Indie Horror Month: Denise Gossett Celebrates Over 10 Years of the Shriekfest Film Festival - Dread Central
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Indie Horror Month: Denise Gossett Celebrates Over 10 Years of the Shriekfest Film Festival

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One of the film festivals I became immediately impressed with when I moved to Los Angeles was the Shriekfest Film Festival. Being unfamiliar with a lot of the more genre-focused festivals, I found Shriekfest and festival founder Denise Gossett’s passion for supporting independent filmmaking refreshing amidst a city filled with people who generally are motivated by their own selfishness.

Shriekfest (which is also properly known as The Los Angeles International /Sci-Fi Film Festival & Screenplay Competition) celebrated its tenth anniversary last October and now with the festival gearing up for an 11th successful year of celebrating indie genre fare, in celebration of Indie Horror Month, Dread Central caught up with founder Gossett to chat about how Shriekfest got its start, the world of independent horror, and what keeps her motivated to come back every year.

Indie Horror Month: Denise Gossett Celebrates Over 10 Years of the Shriekfest Film Festival

Gossett, who’s also a celebrated indie horror actress, said her inspiration for Shriekfest came while working on the set of her first horror feature, Chain of Souls. “I remember I was talking to a producer on Chain of Souls and told him that he should really look into getting the movie into the festival circuit. But things were a little different back in 2001- most festivals didn’t really run horror films and there weren’t any genre festivals really happening at that time so there weren’t any places for him to submit to.”

“So I kept thinking about it and was talking it over with my sister-in-law one night and she agreed it was a great idea and she wanted to help. That’s when we came up with the idea for the Shriekfest Film Festival. We obviously had no idea what we were doing because we came up with the idea in August and gave ourselves only two months to get everything together for the first festival which was beyond insane. But we were convinced having the fest during October when people are celebrating Halloween was the right idea and obviously we were right,” Gossett added.

And even though Gossett said the first year’s short window of time to put together the festival successfully, it doesn’t compare to the amount of work she deals with in putting together Shriekfest now, some ten years later.

“I still remember that even with such a small window of time, we managed to pull off the first Shriekfest pretty successfully,” said Gossett. “Even with short notice, we still got 45 submissions which I thought was fun and easy. I didn’t realize that the more years we’d do this, the more submissions we’d be getting and now, we get hundreds each year. It’s turning into a full-time job which is exhausting but absolutely amazing.”

The first Shriekfest was definitely a trial by fire, according to Gossett. “We lost a little money the first year but knew we needed more time in order to make it a successful festival. There are a few things we did initially, like rent an expensive café for our first Shriekfest party, that ended up not working out or we ended up realizing that the café was costing us money we didn’t need to spend, so each year, the fest gets a little better and more effective and I think it demonstrates that Shriekfest definitely knows what we are doing at this stage of the game.”

And even though Gossett is left exhausted but thrilled at the end of each festival, she said that there are some downsides to her job as festival director (a title she now proudly shares with husband Todd Beeson after her sister-in-law relocated to the Midwest a few years back).

“The hardest part of Shriekfest is handling the projects that don’t make it into the festival as finalists,” explained Gossett. “It’s really become hard to make the cut because we only have just a few days to screen everything so when there are hundreds of submissions and only so many time slots, you see a lot of talented projects not make the final cut and that can be hard. That’s why we’re toying with the idea of adding another day this year just to give more filmmakers more opportunities.”

“But because of our past limitations is why I always try to stay involved with those submitting their work, whether or not they make it into the festival. Just because they aren’t in Shriekfest, that doesn’t mean they don’t have talent and it’s not unusual, especially for the script submissions, for me to get writers in contact with agents, just to help them get some direction if they need it,” Gossett added.

Even though putting together a film festival that gets submissions every year from filmmakers all over the globe and has turned into a full-time gig for Gossett, she still remains focused on putting on a successful Shriekfest this upcoming October and for many Octobers to follow.

Gossett said, “A lot of what motivates me comes by my continued amazement at the amount of talented storytellers working out there these days. Sometimes a filmmaker may be struggling and have no idea just how great their film or work in general is, and they just need someone to believe in it and I love that I get to do that for independent filmmakers.”

“When I first started off with Shriekfest, I really thought I’d be doing this for only a few years and that would be it. I never imagined we would have just celebrated our tenth year and already be gearing up for the eleventh year of celebrating the independent horror spirit. I feel like those who have been touched by being a part of the Shriekfest family over the years have really shown their appreciation for the festival and that’s a big part of why I still continue to do this. If I quit now, I’d be letting a lot of people down. I don’t hold the festival to help my acting career or anything like that, I do it because I love horror and I love what it does for independent movies,” Gossett added.

The Shriekfest Film Festival is currently looking for submissions for its 11th annual film festival and screenwriting competition. For information on how to submit your work, click here.

For LA-area indie horror filmmakers or creatives, Shriekfest also holds a networking meeting every month for like-minded people working in the industry to get together and network or just share horror stories. This month’s meeting is being held on March 29th at 7 pm at The Casting Office Bar & Grill (3575 Cahuenga West, Universal City, CA).

