The 19th annual Screamfest began on October 8, taking
Film producer and festival founder Rachel Belofsky began the Screamfest tradition in 2001. After nearly two decades, Belofsky
Some of the notable films that have been discovered here include cult favorites such as “Paranormal Activity” and “The Human Centipede.”
The Films and Their Makers
All nine days of Screamfest are packed with screenings and Q&As that spotlight the best independent filmmakers within the genre and the artists who are attached to their projects. The festival essentially nurtures an entire community and celebrates what it means to work hard in order to bring a unique vision to life.
“Killer Date” is among the films being featured this coming week. Director Colton Tran joined the film’s writers, Joey Beni and Brandon Shypkowski, on opening night, marking their very first Screamfest experience. Their short will screen on Sunday, Oct. 13. For those who like a little levity with their horror, “Killer Date” seems like a killer choice. The short gives nods to the horror films of the ’80s and ’90s. It’s loaded with Easter Eggs, conjuring up heavy nostalgia vibes for horror fans.
Jamison Jones, whose movie, “The Wretched,” screened on Wednesday, Oct. 9, was also there to kick off the festivities on opening night. The “General Hospital” actor spoke on the choice the filmmakers made to move away from CGI on this project. He says that using practical effects made the film even more appealing. Opting out of some common post-production techniques, Jones says made the whole experience that much better for the actors.
What To Do In Case of a Zombie Apocalypse
Naturally, at Screamfest, the conversation of what to do in a zombie apocalypse came up – numerous times. And we have an answer. In case of an undead emergency, find Hal Sparks. The comedian/actor/musician was on site for Screamfest’s opening night and offered up some advice for anyone who might find themselves caught in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. “At this point, if you don’t know how to escape a zombie apocalypse, I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you,” Sparks tells The Burn-In.
Sparks’ exit strategy (which involves a plane ride to Napa) sounds
Sparks stars in the upcoming “Laid to Rest: Exhumed,” which is the third installment of the film series from Robert Hall. The two have a history as Hall created Sparks’ creature effects on his show, “Talk Soup.” Hall is one of the best special effects makeup artists in Hollywood. His work can be seen in shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel.”
According to Sparks, Robert Englund, Corey Taylor, and Josh Todd are also likely to star in the next “Laid to Rest” movie. The soundtrack will be heavy on the metal; which includes music from Sparks and his bandmate Stephen Brewer. He and Brewer have formed a side project, and their first single will be featured in the movie. Sparks says that the completed project should be out for the world to see by Halloween of 2020.
For The Love Of Horror
On Saturday, Oct. 12, “The Dionaea House” will kick things off.
Kircher met Heisserer at a film festival while he was in college and expressed interest in turning his short story into a short film. Heisserer was immediately on board. “It was one of the best filmmaking experiences of my entire life,” Kircher told The Burn-In on opening night. “What am I saying? It WAS the best filmmaking experience of my entire life.”
The film becomes even more intriguing, knowing that the composer of “The Conjuring” was in charge of the score. He actually brought in a string ensemble for the project.
“A lot of filmmakers use horror as a jumping-off point. For me,
The Universal Message
As Kircher pointed out, “What’s funny to one culture isn’t necessarily funny to another, but every culture has ghost stories. And every ghost story has a lot of similar conventions; whether it’s a Japanese ghost story, a Spanish ghost story, or an American ghost story; we all understand what that means. It’s such a rich genre, and I feel like people don’t take it seriously enough. At the same time, you look at things like ‘Hereditary,’ and it’s very powerful. You can make a really rich, dramatic film that also benefits from the fact that it stimulates the audience in a scary way every so often. You can make them intelligent, interesting, and different.”
Kircher also feels that a small budget is beneficial and gives the filmmaker room to play. “You don’t have to do things the ‘standard’ way,” he said. “You can do something where it’s just one character alone in a house for an hour-and-a-half; if you like that character enough, and if what’s happening to them is interesting enough.”
There was a long list of talent on hand for opening night. Among those in attendance were Jake Stark from “A Mother’s Love,” as well as Hannah Reese and Frantz G. Saint Louis Jr. from “Murder Ballad.”
If you’re in Los Angeles, check it out. It’s a scary good time.
Published on The Burn-In.