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Exclusive Interview with Screamfest Founder Rachel Belofsky

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Screamfest L.A.

With the 17th Annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival in Hollywood, California, in full swing, we sat down the other night with festival founder Rachel Belofsky to discuss the fest’s roots, evolution, and her outlook on the horror genre, nearly two decades into her career nurturing it.

“I created Screamfest seventeen years ago, after having produced a documentary that did the festival rounds,” said Belofsky of the fest and her produced 2001 doc Fast Women, an in-depth look at women in the sport of auto racing, “and we had won some awards (with the film), but the journey itself was not satisfying, and I felt like some of the festivals were just there to exploit the filmmakers. So I really felt lost, and after the experience I thought, ‘I want to create a festival that’s really about helping filmmakers.’ And doing a fest based in horror was fascinating to me because it’s a genre that makes this industry billions of dollars, but at the same time it’s so disrespected and is treated like the bastard child of the industry. And it makes me mad. Look at the work of Sam Raimi, Peter Jackson, Wes Craven, and the list goes on and on, of directors who cut their teeth on horror, and yet it’s still not respected, and it really infuriated me and still does. And that’s way I wanted to do it, and I initially thought it would be a smaller thing on the production side, but I didn’t realize that it would turn into the amazing event that it has become.”

Reflecting on the venues Screamfest has inhabited over the years, before settling into its often and current home of TCL Chinese 6 Theaters (6801 Hollywood Blvd.), “Our first year of the fest was held down the street at a venue that at the time was called the Vogue Theatre, which is now called the Supper Club, and the second year it was held at the Laemmle on Beverly Boulevard, which is now non-existent, followed by two years at Universal CityWalk, and then we came here,” offered Belofsky of the bustling lobby and theater complex in which we sat.

As horror cinema is often reflective culturally of the time in which it’s made (take Romero’s Dawn of the Dead and its satire of consumer culture, for instance), Belofsky said of the submissions she received and programmed for 2017, “It seems to me that we are going through very dark times in our world, and it’s very depressing, so some of the things that I responded to were the films with a light-hearted nature. Dead Ant, for instance, it just knows what it is, and it just wants to have fun. So I was like, ‘Good!’ Todd vs. The Book of Evil was another. It’s raunchy, funny humor, and yes, it was a spin-off of the television show, but it’s just fun humor. Double Date, Tragedy Girls, they are all sort of light-hearted in their own ways, so those were some of the things that we sort of gravitated to.”

“For me personally,” she added, “we need more films like [Michael Dougherty’s] Trick ‘r Treat.”

Related Story: Screamfest L.A. 2017 Full Schedule

Pertaining to the multitude of short films selected for the fest this year, of which Belofsky curated with festival co-director Karen Martin, “They were really diverse,” she said. “Some of them were just completely bat-shit crazy. There are some with great shock value, there are some that lean more into the fantastical and artistic, in addition to traditional slasher, etc. We programmed a lot of foreign (short) films this year, as they just seemed to dominate, and at the end of the day it is a competition, and for whatever reason, time after time, many of these foreign shorts had all of the right things. The acting, cinematography, structure, as where in some of the other shorts we received they were more derivative in nature, or the production values weren’t up to par, or they weren’t as fresh as some of the other films they were up against. Americans should watch more foreign horror!”

As for the closing night of the festival and award show, hosted by (full disclosure) yours truly and Cabin Fever star and actress Cerina Vincent, “We are very excited about that,” concluded Belofsky. “It’s taking place at the historical Roosevelt Hotel, which is the home of the original first Oscars ceremony, and we are excited to be back there.”

For more information visit the Screamfest website, “like” Screamfest on Facebook, and follow Screamfest on Twitter.

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Blumhouse’s Halloween Wraps Filming

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It was just yesterday that Laurie Strode aka Jamie Lee Curtis wanted Halloween fans to know that we’ll be “very happy and VERY scared” by Blumhouse’s upcoming sequel.

And today we have news that we might be on track to be “very happy and VERY scared” this October as filming has wrapped completely on Blumhouse’s Halloween!

Co-producer Ryan Turek broke the news on Twitter and you can check out his tweet HERE.

Are you excited to know that filming has wrapped on Halloween? Let us know below!

Halloween is directed by David Gordon Green based on a script he wrote with Danny McBride. Jamie Lee Curtis returns as Laurie Strode as does Nick Castle as Michael “The Shape” Myers. They are joined by Will Patton, Andi Matichak, and Judy Greer. Halloween creator John Carpenter is on board as executive producer of the film as well as the composer.

The anticipated release date is October 19, 2018.

Synopsis:

Jamie Lee Curtis returns to her iconic role as Laurie Strode, who comes to her final confrontation with Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.

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Troy Baker and Emily O’Brien Confirmed For Death Stranding

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While there’s still no release date for Hideo Kojima’s mysterious Death Stranding, there have been regular(-ish) updates for the sci-fi/horror game. These little tidbits act not only as seeds of information but also as additions to the overall mystery surrounding the game, which is basically what gets Kojima’s all hot and bothered.

Last night, actress Emily O’Brien posted a photo on her Instagram where she revealed that she has been working on Death Stranding alongside Norman Reedus and another actor who is renowned in the gaming community: Troy Baker. No description of either of their characters’ roles were revealed in the description, which leads to the “mystery” part of the story. With Reedus already being shown as the main character, Mads Mikkelsen as the villain, and Guillermo del Toro having a role of unknown size, I’m curious where Baker and O’Brien fit into the story. With side characters having just as much importance as mains in many games these days, you never know what kind of impact these actors will have on the greater story.

Baker is known for playing Joel in The Last of Us as well as Samuel Drake in Uncharted 4, Booker DeWitt in Bioshock: Infinite, and Bruce Wayne in Batman: The Telltale Series, as well as a great deal more. O’Brien has offered her voice in titles such as League of Legends, Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series, and Paranormal Activity: The Lost Soul, as well as acted in film and TV.

Below is a fascinating dive into Death Stranding from my pal RagnarRox.

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Toy Fair 2018: Storm Collectibles Proudly Display their Mortal Kombat Figures

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One of the goriest franchises in the history of gaming will soon be playable in a different way, because Storm Collectibles have revealed a ton of new Mortal Kombat action figures at Toy Fair.

Fans of the ultraviolent fighting franchise might want to start fighting back their nerd boners, because Storm’s new figure line includes some of the most popular characters from the series, including Ermac, Shao Kahn, Rain, Smoke, Reptile, and Goro, although I was personally a little let down to see that the smooth movie star Johnny Cage appears to be absent.

Toy Ark posted a series of photos of the highly-detailed figures from the event, and we can probably expect them to arrive in stores soon. Since the release of the first game all the way back in 1992, the Mortal Kombat franchise has sold a combined total of 35 million copies in addition to generation over $5 billion in revenue, so these toys will keep the ravenous fanbase happy until the inevitable announcement of Mortal Kombat XI.

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