- Debbie Rochon to be honored with Ingrid Pitt Award,
January 10, 2013
- My Top Indie Horror Films of 2012
January 3, 2013
- The Etheria Film Festival Presents: Mayans and Marvins
December 31, 2012
- Meet the cast and crew of THE COLLECTION this Saturday at the Long Beach Comic & Horror Convention
November 1, 2012
THE HORROR OF OUR LOVE is a funny, imaginative love letter to our favorite slasher films. Director Dave Reda strikes the right balance between horror and humor. This short treat deserves to be seen by a wider audience and you can help out by watching the film and sharing it with your friends.
Let’s start this review with a story. Back when I first came to Hollywood, I was sitting at a coffee shop working on one of my screenplays. There was a woman sitting across from me, also working on a screenplay. She sighed and buried her head in her hands. “Tough scene,” I joked.
She looked up with a pained look and smiled. I asked her what she was working on. “I’m writing a romantic comedy.”
I asked her what some of her favorite romantic comedies were. “I hate romantic comedies.” I asked her why she was writing a romantic comedy if she hates them. “Because I am a woman, and that’s what they expect women to write in Hollywood.” I asked her what kind of movies she likes. “Horror.”
If I knew then what I know now I would have told her about Heidi, and about the Viscera film festival, and this huge movement of women horror filmmakers sprouting from the ground up in Hollywood. But I was new then, and didn’t know anything. The transaction, however, struck me at the time as very sad.
The Viscera Film festival is the longest running and best festival celebrating women filmmakers in the horror genre. The 2010 festival was like, nine hours long and seemed to be making the point that there are so many talented women horror filmmakers in Hollywood and around the world. The 2011 festival was much leaner, clocking in at three hours, and made a point of reinforcing how amazing their films are.
The festival started with trailers for feature horror films directed by women. The trailers all did their job, which is making me want to see the films, but the standouts were American Mary, The Blood Shop, and L.A.G.P.
American Mary is The Soska Sister’s first feature since Dead Hooker in a Trunk, which is one of my favorite films of the last couple of years. From the trailer, the film seems to have something to do with plastic surgery, looks like it has a more serious tone than Dead Hooker, and looks really, really creepy.
The Blood Shop, written and directed by Annette Slomka, is a Grindhouse film in the style of Robert Rodriguez. The film is about a body shop where grizzly murders take place, but has roots in the filmmaker’s childhood. Her dad owns a shop in Detroit, and when he was welding it would always scare her as a child. Slomka got the idea for the film when she was home for Christmas.
L.A.G.P., which stands for Los Angeles Ghost Patrol, is a horror film in the style of Paranormal Activity about a reality TV shoot gone wrong. Before I even saw the trailer I spoke with Director Susan Bell and asked her why I should watch L.A.G.P. She replied without a beat, “Because it will scare the shit out of you.” Based on what I saw in the trailer, I agree.
As awesome as the trailers were, the short films were really the meat of the festival. My favorite short was 12-15-96, which also won the award for best film.
12-15-96 is a drama about two serial killers who are best friends. They are driving through the desert together, and we can see that their friendship is starting to unravel. By the end of the film, their friendship is over for good. The film features drama in the style of Quentin Tarentino, in that it is a lengthy scene that slowly builds to a crescendo, and has clever dialogue that only tells you half of what is really going on, so I wasn’t surprised to learn when I spoke with writer-director Mae Catt that Tarentino was a huge influence on the project.
For Catt, the horror of the film comes from the characters. During a chat about the film she said, “Their normalcy is horrific to us but it’s still their norm.” I asked Catt what some of her favorite films are. “Evil Dead, Re-Animator, and From Dusk Till Dawn.” Catt made the film because she always wanted to know what the second half of From Dusk Till Dawn should have been like, before the characters walked into a zombie film. So, she came up with the idea for a film about serial killers who were all friends. Catt hopes to turn 12-15-96 into a feature. I can’t wait to watch it.
A Fever and a River is an experimental short made for $25 dollars by Rachael Deacon. The film is full of symbolism and violence straight out of Un Cien Andalou or the Cremaster Cycle. I’m not saying A Fever and a River is as masterful as either of these works, but it is a first film, and its heart is in the right place, and its images come from the right place. Like all the best films in the festival, it made me want to watch more.
Aftershock is a short, scary zombie movie about a woman trapped in her house during a zombie invasion, deciding whether to commit suicide or fight. Director Lori Bowen explained that the reason you don’t see the zombies in the film is because zombie movies are about humanity, or the lack thereof.
Doll Parts is an awesome film about a serial killer who picks up female hitchhikers to rape and kill them. He picks up a seemingly innocent girl, and starts attacking her, but she transforms into a killer doll. I asked Filmmaker Karen Lam what inspires her to make horror films. She replied, “Women aren’t as nice as they seem. Looks are deceptive. I make movies to get women to embrace their inner demons.”
