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raymac Written by raymac
Oct. 27, 2010 | 9:10 PM





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Carnival of Darkness 2



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Thursday, October 28th @ 7:00 PM


Carnival of Darkness 2


This October 28th, filmmaker Alex Bram proudly presents Carnival of Darkness 2, a showcase of the very best horror shorts from filmmakers across the world.


This 2nd annual gathering of horror enthusiasts and industry professionals is more than just a screening of films; it is an experience…


LIVE Panel Event

Paul Solet (writer/director “Grace”)
Jeffrey Reddick (creator “Final Destination”)
Alex Ferrari (director “Red Princess Blues”)
Trent Haaga (writer “Deadgirl”)


Enter a funhouse of mysterious events and surprises, freaks,  performers and artists.  The theater lobby will be set up like a twisted art gallery and horror related collectibles, graphic novels, DVD’s and T-Shirts will be available.


Doors Open 6:30 pm
Invocation by Tina Guo at 7:30 pm
Filmblock A at 8:00 pm
Panel 9:00 pm
Filmblock B 10:00 pm
Thrill Ride Award Presentation 11:30 pm


Los Angeles Film School
6363 Sunset Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90028


$10.00 General Admission
$6.00 Parking


For more information & to order tickets, visit the official site.


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raymac Written by raymac
Oct. 26, 2010 | 11:59 PM





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4th Street Zombie Walk III



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Get bloodied up and join the undead on Saturday, October 30 for 4th Street Zombie Walk III, presented by MondoCelluloid.com and sponsored by GLOBAL Long Beach Arts Month and 4th Street Long Beach! 


4th Street will be alive and kicking with zombie festivities all day - businesses from Junipero to Cherry are giving their monthly Last Saturdays event the Undead treatment with live performances, zombie-themed food and drinks, zombie make-up stations, and more! 


Then meet up with your fellow undead at 8pm at Portfolio Coffee House, 2300 E. 4th Street, Long Beach CA 90814.  At 8:30pm, we’re heading down 4th Street!  Slow zombies, fast zombies - all are welcome!


Finally, watch Edgar Wright’s 2004 classic SHAUN OF THE DEAD on a great 35mm print at the historic Art Theatre of Long Beach!  Screening is at 9:30pm, giving zombies plenty of time to march down 4th and sneak a few glasses of wine at Art du Vin, or some shots at The Pike!


Buy your advance tickets for SHAUN OF THE DEAD here!


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Jonathan Weichsel Written by Jonathan Weichsel
Oct. 6, 2010 | 6:40 PM





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Shriekfest 2010 Recap

By Jonathan Weichsel

The 10th annual Shriekfest horror film festival ran from October 1-3 at Raleigh Studios in Hollywood. Shriekfest, founded and directed by Denise Gossett, is one of the longest running horror film festival in North America. The festival features some of the most cutting edge films in the horror and sci-fi genres.
I watched all eleven feature length films that screened at the festival. What follows are my top four favorite films from the weekend.


Transfer:

It is not everyday one gets to watch a German sci-fi parable about African colonialism and slavery. Transfer, the one foreign language selection at Shriekfest, is such an interesting film, such a good film, and such a moral film, that it deserves to be seen by as many people as possible.
Transfer takes place in the near future when a start-up German company offers to transfer the consciousnesses of elderly, wealthy German citizens into the bodies of young, healthy Africans.
The film follows German couple Anna and Hermann, who decide to undergo the procedure after Anna learns that she only has three months left to live. 

The host bodies that the company chooses for Anna and Hermann are of two attractive young Africans, Apolain and Sarah. Both are from large, impoverished families, and volunteered for the procedure so that their families in Africa would get money needed to survive. Under the terms of the contract Apolain and Sarah receive four hours of life a day, which they get at night while Anna and Hermann are asleep.

At first, Anna and Hermann are just happy to be young again, and to enjoy sensual experiences that had been long forgotten. Apolain and Sarah are content to spend four hours a night on the large estate, which they are not allowed to leave, under a watchful guard, swimming, reading, and exploring the lush grounds.

But naturally, there are complications inherent in sharing bodies. Apolain and Sarah start to feel resentful that they had to sell their bodies and lives to white people in order to feed their families. Anna and Hermann start to feel guilty for having bought the lives and bodies of the less fortunate.
Physically it is also an uncomfortable arrangement. There is one scene in which Anna and Hermann get drunk, and Sarah and Apolain wake up with hangovers. When Sarah and Apolain start sleeping with one another, Hermann becomes incensed with jealousy. And when Anna/Sarah becomes pregnant, Hermann and Apolain both fret over who the father is.

Transfer is a great piece of hard science fiction which fully explores the sociological implications of its premise. It deals heavily with the humiliation and degradation of the oppressed, as well as the mixed feeling of guilt and need felt by the oppressor. Transfer should be seen by any fan of foreign language films, as well as fans of hard sci-fi. Transfer won the festival award for best sci-fi feature.


Fugue

Fugue is a beautifully shot psychological ghost story skillfully directed by Barbara Stepansky.

