Fantastic Fest Audience Award Winner A TOWN CALLED PANIC opens Friday!
At our annual festival of horror, fantasy, and all around boom-shakin' cinema, Fantastic Fest, there was one gem that stood out this year as the audience favorite. No, it wasn't some blood-squirt fest from Japan or even a 100% medically accurate film from the Netherlands about sewing people together (but, boy, did those movies kill!). No, the crowd favorite this year was a Belgium film about a toy cowboy and a toy Indian that fail to build a barbecue.
What? There must be something really special about this film, an anomaly in a festival full of gore, frights, and terror that would elevate this animated feature to the top spot. Try, for one, that this film is genuinely funny. Not funny in a gross out way, not funny in a hoity toity pinky-in-the-air way, but funny in a zany, madcap, and completely non-cynical way.
This film is hilarious, it's random, it's fun, but most importantly, it's imaginative. The typical toy battle of cowboy and Indian is turned on its head; here, the two action figures are roommates who want to do something nice for their more responsible flatmate, horse. Once their ineptitude and a few misplaced decimal points get in their way, the three toys embark on a crazy adventure. But each problem they face is wilder than the last, and each solution is creative and crazy.
You can tell that this film is made by wackos who simply love making people laugh. It shows that this is a labor of love, a product of self-amusement rather than commercial interest. If more films were made this way, we'd be in a much more joyful world.
Some quotes from the rags:
"A TOWN CALLED PANIC proves you don't need fancy CGI techniques, 3-D, or stunt voice casting to make a sparkly little gem"
Leslie Felperin, Variety
"There's really very little to say about this film beyond that it's absolutely brilliant""
Peter Brunette, The Hollywood Reporter
"The film’s humor, simultaneously giddy and satirical, is reminiscent of “South Park” and the “Wallace & Gromit” movies, but it’s less pointed, more poetic."
Mike Hale, New York Times
"I enjoyed this film so much I'm sorry to report it was finally too much of a muchness. You can only eat so much cake. But I don't think that's a problem...It has an innocent hallucinatory charm"
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
Some Fantastic Fest comments:
"This was such a charming, good-natured, and original comedy. Just perfect."
"Very, very funny, but the best thing about it was the originality and non-stop ideas."
"Goodness this is the best claymation feature i have ever seen"
"This one is a classic!!!!"
This absurdist animation is like TOY STORY thrown into a blender with Mike Judge and a Belgian Waffle. Mmmm.
There will be a special premiere Thursday at midnight at Alamo South Lamar. Tickets are available for that show here. Please note that A TOWN CALLED PANIC opens for a full run on Friday at the Alamo Ritz. For tickets and showtimes, please click here