(1992, Can, 90 min) Dir Ben Roy. Cast Bobby Rusk, E. Emmett Benn, Alison Shaker.
Young Alex finds himself trapped in the missing month of Octember, a twilight month that slipped between October and November many years ago and was never found again. Octember manifests itself as an empty world – the rest of its residents having gone straight to November – though he’s not the only one there. A host of lost souls are adrift with him in this phantom month, some there so long that they have become unhinged. His initial wanderings around his depopulated neighbourhood after waking in his empty house are eerie in the extreme with whole streets rendered very Marie Celeste, the evidence of people littering yards and kitchens and driveways but nobody is there. The perfect kind of kids movie – by virtue of its small-scale made for TV production it occupies the kinds of spaces familiar to children like the house and the street and so on which is perhaps why it’s left such an impression on those, like myself, who saw it at an impressionable age.
(1980, Can, 95 min) Dir Jack Angelo. Cast Rudy Picken, Sally Oscar, Oliver ‘Bee’ Betjeman, Jim Billy.
A comedy slasher movie – of all the things – that takes place in the novel surroundings of a spoof folk festival, kind of like A Mighty Wind and Friday the 13th had a child. Sam Deal (Picken) is at the New Grass Folk Festival playing his first stage gig when the body of Joan Baez style folker Alma Wurlitzer is found during his sound check. Alma fan Sam turns detective, mingling with the hoi polloi and the general attendees in search of clues while the body count rises – all hushed up by the festivals unscrupulous runners. The best part of the film is identifying the various folkish musicians being pastiched – Simon and Garfunkel (obviously), Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and so on. Art Garfunkel (the real one) even turns up for a cameo as a weird candy floss salesman! Of course the culprit eventually turns out to be the dastardly Bob Dylan analogue who has been driven mad with fame (it’s changed him, man) and is now trying to bump off everyone who accuses him of selling out. The finale finds him trying to make his getaway, piloting his private helicopter whilst clogged up to the gills on cocaine and crashing into a mountain. Well played by a cast of unknown Canadians but shot on a minimal budget – the festival looks sparsely attended for a start and the less said about the helicopter crash the better. But still, it only adds to the charm of this little film that could.