Event Report: Shriekfest 2017 Wrap-up - Dread Central
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Event Report: Shriekfest 2017 Wrap-up

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Staci Layne Wilson from Psycho Therapy on the Shriekfest Red Carpet

Don’t be fooled by her petite frame, curly blonde locks and pretty face… Denise Gossett is a force to be reckoned with! She’s a creator in the ultimate sense of the word as a mom, but she’s also brought countless characters to life as an always-working actress and she’s the lifeforce behind the long-running independent horror/sci-fi and film festival and screenplay competition, Shriekfest. Shriekfest just wrapped its 17th year of scaring souls in Hollywood, CA (October 5-8). And it will be in Orlando, FL (October 21) next for a fun-filled day and night of features and shorts.

I first discovered Shriekfest as a fan, then shortly after that I starting writing and reporting professionally for various horror websites and got the opportunity to meet and interview many fantastic filmmakers. The only code I hadn’t cracked was coming in from the ultimate angle as a participant, but this year Psycho Therapy, a short thriller I wrote and directed, actually played on the big screen amongst the best of the best! Shriekfest is not an easy one to get into – regardless of past history, it’s all about the quality of the flick and whether the judges deem it worthy.

Opening party vibes with the Michael Myers themed DJ

It was an exciting honor to be an Official Selection, to say the least. And it did feel a little different from the fan or the journalist POV… in a good way! Though, it’s all good at Shriekfest: No matter what my role, I’ve always felt a sense of inclusiveness and camaraderie in the shared love of the genre and indie “can do” spirit.

Denise really knows how to throw a party – and that’s how she kicks off the fest. The gala and red carpet, where Girls & Corpses did interviews and snapped pics, was in the heart of Hollywood at Bar Sinister, a ghoulishly goth club which is duplex to Boardner’s (famous for being one of the last places Elizabeth Short was seen before being bisected and becoming The Black Dahlia).

I arrived with Psycho Therapy star and producer Brooke Lewis and producer Brice Campbell. We soon connected with the lovely and talented Barbara Magnolfi of Suspiria fame, and enjoyed blood-red cocktails while the Michael Myers masked DJ spun spooky vinyl. I got a chance to chat with my Dread Central cohorts Jon Condit and Sean Decker. Sean recently helped produce The Basement, which had its big world premiere at Shriekfest. We were there on the set of The Basement a few weeks back, so it was awesome to see how it all came together. I really enjoyed the movie! (And I’m not just saying that – when I don’t care for a friend’s movie I don’t say much of anything…)

Brooke Lewis from Psycho Therapy on the Shriekfest Red Carpet

It was a blast to see Psycho Therapy on the silver screen at the Old Hollywood stronghold, The Raleigh, on Sunday. The audience – filled with fellow filmmakers, friends, fans, and folks I don’t know – really reacted to the short in the best possible way (gasps and giggles in all the right places!). It was such an honor to be included with so many killer shorts. I liked them all, but some of the standouts for me were: Nightlight, a cute “monster under the bed” story; Echoes of the Passed, a unique and covertly humorous take on the haunted house trope; and Miscast, a bewitching Halloween comedy.

Last night, the awards were bestowed upon the winners, and here’s how it all shook out:

Gnaw directed by Haylar Garcia took the Grand Jury prize for Best Horror Feature Film, Curvature directed by Diego Hallivis took the Best SciFi Feature Film Award, and The Glass Coffin directed by Haritz Zubillaga took the Best Thriller Feature Film Award.

Burn directed by Judson Vaughan took the Best Horror Short Film Award, The Things They Left Behind directed by Sara Werner won the Best SciFi Short Film Award and Classified directed by Kevin McMahon and Andy Dylan took the best Super Short Film Award.

The winner of the Best Horror Feature Screenplay went to The Heebies written by Andrea D. McGee, the winner of the Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy Feature Screenplay was Remote written by Marc Roussel, and the winner of the Best Thriller Feature Screenplay went to Rational Panic written by Robert Rhine.

Denise Gossett in the Girls and Corpses hearse

Richard and Anastasia Elfman as attendees on the Shriekfest Red Carpet

Cayleb Long and Jackson Davis from The Basement on the Shriekfest Red Carpet

Opening party vibes with Staci Layne Wilson, Barbara Magnolfi, and Brooke Lewis

The happy winners behind the Best Horror Feature, Gnaw

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Dread Central Presents The Lodgers – Vegas Screening and Wider Release

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Last weekend fans got their first taste of the next Dread Central Presents film, The Lodgers (review); and we’re not done yet! There’s another Dread Central Presents screening TOMORROW, February 22nd, at 7:00 PM at the Eclipse Theaters in Las Vegas, Nevada (tickets here); and then the flick will be opening wider the very next day!

To see if the film will be playing near you, click here for a list of cities The Lodgers will be haunting!

Directed by Brian O’Malley and starring Charlotte Vega and Bill Milner, the film made its worldwide premiere at 2017’s Toronto International Film Festival and has since won many awards across multiple festivals.

Make sure to follow and “like” Dread Central Presents on Facebook to stay in the know regarding this and upcoming titles!

