2023 Calgary Underground Film Festival: Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls (2023)

You may have seen Andrew Bowser play Onyx before in viral videos. As Onyx the Fortuitous, he’s also been listed as “Weird Satanic Guy” and his distinct speech pattern will definitely stick with you.

Now, Onyx is part of his own film, Onyx the Fortuitous and the Talisman of Souls, directed, written and edited by Bowser. Yet Onyx does not live the dream life. He makes burgers for a living at Marty’s Meat Hut and gets abused at every turn. He’s barely tolerated by his parents (Barbara Crampton is his mom!). Yet he has one thing that he loves. Or a person, really. Bartok the Great (Jeffrey Combs) is an occultist who has created several learn-at-home programs — Letting a Little Devil In — that Onyx has studied in his pursuit of Satanism and now, he has a chance to be the magician’s assistant as he raises a demon from Hell. He’s one of the many followers lured into this ritual by Bartok’s assistant Farrah (Olivia Taylor Dudley, Paranormal Acivity: The Ghost Dimension), along with Bartok’s wife in a past life Jesminder (Melanie Chandra), magical scholar Mr. Duke (TC Carson, the voice of Mace Windu and Kratos in God of War), the tough, understanding and non-binary Mack (Rivkah Reyes, who was once Katie in School of Rock) and the prim and proper former church lady Marsha (Donna Pieroni).

However, Bartok has no interest in teaching any of these would-be dark lords. Instead, he is stealing their souls and transforming them into zombies, all to increase his power. However, the Fortuitous One is among them and it just might be Onyx.

Your enjoyment will be determined by how much you like the strange-voiced, virginal cartoon-loving loser at the heart of it. I thought Onyx was relatively funny and I didn’t have any issues, but some reviewers seem to in no way be able to get past him. But when a movie has gigantic puppet demons and an entire sequence that’s taken from the Meat Loaf video for “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” I think that feels like people who have no idea how to have fun.

I mean, more movies should have demon puppets in them. That’s a sword that I will definitely fall on.

I saw this as part of the Calgary Underground Film Festival, which for twenty years has been dedicated to elevating Calgary’s cultural landscape with the best in international independent cinema. Recently, CUFF was named one of the Best Horror Festivals in the World, 2022 by Dread Central, and one of the World’s 50 Best Genre Festivals and one of 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee in 2021 by MovieMaker Magazine. CUFF continues to attract audiences with its programming of films that engage audiences and defy convention.

It’s running from now until April 30 and you can see the entire schedule here.

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