Quantcast Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival Oct. 2006


RHODE ISLAND INTERNATIONAL HORROR FILM FESTIVAL (Oct. 06) by Bunni Speigelman.


FRIDAY: Featuring New England Filmmakers

UNEXPECTED COMPANY (Dir. Justin Sulham) 8 min.- A man waiting for his wife to finish preparing for a night out is suddenly inundated with bizarre and dangerous guests.

MAN OF THE WORM
(Dir. Brad Eadie) 8 min - A doting father must make a horrible choice when he awakes in a tomb with his daughter's body as his only possible sustenance.

IT'S JUST A DREAM
(Dir. Luke Cote) 5 min - A college student falls asleep while working on a paper about horror films. In his dreams, he is visited by a killer who embodies various villains from horror films. But is it only a dream?

GRACE (Dir. Paul Solet) 8 min - Winner of the Best Short at this festival, Grace is based in fact. Occasionally pregnant women knowingly have to carry dead babies to term. When Madeleine (Liza Weil) is involved in a car accident, her husband (Brian Austen Green) and her unborn baby are casualties. Madeleine decides to carry the baby to term in order to deliver her naturally. Much like the film Deathdream, this short is a tribute to the power of a mother's love and its potentially monstrous results.

Unlike the majority of shorts, this film had diamond drill like precision. Watching it, one could feel the audience's fascination with the story and the characters. The attention to detail (like Liza Weil's nails recently featured in Rue Morgue) as well as the careful and thoughtful editing of the piece rightfully earned it an award.


 

CAMP BLOOD: THE MUSICAL (www.myspace.com/campbloodthemusical) Created by Tanner Barklow, Jefferson Craig, and Thomas Hughes 31 min. This campy (forgive me) splatacular musical features six teenagers (a Virgin-Square/Jock (closet homosexual?) /Slut/Nerd/Goth/Slacker-Rebel) who arrive at an isolated summer camp only discover that they are being stalked by a killer in a ski mask. This musical is in the same vein as Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter and Zombie Prom-entertaining in its self acknowledging kitschiness, but with surprisingly catchy and smart musical numbers. It's easy to dismiss these kind of films, but like the best of them Camp Blood pays close attention to detail (for example in the opening scene a macroni collage pinned to the camp director's wall spells out the phrase "Help Me"). The musical chase scene including a clip of the killer doing the robot and the running man was well received as was the musical skinny dipping scene "and the tops come off."

 

THE WHITE LIE
(Dir. Ron Decaro) 11 min - When a drug dealer owes 100 dollars to the wrong person the results are disastrous for him and his family.

EATING RAZORS
(Dir. Ron Decaro) 26 min - When a man whose wife died in a car accident degenerates into alcoholism, he loses his job, his girlfriend, and possibly his mind.

RICKY 6 (Dir. Peter Filardi) 90 min - This film received the Audience Prize at the Fantasia Film Festival. The story (based in part on a true story) follows the degeneration of Ricky (played by Vincent Kartheiser-best known from the series Angel as Connor) from the point of view of his best friend as the dynamic and seemingly generous teen increasingly seeks solace in Satanism and drug abuse.

The film is populated with well-known character actors like Patrick Renna (who has appeared in everything from Boy Meet World to the X-Files) to Kevin Gage (who appeared in the controversial film Chaos).

 


SATURDAY:

BED BUGS (Dir. Sean Carley) 17 min - North American Premiere-When a woman discovers that the bug who resides in her bed can tell her the future in her dreams but at the price of her own flesh, she must make a difficult decision about the price of prescience.

PENNY DREADFUL (Dir. Bryan Norton) 29 min - A young married couple inherits a beautiful brownstone in the heart of the Village, the only trouble seems to be that they won't be able to keep the place due to estate taxes. But when the wife begins experiencing visions and troubling phone calls, it seems the house may not be as perfect as previously thought. Betsy Palmer appears as a local psychic called into consult on the haunting and reassures the young wife that ghosts can't harm the living. Or can they?

What makes this film riveting is the combination of photography and musical choices that gives is it a Victorian feel even though it is set in contemporary times.

UNREST (Dir. Jason Todd Ipson) 85 min - A young female medical student, Alison, begins to believe that her cadaver for gross anatomy is responsible for a series of murders. Alison fears that the spirit will continue on its bloodthirsty quest killing until laid to rest. Although I thought this film would be cliché and predictable, it is surprisingly intriguing. The climax, which features the main characters literally dunking themselves in a vat of formaldehyde in order to retrieve a decomposing body, is nauseating (in a good way-although I wouldn't recommend popcorn with this film or before it for that matter).

BLOOD SON
(Dir. Michael Macgruthers) 15 min - If you're like me, you buy horror anthologies with the hope that one or two of the twenty or so stories will be intriguing and worthwhile. Richard Matheson's Blood Son was one of those few stories that creates a lasting impression on the reader. The tale focuses on a teenage boy who becomes obsessed with vampirism. This short is one of the few faithful adaptations that manages to capture not just the plotline of the original, but the unsettling effect of the story as well. Although the original story was published in 1951, the story of an isolated youth who finds solace in the wrong place is still relevant and disturbing.

