The night began with horror fans meeting some famous celebrities in the theater's lobby. There was the great John Stanley who, along with his late predecessor Bob Wilkins, hosted the legendary local television show Creature Features. Scream Queen Debra Lamb, who has appeared in classic B-horror films such as EVIL SPIRITS, THE INVISIBLE MANIAC, BEVERLY HILLS VAMP, and the upcoming horror film DISCIPLES, was the celebrity judge for tonight's event. Also attending were two very special guests: actress Devanny Pinn (NUDE NUNS WITH BIG GUNS, SONG OF THE SHATTERED, and DIARY OF DEATH) and actor/writer/director Brandon Sleagle (VIViD, THE LOCALS, and THE MASK THAT THE MONSTERS WEAR). Also in attendance was independent filmmaker Dave Reda (BIT PARTS, MY UNDEADLY short film). After hanging out with both filmmakers and movie goers, Miss Misery begun tonight's horror festival.
The show began with some very cool trailers: AMERICAN MUMMY by writer/director Charles Pinion (which will be in 3D), BEAUTY BITES by filmmaker Shane Maus, and THE DEVIL'S CARNIVAL by director Darren Lynn Bousman and Terrance Zdunich, the creative team that brought us the cult hit REPO! THE GENETIC OPERA. After these cool trailers, the short films were shown!
First film up was BAPTISM BY FIRE. The film's about two injured soldiers Isaac (Charles Solis) and Oscar (Sam Salter) recovering in a military hospital. Issac is haunted by the casualties of war and what he has done. Then one night Issac is visited by his former comrade Piggy (Raymond Garland), who was left behind by Issac and his platoon to die. But Piggy survived and now wants revenge Isaac. The film was directed by Craig Surko and it contains some interesting ideas, such as the psychological ramifications of those who fought in wars and the guilt that they carry with them long after the shooting stops. Creepy and atmospheric, this was a great film to start the festival off with. To learn more about the film, visit its official website at http://surkoc1.wix.com/baptismbyfire.
|Festival Movie Poster (2011)|
Third film shown was Reda's MY UNDEADLY. In the film a woman is being stalked by an undead zombie, but this awesome horror/comedy has a fun twist ending that made the audience laugh! For those who wish to spice things up in the bedroom, take notes from this film! Reda wrote, produced, directed, and starred in the film along with scream queen Michelle Tomlinson. A cool bonus trivia: the film was shot in the original Michael Myer's house that was used in the original HALLOWEEN! Overall a great short film! To learn more about Reda and his production company Elftwin Films, visit their official website at http://elftwinfilms.com.
Film number four for the night was THE HAUNTED SHIP. Created by Alex Zinzopoulos, Jack Skyyler, and Joel Brook, the film's about four friends who break into the U.S.S. Salem, known as the "Sea Hag." Once inside, they soon discover that the rumors about the ship being haunted are true and must survive until dawn. The film was shot in both narrative as well as POV, with the last being influenced by the 1999 film THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT. In my humble opinion, the found footage idea has been done to death. However in this case, the amalgam of both of these styles proved somewhat effective, and the film does contained some believable acting. Also known as INFESTED SHIP, the filmmakers are in production of turning this short film into a full length feature. To learn more about the film and its directors, visit their website at http://www.dearskyyler.com.
|Festival Movie Poster (2011)|
The sixth film of the night was THE GRAVEYARD SHIFT, directed by April Wright. Kenny (Taylor Gerard Hart) is the new parking lot security guard on the graveyard shift. All seems going well until a woman (Jenna Johnson) overdoses in her car on his watch, but things are not what they appear to be. I had the privilege of meeting Wright years ago when her film LAYOVER was screened at the Cinequest Film Festival. With this film, she does an effective job of creating mood and some chills. To learn more about Wright and her films, visit her official website at www.april9entertainment.com.
|Festival Movie Poster (2012)|
The eight film up was the abysmal JESSICA, directed by Jason Mills. Inspired by true events, basically the film is about a young girl named Jessica who becomes possessed at a Bible Camp. She runs away. The camp counselors follow her. She stops. They stop. She then turns back to normal. Everyone is happy and relieved. The End. This was the worst film of the night. It contained no real plot, no character development, it had nothing. So if this was based on true events, then what was the whole point of the devil possessing Jessica in the first place? Why was this film made I have no idea, but it was totally unnecessary.
PHOTO was the ninth film screened and was my third favorite film at the festival. Directed by J. Enrique Sánchez, this suspenseful thriller (also from Spain) tells the story of a photographer (Juanjo Artero) and his customer (Patxi Freytez). The film's tag line is, "He only needed one photo. A good one." The film has a TWILIGHT ZONE ending to it, which was a complete surprise and the look of it was polished and well made. Overall a great film! To learn more about the film, visit its official website at www.promofest.org/films/photo.
|Festival Movie Poster (2012)|
The last film of the festival was LADY IN THE KITCHEN. Directed by Boi Campbell and Gino Oddone, the film stars Victoria Gauthier and is supposedly set in the 1980's (check out that aerobics attire and those big earrings). While cooking up something in the kitchen, she hears a strange sound coming from the kitchen sink. Is the garbage disposal backed up, or is it something else? Something demonic? This very short film (a whopping two minutes!) was quick, fun, and cool, with a nice blood soaked homage to FLASHDANCE at the end!
|Devanny Pinn, Miss Misery, & Brandon Sleagle|
Overall the festival was a complete success! And I for one cannot wait for next year's fest! For those of you who wish to learn more about Miss Misery, visit her website at www.missmisery.net. To learn more about her company Last Door Productions, and all her future projects, please visit www.lastdoorwayproductions.com. Also as I previously touched on earlier, Miss Misery will be hosting her Days Of Terror Sacramento Horror Convention at the Scottish Rite Center on September 28th and 29th. So make sure you mark these days on your calender! To learn more about the convention, visit their website at http://daysofterror.com.
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!