Quantcast The New York City Horror Film Festival Oct. 2005

I recently attended the NYC Horror Film Festival, now in it's forth year. Bottom line? Great vibe, great venue, great flicks! The Tribeca Film Center rocks (there's a BAR in the theater), the entire event was very well put together and all around fun. My only complaint was that the programs overlapped which made it impossible for me to see everything, unless I had a clone, which I don't...yet! But I digress, lets get right into, shall we?

MAINSTREAM / d: Adam Barnick

Here's one of the two festival entries that won a spot on FANGORIA'S BLOOD DRIVE 2. Glimpses of HELLRAISER, JACOB'S LADDER and Takashi Miike-esque imagery thrown into a TOOL video without the music and high on the cringey meter make this a slick, nasty little piece of celluloid. People were still talking about this one two days into the festival. A must-see, superior short film.



I'll admit, I never even heard of the King story before watching this one. I enjoyed it regardless. Creepy like a Twilight Zone episode, the ones from the Eighties/Nineties. From what I understand, the director stuck really close to the source material, which might explain why I felt the ending was a little flat. I may not be the biggest Stephen King fan, but I certainly appreciate this one and the audience really seemed to like it as well. Good stuff!



You know what? I really liked it! It wasn't bad...actually, it was pretty good. Meaning, "No, this was not his next TCM... but it was much better than TOOLBOX MURDERS." Now I didn't hate TOOLBOX , but this was much more fun. The writing was tight and original (although there are nods to everything post-CHAINSAW Hooper, from FUNHOUSE to POLTERGEIST). The humor was intentional and pretty effin funny. Alot of it came from the characters themselves and the entire cast really worked it well. A widowed mom drags her two kids to a run-down mortuary in an attempt to make a better life for her fractured family. This is kind of ironic because A) the neighborhood is pretty bad, B) the front yard is a cemetery, C) it's next to some kind of junkyard and busy interstate, and D) its a freakin mortuary! Besides the place being just plain grody, there is an even grodier black mold growing everywhere that feeds on blood! If that wasn't charming enough, there is a weird mongoloid something living under the cemetery in the front yard. His name is Bobby and he likes red licorice! That black crap infects people and corpses, who in turn vomit up more black mold to infect even more people. Oh, and there is a Lovecraftian Sarlaac Pit thrown in there for good measure as well. Between TOOLBOX MURDERS and MORTUARY, it seems like Hoopers got a good thing going. The reality of his situation is, TCM and POLTERGEIST (cough) were his Citizen Kane and Easy Rider. It's obviously been tough for him to recapture that lightning he had once upon a time. But these last two films of his, they feel like he's heading in a different direction, kind of a "Tobe Hooper Version 2.0". He's working with some talented new blood and I think if he keeps swinging, maybe one of his next films could be the home run. Definitely check this one out when you can.


FOR RENT / d:James L. Frachon

A tight little french movie about a holiday rental infested with weird killer tarantulas. Very Sam Raimi early Peter Jackson, this one. Good laughs, good scares, good fun! Viva la France!


I.O.U. / d:Kevin Shulman

This is a short that desperately needs the feature length treatment. Broken hearted nice guy widowed doctor (Tony Todd) chats online with a wonderful woman and they finally agree to meet. He waits for her and as time passes and he's starting to feel like a fool when she stands him up. To add insult to injury, he gets hit on by a transvestite. It turns out things are not as they seem, and bad things happen to nice people. It's a really great payoff that left me wanting more. Really good performance by Tony Todd and the cool, Vangelis-esque score raised the production value alone. If done correctly, this could be the "DRESSED TO KILL" or "FATAL ATTRACTION" of our generation. Great work.