When Charlotte Vale (Abigail Mittel) and her boyfriend Howard James (Richard Gunn) move into a new house in the hills, at first it seems like everything is going perfectly. But the audience can see right away that there are cracks in their relationship. Howard is much older than Charlotte, and treats her more like a daughter than a girlfriend. Charlotte is absolutely charming, and makes every attempt to please Howard, but he reacts to her eccentricities and whims like a parent indulging a child.

Howard also restricts Charlotte’s movement, not allowing her to drive, and later on in the film when she starts going against his wishes, he even goes so far as to ground her.

Charlotte soon starts to see and hear strange things around the house and backyard. Her husband tells her that this is an effect of an accident she was in, but she believes the house is haunted and wants to hire a spiritual cleanser. Howard, a philosophy professor, does not believe in the supernatural, and forbids Charlotte from pursuing a metaphysical solution to her problems.

The visions gradually get more immediate and threatening, and a woman who Charlotte believes is the house’s previous owner starts attacking her, screaming, “This is my house!”

In the lexicon of horror, ghosts are metaphors for memories. Sometimes the ghost stands for a memory that won’t die, and other times, such as is the case with Fugue, the ghost represents a repressed memory trying to break free to the surface.

I won’t give away any of the film’s many plot twists here, but suffice to say that Howard is revealed to be much more than merely a dominating boyfriend, and each twist ups the already high emotional ante of the film.

Fugue is a classically well told ghost story which understands the psychological meanings and implications of ghosts. The use of color in the cinematography is amazing. Fugue was the most cinematically interesting film of the entire festival. Look for my full review of Fugue at www.fangirltastic.com sometime next week.


Kiss the Abyss:

In order for a monster movie to be successful, it needs to be psychological. Think back to the old Universal monster movies. These dealt much more with the emotional pain that a monster goes through than the physical pain of the monster’s victims. The same can be said about Kiss the Abyss. This is not to say that the film isn’t a bloody good time. It is. But it also has more going on below the surface than your typical monster movie.

Kiss the Abyss deals with relationships, both familial and romantic, and takes a hard look at how we feed off of each other. After Lesley (Nicole Moore) is accidentally murdered, her wealthy but arrogant father, comically obedient brother, and slightly rebellious boyfriend Mark (Scott Wilson) drive her out to a shack in the woods where a mysterious man named Gus (Douglas Bennett) is given a lot of money to inject her with a serum which revives her. The trio is given firm instructions never to return.

Mark brings Lesley home, and under instructions from her father, does not tell her what happened. Unfortunately, the treatment causes her to gradually transform into a flesh eating monster.

Kiss the Abyss starts with a slow build that gradually pulls you in by withholding information. The family drama is handled very well, and Douglas Bennett steals every scene he is in, giving a truly crazy performance.

Kiss the Abyss does an outstanding job handling its comedic elements. Like Fugue and Transfer, this is a film that really understands its genre, and is therefore able to fully explore its premise. If you are just looking for a really fun, really well made, intelligent monster movie, this is the one to look for.


Grey Skies:

Grey Skies is a typical cabin in the woods set up, with a cast of mostly middle aged people rather than college students. It is also a very well made film and had the best scares out of all the films at the festival. This is a film where the tension is allowed to gradually build until it becomes something truly intense. The “jump scares” are all effective, and there are moments of comic relief throughout which successfully cut through the tension, allowing it to build up once again.

Grey Skies is about a group of friends who rent a cabin in the woods for a weekend. An alien spaceship lands, and the group soon finds themselves hunted by aliens who want to use them for scientific experiments. The relationships and characters are all well developed. Grey Skies is an interesting piece of genre mixing, and won the audience award for best feature.


Brian Krause:

I would just like to make a special note of actor Brian Krause. Krause starred in two films that screened at the festival, Cyrus and Ashes, and is just a tremendously talented horror actor. He plays very different characters in each film, and in both films he is able to deliver performances that are nuanced but intense.

This is a guy who has horror acting in his blood. In Cyrus he plays the title character, a disturbed serial killer who tortures his victims with unimaginable cruelty. In Ashes he plays a healthy, arrogant doctor who gets infected with a disease and slowly devolves into a sickly, raving lunatic before turning into a zombie. Both performances are innovative, unique, and frightening, and both films are worth watching for no reason other than to see Krause in them, but if you are going to check out only one, I would recommend Ashes. The physical and mental deterioration of Krause’s character seems to happen right before your eyes, and when the character finally becomes a zombie, Krause does the impossible by giving us a zombie that is completely new and fresh. Ashes won the award for best horror feature.

There are a three attributes every great horror actor needs. First and foremost, he needs to be good with physicality. Characters in horror films often have unusual physical attributes, and usually go through harsh physical ordeals. Secondly, he needs to be able to mine the darkest regions of the human psyche, and thirdly, he needs to be able to do this in such a way that the audience can still understand and empathize with him. Krause excels in all three of these areas. Brian Krause is a horror actor you are going to be hearing a lot about over the next few years.


Conclusion:

Shriekfest was a fun weekend. Watching eleven features in three days can be a bit intense, but the experience is definitely worth it. If you want to check out my review of the 2009 festival, scroll to the last article on the page here: http://www.valleyscenemagazine.com/archives/oct162009/movies/


If you want to learn more about Shriekfest, or see a full list of winners, visit them on the web: http://www.shriekfest.com/


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