The city of Montreal got just a little freakier thanks to a bundle of energy named Freaky Miss T. The first Body Horror contest\Mascara & Popcorn Short Film Contest wasn’t just a hit, it knocked the ball right out of the park!
It was standing-room-only at the Bistro De Paris on St. Denis last Friday night as spectators were served a night of spine-tingling short films with a side order of intriguing, if somewhat unsettling, FX’s put on by some of the best artists in the city. As guests arrived they were transformed into participants, being handed two voting sheets. One sheet was to vote for best short film. In the running were films such as The Gash by Gonzoriffic, Mien by Glockbuster Films, Split by Shining Example Films, and Gourmandise by Stardomovies. All the films, while they might not fall into the horror category, did have a very dark side to them, with no shortage of gore. But that is what the night was all about!
The other voting sheet that was given out upon entering was to vote for best makeup artist. In this category you could choose from four different artists.
- Mary Martinelli – “Experiment Gone Wrong”
- Steph Miramontes -”The Mutant”
- Vero Dumas – “The Breather”
- Hugues Poirier – “Orcus, the Demon”
This was Martinelli’s first big contest. She had been working on her subject for over five hours by the time he was ready to be presented to the more than anticipatory crowd. “It seems like only five minutes,” she commented as she put finishing touches on her very patient subject. This might be the first live contest for some of the artists but all of them are doing well in the gruesome business of bring audiences FX’s. Hugues Poirier got into the business with animatronique-robotiques, while Vero Dumas started off by wanting to be a comic book artist. “There is a fine line between art and special effect,” says Dumas, who gives classes in the art of FXs.
If, like me, you are somewhat of a rookie when it comes to the whole phenomenon of Body Horror, I had a chance to speak with the Freaky Miss T, aka Florence Touliatos, to get the skinny.
Ken Gaucher (KG): What is “Mascara and Popcorn”?
Florence Touliatos (FT): I founded M&P (Mascara and Popcorn) a few years ago with the intention of making it a sort of homage to trashy underground cinema and counterculture art. It sort of morphed into what it is today: a film festival that combines short movies with an edge, so you’ll have a lot of horror and weird unclassifiable stuff but you’ll have some dark comedy and drama in there too, a mixed bag really. We have an annual competition happening in August and various fun events happening throughout the year.
KG: Is this the first time this sort of contest happens here in Montreal?
FT: Yes, it’s the first time, or at least it looks like it’s the first time this sort of event that combines both live horror FX and short movies in competition. I thought it’d be interesting to combine body horror in the live FX and movie sense of the genre. All short films entered have that component as part of their films too and the makeup artists doing their live makeup effect have already worked on a few movies.
KG: How did the contest come to be?
FT: The whole thing was to bring makeup and FX artists to the forefront, the ones who do practical effects behind the scenes and expose what they’re capable of doing and the potential results of their work on film.
I’m a body horror junkie myself. I’ve always been drawn towards the genre, and ever since I discover David Cronenberg as a kid, body horror has always been my thing either because I was completely appalled and terrified by it or because I’ve always been totally engrossed and fascinated by it in a surreal way. Anything from body parts melting, morphing, gushing, grotesque human experiments gone wrong, even extreme body modification or plastic surgery gone awry, to me it’s all fascinating.
KG: Where did the entries for the short films come from?
FT: I approached a few filmmakers I knew, some of them had already entered last year’s M&P film competition with other movies so most films presented at the Body Horror contest were “custom made” for the contest. With the exception of a few, most are world premieres.
KG: Well it looks like you are are making it happen, any last thoughts?
FT: We support indie film, all types of thought-provoking dark art, theatre, art, music, fundraisers and live shows within the underground and alternative arena, helping entrepreneurs and artists connect and kick start opportunities for themselves. We receive no funding and basically survive on money earned from film submissions and ticket sales; that’s why our partners and collaborators are so important to us. Thanks to them, we receive a handful of gifts and perks that we give back entirely to our filmmakers and participants as a “thank you for doing what you do and just keep doing it.”
At the end of the night, short film Lonely Ninja by Dead Ringer Movies walked away with the best movie prize and Vero Dumas’s “The Breather” walked away with the body horror prize. The night was more than a success; it was considered a breakthrough for a genre many people did not even know existed.
I would like to thank YordEvil from L’hotel 54 and artist Stephane Petrins, for making the evening a memorable one. If you have any comments or would like to invite me to your event contact me at [email protected]