Last night the New York City Horror Film Festival started in earnest (the previous night was an opening night party). I did not attend that screening since it was a school night. However, as promised Unseen Films was there. Covering the festival for this site is Robert Melville who's attended every festival and every screening since the NYCHFF started. Basically he's the expert as far as the festival is concerned and I'm going to let him tell you all about the sights and sounds of the craziness that is unfolding in the Tribeca Cinemas. And it is a nicely controlled rock and roll sort of madness.
I should add that I attended tonight's screening of Yellowbrickroad and it was a great deal of fun but I'm going to defer to the master and start off with his review of last nights films. I'm also going to let him talk about Yellowbrickroad and the film that followed it Vincent D'Onofrio's Don't Go In The Woods when he finally gets a minute to sit down and decompress from the weekend of films. I'm not going to rush up a review since Bob knows the festival inside and out, and as you'll see in a few seconds a damn fine writer, which makes him better suited at telling the stories from NYCHFF.
Lastly I want to take a moment out and say that the lovely Artemis, Robert's lovely and charming lady was there and that it was a pleasure to finally meet her in person.
So with out further adieu I'm going to hand you off to Robert and the first films from this years NYCHFF.
So, last night was Day 1 of the annual New York City Horror Film Fest. In it's 9th year running, this has become one of the premier horror film fest's in the entire country. Being someone, who has been attending since the very year back in 2002, I've watched this festival turn into a small gathering of filmmakers/fans, to the huge event that it is today. Kudos to all the people that have worked so hard, to get this festival off the ground. This is one of my fav. times of the year, so I wouldn't miss this for anything.
Now, I must say..thing's last night did not run as smoothly as I was hoping. The feature had a rather late start due to some theatre malfunctions. There was an issue on the theatre's part due to one of their reel's upstairs shitting the bed just before the program was about to start. This resulted in a rather long wait, that seemed to have lasted forever. Free popcorn and soda was provided by the cinema due to all the technical difficulties. So after a while of waiting, the program did eventually get started sometime after the 10 o'clock hour.
The four short films shown last night:
Inferno - This story involves a uneasy man, his bedridden wife/gf and a mysterious black case. A mysterious voice (who sound's like a knockoff version of Jigsaw from the Saw movies) calls the main actor, to tell him that this black case he has belongs to him, and if he wants to save his partner, he'll have to deliver this case to this unseen voiced character. Needless to say, he's unable to deliver the goods to 'jigsaw-voiced guy on the phone', so without giving away the ending..there were consequences to be had. This 20 min piece I thought was very well filmed, I liked the whole gritty look of the house where the man & woman were. However, I didn't get it. I looked over to my girlfriend, to see if she understood just what the hell happened, but neither of us had any idea. So, maybe there was some deep meaning to this film, but if there was..it flew over my head.
Written By - Two hotshot writers, lock them selves in a room for two whole days, with an evil clown doll. Vowing to come out, with a script that will knock Hollywood on it's ass. I happened to like this short. Maybe just a minute or two too long, but it had some good comedy to it, and I'm a sucker for anything involving a killer doll...oops, did I give that away.
Lazarus Taxon - In an almost post-apocalyptic type of setting, a man sets sail across the sea trying to find a cure to save his daughter's life. This film came from Spain, so the setting and just the way everything looked was very dark & stylish. On a visual level, I give this film an A. Story wise, although it was original, me personally..I just couldn't get into it. Overall, I'd give it a solid C+.
Stephen King's Flowers for Norma- Set in 1963 NY, a man walks the streets to meet the love of his life. Now, I'm a Stephen King fan, but I'll be honest I've never heard of this story. Now that I've seen the film, I might have to go and read it now. This was my fav. of the short films. Very well shot, you really got the impression that it was early '60's NY. Along with great special effects, this story had a 'Jacob's Ladder' sorta feel to it. And since that movie is awesome, this short get's my full praises.
And the feature of the evening:
Bereavement - A horrific account of a 6 y/o boy, abducted in his backyard and forced to witness the brutal crimes of a deranged madman.
A sequel to Stevan Mena's 2004 film Malevolence, this film really takes this franchise (there were talks of making this into a trilogy) into a new level. I had met Stevan way back when, in 2003 when Malevolence played at the NYCHFF. And not to jump off track, but if memory serves me correctly, I think their was an issue with his film back then. This guy can't catch a break. Anyway, Malevolence was very heavy on being in the same vein as a Halloween/Friday the 13th type of film. Bereavement is more just sadistic, in a Texas Chainsaw-Ed Gein sort of way. This is a brutal f'n movie, and I can say that I loved every second of it.
I've always enjoyed films that push limits, that don't hold back, that are not afraid to go to a place where it might shock and repulse you. Stevan Mena has made one hell of a dirty, violent film that might have you alittle on edge while watching it.