Today we got our first report in from Spooky Dan, who’s been attending this year’s kick ass Screamfest LA! Inside you’ll find his thoughts on a handful of shorts, and you can check out review for other films that will continue playing through this Sunday, don’t miss out! In addition, it was announced today that Screamfest LA will be hosting a FREE screening of Feast Saturday, Oct. 22nd at 9:30PM! Read on for the skinny…
Be there or die… regretting it
By: Spooky Dan
Hey Ghouls, this year Screamfest Los Angeles has been a festival like no other in recent memory. Ghosts are everywhere this week at Universal City walk in Hollywood, California. The whole event kicked off with a sold out party last Friday night where the place was jam-packed with filmmakers, fans, bloodied up girls, and gobs of blue Tarantula margaritas. Then on Saturday the short film selections of the festival screened. I was there to look at some of them and let me tell you that there are some very inventive and kick ass filmmakers coming out of this year’s line-up! Its only halfway through the festival with a bunch more movies to be seen. Get some tickets here and get your asses down there, and prepare to have a bloody good time!!
Rachel Belofsky and Rudy Scalese are the two people running the show and they have done a great job hosting and getting this whole amazing group of films out for us to see!! Rachel has worked tirelessly on making this festival be a very important one to be seen at. I can honestly say that there is an electric buzz in the air at every screening I have been to… Unlike many horror festivals, the theaters are PACKED, and people are running around talking, meeting new contacts, and hanging out afterwards. This is a really fun show to be at, and the best part is that it’s all week long! You get to go out every night and meet new people, see kick ass films, and drink for free!!! Hats off to you the Rachel and Rudy for doing a fantastic job at pulling this off, and making a horror event that will be remembered for a long time to come.
Now lets not forget to mention that we are here to see some movies, meet new filmmakers, and get the word out about what is good and what sucks! So here is a quick rundown of the films that have been really enjoyable, and a couple that didn’t quite hold up
Delirium and the Dollman
Written and directed by Andrew Lobel from NYU is Delirium and the Dollman. A twisted and creepy tale of loss and pain as seen through the eyes of a little girl, who escapes from her own unhappy reality by crawling though a small vent under her bed and ending up in a very surreal and creepy prison like world with imaginative characters, and very creepy rooms. The thing most unsettling, was that the film looked like a kids version of a horror movie, but hidden in this film are some really ****ed up hints at molestation, while the hints are settle, I sure was creepy. The other notable thing is that its told through the eyes of the little girl, so you never quite know if the weird sex and bondage scenes are literal, or a child’s version of what adulthood will be like. That being said it’s a very sexy movie. Now who is creeped out?
Brad McClaughlins film is a strange one, it’s a kids film but its got some genuinely scary moments. Here is a story of a boy who meets a furry “Grinch” like monster that is, in truth a very scary monster. The thing that ruled about this movie is that it was a simple story, that didn’t waste any time padding the film out. This is a film that I would have loved to see, as a kid! McClaughlin seems to be a master at knowing how to make a truly scary kids film, and not sacrificing the integrity of the adults watching. Mark my words… we will be seeing very big things from this director! I want a DVD to show to my friends!
Susan Bell has a look and style that reminds me of an early Argento. This one looked great but suffered from some confusing moments. While it felt like a student film, it still was a fairly enjoyable short film. I just hope that on the next one there is a little more care taken in getting the shots to make a more coherent story. A clever Twilight Zone type story, that shows some promise, but ultimately was a bit overlong.
Directed by Danica McKellar, aka actress Winnie of The Wonder Years. Here is a good example of a film that, if I saw outside of the context of a horror festival I might have liked better. In that I mean, if I saw this on TV I would have been pleasantly surprised but here it seemed like something you would see on The Hallmark Channel. The film is really a showcase of the actress Timilee Romolini, and a good one at that, about a woman with a broken heart, who does some crazy things to mend it. Some nice FX work helped make this film enjoyable
Short film from Spain
This one looked expensive, and that is a good thing when you are watching a bunch of short films with a variety of budgets. The cool style helps drive this witty story about a fat dude who decides to enlist the help of a voodoo witch doctor to get revenge on his unfaithful wife. Think back to those great of Tales from the Crypt Comics and you have the feel of this really fun. I hope this one gets some distribution in the US because it’s a well told and must be seen film. Nice work!
