With a hoarse voice from all of the screeching, hollering and cheering, Horror Freak News can officially put in the books – another 10 day marathon of scary films at the 17th Annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival in Los Angeles (our fourth time covering the fest!)
In attendance for some of the films and walking the carpet for festival events, were such personalities as Kane Hodder (To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story), Tom Arnold (Dead Ant), Lydia Hearst, Chris Hardwick (The Talking Dead), Selma Blair (Hellboy) and Jake Busey (Dead Ant).
The urban drama/horror film Tigers Are Not Afraid was the big winner of this year’s festival, scoring FIVE total awards – including four of the biggie honors – Best Picture, Best Director (for Issa Lopez), Best Actress (for Paola Lara), Best Actor (Juan Ramon Lopez). It also took home the prize for Best Editing (Joaquim Marti).
Right on Tiger’s heels was the engaging whodunit, The Laplace’s Demon with FOUR total awards, including Best Cinematography (Ferdinando D’urbano) Best Score (Duccio Giulivi), Best Visual FX (Giordano Giulivi and Alessandro Zonfrilli), Best Special Effects (Giordano Giulivi)
And here is the full list of winners of the coveted and prestigious “Skully” trophy – designed by the late Stan Winston.
Best Feature Film: Tigers Are Not Afraid
Best Short Film: Please Love Me Forever
Best Horror Comedy: Dead Ant
Best Director: Issa Lopez of Tigers Are Not Afraid
Best Actor: Juan Ramon Lopez for Tigers Are Not Afraid
Best Actress: Paola Lara for Tigers Are Not Afraid
Best Editing: Tigers Are Not Afraid
Best Makeup – Creature Effects: Tragedy Girls
Best Cinematography: The Laplace’s Demon
Best Visual Effects: The Laplace’s Demon
Best Special Effects: The Laplace’s Demon
Best Score: The Laplace’s Demon
Best Unproduced Screenplay: U-666 by Jacqueline Perez
There was also a Career Achievement Award given to prolific producer Marianne Maddalena – who is most known for working with the late, great Wes Craven. She produced on such various films as The People Under the Stairs, the Scream franchise, Music of the Heart, Vampire in Brooklyn, Cursed, Red Eye and Shocker.
And as always, I’ve gotta blab a bit about my own festival favorites. So here are my picks for the “best of fest”.
TOP FIVE Feature Films (in order of preference):
The Laplace’s Demon (review)
Tigers Are Not Afraid (review)
Double Date (review forthcoming)
Vidar the Vampire (review)
Trench 11 (review)
TWO Feature Film Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):
Alone (review forthcoming), To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (review forthcoming)
TOP TEN Best Short Films (in order of preference):
Julkita, Crave, Please Love Me Forever, Killer Spacemen from Outer Planet X, Man in Box, Totem, Bloodyback, I Love Eva Marsh, Imposter, Dead Cool
SEVEN Short Film Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order):
Alfred J. Hemlock, Dublika, Kept, Marian, Old MacDonald, Real Gods Require Blood, What Metal Girls are Into
And now my new ranking (begun for this year’s Filmquest) for my top short films which I would love to see as a feature. In other words… GIVE ME MORE!
FOUR Short Films I Want to See as Features (in alphabetical order):
Bloodyback, Dead Cool, I Love Eva Marsh, Kept
Among the fun retro-screenings over the past 10 days – a tribute to the late Tobe Hooper with his 1981 horror classic, The Funhouse and a showing of Child’s Play with director Tom Holland in attendance for a Q&A.
There was also a premiere screening of the latest episode out of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise – Leatherface. You can check out my review for that flick here.
And the closing night festivities revolved around honoring three horror classics from the late, great George A. Romero – the original Night of the Living Dead, Day of the Dead and the Stephen King collaboration Creepshow.
The awards ceremony at this year’s Screamfest closing night was hosted by Dread Central’s Sean Decker and actress Cerina Vincent (Eli Roth’s Cabin Fever, Disney’s Stuck in the Middle).
Sadly, this year’s Festival Ambassador — The Lord of the Rings‘ Dominic Monaghan — wasn’t in attendance, but he offered up a rousing start (via video) to the festival prior to the opening night screening.
The opening night screening of Dead Ant was held at the legendary Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (the first time the festival has had a showing there since 30 Days of Night premiered at Screamfest in 2007). All other screenings took place at the TCL Chinese Theatres in the Hollywood/Highland complex. Parties throughout the week were held at Lucky Strike in Hollywood and at Teddy’s in the Roosevelt Hotel (the site of the first Academy Awards).
With 17 years under her belt, festival founder and organizer Rachel Belofsky (and her incredible team) brings together lots of great folks, lots of great films and lots of great scares – each and every year. And this year’s event was no exception (I mean, TWO 5-star reviews from yours truly out of this year’s fest – WOW!)
And if you’ve not made the trek (whether you’re just down the street or from somewhere across the globe) you should put forth the effort to drop in for some flicks next year. I mean, hey – if actors and filmmakers from around the world (this year there were folks from Norway, Australia and Italy – among others – in attendance) are able to get here, then you’ve got no excuse… especially any of you LA locals!
After 10 full days which included dozens of feature and short films viewed, we’ve got some serious catching up to do! So stay tuned to this space for forthcoming reviews of several other films we screened (Ruin Me, Alone, 1922, Double Date, The Lodgers and To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story).
For further information on all things Screamfest (including events they hold throughout the year – separate from this big annual festival) visit their site at www.screamfestla.com.
To borrow a popular line from one of this year’s honorees (George A. Romero), until next year, “Stay scared!”