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, Owner/Artistic Director of Spectacular Optical Publications and founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. 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, was the Festival Director of Monster Fest in Melbourne, Australia and was the subject of the documentary Celluloid Horror (2005). She 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) and contributed to Destroy All Movies!! The Complete Guide to Punks on Film (Fantagraphics, 2011), Recovering 1940s Horror: Traces of a Lost Decade (Lexington, 2014) The Canadian Horror Film: Terror of the Soul (University of Toronto Press, 2015) and We Are the Martians: The Legacy of Nigel Kneale (PS Press, 2017). She co-edited and published the anthology books KID POWER! (Spectacular Optical, 2014), Satanic Panic: Pop-Cultural Paranoia in the 1980s (Spectacular Optical, 2015) and Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin (2017), and is co-editing Yuletide Terror: Christmas Horror on Film and Television for release in late 2017. She is currently writing A Song From the Heart Beats the Devil Every Time: Children’s Programming and the Counterculture, 1965-1985, monographs about Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter and Patricia Birch’s Grease 2, and is in development on a TV series based on her book House of Psychotic Women with Rook Films.

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