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Screamfest LA Starts Tuesday!

Greetings and salutations, fellow Fridge Nukers! Bradfield here, reporting from the popcorn aisle of the Jon’s Market in

The coveted Screamfest Award - designed by FX legend, Stan Winston
The coveted Screamfest Award – designed by FX legend, Stan Winston

beautiful downtown Silver Lake!

Horror’s preeminent film festival, Screamfest LA, begins its 2013 run at Laemmle’s NoHo 7 (5240 Lankershim Blvd. North Hollywood, CA 91601) this coming Tuesday, October 8th. For those not in the know, Screamfest LA has been “discovering the new blood of horror and celebrating the masters,” for over a decade, exposing horror fans to the bleeding edge (literally) in the genre – the Sundance of Slash, if you will. If you’re a horror fan in Southern California and haven’t been, you really need to change that. Fast.

The Films

If Screamfest is analogous to Sundance, then Festival Director and founder, Rachel

Belofsky is its Robert Redford – selecting the best undiscovered indies and underlooked

foreign films, and bringing them to an audience hungry for authentic, good ol’ fashioned blood and guts in a world where mainstream success often entails neutering and dumbing down scary movies in pursuit of a Holy Grail, the PG-13 horror film. As producer of Going To Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film, she knows what fans want.

Joe Lynch, Adam Green, Adam Rifkin, and Tim Sullivan at the 2011 screening of "Chillerama"
Joe Lynch, Adam Green, Adam Rifkin, and Tim Sullivan at the 2011 screening of “Chillerama”

Screamfest is where Paranormal Activity was discovered. In the immortal words of The Bard (Stan Lee), “‘Nuff said.”

If you want to get in on the ground floor of the future of horror, Screamfest LA is where you do it. As always, this year’s roster runs the gamut from genre spoofs to f***ed the f*** up s***, and all points between, from every corner of the globe. Word to the wise: do not neglect the shorts program or films produced outside the United States. Foreign films are always important because you can see what films American writers and directors will be strip mining for the next couple years. Shorts? Many shorts are intentionally brief, while others are “Proofs of Concept,” that is to say, a shorter version — sometimes a selection of scenes — of an intended feature length picture. If the features can be considered “getting in on the ground floor,” taking the time to check out the short film is like sneaking in through the Garage. For a complete listing of films, as well as trailers, consult the Screamfest LA Film Guide.

The Fest

In terms of the general scene, either I’m just meeting the right people, or my conclusion that horror filmmakers and fans

After party, opening night 2011
After party, opening night 2011

are a fun bunch of folks is correct. For individuals whose lives revolve around creating and/or consuming images of demons, monsters, and the worst possible things human beings can do to one another, my experience is that they are, as a rule, pretty warm and inviting. In no other genre of the cinematic world, and I’d hazard to guess the festival circuit at large, will you find a less stuffy or pretentious environment. The horror community thrives on fan interaction, and Screamfest LA is no exception. Where at a conventional festival, the filmmakers might introduce the film, hanging out for a Q&A is becoming increasingly rare. At Screamfest, it’s the norm. Think of a Comic-Con panel, but you get to watch the entire movie.

Screamfest Awards 2011
Screamfest Awards 2011

Individual tickets are a steal at $10 apiece. Full Festival Passes and All Movie Passes are still available through Screamfest LA site – as are individual tickets, with a reasonable $1 handling charge. The big difference between the two being that the latter doesn’t allow you access to the parties. The parties are worth it, without a doubt, however, if you’re all about the movies and nothing else, you have the option. Be advised: individual tickets for the opening night premiere of Beneath are sold out. However, tickets to the opening night party and all other films are, so far, available.

Get ’em while they’re hot, people!