by M. Faust
The return of Buffalo Screams
By the time Halloween fever hits next week, horror fans will have already seen the remake of The Thing; the desperate ones may fork over their ticket dollars for another sequel to the one-joke Paranormal Activity, all the while bemoaning the loss of those halcyon days when the multiplexes catered to their tastes at this time of year.
Fear not. Hollywood may have dropped the ball, but Buffalo Screams is back to pick up the slack, and then some. The first edition of this local festival was so successful last year that it has been expanded to five nights, running from Wednesday through next Sunday. Horror mavens Greg Lamberson and Emil Novak have spent the year watching submissions from around the world to present along with a half dozen local productions.
Lamberson, whose latest novel Cosmic Forces has just been published, counts as a measure of success the number of filmmakers who will be traveling to Buffalo to show their work. The horror circuit is large, so to add a new festival like Buffalo Screams as a stop is a mark of respect and faith.
As it was last year, the festival will be organized in two-hour blocks, each including a feature and some short films (and in the horror genre, shorts are often the best work to be found). Tickets can be purchased for individual blocks and discounted consecutive blocks, or you can get a pass to everything for $45. (For 48 films, that comes out to less than a buck apiece.) All films will be shown at the Screening Room, with a separate room for vendors, meet and greets with the filmmakers, and cowering in fear until the monster’s gone.
I’ll cover most of the films in next week’s Artvoice. Here’s a rundown of the first two nights:
Wednesday, October 26
5pm block: RAGE, a thriller in the vein of Steven Spielberg’s Duel, about a psychotic motorcyclist stalking an automobile driver. Shorts: “Acid Spiders” (from the director of last year’s hit El Monstro Del Mar), “Jack’s Present,” and “The Backroad” (zombies!).
7:20pm block: ABSENTIA, an atmospheric mood piece about a pregnant woman wondering what the underground tunnel near her house has to do with the disappearance of her husband seven years ago. Short: “Something After Midnight” by Sam Qualiana (Snow Shark).
9:45pm block: THE BURNING, the original shot-in-Western New York slasher movie, made in 1979 by the Weinstein brothers before they began Miramax. Look for Jason Alexander, Holly Hunter, and Fisher Stevens. (Full disclosure: My wife and her sister are somewhere in this, too.) Presumably it will be the uncut version, featuring all the Tom Savini gore that was cut from the VHS release. Short: “Inbred and Undead,” in which scream queen Melantha Blackthorne introduces her adults-only film featuring inbred cannibals and zombies.
Thursday, October 27
5pm block: THE COLLAPSED—The Onion loved this post-apocalypse entry, praising its cinematography and score and the lead performance of John Fantasia as a survivalist trying to protect his family. Shorts: “Waffle,” “Ouija.”
7:15pm block: THE FINAL NIGHT AND DAY, locally production pitting a stranded group of lawmen and the killers they are guarding against the living dead. Short: “An Evening with My Comatose Mother.”
9:40pm block: TRIPPIN’—Not all women in the horror industry are scream queens. This comedy satirizing the “horny teens in a cabin” premise is the feature debut of director Devi Snively, whose comic shorts about life and death won her a spot in the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop. It will be presented by Paige Davis of Alternative Cinema. Short: “Cosas Feas” (“Nasty Stuff”).
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