Dean’s Revelation

July 13, 2008

Dean Bertram from A Night of Horror’s report on REV as promised.

“Dispatch from the West Coast.

Wild and woolly weather here on the western frontier. The wind howls around the house like a petulant stepchild hoping for a beating. But my esteemed editor Herr Wolstencroft wants a review of some films playing at Revelation Perth International Film Festival this year, he isn’t paying for a meteorological update. Hell, he isn’t really paying me at all unless you count the still lingering ache behind my eyes, courtesy of several insane nights on the town with my good editor when he was still in town.

Anyway to cinema: Quite a line-up this year courtesy of Revelation’s guest programmer Jack Sargeant. Since Wolstencroft snatched up his belongings and fled to the airport (leaving a number of pending paternity suits in his wake) I’ve seen a couple of interesting docos:

A VERY BRITISH GANGSTER follows Dominic Noonan, Manchester Bully Boy come mob boss, who has spent over half of his life in the big house. Now, on the outside, he surrounds himself with an entourage of pretty teenage miscreants (all dressed like their leader in naff suits), Noonan is something of the Don Corleone of working class Manchester: the protection that locals turn to instead of the cops. He is charming but dangerous. The big twist at the half way mark sees Noonan admitting to being gay. (The filmmaker pries Doonan’s admission with the not so subtle: “You have the scent of Lavender about you”). Apparently the aging gangster picked up his sexual preference at reform school where he was forcibly and repeatedly buggered by his fellows. Noonan later hunted the rapists down, and took his revenge. But he kept his taste for boy flesh, which instantly explains his “loyal” Praetorian guard of spotty teen-boys. Entertaining stuff really.

As its title suggests LAST AMERICAN FREAK SHOW travels with a troupe of the physically different as they motor in a dilapidated school bus across the Land of the Free. Few of the performers are as macabre as that band of abnormals that graced the screen in Browning’s notorious FREAKS, but they are still strange enough to make a living entertaining folks at small venues. Shot by a physically disabled director, the film provides an insight into modern carny life. However, while its central conceit seems to be that the freaks find some kind of empowerment from living as self-sufficient entertainers, one begins to suspect that there is still a level of exploitation taking place here: The two leaders of the band are themselves physically “normal”, the crew’s one-legged “elephant man” (far less hideous that John Merrick) is often neglected by his companions; after touring with the show for a brief run the “Giant” leaves obviously uncomfortable with his new role as a freak; and in a telling speech, the show’s token little person confesses to wanting to drop out of the tour because of the strange contradiction that the freak show entails: she hates being stared at in her day to day life but gets paid to be stared at on stage. As an aside, those with a predilection/fetish for freaks won’t be disappointed. Plenty to fuel those masturbatory fantasies here: including a very fit and spunky “lobster girl” who other than her one “claw-hand” is in all other ways a perfect example of the female form. And the show’s “half woman” sadly missing her right leg and with only a shortened left, has a cherubic face, weighty breasts, a resonating singing voice, and a chirpy outlook (not surprisingly she gets picked up by a bigger and more successful freak show towards the end of the film).

A final piece of local flavour: Just ate an amazing kangaroo lunch, cooked up by my host and Revelation co-ordinator Ivan Borgnino. Ivan assures me he bought the marsupial meat at the local shop, but I suspect that he shot and butchered the sorry beast himself. That’s how they usually do it over here on the western frontier. Good eating. And the offal can be fed to the local strays that prowl the streets in ravenous packs. Keeps them from eating human children, which is their traditional prey.

Off to REDACTED, De Palma’s war mockumentary, tonight. Details to follow soon…”

One Response to “Dean’s Revelation”

  1. syms covington said

    This news will either make you keel over and die, or keel over and laugh. Seems the ACTUAL TITLE is “Coming of Age”. My god.

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