J.B. Spins

Jazz, film, and improvised culture.

Monday, July 17, 2017

CCI-FF ’17: Maivaises Têtes (Bad Heads) (short)

Kipling would be proud of Jenny the barmaid. Let’s just say she is keeping her head while others lose theirs. Of course, she is the reason why, but you still have to give credit where its due. She will take (drastic) proactive steps for a little companionship in Rebekah Fieschi’s ultra-stylish short film homage to 1930s and 1940s black-and-white horror, Maivaises Têtes (Bad Heads) (trailer here), which screens during the 2017 Comic-Con Independent Film Festival.

Right from the start, Fieschi does it old school, with the ambiguously Euro host warning us we’d better leave now if we are not hearty enough to handle the terrors to come, because the management will not be responsible for our feeble constitutions. Surely, Bill Castle approves. Then we meet Jenny, a sensitive daydreamer, but with an aura of darkness about her. She has an active fantasy life, but she finally wants a man of her own, so she goes to a place where there are a bunch of men just lying around unused.

Maivaises Têtes looks amazing in every way, most definitely including Dominick Sivilli’s wonderfully eerie and nostalgic black-and-white cinematography, as well as the carefully crafted art direction and set design, down to the spot-on title treatment. When watching Fieschi’s film, Universal fans will almost expect to see the phrase “a good cast is worth repeating” pop up at the end.

The ensemble is indeed repeatable and also appropriately in the spirit. As Jenny, Alice Dessuant is disarmingly earnest yet wildly and conspicuously off. Diako Diakoff hits the right note of faux serious scenery chewing as the host, while also gamely going through the paces as one of Jenny’s fantasy men.

This is the kind of film that should be a blast for conventioneers to watch amid a like-minded audience at Comic-Con. It has already racked up numerous genre festival awards, so it really should open financing doors for a full feature from Fieschi. Highly recommended for classic horror fans, Maivaises Têtes (Bad Heads) screens this Thursday (7/20), as part of the Horror/Suspense short film block at the Comic-Con Independent Film Festival in San Diego.

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