Friday, October 25, 2013

SpectreFest's LFO Screening Be Careful Who You Listen To

Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah at SpectreFest LFO Screening

Elijah Wood appeared before me. My eyes widened and my hear sank, "He's going to stab me!" ,  I thought.

The last time I saw Elijah was not in person. It was in his incredibly creepy role as Frank Zito in 2012's Maniac, he played the maniac. With Halloween around the corner you tend to delve into horror films and re-watching Maniac happened organically. I found out he and his partners tend to delve into horror films during Halloween too.

He was introduced simply as "Elijah" by Daniel Noah, both co-founders of SpectreVision a production and music management company who created SpecreFest with the help of The Cinefamily, one of the best local indie theaters in LA. The third co-founder Josh C. Waller decided to take photos from the audience instead of introducing that night's film along with them in front of the couches at the Cinefamily Theatre. Daniel and Elijah were both ecstatic to show off the night's film before going on about the future showings of the festival and sitting back down to watch the film with the rest of us.

I laid back in my seat ready for the film LFO and worried if Elijah would pop out some time and frighten me.

While introducing the film Daniel Noah had a bit of a gap in his wording, as he explained it wasn't a movie with a monster. He was figuratively wrong as Robert Nord, became one before us experimenting with his neighbors, maybe even before then. The Swedish film, which had subtitles before us had Robert in the role of a modern mad scientist, not at some lab on a hill with lightning in the background, but in his basement tooling around with frequencies. One day he has a breakthrough in his work and finds a way to control people with one of his frequencies. Like a hypnotist, you're suddenly a slave to his will. From the start you can tell Robert's goals aren't altruistic. He uses this new found power to corrupt his new neighbors into doing anything he wants.

Watching Robert control his new neighbors is both darkly humorous and frightening. He is still a man with needs, not all sexual, sometimes being unbelievably feeble and meek shown by just taking from his neighbors and still being delusional enough to believe what he is doing is right. His neighbors or anyone captured under his frequency become glossy-eyed sheeple and seeing them devote themselves to any task stuck in that gaze or changing their will on the spot is frightening if not funny, just like a hypnotist show.

This recent Fantastic Fest (Alamo Draft House) film makes it to LA only a month after it's US Premiere as the sounds it makes rings in your ears. The tone that Robert's mind control frequency makes is played over and over in the movie and it doesn't get tiresome, neither does it taking place in no more than Robert's house. We never go into the world beyond Robert's door; only in voice over do we hear about the outside world. Maybe due to the low budget of it being an indie film we don't go out. It keeps you trapped along side Robert with his own world he's building and that world is not well made, Robert's a bit of a cheap skate and that works for indie film makers.

Robert Nord, played by Patrik Karlson and Izabella Johanna Tschig who played his mind-controlled neighbor Linn came up after LFO for a Q & A. Patrik could not explain one aspect of the film that broke the yolk, the amount of eggs his character ate in the movie. Only giving an excuse at how frugal his character was in the film.

Patrik's character of Robert Nord might come more from the writer/director of LFO, Antonio Tublén. We all laughed in the audience when Patrik explained Antonio had written the part for him and made him audition for it anyway. A tendency of approval that marked Patrik's character in the film.

When Patrik was asked about rehearsal time he answered, "We had one day, we all went to Antoni's apartment. We sat on the sofa all three of us, that was like the closes we ever go to a rehearsal." He revealed the shoot lasted a mere 10 days. Scenes were done by location, so everything that took place in a part of Robert's home was shot back to back and then the next location was used.

"On the way it was framed, the inspiration comes directly from Dogtooth. With the amount of time the crew  and I had we  couldn't go for the normal shots and decided to define scenes in the awkwardness that came from staying away from the characters and drawing to different objects, " Patrik further explained.

Izabella told us of how she achieved her robot like behavior later in the Q & A, "It was just a matter of sending myself into a self-hypnosis, really. Sometimes it was as simple as that. So, I would shut everything off, and go into a numb space and other times it was more like kind of building layers on Linn and what she was going through and just putting the lid on that."

"We improvised them, " Patrik and Izabella soon joined in laughing almost with, "We even thought we should actually create the band LFO and just go out on tour" when asked about the songs they sang in the movie together. Antoni the director did write the lyrics, but they came up with the songs about being better people and simple morals when Robert tries to make the world a better place with his frequency.

We were all left wondering why Robert was wearing an Iowa T-shirt from a scene in the film. Patrik trailed off that there was answer, but he forgot it even though it was answered no less than a month ago at Fantastic Fest. "I can't remember now and I'm from Iowa, " came Elijah Wood's voice from the audience. He had attended LFO's Fantastic Fest screening where that question was answered and was saddened he didn't remember the answer either.

Elijah never popped up from behind me, but I could see him getting into music that played after the film with the live performance of G.E. Stinson. G.E. is a music manipulator and the sounds he makes can be like being in a broken elevator with music track stuck on fast forward to a rock concert coming while being on a swaying boat. He ended the night's activities for SpectreFest.

SpectreFest is making a name for itself this Halloween season in it's first year. Even though the brand new Beyond Fest taking place at the American Cinematheque is happening a short distance away the special events, guests and special screenings such as LFO make it stand out among all the Halloween delights in LA this October.

That was only the start of night at the Cinefamily as a double feature representing Florida in the United States of Horror continuing horror festival were to be shown. First up the hilarious Shakma about a killer baboon going after a dreamy Christopher Atkins from Blue Lagoon fame. The baboon's trainer, Monty Cox, told us later how he got into the animal wrangling business for Hollywood after taking LSD with his Dad and auditioning to act with animals from a wanted ad. Later up on screen came Shockwaves about underwater Nazi zombies. Another night at the Cinefamily, a great choice of venue for SpectreFest.

LFO stands for low-frequency oscillation, so you don't have to go looking for it.

SpectreFest continues until the end of October.
As does the United States of Horror
both at The Cinefamily and other locations.