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Buffalo Screams

Blood For Irina
Community Service
Crimson: The Movie

The annual horror film festival, now in its third year, kicks off on Wednesday

It had to happen sooner or later: Hollywood’s increasing fixation on making movies for children has finally hit the horror genre. What are they offering audiences his Halloween? Aside from a few more in the already-beaten-to-death “found footage” genre, it’s all for the kids: Hotel Transylvania, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman. Fun for all ages? Sure. Scary? Not even if you’re six years old.

Fortunately for all those looking for horror that’s not suitable for all ages, it’s time again for Buffalo Screams, the festival founded by filmmaker/novelist Gregory Lamberson and filmmaker/comic store proprietor Emil Novak. Last year’s festival was so successful that the third edition is not only running a day longer (from Wednesday, October 17 through Sunday, October 21) but also moving downtown to the spacious Market Arcade Film and Arts Center.

Buffalo Screams is organized into programming blocks of roughly two hours, most of which include one or two short films, a feature, and a filmmaker Q&A. You can get the complete schedule and ticket information

Most notable on the festival’s first two days are theatrical presentations of two local productions that have been picked up for national DVD distribution by POP Cinema later this year. Crimson: The Motion Picture (Thursday, 7:30pm) was shot in Niagara Falls by Ken Cosentino, and while it’s more of a crime drama than a horror film, genre fans are unlikely to quibble. It’s the story of a failed comic book artist who, after an accident leaves him with memory loss, believes that he is the masked crimefighter he has been writing about. The premise has been used in a few comedies, but this gangster drama is played mostly straight, though with a dose of black humor.

Wednesday brings what may be your last chance to see Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast in a theater before it hits DVD in December. It’s essentially Jaws in a snowdrift, a premise which amused me so much that (full disclosure) I invested in it.

Among the other opening days’ events:

Wednesday October 17:

5pm—A Q&A with special guest scream queen Debbie Rochon, star of Poultrygeist, Slime City Massacre, and 175 other horror films that weren’t shot in Buffalo, and the feature Blood For Irina, an homage to the arty French horror films of Jean Rollin that is the directorial debut of Fangoria editor Chris Alexander. Short films: “Dummy,” “Blue Hole.”

7:30pm—Student film “Kitchen Kombat,” short “Monophobia,” feature Snow Shark: Ancient Snow Beast, followed by a Q&A with director Sam Qualiana.

9:50pm—Short: “Employee of the Month,” from Switzerland, followed by Revenant, a moody exercise in tension about an aspiring write who moves into a house where a gruesome murder was committed hoping to communicate with the ghosts of the victims.

Thursday October 18:

5pm: Shorts “Hell’s Bells” and “Whom God Helps,” followed by the feature Community Service, filmed outside of Rochester, about an abused boy who seeks revenge on his childhood tormentors when he discovers they are running a community service program at a nearby campground. Do I smell a pickaxe scene?

7:30pm: Short: “De-Fanged: Decline of the Vampire” followed by Crimson: The Motion Picture and a Q&A with Ken Cosentino.

9:55 pm: Short “Just Like You” and the feature Zombie eXs, a zombie comedy in which a young man’s ex girlfriends all return to stalk him as the living dead.

See next week’s Artvoice for the concluding Buffalo Screams schedule.

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