Now in its fifth year, the spooks that normally populate the streets of Washington D.C. —those who hail mainly from the CIA’s headquarters in suburban Langley, Virginia—give way at the end of October to the Halloween variety, particularly with the arrival of the brief, spunky, and easily digestible “Spooky Movie 2010,” this year’s edition of the annual event which showcases an international collection of over two dozen short and 11 feature horror films. The five day gore-fest (Oct. 21-25) includes an opening night (Sundance favorite “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil”) in The American Film Institute’s big auditorium in Silver Spring, with subsequent screenings around the Beltway at the Cinema Arts Theatre in Fairfax, Virginia. This Canadian comedy has been called a slasher film by way of “Three’s Company,” and I suspect it will provide the same misguided shenanigans we all adored in “Shaun of the Dead.”
“We are looking forward to once again work with the American Film Institute,” said Mr. Curtis Prather, festival director and founder. “Thanks to our theatre partners, such as the AFI Silver Theatre and Cinema Arts Theatre, audiences from all over the D.C. metro area will have extraordinary opportunities to see the best independent horror cinema on the big screen!”
The Cinema Arts Theatre, which has been home for Spooky Movie since 2006, opens its presentations on Friday night with new zombie movies, highlighted this year by the terrific and bloody feature films “Colin,” a British entry shown at last year’s Cannes Film Festival, followed by U.S. indie effort “Broken Springs: Shine of the Undead Zombie Bastards,” the first feature directed by Neeley Lawson, a documentary and shorts editor. Patrons dressed as zombies will receive discounted admission!
The Saturday night program presents a grindhouse double-feature, starting with the Australian item “El monstro del mar!” Simon Foster of Six Billions Stories and counting… says “director Stuart Simpson’s supremely sick mash-up of rebellious rockabilly, serial-killer slice-and-dice and sea-monster malarkey is a seriously out-there debut feature. Destined to have bong-toting teens and self-scarring Goths working their pause/rewind buttons like never before, Simpson’s low-budget, high-energy burlesque-infused bloodbath is a style-over-substance shocker that brazenly dares audiences not to bestow upon it cult status and midnight-screening high priority.” Filling in the bottom half of that evening’s bill is “The Uh-oh Show,” the latest from the one and only Herschell Gordon Lewis, now 80+ years young and the inspiration for many of today’s horror helmers with such 60s classics as “Two Thousand Maniacs” “Blood Feast,” “The Gruesome Twosome,” and other memorable titles.
“We’ve welded together outrageous gore and outrageous humor,” says Herschell, who debuted footage from the film for the Spooky Movie patrons at opening night 2009. “The audience will know we had a good time making this one, and I can promise they’ll have a good time watching it.” The festival program notes that bcause of the extreme nature of some of the features and shorts, the Saturday night block is restricted to patrons 17 years and older, without exception.
A full day schedule is offered on Sunday the 25th, starting at noon. Stephen King’s “Everything Eventual,” the psychological slasher “The Echo Game, the extreme French/Norwegian twist on the living dead “Dark Souls (Mørke Sjeler)”, the brilliantly twisted and disturbing look at the horror movie culture, “S&Man (Sandman), ” which shocked audiences at the Toronto International Film Festival and South by Southwest, and “Every Other Day Is Halloween,” the documentary on the career of Spooky Movie’s godfather “Count Gore De Vol.”
“I’m continually amazed as to how happy people are after watching this film in a theater,” said Dick Dyszel (a.k.a. “Count Gore De Vol,” “Captain 20,” and “Bozo”), who, as “The Count,” will attend the screening, accompanied by vintage props from his shows. “The film brings back so many wonderful memories!”
The festival closes Monday night with the U.S. premiere of “The Matrimony,” a Chinese ghost story set in 1930s Shanghai, representing Extreme Asia cinema.
The 31 diverse international shorts hail from 9 counties and represent resourceful, brief excursions into horror, comedy, suspense, science-fiction, ghosts, experimental imagery, vampires, animation, creepy kids, musicals, werewolves, maniacs, and even a zombie western. Several will accompany each feature film.
“As a filmmaker and a fan of the macabre, Spooky Movie is an essential stop for filmmakers and genre film buffs alike,” said award winning director, and three time Spooky Movie alum Brian Lonano, who’s new short “Martian Precursor” will world premiere at the very top of the festival, Thursday, October 21.
Full details, schedule, pricing, can be found at the official website, www.thespookymovie.com.
You can grab a bite of the program via the festival trailer: