia, stalking, harrassment

Plot:
As a storm is about to hit, Diane (Vinessa Shaw), Robert (Pat Healy) and their children Melissa (Sierra McCormick) and Bobby (John James Cronin) take shelter in the family bathroom. Things are a little tense between them, and that’s not just because of the storm. When the storm seems to have abated, they find that they are trapped in the bathroom, though. And the longer they wait for rescue, the more fraught things become. Especially since Melissa is convinced that hse and her girlfriend Amy (Lisette Alexis) may have had something to do with the storm in the first place.

I liked how things kick off in the film and there is one really excellent scene, but other than that it’s not more than okay – until the end when the explanation for events ruined the entire thing for me.

The film poster showing an eye with smudged make-up opened very wide. The image is bathed in red light.

[SPOILERS]

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Frank & Zed (2020)

Frank & Zed
Director: Jesse Blanchard
Writer: Jesse Blanchard
Cast: Jerry Bell Jr., Aaron Booth, Randolph F. Christen,Chris Henry, Johnny Huang, Brian McKann, Jonathan McLain, Timothy Morse, Sam A. Mowry, Steve Overton, Daniel Rhovan, Jason Ropp, Mandy Stockholm
Part of: Secret Society Screening at the SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 3.10.2021
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Plot:
Frank and Zed are the sole remaining inhabitants of a castle that is slowly falling apart, and strictly speaking, they aren’t even alive. But they do have their routines that ensure their continued existence. In a nearby village, rumors and myths about the castle abound and prove fertile ground for a magistrate to satisfy his power urges, leading the villagers, as well as Frank and Zed into the prophesied Orgy of Blood.

I have to admit that watching puppets in a gore film (what the director dubbed puppetcore) is a fun idea and the execution was very impressive. Narratively, though, the film is a little thin, leaving the impression that there is not much to it apart from the puppetcore idea.

The film poster showing Frank holding an axe and a decapitated head, and Zed holding his own decapitated head with the brain sticking out.
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Shine 3D (2011)

Shine
Director: Jesse Blanchard
Writer: Jesse Blanchard
Part of: Secret Society Screening at the SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 3.10.2021
[Just a quick note: I saw the 2D version of this film.]

Plot:
A dark stage. A barber shop quartett. A cone of light. And outside that light, something is lurking.

Shine is the first “puppetcore” project by Blanchard: a gorey horror comedy made entirely with puppets. And I loved both the narrative concept and the idea behind puppetcore. The short is entirely charming and very funny, and was the perfect intro for seeing Blanchard’s first feature lenght puppetcore movie, Frank & Zed.

A puppet barber shop quartett performing. They are all holding hats in their hands, one of the hats has a bite taken out of it.

Oranges sanguines [Bloody Oranges] (2021)

Oranges sanguines
Director: Jean-Christophe Meurisse
Writer: Yohann Gloaguen, Jean-Christophe Meurisse, Amélie Philippe
Cast: Alexandre Steiger, Christophe Paou, Lilith Grasmug, Olivier Saladin, Lorella Cravotta, Fred Blin, Denis Podalydès, Blanche Gardin, Patrice Laffont, Vincent Dedienne
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 3.10.2021
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Content Note: rape

Plot:
Alexandre (Alexandre Steiger) is an attorney working for a minister (Christophe Paou), his job turning ever more into keeping the minister from being embroiled in scandal. What Alexandre doesn’t know is that his parents (Lorella Cravotta, Olivier Saladin) are in trouble, too, financially. But they are convinced they can solve everything by winning a dance competition despite their age. Meanwhile teenager Louise (Lilith Grasmug) is preparing for sleeping with her boyfriend for the first time.

Bloody Oranges starts well enough with a very critical, biting sense of humor. But after setting up its characters, the film changes pace and that change didn’t work for me at all. In fact, I was considering just getting up and leaving for a while. In the end, I did leave a few minutes early to catch my train back home in a less stressful way, but I wish I would have caught an even earlier train and skipped this film.

The film poster showing a politician with an orange in his face as if it was a clown's nose.
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Dýrið [Lamb] (2021)

Dýrið
Director: Valdimar Jóhannsson
Writer: Sjón, Valdimar Jóhannsson
Cast: Noomi Rapace, Hilmir Snær Guðnason, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 2.10.2021
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Plot:
Ingvar (Hilmir Snær Guðnason) and Maria (Noomi Rapace) are sheep farmers in a rather remote location in iceland. Their lives are quiet and revolve entirely around the sheep. They have no children, but when a very special lamb is born one day, they take it into their home. It seems that the universe has given them another chance at happiness. But things aren’t quite as simple as that.

Lamb is a strange beast of a film going from horror to drama to comedy and back again. But thanks to excellent performances and great characters, it works very well indeed.

The film poster showing a painting of Maria (Noomi Rapace) cradling a lamb in a jacket, calling to mind a Madonna painting.
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The Deep House (2021)

The Deep House
Director: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury
Writer: Alexandre Bustillo, Julien Maury, Julien David, Rachel Parker
Cast: Camille Rowe, James Jagger, Eric Savin
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 2.10.2021
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Plot:
Tina (Camille Rowe) and Ben (James Jagger) have a rather popular youtube channel where they explore abandoned houses and sites. For their newest video, Ben has set his sights on an artifical lake under which a town was submerged. But when they arrive, they realize that the place is a popular bathing spot and not the sort of lonely location that they usually visit. Tina wouldn’t mind just spending the day in holiday mode, but Ben starts talking with local Pierre (Eric Savin) who promises to take them to an actually unknown and supposedly haunted house under water. When they start their exploration, they soon find that they may have gotten in more deeply than they wanted.

The Deep House is a very effective scary movie with a really interesting setting. While the story itself is nothing to write home about, the atmosphere really makes this work.

The film poster showing two divers approaching a submerged house. There's a light in one of the windows of the house.
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The Dreaming (1988)

The Dreaming
Director: Mario Andreacchio
Writer: Mario Andreacchio, Rob George, Stephanie McCarthy, Josephine Emery
Cast: Arthur Dignam, Penny Cook, Gary Sweet, Laurence Clifford, Kristina Nehm, Patrick Frost, John Noble
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 1.10.2021

Content Note: rape, racism

Plot:
Cathy (Penny Cook) is a doctor at the hospital. One night, a young indigenous woman Warindji (Kristina Nehm) is delivered to the ER with severe injuries after trying to steal back artefacts from the museum. Cathy is convinced that something weird is going on, especially when tribal markings appear on her own wrist and she starts to have vivid and frightening dreams. She realizes that it may very well be connected to the archaeological dig her father Bernard (Arthur Dignam) is conducting. As the dreams get more intense, will Cathy have enough time to unravel the mystery?

The Dreaming makes some interesting points, but has the wrong protagonists and a few lengths here and there. It didn’t work that well for me.

The film poster showing a face made of sand with tribal paintings over it.
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Violation (2020)

Violation
Director: Dusty Mancinelli, Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Writer: Dusty Mancinelli, Madeleine Sims-Fewer
Cast: Madeleine Sims-Fewer, Anna Maguire, Jesse LaVercombe, Jesse LaVercombe, Obi Abili, Jasmin Geljo, Cynthia Ashperger
Part of: SLASH Film Festival
Seen on: 1.10.2021
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Content Note: rape

Plot:
A while ago, Miriam (Madeleine Sims-Fewer) and her husband Caleb (Obi Abili) spent some time with Miriam’s sister Greta (Anna Maguire) and Greta’s husband Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe) whom Miriam has known since they were kids. The relationship between the sisters hasn’t always been easy and the meeting between them is supposed to be a fresh start. Since things between Miriam and Caleb have been icy for a while, Miriam also hopes for a fresh start with him as well. But things turn out quite differently for Miriam, leaving her shaken to her core and desperate.

Violation is not an easy film. It’s not easily digested and it works better on an intellectual level than on an entertainment level. But that’s kind of the point as it questions how rape-revenge movies usually work.

The film poster showing Miriam (Madeleine Sims-Fewer) screaming in the rain.
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