A LIFE ON THE FARM
Somerset, England, and a mysterious VHS tape of a local farmer named Charles Carson. A LIFE ON THE FARM is a documentary feature that has had genre festivals buzzing since last year. Well, the chickens have come to roost, as they say, because the film finally arrives in theaters. You are not ready.
Carson’s tape provides viewers with so much unwanted information and detail. Most notably, a distasteful closeup of a bovine afterbirth and a dead cat. That is only the first taste of weirdness, as images get much darker the longer you watch. Carson’s nonchalant attitude toward everything on the farm feels jarring. His nervous laughter echoes throughout the film and viewers are disturbed. A LIFE ON THE FARM is one of the most bizarre home movies ever discovered. It feels wrong to watch, and yet you cannot look away!
Director Oscar Harding happened upon the tape as a child but had only had the pleasure of watching until his father hit stop on the VCR. It isn’t until the VHS reemerges in his adulthood that he feels compelled to dig deeper into the man beyond the vast amount of background provided by Charles along the way.
Carson’s neighbors and fans of the tape share their confusion, fascination, and shock at the tape’s contents, but I stopped in my tracks and took a step back when I realized the deeper meaning behind Charles’s actions. The films are part of his coping mechanism for loneliness, loss of purpose, grief, and, eventually, dementia. Friends honor Carson’s memory with understanding and respect for his complicated circumstances.
A new chapter to the mystery of Charles Carson occurred in 1996 when a new video appeared on YouTube. Harding and his peers are astounded by the short film’s artistry, story, and editing. Carson’s view of mortality is astonishing. A LIFE ON THE FARM is a creepy, enchanting, unusual, and extraordinary chronicling of a particular life.
** Theatrical tour at Alamo Drafthouse theaters throughout the US
starts April 13th (schedule below); both films available On Demand May 9th **
Fan Favorites from Fantastic Fest 2022, CHOP & STEELE, and A LIFE ON THE FARM will be screened as a double feature, with a theatrical rollout starting on April 13th at Alamo Drafthouse theaters throughout the country. The above special screenings will all precede live comedy shows with Found Footage Festival founders Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, as well as filmmaker Q&As for A LIFE ON THE FARM in select cities. This double feature will screen as part of the theater chain’s fan-favorite “Fantastic Fest Presents” series and will expand further with additional shows in the weeks following.