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Exclusive Interview with Screamfest Founder Rachel Belofsky

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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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Creep 2 Starring Mark Duplass Hits Netflix This December

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Just the other day we shared with you guys an exclusive interview with Partick Brice, the director of the Mark Duplass-starring found footage flicks Creep and Creep 2.

Today we have the awesome news that the killer sequel Creep 2 will be hitting Netflix streaming on December 23rd.

The original creeptastic motion picture is already streaming on Netflix so if you need to catch up – or just watch the original again – you can do so tonight and get ready for the sequel which, personally, I found to be superior (if even just slightly) to the original.

What did you think of the original film? Are you excited to check out the sequel? Or have you already seen it? Make sure to let us know in the comments below or on social media!

Creep 2 starring Mark Duplass and Desiree Akhavan hits Netflix December 23rd!

Synopsis:

Desiree Akhavan (“Girls”, APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR) stars as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work,” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass, reprising his role from the previous film). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.

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Waxwork Records Unveils Phenomenal 2018 Subscription Package

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Our pals over at Waxwork Records have unveiled their 2018 subscription bundle and it’s packed to the brim with some absolutely fantastic titles! Horror fans who enjoy spinning their music on turntables can look forward to two Romero titles, Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, Joe Dante’s The ‘Burbs, Sam Raimi’s Drag Me to Hell, and lastly they’ll have Jordan Peele’s smash success title Get Out. On top of getting those five records, those who join the subscription program will also receive a t-shirt, coffee mug, poster, notebook, magnet, enamel pin, calendar, and more.

For Night of the Living Dead, Waxwork Records worked closely with the film’s original creators, including Romero himself prior to his passing, the Museum of Modern Art, and The Criterion Collection so that they could source audio from the 4K restoration. It will be released as a 2xLP package.

Dawn of the Dead will also get a 2xLP release that will include brand new artwork, re-mastered audio, and more. The same kind of treatment is being given to The ‘Burbs. Christopher Young’s Drag Me to Hell soundtrack will be a single LP but will get the same level of attention and quality as the other titles.

As for Peele’s Get Out. Michael Abels; score will be released on a 2xLP vinyl set and will pay tribute to one of the most culturally significant movies of the past several years.

The Waxwork Records subscription package will be $250 ($285 in Canada) and will open up for sale this Friday, the 24th. More information can be found on Waxwork’s website.

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I Already Have a Dog But Now I Want a Baby Dinosaur

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The first trailer for Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the sequel to 2015’s Jurassic World, is rumored to be attached to Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Since that film is going to be coming out in less than a month, it’s no surprise that the marketing campaign for the dino-filled trailer is already starting and today it kicks off with a six-second teaser that is as adorable as you can get!

In the teaser, Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady is petting a baby velociraptor, which coos and twitters in the cutest of fashions. Is there anything else going on? Nah. Does something else need to happen? Nope. The movie already has me sold.

Directed by J.A. Bayona (When a Monster Calls), Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom also stars Bryce Dallas Howard, B.D. Wong, and Toby Jones. However, the biggest and most important star of the film will be the return of Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, who is, in my humble opinion, the best character in the franchise, besting even the T-rex that seemingly cannot die.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom will evolve into theaters on June 22, 2018.

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