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Son of Horror Galore

Buffalo Screams continues through Halloween weekend

Horror movies were what first got me into film as a kid, but I fell away from the genre over the years as it seemed to be taken over by excessive gore and special effects. There are horror movies around now whose mere descriptions make me feel ill.

But the genre is a lot more diverse and lively than that, as proven by the range of films being shown at Buffalo Screams, the horror festival whose second edition is currently unspooling at the Screening Room. Co-founders Emil Novak and Greg Lamberson have called on their contacts in the industry both local and international to assemble five days of impressive programming.

Of the films remaining to be shown that I’ve seen, my favorite is The Super, a movie that does it’s damnedest to look like it was made in 1977, down to faux scratches on the print where the reel ends would be. Demetri Kallas gives a ferociously demented over-the-top performance as the immigrant super of a Queens apartment building who has problems when his tenants don’t live up to his standards. (He’s a Vietnam vet, and we all know what that means in the grindhouse dictionary.) A must-see for fans of Basket Case and other scuzzy urban horror classics.

Filmmaking skill of another variety is present in full force in The Black Box, a claustrophobic sci-fi film set in a world where society is collapsing. People are required to remain indoors after dark and fitted with a device that records everything you do. Jason Balas, who wrote, directed, edited, and shot this professional-looking feature, has an obsessive grasp of his frame at every minute, and the result is a film that demands close attention, more so than viewers might be expecting.

Buffalo Screams is programmed in blocks, most running about two hours and containing a feature and several short films. All films will be shown at the Screening Room, with a separate room for vendors. Tickets are available at the door.

Friday, October 28

5pm block: THE BLACK BOX (see above). Shorts: “Sadist,” which promises “More murders per minute than you will see in any other film!!” and “Alistair.”

7:10pm block: DECAYED, the world premiere of Emil Novak’s locally made zombie anthology, part of which was screened last year. Short: “Monster Bed.”

10pm block: THE MILLENNIUM BUG, a special effects movie with a rare genre mix of inbred cannibals and giant monsters. Short: “Swirlee,” by Roy Frumkes, featuring David Caruso.

Saturday, October 29

Noon block: DIE FARBE, German adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Color Out of Space. Shorts: “Special Report: Is Williamsburg Dead?,” “Silent Control,” and “Enter the Dark.”

2:30pm block: A tribute to designer Tony Mauro, who will discuss what makes a great movie poster. This block also includes four medium-length films, including the animated Halloween short “Raven’s Hollow,” the local production “Gagsters: The Movie,” and two Italian entries, “Betania” and “Il Marito Perfetto” (“The Perfect Husband”).

5:30pm block: STREET TRASH, the legendary 1980s Manhattan splatter movie in which a bottom shelf wine causes bums to melt—and that’s if they’re lucky. Producer Roy Frumkes will be present for a Q&A. Shorts: “A Change of Plans” by local filmmaker Rod Durick, and “The One That Got Away,” from the creator of last year’s “Damn Your Eyes.”

9pm block: THE SUPER—see above, followed by a Q&A with producer/editor Alex Lugones and star Demetri Kallas. Shorts: local production “The Focus Box,” and Debbie Rochon in a new adaptation of The Tell Tale Heart.

Sunday, October 30

12:30pm block: An all-short program including “Black Guy on a Rampage,” “X-Strike Studios’ Off Campus,” “The 5-Second Rule,” “Yardbird,” “Banks of Vlatvia,” “Ambition of Love,” :The Last Broadcast,” “Lost in Falsity,” and “For Love of Zombies.”

3:30pm block: Roy Frumkes presents THE DEFINITIVE DOCUMENT OF THE DEAD, the final (?) edit of his ongoing documentary about George A. Romero. Shorts: An Arabic zombie film, “Envy of the Dead,” and “Paddy and Me.”

7pm—Stick around for the Buffalo Screams Awards Dinner.

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