Indie Horror Month: Denise Gossett Celebrates Over 10 Years of the Shriekfest Film Festival

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Inoperable starring Danielle Harris Gets New Poster and Limited December Release Date

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Last year we here at Dread Central premiered the trailer for the upcoming Danielle Harris hospital horror flick Inoperable from director Christopher Lawrence Chapman.

Today we have the film’s all-new poster and news that the film will finally be hitting select theaters on December 1st.

I just watched the trailer again myself and I have to say I am really looking forward to the film. I dig the location, the hurricane aspect, the psychological horror of the situation and the whole she-bang.

Count me to check out the film as soon as it hits Blu-ray and/or VOD (hopefully) within the new year. We’ll let you know when we hear more.

What do you think of the trailer and new poster for Inoperable? Let us know below!

The film is directed by Christopher Lawrence Chapman from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jeff Miller. The film stars Danielle Harris, Katie Keene, and Isabella Sofia Menna.

Robert Kurtzman’s Creature Corps handled the film’s makeup effects, with David Henson Greathouse (Syfy’s “FaceOff”) supervising, and he, Barry Aslinger, and Beki Ingram handling the bulk of the effects. Philip Jessen is unit production manager, Ashley Eberbach is first assistant director, and Bobby Marinelli is production designer.

Inoperable hits select theaters December 1st.

Synopsis:

A young woman wakes up in a seemingly evacuated hospital with a hurricane approaching. She realizes the storm has awakened malevolent forces, trapping her in a time loop. She must escape the hospital before the storm passes or she will be trapped in its halls forever.

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Freddy’s Greatest Hits Vinyl Re-issue Is a Must-Own

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Strange Disc Records has just announced that it will be releasing “Freddy’s Greatest Hits – The Elm Street Group” on vinyl starting this Wednesday with pre-orders expected to ship in January 2018.

Not only that but Mondo announced they will be releasing an exclusive variant pressed on “Freddy Sweater” striped vinyl. This LP from Mondo is limited to 400 and will cost you $25.

For those who might not know, “Freddy’s Greatest Hits” was originally released in 1987. The record contains nine tracks (covers, originals, and instrumentals) with Robert Englund doing the voice of Freddy over the top.

I don’t know about you but this has just made my list of must-own items. But I’d prefer an original copy. That said an original copy is probably hundreds of buck on eBay as opposed to this version for a mere $25 bucks. Not bad.

You can check out the full track listing and a sample song below. Then make sure to hit us up and let us know if you’ll be snagging a copy in the comments below!

Track Listing

1. “Do The Freddy”
Freddy and the Dreamers cover, as well as a parody.
The lyrics were changed to fit Freddy Krueger persona and elements

2. “Obsession”
original song

3. “Wooly Bully”
Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs cover.
Freddy (Robert Englund) provides the opening lyrics.

4. “Don’t Sleep”
original song

5. “In The Midnight Hour”
Wilson Pickett cover

6. “All I Have To Do Is Dream”
Everly Brothers cover

7. “Dance or Else”
original song

8. “Down in the Broiler Room”
original song

9. “Elm Street Dreams”
original song

Pre-orders begin Wednesday, November 22.

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That is One Gigantic Steampunk Squid…

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Perhaps one of the greatest sci-fi adventures novels ever written, Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea was a landmark book, one that was decades ahead of its time. The story follows the crew of the Nautilus, a submarine commanded by Captain Nemo, as they venture in search of a giant sea monster. It was the basis for several film adaptations and the character of Captain Nemo played a pivotal role in the graphic novel series The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

So why am I bringing this up, you ask? Because Tor Books is releasing Nemo Rising, a sequel, this Christmas! Written by C. Courtney Joyner, the story once again follows Nemo, although this book sees him a prisoner that must be pardoned by President Ulysses S. Grant in order to face an onslaught of more sea monsters.

Normally, I wouldn’t bother you all with this, but I happen to have a soft spot in my heart for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the cover art for the book is fucking epic! I’ve always been a fan of cephalopods, and I’ve found the steampunk aesthetic to be pretty fascinating. Combine them both along with giant monsters, and you damn well better believe that I’m 100% into it! Plus, it’s wrapped itself around the Nautilus, which is already a giant vessel, so now I’m wondering just how large these mechanical monstrosities are…

Nemo Rising will be released on hardcover from Tor Books on December 26, 2017.

Synopsis:
Sea monsters are sinking ships up and down the Atlantic Coast. Enraged that his Navy is helpless against this onslaught and facing a possible World War as a result, President Ulysses S. Grant is forced to ask for assistance from the notorious Captain Nemo, in Federal prison for war crimes and scheduled for execution.

Grant returns Nemo’s submarine, the infamous Victorian Steampunk marvel Nautilus, and promises a full Presidential pardon if Nemo hunts down and destroys the source of the attacks. Accompanied by the beautiful niece of Grant’s chief advisor, Nemo sets off under the sea in search of answers. Unfortunately, the enemy may be closer than they realize…

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