At the opening night screening of the 18th Annual (eligible to vote!) Screamfest in Los Angeles (at the TCL Chinese Theatres), this year’s Festival Ambassador, Lin Shaye (Insidious) asked that the audience count to three and then SCREAM!
She claims that it’s a way to release negative energy – a service which horror films provide – thus expelling the demons and letting in the angels.
With all due respect to this beloved horror icon, reactions such as this to horror films, could be about something far simpler than that.
SCREAMS will let the filmmakers and artists know that they’ve done their job, and that they’ve done it well.
It’s my fifth consecutive year covering Screamfest for Horror Freak News, and this year was a real barn-burner!
I took in 65 feature and short films (including a 12-hour day on Saturday and another 12-hour day on Sunday – taking in all of the horror goodness in the comfy seats of this darkened theatre).
In addition to all of the films in competition for this year’s coveted Skully (designed by the late Stan Winston – Oscar-winning effects artist), the festival offered up plenty of nostalgia via anniversary screenings of some old favorites.
Do you prefer your zombies out of the Haitian tradition of the undead? Well, then seeing Wes Craven’s classic The Serpent and the Rainbow on the big screen, would certainly have whet your appetite. In attendance for a Q&A, were several of the film’s producers.
There was also a 20th anniversary screening of Bride of Chucky, including a Q&A with creator Don Mancini. And if 2008’s Splinter is your bag, there was a 10th anniversary screening of that flick as well.
And to honor this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, producer Gale Anne Hurd – Screamfest had a fabulous double-bill of The Terminator and Aliens (which Hurd produced). She accepted the award in person and took part in a spirited Q&A moderated by Dread Central’s Sean Decker. Hurd is also one of the producers behind the AMC juggernaut The Walking Dead.
But enough of all the gory goodness as far as guests and anniversaries…
Here is the list of winners for Screamfest 2018!
Best Picture: Tumbbad
Best Director: Daniel Robbins — Pledge
Best Short Film: I Am the Doorway
Best Actor: Thomas Hedengran – Draug
Best Actress: Suzanne Voss – Dementia Part II
Best Editing: Pledge
Best Score: Draug
Best Visual Effects: Tumbbad
Best Makeup: Open 24 Hours
Best Special Effects: The Unthinkable
Best Cinematography: You Die (full review forthcoming)
Best Animated Short: La Noria
Best Unproduced Screenplay: Dead Strays by Neil Chase
And now — no festival wrap-up would be complete without my very own choices for “Best of Fest”!
TOP FIVE FEATURE FILMS (in order of preference): Tumbbad (full review forthcoming), The Unthinkable (full review forthcoming), The Golem (full review forthcoming), Pledge (full review forthcoming), Dementia Part II (FilmQuest review)
FEATURE FILMS – HONORABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order): Chuck Steele: Night of the Trampires, Discarnate (full review forthcoming), The Amityville Murders (full review)
TOP TEN SHORT FILMS (in order of preference): Bullets of Justice, Maggie May, Milk, La Noria, Hombre, The Silver, The Den, Acide, Killer Black, Gregory
FIVE SHORT FILMS – HONORABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetical order): bnb, Heartless, Out of the Darkness, Reformed, Sang Papier
And as is now the tradition, here is my list of short films which I would love to see played out in a feature version. Whether I wanted more of these characters, these scares or the wackiness these shorts provided – bottom line… I wanted more.
I WANT A FEATURE OUT OF THESE NINE SHORT FILMS (in alphabetical order): Acide, Bullets of Justice, The Den (La Guarida), Hombre, Lavender, Maggie May, Out of the Darkness, The Silver, Stray
And with the new tradition (begun at this year’s FilmQuest – check out my wrap-up here), I’m making note of the most wanted props/costume/set pieces from all of the features and the shorts – items which I simply must have in my personal film-fan collection. Don’t judge my ultimate nerdiness! In no particular order:
The horned-squirrel – Dementia Part II
The ornate urn – The Final Wish
The doll – The Golem
The “rat bucket” – Pledge
One of the gold coins or one of the dough-dolls– Tumbbad
The sheet music – The Unthinkable
The teddy bear – Acide
One of the pig masks – Bullets of Justice
One of the many hand “sores” – I Am the Doorway
The timer – Out of the Darkness
The passport – Sang Papier
The star icon light – Young Liars
I will also make note of the fact that I actually did receive a bust of the Chuck Steel character (the first 134 folks into that Saturday night screening received one) from the wacky and fun animated feature, Chuck Steel: Night of the Trampires.
And on the order of collecting, the new series Collection Complete showed tidbits of their new series, prior to all of the screenings at this year’s festival. Check out my write-up of this new epic “geek-out”. Collection Complete is all about genre toy/comic/prop collectors and how their passion has fueled their lives and careers. Brought to you by Gemr.com, these snippets were a great way to gear up the movie audiences.
Keep posted on all of the off-season offerings from Screamfest, by checking out their site at www.screamfestla.com. Throughout the year, they have frequent anniversary screenings of horror favorites. Earlier this year they showed Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Freddy vs. Jason and Hellbound: Hellraiser II, among others. So stay tuned for those films you might be able to experience (or re-experience) on the big screen in 2019!
But before I go – Screamfest 2018 isn’t quite in the books yet. In addition to the other titles mentioned above (“full review forthcoming”), other reviews still in the “to-do” pile – from my time in the aforementioned “darkened theatre”: The Final Wish, The Haunted, Welcome to Mercy, You Die.
For whatever reason we SCREAM at Screamfest — let’s just keep screaming! Check back with us next year, when Horror Freak News will no doubt rejoin all of the ghouls and geeks of Screamfest, to bring you more reviews of all the genre films you must see! So c’mon back now, y’hear?