Blood Bunny, a faux-trailer made by animator Molly Madfis, is an animated parody of slasher films where the killer is a bunny. The film was funny, and I wasn’t surprised to find out that Molly had a great sense of humor. When I met her I said, “You must have a lot of knowledge about slasher movies to make an homage/parody of them. What are your some of your favorites?” She replied, “Friday the 13th Part 4, Friday the 13th part 7, and Black Christmas. Actually, cross out Black Christmas. Friday the 13th Part 4 and Friday the 13th Part 7 is funnier.”
Box, directed by Nikki Wall and starring festival director Heidi Honeycutt, is a very graphic film about a woman who gives herself an abortion so she can sacrifice the fetus (or something like that). Nikki’s husband Matt is a prolific director, and I hope Nikki keeps on making films like this.
Lump is a medical thriller directed by Faye Jackson, about a woman who keeps on getting lumps in her breast that need to be removed. It ends with an unbelievable twist that I really shouldn’t give away. Well, whatever. The surgeon is removing the lump and then putting it back in over and over again, so she keeps on having to get the same one removed.
The Many Doors of Albert Whale, by Marichelle Daywalt, is about a man who puts a spell of holding on a demon. The spell can only be broken if two doors are open at once, so he is very careful to shut each door immediately after opening it. The demon is played by the always awesome and amazing Tara Cardinal.
The festival ended with Daddy’s Girl, a very charming coming of age tale about a young girl who kills her father, grinds him up, and serves him to her family at a family reunion. Really, the film was very charming and sweet.
As you can tell, I had a great time at the Viscera film festival. As one audience member pointed out at the Q&A, the films were all more professionally made than the films screened at many larger festivals. They were all fresh, original, and exciting. They were also edgy, thought provoking, and unique. And, they were all a lot of fun.
Let’s make a distinction for a minute between mainstream horror and underground horror. Mainstream horror tends to be bland and generic. Some really smart director will make a really great and unique film, the film will go on to become a hit, and then for the next ten years every single theatrically released horror film will totally rip it off and steal it’s plot, while removing any context, theme, or meaning from the story.
Underground horror films are made by true horror fans, and aren’t afraid to be too smart for a mainstream audience. They are also made for true horror fans, fans who appreciate the horror genre, and know that a horror film can contain character development and subtext, and who actually expect to see these things in the films they watch.
The Viscera film festival is a celebration of women in horror. It is also the best underground horror festival out there.
Forget Carmageddon! Don’t let a little traffic frighten you away from this excellent festival of cutting edge horror by women film makers. With an amazing line up of films and special guests plus an afterparty, you would have to be psycho to miss one of the best festival events of the year.
You can get tickets in advance by going to http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/154825
...Advance tickets - $15.00
Door Price - $20.00
During the festival you will be witnessing some of the most creative and original new short horror films made by women today. Some are terrifying, some are pulse pounding, and some are hilarious. All showcase what can be accomplished when women work together. Okay, when twisted, cool horror chicks work together.
3:45 PM - Bloody Carpet and mingling with special guests, filmmakers on back patio of theater.
5:00 PM - Festival begins! Sit in your seats!
8:00 PM - After Party on the back patio.
10:00 pm - After, After Party at the Rosewood Tavern
2011 SCHEDULE LINK
Denise Gossett, Brea Grant, Jonathan Tiersten, Elizabeth Stanley, Amanda Diebert, Cat Staggs, Joe Lynch, Mark Hengst, Dave Decoteau, Brinke Stevens, Chris Gore, Anthony Masi, Paul Solet, Jamie Andrews, Michelle Boyd, Peter Cornwell, Michelle Tomlinson, Dai Green, Devanny Pinn, Danielle Harris, Susanna Lo, Gabby West, Reggie Bannister, Gigi Bannister, Hart D. Fisher, Bill Moseley, John Skipp, Emma Jacobs, Tara Cardinal, Elissa Dowling, Jeff Dylan Graham, Rhianne Bergado, Natalie Pohorski, Bill Oberst, Matt Chassin, Rachel Grubb, Kevin Tenney, Paula Rhodes, Stephanie Thorpe, Nicholas Harsin, Devi Snively and Chela Johnson
Annette Slomka, Nikki Wall, Lori Bowen, Karen Lam, Staci Layne Wilson, Marichelle Daywalt, Mae Catt, Tyrrell Shaffner, Molly Madfis, Susan Bell and Rachael Deacon
But what is everyone turning out to see? Why are we so excited? Look below for the list of films to be screened. These are the reason for our jubilation. If you join us, you can celebrate the following right along with us:
American Mary by the Soska Sisters - WORLD PREMIERE
Adventure Girls by Dara Moats and Jon Deitcher
Blood on the Flat Track by Lainy Bagwelll, Lacey Leavitt
The Blood Shop by Annette Slomka- WORLD PREMIERE
WIH Month PSA by the Soska Sisters
You Can Execute Her but You Can’t Kill Her by Jasmine Hirst
L.A.G.P. by Susan Bell - WORLD PREMIERE
2-15-1996 - Mae Catt (USA) - WORLD PREMIERE
Aftershock - Lori Bowen (USA)
Bon Appetit - Kate Shenton (U.K.) - US PREMIERE
Doll Parts - Karen Lam (Canada)
Blood Bunny - Molly Madfis (USA)
A Fever and a River - Rachael Deacon (USA) - LA PREMIERE
Short Lease - Jennifer Eiss (U.K.)
