Sunday At Kapow – How It Went Down

Sunday at Kapow was a much shorter day than Saturday, yet seemed to pack in an awful lot more.

My first panel was one held by Momentum Pictures, in order to plug not one, or two, but five films: Hobo With a Shotgun, Red Hill, Troll Hunter, The Woman in Black and Insidious. The first three of those films were represented only by trailers, and trailers that either/or/and/both have been online very visibly for some time, or don't quite do the films justice.

I'm rather in love with Red Hill. No doubt I'll be singing its praises more loudly as we approach its UK release in later May.

To promote The Woman In Black, Momentum decided to premiere the first teaser trailer for the film, and have James Watkins carry out a Q&A. Notable points from what he said:

  • He never actually complemented Daniel Radcliffe's acting. I wish I had a word-for-word recording of what he said, but he danced around quite a bit in how he described Dan's performance.
  • As the film will be released under the Hammer banner, Watkins was asked if the film would be in the Hammer style. He said he hopes that it would be more like their earlier pictures than the later ones with "naked vampires" – though, having said that…
  • He did confirm that scenes of Radcliffe stripped-off and showing his "ripped abs" have been shot. They may, he noted, not be in the final cut, but they have been shot.
  • Jane Goldman's screenplay "opened up" the events of Susan Hill's book "quite a bit".
  • He had not read either the book or seen the stage play when sent the script. Nobody even mentioned the TV version.
  • He used practical effects as much as possible, and the ghost is "mostly" played by "a person".
  • The film might not be getting released until next February, but it will be finished "in May or June". Shooting wrapped in December.

The last of Momentum's five pictures at this panel was Insidious, releasing in the UK on April 29th. Director James Wan and writer-actor Leigh Whannell came out to introduce a clip – a very brief clip – and to take some questions.

Seeing as the film is out in the US, the basics have been pretty much covered. I hope to speak to the guys soon, and will do my best to take the conversation beyond the obvious.

Note that during the panel, James Wan said he and Whannell might work on projects apart from one another, but like to make their projects together special. Their next collaboration, he suggested, could well be a sci-fi action film with an indie sensibility. No new details on the project were even hinted at, but they seem to be quite set on this particular concept.

Next up came the FX panel, opening with an on-video interview with Andrew Lincoln regarding The Walking Dead, then moving onto the world premiere of the first episode of Falling Skies. I'll get to Skies the premiere in a separate post, but there were some particularly interesting things in what Lincoln said.

Asked about the "rumours" that Stephen King would be writing an episode of The Walking Dead, Lincoln appeared to express genuine geeky joy that King "and his son" would be providing a script. It was infectious.

The most amusing moment came at the end of the video when Lincoln, having just rushed through his regrets for not making it to Kapow turned to look down the lens and excitedly tell us all he'd "definitely" be at Comic Con in San Diego.

My only afternoon event was the Surprise Film, or Movie X. A quick survey of folk in the queue did turn up several people vocally disappointed that it couldn't be Thor, not now that signs had gone up to tell us we'd need to be 18 to get in.

The film started without any kind of introduction, and while a good bunch of the audience seemed to react excitedly to the first shot of Rainn Wilson – our giveaway that Movie X was, in fact, James Gunn's Super – it was still a minority of the crowd.

The masses were rather more in concert when it came to some of the film's biggest and boldest moments, cheering on the gory bits, the most brutal bits, and the most… uncheery of transgressions.

If you don't know the film at all, here's the short version:

A rather disturbed man married to a drug-addict seems to go off the deep end when she leaves him for a local crime boss. He makes himself a costume, adopts the persona of "The Crimson Bolt", picks up a wrench and goes about hurting, and usually killing, anybody who he sees breaking the law – no matter how minor the law. There's a lot of blood and gore, there's some "sexual material", and there's a lot of morally challenging maneuvres. Faith-based morality gets sucked into it, but that debate is obscured, somewhat, by the obvious mental health problems of our lead character.

I want to review Super in full, but for now I'll say that it's a conflicted film, full of curious and disquieting internal shifts that sometimes seem to be rather adept provocations, and at other times, a side effect of it's slippery, hard-to-grasp moral core often evading the filmmakers' purchase.

I don't think writer-director James Gunn has really pulled it off, not in full, but there's more than enough to recommend and the film is nothing if not a surefire conversation starter. It will also be playing at Sci-Fi London, and I don't think you'll regret buying a ticket at all.

Leaving the film, we were being directed away from the main show floor. An hour before the advertised closing time, they were clearing us out. For anybody wanting to go buy some more comics, candy floss or… or whatever else was on sale (any ideas? I just saw a lot of comics and candy floss) this was something of a bum end to proceedings.

Many people went next door to the adjoining hotel's bar. I decided to take a very heavy box full of Rich Johnston-written comics for a circular walk around Islington. It was tiring, but I had my reasons. Only the unlucky few will ever know them.

And that was Kapow: Year One. I was particularly relieved that the crowds were thin enough that one could walk around freely, and anything up to medium-sized cat could have been swung quite happily just about anywhere in the building. Next year, I'd personally like to see more film business, but I suppose that's like Rich asking for more comic book events during the London Film Festival.

I stand by my original prediction, and day one assertion, that Attack the Block walked away with the Best in Show rosette, and pretty much unchallenged. May 11 can't get here soon enough.