Synopsis:
In this Gothic horror tale, a family curse confines orphaned twins Rachel (Charlotte Vega) and Edward (Bill Milner) to their home as punishment for their ancestors’ sins. Bound to the rules of a haunting childhood lullaby, the twins must never let any outsiders inside the house, must be in their rooms by the chime of midnight, and must never be separated from one another. Breaking any of these three rules will incur the wrath of a sinister presence that inhabits the house after midnight.

While Edward is committed to this ill-fated life, he’s becoming more unhinged due to the fact that Rachel is not. Smitten by a local soldier (Eugene Simon), Rachel grows skeptical and begins to rebel, desperate to escape the oppression and misery of their captivity.

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Exclusive Clip: Primal Rage – Bigfoot Causes Chaos!

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Ever been driving in the woods and see or hear something that you cannot explain? Something so shocking that it makes your skin crawl off of your spine? Yeah, those moments, that usually chalked up to something completely innocuous, can be mucho unsettling. Such is the case with our bloody exclusive clip from the latest sliver of Sasquatchploitation, Primal Rage, which illustrates what can happen when you play with your food.

Directed by Patrick Magee, who co-wrote the film with Jay Lee, Primal Rage stars Andrew Joseph Montgomery, Casey Gagliardi, Eloy Casados, Justin Rain and Marshal Hilton. You can also catch this one of the big screen as on February 27th, Fathom (tickets here) will be hosting a one-night theater event for Primal Rage.

Enough talk! Get your Squatch on!

Synopsis:
Lost deep in the forest of the Pacific Northwest, Ashley and Max Carr are stalked by a terrifying creature that might be Bigfoot. Soon they find themselves embroiled in a strange land of Native American myth and legend turned real. Hopelessly trying to survive, with a handful of unsavory locals, they must fight back against this monster in a desperate battle of life or death.

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The Strangers: Prey at Night Set Visit Part 2: Screams and Flames

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[SPOILERS] As mentioned in our earlier set visit story, The Strangers: Prey at Night maintains the same feeling of isolation as the original. Even though a full-fledged production was going on in Gatlin Lake Getaway, it is hard to shake that feeling of being totally alone once wandering away from the set lighting. The dark surround woods start to close in and threaten to swallow any who stray too close to the tree line. Then the silence is broken as a beat-up 1972 Ford Ranger’s engine revs and a scream slices through the night.

Back on the lit street, the familiar looking truck has collided head-on with the side Wagner County Sheriff’s SUV. At the driver’s seat of the Ford is a man sporting a white cloth bag as a mask. The Bagman has returned. His appearance has not changed. The empty sockets of the mask still glare ominously and the painted smile poorly hides the stranger’s murderous intent.

An air of frustration surrounds the Bagman as he attempts to free the truck from the SUV. In vain, the Ford revs and struggles to no avail. Bad news for him, but good news for whomever the Bagman was pursuing. The law enforcement vehicle, with its lights flashing, had been driven by a young woman decked out in a black Ramones t-shirt and blood-splattered jeans. Her hair is jet black. The woman’s skin is streaked with dark blood and open slash wounds. The dark punk eye makeup is running, but the wearer is not.

It is obvious that this woman has been through a lot as she limps from the wreck. The context of her current state is not clear, but the shrieking that emanates from her as she produces a lighter and throws it to the ground under the collided vehicles speaks volumes. It can only be assumed that she has been chased, slashed, and emotionally beaten for hours. The scream is packed with emotions from fear to outright spite and rage. It is so powerful, in fact, that the crew members uttered stunned laudations.

As the gasoline ignites, the flames climb and spread of the mangled metal of the two collided vehicles. The Ford’s engine still violently revs as the Bagman emotionlessly tries to break free. The young woman is slowly backing away, unaware of the chain reaction occurring. The darkness of 1 AM is broken by two giant fireballs that erupt, engulfing the metal mayhem in the middle of the street. The surroundings fall silent, cut is called and the crew erupts in exclamations at the awesome spectacle.

This powerful moment was brought to us by Bailee Madison (Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark).

The Strangers: Prey at Night was now on its twenty-second day of shooting and only eight more days remained. The cast and crew are well accustomed to their routines and the late night shoots have become second nature. When asked if the constant schedule of night shoots had been difficult, Madison elicited some of the virtues that the darkness has to offer, “There’s something very vulnerable about night shoots. You are emotionally in a different place when you’re awake and rested in the daytime. I think for something traumatic like this, you need to be able to access different emotions; at night you’re a lot more capable.”

At this point in production, Bailee’s character has seen a lot of action. A heavy amount of blood adorns the actor’s arms and a thick clotting mass of the red stuff covers most of her forehead. Keeping track of that damage for continuity from day to day looks like a grueling task, and makeup department head Jodi Byrne dropped some details about the process, “We have continuity photos and we take pictures of Bailee constantly throughout the day … We have to determine which takes are actually going to be used in the film and we move from that point.”

Synopsis:
A family’s road trip takes a dangerous turn when they arrive at a secluded mobile home park to stay with some relatives and find it mysteriously deserted. Under the cover of darkness, three masked psychopaths pay them a visit to test the family’s every limit as they struggle to survive..

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