Telluride Horror Show 2017: The Full Recap

While Telluride, CO is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in my entire life, it sure is a bitch to get to. Let me explain the process I took to get here, okay? I started Tuesday night by leaving Southeast Michigan and driving to Chicago, where I stayed the night with my friend who would be joining me on my Telluride Horror Show adventure. In the morning, we took an Uber to O’Hare and flew to Denver, where we met up with Brad McHargue and some other THS pals for dinner before heading back to his place to crash for the night. Oh, and Mike Snoonian joined us late that night. I think I remember waking up for a moment when he came in the door but I can’t be certain.

The following morning, we were on the road at 6:30am for the 6+ hour drive from Denver to Telluride, stopping occasionally for gas and once at the Mountain Lyon Cafe in Silverthorne for some breakfast (I got the corned beef hash with a side of silver dollar pancakes and it was amazing).

Finally, after around 40 hours of jumping from one location to another, I was in Telluride! Not five minutes later, I had my first local craft beer, started to get some work done, and began preparing myself mentally for the wonder and joy that is Telluride Horror Show. Later that night, we had drinks and food at The Oak where many of the people associated with the festival – workers, volunteers, programmers, guests, etc… – were all hanging out. I ran into host Meredith Borders of Birth.Movies.Death as well as Tyler MacIntyre, director of Tragedy Girls (review), and Vincente DiSanti, the director of Never Hike Alone.

With the day before the festival complete, it was time to hit up the AirBNB and get some rest. There was a lot of horror to be had!

telluridehorrorshow - Telluride Horror Show 2017: The Full Recap

Friday, October 13th. Day one of Telluride Horror Show.

It’s time to get my game face on and prepare for horror battle! However, first step’s first: gotta get my badge, which is in the Sheridan Opera House bar where they also have all the THS merch (gonna be getting one of those thin, long-sleeve hoodies, I promise you), including shirts, Funko POP! vinyl figures, horror beach towels, beer coozies, bottle openers, and a whole lot more. Were my suitcase not about to pop when I zip it shut, I’d be spending a lot of money I don’t have.

After picking up my badge and sorting out my schedule, it was off to see the World War 1 period film Trench 11 (review), which follows a group of Allied soldiers who investigate an abandoned German bunker there they are convinced that war crimes were committed. Turns out they were right but the Germans, who are supposed to admit defeat, aren’t going to let that evidence be found so easily. Meanwhile, the bunker itself holds deadly and vicious secrets of its own…

From there, it was off to the Ice Cream Social for some, you guessed it, ice cream and catching up with friends that I haven’t seen since last year’s event. It was also a time to walk around, reacquaint myself with the area (I ended up needing to hit up Hub, the local electronic store, soon afterward, so it was good that I did this), and make plans for the coming days.

At 10:15pm, I introduced Mayhem to the THS audience at the Palm Theater. I saw the film earlier this year at SXSW (review) and I stuck around because I wanted to see it with an audience once again. Something about the energy of the film just grabs hold of everyone watching it and fills them with absolutely joy and excitement. Revisiting that with a new audience was nothing short of delightful.

I capped off the night with some karaoke, where your boy belted out a thoroughly crowd-pleasing rendition of A-Ha’s “Take on Me”. If you ever run into me at a festival and karaoke is an option, it won’t take much to convince me to join you and your pals for a song or two…or ten.

brooklyn mayhem - Telluride Horror Show 2017: The Full Recap

Saturday, October 14th. Day two of Telluride Horror Show.

I start my day off by answering some emails, having a phone call or two, and getting some breakfast at Baked in Telluride (home to the largest doughnuts I’ve ever seen). From there, it was off to KOTO Radio where my friend, TJ, Film Thrill’s Mike Snoonian, and myself joined local radio host “Captain” Caitlin Ketel for 2+ hours of horror radio goodness, where we got to select all the music and conversation. Never should I be given that kind of power again…

After soothing the earholes of Telluride’s radio listeners, some dinner was required before heading to the Palm Theater to watch Meredith Borders introduce both Jungle (review) and Creep 2 (review), ending each with a Q&A with directors Greg McLean and Patrick Brice, respectively.

From McLean discussing Jungle, we learned that real-life survivor Yossi Ghinsberg was trying to get his story turned into a film for many, many years. At one point, they were even discussing having Jean Claude Van Damme play Ghinsberg! But most importantly, we saw a director who stated that he had several films in which he took lives and this was a chance to make a movie about fighting to save one. As you can probably guess in my review, I utterly adored Jungle. It is a film that I will be revisiting and sharing with many, many people.

Patrick Brice revealed to audiences that when the original Creep was picked up, it was with the intentions that there be a second and third film. He also told us that there is a completed script for a sequel that has been shelved because it just didn’t feel like the right way to go. Hopefully one day that script will see the light of day! And yes, I found Creep 2 to be absolutely fantastic. It’s shocking, hilarious, deeply unsettling, and also features Mark Duplass’ penis. So, yeah…be prepared for that.

Creep2 Still 10 Mark Duplass Photo Cred Desiree Akhavan 1 - Telluride Horror Show 2017: The Full Recap

Sunday, October 15th. Day three of Telluride Horror Show.

I again started my morning by doing some work, catching up on some emails, and doing a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff for Dread. Then it was o to grab some breakfast (yes, at Baked) and then I took my TJ on the gondola that goes between Telluride and Mountain Village. Reaching a peak height of 10,500 feet, we got to see the entirety of Telluride shrinking while the landscape of gorgeous mountains, dark green coniferous trees swaying gently in the wind, and yellow fields unfolded before and behind us.

After stumbling around and grabbing a vegetable-heavy smoothie in Mountain Village – trust me and take care of your diet at events like these or your body will shut down – we made our way back so that I could introduce Trench 11 to a crowd before going to the Oak to help setup a horror trivia event, which was sponsored by us here at Dread Central.

Here were some of the questions:
Between 1931 and 1948, Universal Studios made how many films that starred or included Dracula?
Answer: 6

John Carpenter’s The Thing is a remake of The Thing From Another World. Who wrote the book that inspired these movies?
Answer: John W. Campbell

Which Twin Peaks actor played the lead character in the 1980 giant monster movie Alligator?
Answer: Robert Forster

And my personal favorite: After Gordon is impaled on a giant drill bit, how does Geko describe his dead body?
Answer: “He’s screwed!”

For the final movie of the festival, it was up to the Sheridan to help Mike Snoonian introduce Adam Green’s Victor Crowley (review), which I stuck around to watch. People: it’s legit. Does it have a believable plot? Nope. Does it have a story with holes so big a truck could fit through them? Yep. Is it bloody, violent, hilarious, and outrageously gory? You bet your ass! TJ and I had an absolute blast with this film, as did the audience.

To cap off the 8th annual Telluride Horror Show, it was off to the Last Dollar for drinks, photos, and as much chatting with new and old friends as possible. After all, many of us wouldn’t be seeing each other again until next year, so this was our last chance to hang out. Lots of hugs, handshakes, and waves later, it was off to the AirBNB to get some well-deserved rest.

As it was last year, Telluride Horror Show was an absolute blast in a gorgeous location that is ideally suited for a horror festival. If you have the chance to go, make it happen. I promise you that you won’t regret it.

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Written by Jonathan Barkan

Lifelong horror fan with a love of music on the side.

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