Bryan Norton weaves together a cool film that I felt was the best of the bunch. Well acted, well paced and a great ending. Penny Dreadful centers on a new couple that have inherited a NYC zillion dollar apartment that has some strange secrets. After moving in the super hot wife starts to see things, and slowly goes more and more mad. If all short films were made this good we would have endless shows and outlets to see them. The real treat of this film isn’t the fact that it rules and is well crafted, it the appearance of Betsy Palmer, the original mother of Jason Voorhees from Friday The 13th (part 1). She steals the movie away from a young and beautiful cast with her wit and charm as a crazy old medium brought into the house to help with the spirits. Lets get her in some more features because it was great to see this familiar face after such along time away. Bottom line, this film is GREAT!
Ok so I am admittedly a sucker for scary films that have religious overtones. Like The Exorcist, and even Emily Rose, so when I found out about Robert Sextons film Legion I was very excited to hear see it, and I was NOT disappointed. The opening scene with this ****ing crazy screaming voodoo lady trying to take a demon out of this young girl was first-rate! Talk about over the top performance; the actress (whom I don’t know her name) kicks some severe ass!! Then the film, which at 23 minutes is a fairly lengthy “short”, flew by in time. A cool ending made this one a really entertaining time. The one other thing I need to mention is that it is cut in such a way that it gets very disorienting at times, in many ways like watching a music video, but in a really kick ass way. This film drips and oozes with bloody brilliance!
Another great film, that takes you by surprise and doesn’t let go. A fairy tale like story told in a surreal and visually stunning manner. Loads of cleavage is always appreciated in my book! And mixed into this little tale is a story twist that I have never seen in a film before. Taking a simple digital technique and running with its possibilities, not only in a visual matter but also in the storytelling. Fun and charming. And man that chick with the tits is scary!
Short Comedy Film
Because the shows were running late I almost missed this one, but luckily I got to squeeze it in before I left on Saturday. It’s a smart script about three dudes stuck in a car surrounded by zombies. A very simple premise that pays off well and has a loads of zombie goodness. (*Spoiler alert*) The charred ****-eating scene was hilarious in more ways than one! This should be a music video for some cool band, told through subtitles. It would really make a great music video. And very funny!
OK that’s all for today, I will have more reviews and Screamfest reports tomorrow; including a couple reviews for Boo, Death Tunnel, and Wolf Creek (dude’s I am excited to see that one!!!)
Spookydan is off to the movies… see you there
visit Spookshow.com for Dan’s radio show
Discover the New Blood of Horror and honor the Masters from October 14 -23rd, 2005 at Loews Universal Studios Cinemas, Universal CityWalk as this year’s Screamfest LA paints the town red. Today most of this year’s film line-up has been released- and it looks fantastic! Read on and see what you’ll be watching for the first time here in the States…
Order your tickets now or I’m gonna kick your ass!
Cruel World Kelsey T. Howard’s slasher film in a reality TV-show setting, starring Edward (TERMINATOR 2) Furlong, Jaime Pressly, Susan (THE IN CROWD) Ward and Andrew (TEENAGE CAVEMAN) Keegan.
Nine contestants are excited about the prospect of winning a million dollars on the hottest new reality show. At first it looks like it is going to be a blast, but things get dark very quickly. The contestants soon learn that a scorned reality TV show runner up has trapped them, and getting voted off will cost them their lives.
A deceased woman is brought back to life in a grotesque world, alive and unnatural. All hopes and dreams of a new life are erased, as she is absorbed into this nightmare of STASIS.
Asia’s cross-cultural trilogy , which features horrific segments helmed by masterful moviemakers Fruit Chan, Park Chan-wook and Takashi Miike.
Jeremy’s Wake Up Call
A young student realizes skipping school is a bad idea when he and his friends are murdered with a writing utensil.
A high school girl moves from Seoul to a remote village. She leads a terrible life at her new school because of constant harassment and bullying by classmates. In a desperate bid to escape the traumatizing experience and get back at the school bullies, she chants “Bunshinsaba,” an incantation that is supposed to facilitate communication with a spirit. Over the next couple of days, her tormentors mysteriously begin to die. Due to the mysterious deaths, the entire village is gripped by horror and hysteria. But the elders of the village are hiding a dirty secret.
