Night Out! Double Feature; Manborg and The Void

*Event took place June 23rd. The article was written but accidentally not published

The tickets were bought a few days in advance, but they were not needed. The turnout was kind of poor, but that did not matter to me. I ended up going with two of my friends, before the show we decided to hit up a pub where we had a few drinks and split some nachos. In the background, there was a street festival going on so the place was busy and the air was full of music, the atmosphere was great and the conversation fun. It all flowed nicely into hitting up the theater for a double feature. This was to be the third time I saw each of the films, with my one of my friends having seen Manborg, but not “The Void” and the other having seen just “The Void”. Both of the films were introduced by the director of the film. I’ll talk about my thoughts on each below while trying to keep it a bit brief and synopsis can be googled easily enough.

“Manborg” is a shoestring budget science fiction film that pays homage to cheesy action/sci-fi films of the 80’s and 90’s. Astron-6 (The film company behind production) does a great job of taking something they have a passion for and showing those passions without compromising their own creative vision or relying heavily on Nostalgia. Fan Service is one of those commodities nowadays that just aims to push boring formulaic material onto an audience that will like things just because they exist within their fandom. Everything Astron-6 though has a feeling that the crew is invested in their own interest and ideas. With an interest in cult film, their work more naturally mimics what it is they grew up watching. Seeing Manborg in theaters filled me with a lot of good vibes and acted as a sweet reminder of why my passion for film runs so deep. I knew a lot of my favorite lines before the came up, and did that nerdy thing where you pre-emptively laugh, but I was caught up in my own sense of enjoyment and was committed to the joint experience of seeing the film on a screen.

After the film, there was a break for intermission, which actually created a few interesting moments. I was wearing my “Street Trash” shirt, a film which to be honest I don’t care for too much. The fact that I own a shirt more just reflects my obsession with weird film, and the design of it is really cool. In a time when I was doing shop for movie shirts, I realized most of the stuff I was more invested in only came in black design, so I picked this more so because it was blue. Now I have owned the shirt for several years and outside of my small group of film buddies, no one has ever commented on it. But at the screening, while I was waiting for my friend someone came up and told me that was “Their favorite movie” which I imagine is an exaggeration in order to make a connection. However it was cool, but also a bit awkward as I was really aware I did not care for the film, so we chatted for a few brief moments before he left to be with his friends. When I had to go to the washroom on the way out a guy stopped me to comment on the movie as well. he seemed more personable and he was rocking a pretty cool t-shirt himself. But I was in this awkward place of being right in the doorway about to leave and having people walk by me. He kept on talking and I would go to leave and realize he had wanted to say something else. This would have been fine and I would have been more than happy to indulge, but playing the role of doorman was a bit peculiar. So after a brief conversation about the scene where they sever a mans penis and play keep away with it, we parted ways. I grabbed a soda and joined my friends back in the theater.

The Void, like Manborg, pays homage to various other films while still keeping its own sense of identity. The atmosphere was brooding and I felt myself getting a bit anxious, even though I knew what was coming next. I feel that in the intro that the director covered a certain aspect of the film that I really enjoy. Which is when a film creates its own lore and just unabashedly commits to it. “The Void” captures a chaotic world in which madness and the old gods still have power. With that said there was one thought that I had during the film that I had not really acknowledged before, and that is to a degree every film which kind of tries to capture the cosmic dread of what Lovecraft sets out fails on some level. Lovecraft felt that film was a bad way to convey storytelling, and although I entirely disagree with that statement, I if you look at his work it very much is. This applies to a lot of cosmic, or metaphysical horror. I think of other prominent authors who I felt strived within this genre, Junji Ito, and Thomas Ligotti. The amount of chaos and internalized dread that these authors make in their written work loses something once it becomes up to someone else to put visuals to these types of concepts. The Void does come close and I believe is one of the few films that is able to take the cosmic horror influence and do a decent job with it. (I Still think the best film to capture the feeling of comic dread goes to “Marebito” an underappreciated gem from Japan.). I will also admit that some of the dialogue and the acting is not the greatest. Overall, I really enjoy “The Void” and am sure I will see it again at some point.


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