Box - Nikki Wall (USA) - WORLD PREMIERE
The Ghost and Us - Emily Carmichael (USA)
Intermission - 15 Minutes
The Party’s Over - Gigi Romero (Spain) - US PREMIERE
Lump - Faye Jackson (U.K.)
Threnody - Tyrrell Shaffner (USA)
Nursery Crimes - Laura Whyte (U.K.)
The Key to Annabel Lee - Staci Layne Wilson (USA)
The Many Doors of Albert Whale - Marichelle Daywalt (USA)
Daddy’s Girl - Helen Komini Olsen (Norway)
*Mature Content. Parental Discretion Advised
Filmmakers Karen Lam, Mae Catt, Rachael Deacon, Nikki Wall, Lori Bowen, Molly Madfis, Staci Layne Wilson, Marichelle Daywalt, and Tyrrel Shaffner onstage to answer your questions!
Winners of Best Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography announced!
See what I mean? This is some exciting stuff! But don’t grab your hat yet. The fun and festivities don’t end there. Immediately following the festival will be the After Party on the back patio until 10PM! Drinks, food, and fun with filmmakers, guests, and more!
And for those who just can’t stop the party, you can join us for the After, After Party.
448 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, Ca 90036
VISCERA FILM FESTIVAL SPONSORS!
Of course this gruesome good time wouldn’t be so swank if it wasn’t for the generosity of our incredible sponsors! See who made the cool list then keep checking back at the website for updates.
Fearnet.com, Final Draft, Gorilla Software, Fangoria Entertainment, Fangirltastic, The Chainsaw Mafia, 33 Rooms, Women in Horror Month, Malibu Wines, Farmer’s Daughter Hotel, Matt Orsman, Crimson Stained Lace Productions, Kimyoo Films, The Horror Digest, DOA Bloodbath Entertainment, Rotten Cotton, Hot Zombie Chicks, There is No Halo, Annie M. Vickar Dolls & Skellery, Angel City Derby Girls, Zerner Law, Jessica Grundy, Morgue Art Films, Friendly Misanthrope, 1428 Films, Dan Dillard, Mike Merryman, Caisson Films, Hannah Foreman, Nick Goodrick, Assorted Oddities, Jen Morgart, Scary Art, The Big Bad, Lia Scott Price, Amityville Studios, Quirk Films, Philly Chick Pictures, Laughing Vixen Lounge, Brent Schoonover, Irene Langholm, Shannon Rose, Mark Berryman, Cassandra Sechler, Mike Snoonian, Mary Katherine Sisco, Simon Nisbet, Post-Mortem Depression, Susan Bell, Jeffrey Kane, Dreams for Dead Cats, Charon Pictures, Fable & Fury, Entertainment Partners.com, Emy’s Gift Shop, The Womanimal, FoamyWader, Neverland Jewelry, Red Carpet Crash, Kaci Hansen, Fright Rags, Drix Productions, Rude and Reckless, Gabrielle Faust, The Big Bad, The Zombified, Alternative Cinema, Obscure Artifacts, Have a Heart for Horror Cookbook, Terrorscribe and Cryes Creations.
National Horror Festival of Wales
Mile High Horror Festival
The International Horror & Sci-Fi Festival
Jaipur International Film Festival
A NightMare to Remember Film Festival
For further information regarding the festival and everything we are about, please visit http://viscerafilmfestival.com/
If all of that doesn’t get your blood pumping, then I’m afraid you might be a zombie. But don’t worry, we have room for boys AND ghouls at our celebration.
INSIDIOUS TO ARRIVE ON BLU-RAY(tm)/DVD ON JULY 12th
WHO: Insidious Director James Wan and Screenwriter Leigh Whannell
WHAT: Fangoria will host a FREE screening of Insidious for fans directly followed by a Q&A with Wan and Whannell that will be streamed live for fans nationwide. Fans are encouraged to send in questions for the director and screenwriter in advance via Facebook and Twitter using #InsidiousLIVE. Questions will be answered as part of the LIVE stream at www.facebook.com/InsidiousFilm.
WHEN: Monday, July 11
Screening begins at 7:30PM
Live streamed Q&A starts at 9:00PM on Facebook at
www.facebook.com/InsidiousFilm (Check in early online for event!)
WHERE: Los Angeles - Silent Movie Theater
611 North Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Nationwide - www.facebook.com/InsidiousFilm
Described as the “the scariest horror film since Poltergeist” (Jason Bene, KillerFilm.com), the hair-raising horror film Insidious debuts on Blu-ray(tm) and DVD July 12th from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. Director James Wan and Screenwriter Leigh Whannell will be available for interviews following the screening of the film. For more information on Insidious on Blu-ray(tm) and DVD, visit www.sphepublicity.com.