Sunday after Terror Film Fest, I wait to hear from Char Hardin – my person in New Orleans to let me know what is happening. She’s local to Baton Rouge, and a podcaster who is covering the festival. I’m hopeful, but realistic, it’s a crap shoot. Last night at Terror Fest Blake House won second place, behind two scripts that tied for first – does that mean Blake House is third? One of the scripts was titled Vermin, I believe the author said it was about giant rats. Go-figure. The festival director Claw said it very well to all the winners (paraphrasing here)- “It comes down to the time, the moment, what the judges are looking for at that moment. So you win today, but had it been the day before – you might have lost.” Very comforting words. I suppose just getting into the finals is a validation. If you make the finals your script had to have been pretty good, after that it’s splitting hairs.
So while I wait, and my wife puts the kids to bed, let’s catch up on yesterday’s festivities. Just to be clear, my wife volunteered to put them to bed, because tomorrow is Halloween and the kids will be amped up on candy, and it will be my headache.
Met with Carlo Rodriguez of Underdogs.com and Psycho Killer Bloodbath for lunch. Good talk about distribution models and opportunities. Then we started talking about horror films. Now truth be told, I’ve never really considered myself a big horror fan. I do like the classics. I like Hammer Films, and much of the work of Vincent Price. Theater of Blood is very high on my list. The Shining is tremendous, as well Rosemary’s Baby (Produced by William Castle – who was such a Gimmicky filmmaker: Mr. Sardonicus – with the punishment poll, The Tingler – with the vibrating seats), Black Christmas, and perhaps my favorite: The Changeling with George C.Scott from 1980 – Scariest movie I’ve ever seen. But compared to my co-writer, or Carlo, I’m just a neophyte at the horror game. Still it was an interesting discussion – is it possible to actually scare the audience anymore? Anything beyond startling them must be close to impossible (granted The Ring and The Others did scare me), so mostly you just push the audiences expectations and boundaries. It is an interesting thought.
Terror Film Fest – Final Day. The films screened seemed overall to be more polished than those the day before. I liked a few more of these. “Clutter” was one that played in the same block as mine. It was supposed to run in between An Evening With My Comatose Mother and Hellion and I wish it had, only because there were some similarities to that film and mine. So Clutter, interesting, not a lot of production value, but the casting choice was brilliant. The director actually played the lead, but he was PERFECT for the role, his performance was just right – in between psychotic and afraid. Then there was “An evening with my comatose mother” which has been a terror on the festival circuit, with something like oh A BILLION LAURELS. It really is tremendous, smart, polished, technically excellent and creative. I’m so very jealous of the tools and crew that worked on it, and how much trust the director had in each of the creative positions. I will say with all that, Hellion got an wonderful response, Laughter at all the right places, this was an audience that really got it It was nice to watch it on the big screen, the film moved and had a great pace on the big screen. It felt good, and I’m glad I didn’t run outside and hide. It also looked pretty good – for what it was – shot on low def video, and uprezzed to HD.
Interviewed by Baron Craze – the official press of the Terror Film fest. I will let you all know when the interviews and pics are up. Especially fun will be the interview with Joe Randazzo who takes bites out of the industry for stereotyping the horror genre as not needing deeply motivated characters.
Then came the reception before the awards ceremony. Pretty neat sitting around a table, talking movies, and horror movies with myself, Joe Randazzo – Ripper, Resurrection of Blake House, Carlo Rodriguez – Psycho Killer Bloodbath, Underdogs.com, Deirdre Patterson – “Auntie”, Kent Kitzman – Predator/Prey, Can of Chili Productions and James Peoples – Odessa, YA IndieGround House. It is really really nice just being able to talk among colleagues throwing ideas out, listening to others coherent thoughts. In the small world category it turns out that James Peoples is the commercial (non theatrical) agent for Jody Prusan – Helen’s mom/Mrs. Nelson in the film Hellion.
The awards ceremony comes, and it is a fun experience, and then “Un-produced feature screenplays” category and Blake House comes in 2nd. You know, it may be disappointing, but just getting to the finals, that is the measure. I mean Deirdre’s “Auntie” won the Gotham Screen awards, here it came in 4th. “Vermin” by Chris Warner ties with another script for first. That’s okay, Chris is nice guy. So then off to the after party, talking movies and movie ideas until all hours (okay about 1 am), and back home to wife and loving family – all of whom are awake and cranky when I arrive, and I get to try to put my girls back to sleep. Ahh fatherhood.
Thanks for reading.