HORROR BUSINESS (Dir. Christopher Garetano) 85 min - Chris Garetano and DJ Slave AKA Dave Stagnari (Catharsis) were on hand to introduce this documentary about some of the more colorful denizens of the independent horror scene. Mark Borchardt, who appeared in American Movie, re-appears in this film working on his first film project in six years Scare Me. Although some of the filmmakers, like Dave Gebroe (Zombie Honeymoon) and Dave Slave AKA Dave Stagnari (Catharsis), come off rather well-one wonders how Chris got approval from some of the less complimentary portrayals in the film like Ron Atkinson (Schitzophreniac). This film is full of great lines like "You think when God was creating the Earth he asked for a lot of fuckin' money?" or "Now the tits have another meaning."

Still good, bad, or ugly, one can't help becoming emotionally invested in the trials of these filmmakers because they are, no matter their flaws, completely dedicated to their art. I can't wait to see the sequel Son of Horror Business, which will follow up on some of the originally featured filmmakers, but also include new filmmakers like Adam Barnick (Mainstream) and Scott Goldberg (who received the Best New Director award this year at the RIIHFF).

THE EYES OF EDWARD JAMES (Dir. Rodrigo Gudino) 15 min - Gudino is the founder and former editor of Rue Morgue Magazine. This film is shot in the first person explores a hypno-therapy session from the point of view of the patient, Edward, as he attempts to discover the truth about an event so horrible he has suppressed it from his memory. Generally, I am suspicious of "first person films", but this one is amazingly well done. Gudino cast extraordinary voice talent who were able to convey the emotional reality of the character with nuance. Further the twist was so well written that I physically felt the reveal in my stomach. An outstanding directorial debut!

THE LOST (Dir. Chris Siverston) 119 min - Based on the novel by Jack Ketchum the movie opens with information that Ray Pye makes himself taller by placing crushed beer cans in the bottom of his boots. It then reveals the 19 year old Ray brutally murdering two lovely young girls who are camping. Ray's friend and soon to be partner in drug dealing, Tim, and his would be girlfriend Jen help him to cover up the crime. The film focuses on the multifaceted character of Ray-who is, depending on circumstance, charming, dangerous, pathetic, vulnerable, sensitive, and funny. But after years of having everything he wants exactly when he wants it, Ray is faced with a series of rejections and betrayal most importantly by Tim and Jen. And although those around him know him to be dangerous, how far Ray will go to get revenge will shock an entire town and certainly the viewer.

Although this film drags a bit in the middle, the opening and climax of this film are absolutely riveting. Marc Senter showed perfect pitch for an actor in playing Ray Pye. He could easily have gone over the top, but rather his abilities revealed the full range of Pye's character-giving him moments of genuine vulnerability as well as charm. Senter's performance is perfectly partnered with this brilliantly subtle and engaging script. The Lost should be commended for its unflinching portrayal of both emotional and physical cruelty. Not a film to be undertaken lightly.


SUNDAY:

MIDNIGHT SCREENING (Dir. Annabel Osbourne) 8 min - Required viewing for any short person who has ever gone to the movies only to have the tallest person in theater sit directly in front of him/her. Director Annabel Osbourne introduced her film and explained that her inspiration for the film was just that simple. It's hard to believe, considering the sophistication of the photography, that this entire film was shot in one and half day and was, in her words, extremely fun, but that's exactly what she told us before the movie. The contrasting colors give the film a striking yet surrealistic appearance. While the film has a sense of humor, it can be interpreted as a serious parable about the potentially disastrous results of attempting to crush "the little people."

THE NEED
(Dir. Chris Young) 12 min - Leah Moreno gives a fabulous performance as a mysterious young woman who invites a suitor from a personal ad into her home. Almost the flip side of Grace, this film depicts how far a child can go in order to protect her mother.

The set gives the film both the saturated colors and the contemporary trying to look retro look of many David Lynch films, although some of the spookier scenes reminded me Dario Argento's Suspiria. A well cut gem of a short film.

EDDIE LOVES YOU (Dir. Karl Holdt) 25 min - The demonic doll plot has a long cinematic history; from the Trilogy of Terror to the Chucky franchise, everyone likes a psychotic knife wielding toy. Eddie Loves You is proud to continue in that tradition with an especially cute villain. When a man decides to throw out an Elmo-like stuffed animal, the stuffed animal seeks retribution with surprising results. The film offers homage’s to The Fog, Halloween, Child's Play, and the Exorcist.

Shot on DV for just 250 pounds, this film won Marv the Killer Rabbit's Audience Choice Award as well as Best Cinematography at the Portobello Film Festival in London and Best Amateur Film at the 17th Festival of Fantastic Films in Manchester.

THE ENTRANCE (Dir. Damon Vignale) 81 min -When a female police officer is specifically requested to talk to a man who was allegedly abducted and forced to play games for his life, she is sucked into a battle of wits with a fallen angel who punishes the guilty and temps the innocent for the Devil's entertainment. Think Saw meets the Seventh Seal.


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