I told Mike Gingold, the writer of SHADOW: DEAD RIOT that I loved this movie the way I love DOLEMITE. He said he wasn't sure how to respond to that. I think most people felt the same way! See, the movie starts out all serious, but you are kind of worried that they are gonna take themselves too seriously. Just when you start to think, "Ok, this movie sucks."... BLAM! Women's prison! Titties! Tattoo's! Showers! Cat fights! Tattoo's on titties in the showers of a women's prison cat fight! Fuck yeah bros! Think THE STORY OF RICKY with CANDYMAN minus the hook plus zombies in a female correctional institution. There is like every possible plot device/story element you could cram into a 92 minute movie. Very cool grindhouse vibe with modern production values. Sweet score work by rock legend Vernon Reid of the band Living Color. The fight scenes were fucking great and the lead actress who played "Solitaire" was kick fucking ass. That's the best way to describe SHADOW: DEAD RIOT, with enthusiastic expletives! Fuck yeah see this fucking ridiculous kick ass movie fuckers!


MASTERS OF HORROR "Incident On And Off A Mountain Road" / d: Don Coscarelli

Loved it. Awesome. I'm sure most of you have already caught this on Showtime. If you don't have Showtime, there is this new amazing thing called the internet. In fact, you're on it right now! You'd be surprised at the things you can find online...

I'm convinced Don Coscarelli has yet to create his best work. Yes, PHANTASM is going to be around forever, and BUBBA HO-TEP is everyone's new favorite Bruce Campbell movie, but I feel like the man hasn't fully realized his potential. He's not like the Carpenters, Cravens and Hoopers who blew their wads early in their careers. Coscarelli keeps getting better with age, like fine wine or Twinkies. Someone please just give this guy a pile of money and let him go crazy with his awesome self. One thing I must point out besides all the obvious good stuff is actor Ethan Embry. He was fantastic and definitely one to keep an eye on. Great work Ethan!


HORROR BUSINESS / d: Christopher Garetano

We've already covered this one but it's worth mentioning again. Chris Garetano's documentary about struggling genre filmmakers is a funny, eye-opening, and I daresay moving experience. Making movies is hard as it is, and when you are doing it by yourself with no money, sometimes without even the most basic tools, it can be downright gut-wrenching. This movie shows the pure passion of these filmmakers in the face of any and all obstacles. Brilliant.


WE ALL FALL DOWN / d: Jake Kennedy

Another Blood Drive Vol.2 winner! Simple story, brilliantly executed. Obviously influenced by Asian horror, this one actually gets it right. A group of dickwad teenagers pick on and accidentally kill a small child. Years later when they have to move the body from where they hid it, guess what happens? Revenge most satisfying! This is a good sign as far as where new filmmakers are going to be taking the genre. Rock!


THREE EXTREMES / d: Takashi Miike, Fruit Chan, Chanwook Park

Awesome, awesome and more awesome! Three amazingly innovative and exciting genre directors from different parts of Asia make this a gorgeous, repulsive, unsettling collection of short masterpieces. I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite, as they all have different tones and offer something unique. I have to say I really freaked over Fruit Chan's "Dumplings" because it was...well, fucking gross! I'm sure it's coming out here soon, or if you cant wait check your local dvd importer. See it, see it, see it!


AUNT ROSE / d: James Tucker

I saw this one when it was called "No One Gets Out", and quite frankly that's a much better title than "Aunt Rose". Another brilliant decision made by people who dont make movies. Anyway, I really liked this one. It had a tight story and good cinematography for an indie, but what made it really standout were the characters and performances. All talented actors, simple as that. Writer/Actor Joshua Nelson is one of those guys who has movie making in his blood, and you can tell from his performance. This may be totally cliche but no joke, it's completely appropriate...the guy is like a young DeNiro. And I don't mean "he looks like a young DeNiro" or even emulates him, it's that he has the same cold fire in his eyes as Bobby does. AUNT ROSE has a very cool 70's exploitation vibe that you are starting to see more and more of these days. The fact that this movie was being made before this whole "retro" appreciation in films like HIGH TENSION and THE DEVILS REJECTS, once again proves that the indie scene is the proverbial crystal ball for the big studios. This movie satisfies. Check it out.


All in all, a fantastic event I was happy to cover. Honestly, I wish I could have seen more. Perfect marks for everyone involved! I know where I'll be next October, so do yourself a big favor and do not miss the next NYC HORROR FILM FESTIVAL!

A big Thank You to festival coordinator Micheal Hein! Great job dude! -Jsyn.

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