Sunday, September 22, 2013

Horrorfest 2013 Preview

A friend of mine noted recently that I hold my own personal Horrorfest every year. It’s nice to know that people pay attention. He also noted to my mother when he saw how excited I was that this year’s Horrorfest was so close that she had a perennially 14-year-old son. To say I’m giddy at this time of year is a bit of an understatement.

I don’t know if it’s really the horror genre that I’m so excited to get into, or if it’s the special direction my movie viewing takes during the month of October. Of course, I can’t control what is released in movie theaters, and as this is also the start of the awards season push for theatrical releases, there are some non-horror related titles I will surely be reviewing throughout the month, such as “Captain Phillips” and “Machete Kills”, “Rush” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2”. But, other than a few select theatrical releases, for the thirty-five days or so beginning this coming Saturday, every movie I watch with have some sort of horror bent to it. This year is no different.

Theatrically “Gravity” will be first up on the heels of some incredible buzz from the Toronto Film festival. While not strictly a horror movie, it certainly deals with one of the most horrific developments any of us can imagine, becoming stranded in space. A new remake of the 1976 horror classic “Carrie” hits theaters in mid-October. Based on Stephen King’s first novel about a high school girl with paranormal powers, the original version, directed by Brian De Palma, is one of those near perfect films that many feel could not be improved upon. So, why a new version? I’ll be examining that question with reviews of both versions of the movie.

Two documentaries were released this spring about two other classic horror films. “My Amityville Horror” looks at the psychological scars left on one of the real life family members from the family that inspired the novel and movie “The Amityville Horror”.  “Room 237” looks at the imagery and interpretations of Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s “The Shining”. I cannot promise that both of the films these docs are about won’t surface somewhere in Horrorfest as well.

One original that won’t show up—because I examined it last year—is Wes Craven’s “Scream”, but two documentaries were included in the BluRay collection of the series that I didn’t have time to watch last year. “Scream: The Inside Story” looks at the making of the movie phenomenon “Scream”, while “Still Screaming” is a retrospective designed to show how the makers of the “Scream” series tried to pump new life into the tired subgenre of the teen slasher flick.

I will also examine Wes Craven’s 1991 film “The People Under the Stairs” along with a number of other b-movie horror films new and mostly old. There are a number of b-movies with b-movie titles, like “The Stuff”, “Attack of the Crab Monsters”, “Galaxy of Terror”, “Night of the Cobra Woman”, and “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra”. I will try to find the differences, if any, between the “Jaws” parody knock offs “Barracuda” and “Piranha”. I will revisit the cult horror classics “Re-Animator”, “House”, and “The Haunting of Hell House”. In newer fare, I’ll also catch up with the Eli Roth starring Chile earthquake picture “Aftershock”, the exorcism themed “The Devil Inside”, and Xan Cassavetes’ take on vampires “Kiss of the Damned”. The family will join me in screenings of “ParaNorman” and the brand new “Toy Story” Halloween special to air on ABC in October.

As is often the case with Horrorfest, none of these titles are set in stone. Programming changes are a frequent occurrence during Horrorfest and no horror film is totally excluded from my screening schedule. Many people have requested a look at some foreign cult horror movements, and I can never seem to schedule them ahead of time; but considering how much I enjoyed this year’s theatrical release “Berberian Sound Studio”, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mini 70s Italian Horrorfest some time in the next month. As always, be prepared for some shocks during Horrorfest. I can’t wait ‘til Saturday!

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