While everyone knows Austin as the “Live Music Capital of the World” and for its SXSW festival, few people know this: Just down the road in San Antonio, independent film is BIG, and there are indie filmmakers everywhere putting out quality entertainment for those who know where to look. This past weekend, August 27-30, the second annual Horrific Film Fest showcased a lot of that talent and allowed some of those filmmakers to meet a few horror movie icons and learn a few things from them as well.
Here’s a brief rundown of what went on: Thursday night the festival kicked off at 6pm with live local bands in a show that ran until midnight. Headlining the show were Cursor, Ashley Ford, and the Saturday Night Shockers. The whole thing was emceed by Ari “First Jason” Lehman. Midnight rolled around, and San Antonio’s After Dark Paranormal Research took a few of the celebs and guests on a ghost hunt at Victoria’s Black Swan Inn.
Friday opened up with a seminar on special effects courtesy of The Darkness and screenings of films The House of the Demon, Cam 2 Cam, Livestock, The Box, and Vampress, as well as special showings of Friday the 13th and Halloween. Just after 6pm the festivities really got into swing with the official opening, a “Black Carpet” ceremony during which celebrities Ari Lehman, Bill Johnson, Tony Moran, Michael Berryman, Brant Bumpers, Angela Tropea, and Scott A. Johnson greeted photographers and fans, then hurried to a welcoming where Bill Johnson was presented with an award to show how much the promoters of the show appreciated him. Then it was back to movies with Fright Flick, Echo, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre Part 2, The Stitcher, and Zombie Movie.
Saturday began with a seminar by After Dark Paranormal Investigations, followed by more movies by local (and some not-so-local) auteurs. Featured on day two were Eternus, Maniac Bloodbath, Slime Creatures Invade Austin, TX, Caesar and Otto’s Summer Camp Massacre, Reel Zombies,No Exit, Psycho Killer Attack, Doctor S’ Battle Sex Crazy Reefer Zombie, Path of Torment, Bikini Girls on Ice, The Inherited, and a special showing of Orlock the Vampire in 3-D!
By Sunday everyone was happy, if exhausted, and all of us were suffering from light sensitivity. Spending twelve hours a day in a dark theater will do that to you. Sunday featured the film A Trailer Park Haunting and was headlined by two seminars. The first, an acting class led by Bill Johnson, was riotously fun, if the peals of laughter coming through the closed theater doors were any indicator. Next up was a sound editing seminar led by Emmy Award nominee Benjamin Martin. Around 4pm we all assembled into the one of the theaters for the final award ceremony. After a few words from the promoter, they brought up the chainsaw trophies. The presenters were the stars, including “Best Actress”, which was presented by the whole Dread Central crew. The winners are as follows:
Best Actress (presented by Dread Central) – Alynn Carrell, Fright Flick
Best Actor (Presented by Michael Berryman) – Jerome Scott, The Inherited
Best Special Effects (Presented by The Darkness)- Echo
Best Short Film (Presented by Tony Moran) – Psycho Killer Attack!
Best Feature (Presented by Bill Johnson) – No Exit
Other films of note (which means you should REALLY try to see them) include the shorts Cam 2 Cam, Vampress, and The Box. Also notable is the hilarious The Inherited.
More film reviews will be coming out of this weekend, and the winner of the “Best Feature” award received a cash prize and distribution. It was also made clear that several other films shown will also receive distribution because the judges were just that damned impressed by their films.
Promoter George Ortiz says that next year the festival will be expanded to five days and will include more seminars, more celebrities, a bigger venue, and even a “Queen of the Goths” fashion show. Book your reservations now!
– Scott A. Johnson, Tabatha Johnson, Clint McCrocklin, Heather McCrocklin
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