68 Kill Coming to Cinemapolis – ithaca.com

68 Kill, written and directed by Trent Haaga, will be playing at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 18, at Cinemapolis.

If pulp novelist Jim Thompson were around to see The Jerry Springer Show or Morton Downey Jr., he may have come up with something as twisted and back woods bleak as Trent Haagas 68 Kill. Based on a novel unread by me and written by Bryan Smith, 68 Kill is strongly reminiscent of Martin Scorseses After Hours (1985), an episode in which a passive-aggressive man suffers a seemingly endless night of violence and persecution in hip, scary downtown SoHo. (I was also reminded of movies like Ron Howards 1982 comedy Night Shift, starring Henry Winkler as a well-meaning doormat who finally learns to stand up for himself.)

In a nightmare white-trash world of trailer parks and grotty convenience stores, Matthew Gray Gubler stars in 68 Kill as Chip, a guy who pumps sewage for a living and tries to ignore the fact that his girlfriend, Liza (AnnaLynne McCord), is a sadistic, manipulative psycho who constantly berates and abuses him (not to mention having sex with her sugar daddy, who happens to be their landlord). When Liza finds out that the landlord has $68,000 hidden in a wall safe, she strong-arms Chip into helping her steal the money. Needless to say, things go bad and get worse, as corpses and hostages start piling up.

68 Kill is the product of IFC Midnight, a grittier off-brand of movie from IFC Films. It was adapted and directed by Trent Haaga. I first became aware of Haaga when I saw Apocalypse Soon: The Making of Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, which he wrote and assistant-directed. The Troma production as documented was so fleabag and low-rent that I have never been able to stomach watching the actual film. (Frankly, Ive seen pornography with better writing and production values.) Haaga also co-authored Make Your Own Damn Movie with Tromas main madman, Lloyd Kaufman.

Luckily, Haaga has been able to escape from Troma and has soldiered on. There are two kinds of horror filmmakers: those who make a scary movie as a way of getting their foot in the door of the industry, and those who make scary movies because they love them; with titles under his belt like Hell Asylum (2002), Raving Maniacs (2005) and Cheap Thrills (2013), Haaga is clearly the latter.

68 Kill hurtles along like a bad dream, with a sick sense of humor, lots of blood and disturbing incidents. It plays like an anecdote that starts out funny, gets frightening and keeps springing surprise after gory surprise. Good luck trying to figure out how it all ends.

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Cinemapolis will also present a special one-night screening of the new documentary The Farthest on Tuesday, 7 p.m Aug. 22. The Farthest tells the stories of the people and events behind NASAs Voyager mission, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this August. Still going strong four decades after launch, each spacecraft carries an iconic golden record with greetings, music and images from Earth a gift for any aliens that might one day find it. (The music included a Chuck Berry track, and SNL did a bit back in the day where aliens contacted Earth with a message: Send more Chuck Berry.)

This one-night-only event will feature a special post-show discussion with Nick Sagan, contributor to the film and one of the voices on the famed golden records. Sagan is a writer/producer of novels, screenplays, teleplays, comic books, animation episodes and computer games. His credits include the Kirkus-starred post-apocalyptic novel Idlewild, which Neil Gaiman hailed as a rollercoaster ride of fusion fiction the kind of book you simply dont want to stop reading; and several episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Voyager.

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68 Kill Coming to Cinemapolis – ithaca.com

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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