By David Dent
This stunningly realized animation is made more so by the fact that the chosen medium is craft paper. I was slightly skeptical that director Eric Power could sustain interest for 74 minutes but boy was I wrong.
It’s Halloween, 1994 in Barrington, a small Colorado town, and there’s a Battle of the Bands taking place. Three music fans (including a journalist) are traveling to the concert: mansplaining Chet, his girlfriend Natalie, who’s looking forward to seeing her favourite group ‘Teak,’ and Brandon.
Other characters include Kevin, who lives with his grandmother, and is a movie nerd with no interest in music, getting excited that there’s a rare screening of the Italian horror movie ‘The Grotesque Mirror,’ and arcade game crazy Jeff, whose perusal of the latest machine, ‘Rodent Rumble,’ he describes as “a work of art,” and whose crazy uncle cycles around the town’s abandoned mines.
But as the concert gets going, an ancient curse takes over the town, turning the townspeople into demons who gradually fuse together into one uber demon.
Enter Stewart Combs, monster hunter, who has been raised by an ancient order with one job – to locate and destroy the demon. Will he succeed before it reaches full strength?
What’s great about this film is firstly how it looks – the sumptuous autumnal color palette and the small-town settings look fantastic – but also the wealth of detail, from the faux B movies playing on TV like ‘Doctor Mantis’ to the indie bands playing at the Festival with names like ‘Ballerina Maggot.’ The bored 90s language is spot-on: “I feel like the waffles are going to give me cholera” says one character as they sit in the town’s eatery ‘Betty’s Diner.’ Also, there’s a fantastic score from John Dixon which gives a real sense of the period.
I honestly didn’t expect to care so much about characters made of paper. It’s the smart script and great voices that give it life. Eric’s second movie was nearly ten years in the making, and must have been such a labour of love to produce – it’s all up there on the screen.