Two young outlaw drug addicts steal a van-load of chemicals used to “cook” crystal-meth . On the run, the couple breaks into a rural farmhouse intent on cooking a batch of grade-A speed . But, strange and terrifying things start to happen at the house and they don’t know if they’re hallucinating from all the speed or if it’s real…
Some hospitals don’t have a 13th floor. Santa Mira Hospital shouldn’t have had a third. It’s something a group of five college students discover when they enter an abandoned hospital on Halloween night only to discover that rumors about the place being haunted are very real. Running into other people who are trapped in the hospital, they uncover the truth about a vengeful spirit who is hell bent on making sure no one, except himself, gets out alive.
An upscale college initiation strands five girls in Waverly Hills Sanatorium, one of the scariest places on earth. Within five floors of this diseased hospital, haunted by five ghosts of it’s tortured past, the girls, one by one become infected of its tragic history. A 500-foot underground body chute, built to remove the dead bodies of its patients reveals the real terror as the only way out is through the Death Tunnel.
A journey that takes one man into the bowels of black magic in Mexico City.
The film, made for less than $2 million, centers on a group of backpackers who have a run in with a loopy stranger, played by John Jarratt.
A young man named Marvin moves into a unit of an old apartment building. Except for the occasional noise from an apartment down the hall, the place is almost perfect. The noise turns out to be an abusive husband who frequently beats his wife in front of their young daughter. Marvin musters up enough courage to find out more about the quarrelling couple, but he uncovers a secret that sets into motion a series of hauntings that follow Marvin and his girlfriend around. Marvin and his girlfriend must now confront the evil in the apartment building, or be forever haunted by its secret.
Art of the Devil
A mysterious and weird murder of a millionaire’s entire family grips the attention of the general public. Not a clue is uncovered; not a person can be figured as the killer. The mysterious and gruesome killings baffle everyone. A crime reporter goes to investigate the murders. His probe leads to a beautiful and delicate lady. How can he convince the others that she is the master of the occult, someone who is skilled in The Art of the Devil!
George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead (review #1, #2)
The world has been overrun by zombies and some remaining survivors have barricaded themselves inside a walled city to keep out the living dead. As the wealthy hide out in skyscrapers and chaos rules the streets, the rest of the survivors must find a way to stop the evolving zombies from breaking into the city.
Q & A to follow with FX creator Greg Nicotero
A multi-national forestry company engages in genetic experimentation to increase logging yield in a remote section of forest. But the experimentation goes disastrously wrong, transforming a disparate group of loggers and environmental activists into the “infected” — ravenous, zombie-like creatures who prey upon the few terrified survivors while they attempt to understand and control the disaster.
When a lonely highway is inexplicably closed, five students sharing a ride to a party in the desert find themselves trapped at a recently deserted travel oasis. Refusing to let the new circumstances interfere with their fun, they settle in only to be interrupted by odd, haunting visions of severely mutilated travelers. They are soon preyed upon by a decaying creature and as the body count rises, the bizarre mystery deepens.
Travelers who take a wrong turn wind up becoming the planned main course for the hungry residents of Pleasant Valley . Join us afterwards for a Q&A with the director Tim Sullivan and the cast
A young writer moves into an old apartment complex because of a writing block. While searching for the right story for his new novel, he comes upon the remains of the previous tenant and suddenly the apartment seems to develop an uncanny life of its own. He digs deeper and uncovers the path of a well kept secret which robs him of his sleep and almost drives him towards insanity.
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
In Holstenwall , Germany , it is time once again for the town’s annual fair. It is a beautiful day and two friends decide to enjoy the festivities. They attend the hypnotist Dr. Caligari’s sensational exhibition – a clairvoyant sleepwalker who can tell the future. But when one of the friends asks to have his fortune told, the prophecy is too terrifying to imagine! Death comes to Holstenwall, and the only way to stop it is by discovering the secret of the Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Friday the 13th
Relive the original terror and suspense in this classic 24-hour nightmare of blood. Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for over 20 years due to some vicious and unsolved murders. The camp’s new owner and several young counselors are readying the camp for re-opening despite warnings of a “death curse” by local residents. The curse proves true on Friday the 13 th as one by one each of the counselors is stalked by a violent killer. Q & A to follow with director Sean S. Cunningham & cast & book launching & signing party with Peter Bracke, author of Crystal Lake Memories
For complete ScreamFest ticket info, call (310) 358-3273 or visit Screamfest LA