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Festival of Fear 2006 - Day 1





I just arrived back home from the third annual Rue Morgue Festival of Fear minutes ago. After enduring a hellacious Labor Day traffic jam, I’d love nothing more than to kick back with a beer and watch some DVDs acquired during the fest. But due to the lack of Internet connection in my Toronto digs and a resultant inability to update coverage over the weekend, the festival stories are already fading, so let me try and get some of it down while the memories are still warm and twitching...

Friday evening presented an opportunity to get the lay of the massive convention center land and take advantage of the relatively modest crowds to indulge in mass consumerism. In addition to thinning our wallets, the festival provided the opportunity to sit in on separate Q&A sessions with Michael Berryman and Linda Blair.

Michael Berryman and Rue Morgue's Dave Alexander

The Michael Berryman session was enjoyable, running the gamut from the expected questions about the Hills Have Eyes remake (he thought it “missed the mark”), being discovered by famed stop-motion filmmaker George Pal, and his upcoming movies. In-between Berryman discussed his hobbies and non-film related interests. It seems the years have been good to Pluto; the guy’s got a freaking stallion!

Having recently finished up Ed Gein: The Butcher of Plainfield with Kane Hodder, Berryman also just wrapped Black Water Serial Killer with Jeffrey Combs. "It’s a true story about a serial killer. Everyone he kills, he leaves a different flower as part of the formula to find the killer,” says Berryman. In the film Berryman plays a bloodhound trainer who assists the local gal sheriff. The twist is that his character has OCD and cannot go through a door without opening and closing it thirty-four times. Berryman assures us this device is used to ratchet up the tension during certain key scenes.

Berryman’s final film news came in the form of an update on Andrew Getty’s Storyteller starring Dina Meyer and Sean Patrick Flanery. “The movie is complete, and it’s gorgeous. There’s no CGI. Things that move, like our eight-foot wolf spider, is a real eight-foot wolf spider, articulated with motion control,” says Berryman of the film’s visuals. He goes on to state, “It’s probably the most ambitious part I’ve ever worked on, in one of my soon to be favorite films.” Shooting on Storyteller is complete, and the film is in the process of being scored. No release dates have been announced.

Killer Leatherface display sculptureBerryman finished up his Q&A with an impromptu impersonation of Rutger Hauer’s death scene from Blade Runner (which Berryman cites as his favorite film). Let me tell ya, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Pluto perform the famous replicant death scene. Freaky!

Paul and I decided to skip the Linda Blair Q&A session, and from what we heard afterwards, our laziness was well rewarded. Apparently Blair spoke for forty-five minutes about saving pitbulls (!), answered one or two questions about The Exorcist, and then split. I tried to get a photo of her to accompany the article, but free photos were verboten to the extent that Blair had a festival volunteer blocking her so that no illicit unpaid photos could be snapped. In the immortal words of Janet Jackson, “What have you done for me lately,” Linda Blair? Definitely the fan low-point of the weekend.

Check back soon for updates on the remainder of the festival including words from Jack Ketchum, Mike Mignola, Jeffrey Combs, Alice Cooper, and Rusty Nails.

Hit the fest's official site for more details!

- Andy Mauro

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