MONSTERS, MAYHEM AND THE PURSUIT OF FISH-BASED SUBSTANCES

Albert Birney and Jon Moses’ monochromatic stop-motion feature is a sight to behold: peopled by fantastical creatures and inspired by dreams that made their way into the film’s whimsical plot, The Beast Pageant tells the story of Abraham, a young man who is about to experience an existential awakening.

Abraham’s cramped apartment is one of the film’s many hand-made sets, where he sits in a single chair before an elaborate contraption designed to give him everything he needs to get by in life. With a series of tubes and wires framing a TV screen that plays animated commercials for fake products (many made out of or related to fish) the machine tries to placate Abraham into forgetting that his life is dismal and lonely.

One day a tiny singing cowboy grows out of his abdomen – sort of like a musical counterpart to Bruce Robinson’s How to Get Ahead in Advertising or Frank Henenlotter’s Brain Damage – and leads Abraham on a journey through the wonders of nature, which prompts a series of spontaneous musical interludes where various mythical forest creatures strut their stuff to Moses’ original tunes.  Full of monsters and maidens of all shapes and sizes, beastly costumes  galore, and a clear lust for chaos, The Beast Pageant is truly inspired indie filmmaking with a wackiness that recalls the utopian mockumentaries of Jim Finn (Interkosmos) or the shorts of Winnipeg stop-motion weirdo Mike Maryniuk  (Cattle Call, Fish Arms).

Shot in and around Rochester, New York and produced in part with audience-funding through the online Kickstarter program, the film was shot on a 16mm Bolex rescued from a dumpster – a fitting beginning for a film as crafty and budget-defying as The Beast Pageant.

Read more about the film and stay tuned for a screening near you on the official website HERE.

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- Kier-La Janisse

About the author:

Kier-La Janisse

Kier-La Janisse is a film writer and programmer, Editor-in-Chief of Spectacular Optical Publications, founding director of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies and the Festival Director of Monster Fest in Melbourne, Australia. She has been a programmer for the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas, co-founded Montreal microcinema Blue Sunshine, founded the CineMuerte Horror Film Festival (1999-2005) in Vancouver and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She has written for Incite: Journal of Experimental Media, Filmmaker, Offscreen, Shindig!, Rue Morgue and Fangoria magazines, has contributed to Destroy All Movies!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011), and is the author of A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (FAB Press, 2007) and House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (FAB Press, 2012). She recently co-edited and published the anthology books KID POWER! (Spectacular Optical, 2014) about kids in cult film and television and Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s. She is currently working on the book A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time about children’s programming from 1965-1985.

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