Fantastic Fest Review: ‘The American Scream’

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One day per year there is a holiday wherein kids can be kids and adults can…be kids too.  This is a holiday enjoyed equally by all ages. That holiday, of course, is Halloween!  Candy, costumes, and celebrations abound! For some it’s a day to be scared, but for others it’s a day to SCARE! And what better scare medium is there than a haunted house?  The American Scream is all about the scare; all about the people that create those haunted houses.

The American Scream is the product of Michael Stephenson , creator of the universally loved Best Worst Movie. Set in the small town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, this documentary tells tells the story of three unique families who spend months preparing for an event that has a single day’s payoff. We have an obsessive-compulsive computer systems manager, a father-son team, and a construction worker. Each of these families has a unique vision of what a haunted house should be, and during the film we watch them implement their distinct visions.

This movie provides a unique insight into how complicated and detail intensive these haunted house constructions can be. A person wanting to construct his or her own haunted house must have a multitude of skills. You must have the eye of an artist, design skills of an architect, the steady hand of a carpenter and the constitution of Rasputin. It take a special person to be a “house haunter” as they are called.

HND Staff Chooses Their Most Anticipated Horror of Fantastic Fest 2012

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“True there are more than just horror films at Fantastic Fest, but this site isn’t called Charming Quirky Foreign Comedy’s Not Dead.”–John Gholson

Mr. Gholson is quite right, while we enjoy making discoveries across genre lines at Fantastic Fest, we are forever devoted to the category to which this site’s existence is beholden. Every year, cinematic scares from all across the globe come pouring into Austin, into the Alamo Drafthouse, for a week of pure geek consumption. We have collected the Horror’s Not Dead hive mind to give their thoughts on the horror films they are most anticipating for FF 2012. Read on, should you dare…

The Horror of Fantastic Fest 2012

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In preparation for that glorious week of genre film geek bliss that is Fantastic Fest, we thought we’d offer up this preview of all the horror titles to be featured this year. The subgenres range from ghost stories, to apocalyptic anthologies, to documentaries on various horror subjects. Independent, foreign, and big studio titles are all represented in the 2012 slate. We’ve provided trailers, where available, to give you a little taste of what Fantastic Fest audiences will be seeing. If you’re not one of the lucky ones who’ll be attending this year, use this post as a guide for what you should be watching for on VOD, on Blu-ray, or in theaters over the next several months.

The lineup is, unsurprisingly, fantastic.

Fantastic Fest: Short Fuse: Horror Shorts

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Thank You, Jesus! (2010)
Directed By: Free
Run Time: 6 Minutes
Country: USA

Two lovers are taking a nature walk that goes horribly awry while discussing love and existence. it includes a foreign language speaking squirrel, a mud man, and the best quote of the Short Fuse program. When all is said and done you will say “Thank You, Jesus. It’s over.”

Incubator (2011)
Directed By: Jimmy Weber
Run Time: 7 Minutes
Country: USA

Bloody bathroom scenes with a tub of ice usually indicate a kidney or other organ has been removed. This short flips this type of horror story on its ear, by using the subject as an incubator. What is really interesting about this short is that there is a strong female presence without seeing the female transgressor. This is one of the most interesting shorts in the horror short program.

Fantastic Fest Review: Revenge: A Love Story

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Directed By: Ching-Po Wong (2010)
Written By: Lai-yin Leung, Ching-Po Wong, Juno Mak (Original Story)
Run Time: 91 min.

Revenge: A Love Story is a Hong Kong thriller from director Ching-Po Wong who helped co-write the screenplay along with Lai-yin Leung. Juno Mak, who wrote the original story, stars as Kit, a grocery store clerk who observes a young girl, mentally challenged Wing. Wing (Sola Aoi) comes to buy sticky buns from the grocery before school and Kit quickly falls in love with her. Their lives together are destroyed when Wing’s caretaker dies and she is put into an institution. Wing is freed, but falls into the hands of a lunatic cop (Lau Wing) taking this story on an unseen path to revenge.

Fantastic Fest Review: Two Eyes Staring

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Directed By: Elbert van Strien
Written By: Elbert van Strien, Paulo van Vliet
Run Time: 112 minutes

Any fan of the horror genre will get a kick out of the Dutch film Two Eyes Staring (2010). Set principally in Belgium and secondarily in the Netherlands, Two Eyes Staring is the story of a family with a secretive dark past. Two Eyes Staring is directed and co-written by Elbert van Strien and staring Hadewych Minis, Barry Atsma, and Isabelle Stokkel who are traumatized both literally and figuratively by the embodiment of Christine’s (Minis) childhood in Belgium.

Fantastic Fest 2nd Wave Trailers

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Today Fantastic Fest announced the second wave of programming for it’s annual film festival. Of course everyone here at Horrors Not Dead was excited to see the releases and we’ve put together a collection of links to all the trailers we could find for the named films along with the descriptions from the press release.

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE: UNRATED Review [Fantastic Fest 2010]

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Directed by Steven R. Monroe, 2010
Written by Stuart Morse

Steven R. Monroe’s remake of I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is one of the most pathetic films I have ever seen.  I am aware that is going to sound like exaggeration or a kind of knee-jerk reaction; I assure you it is neither.  It’s a completely worthless enterprise that offers nothing to the world other than the crushing realization that it exists.

There’s no surprise there, of course.  It’s a completely mercenary project; a remake of a movie that not many people loved 30+ years ago, but that’s “worth” remaking solely because it has a recognizable title.  It’s directed by a man whose career is the very definition of director-for-hire (hell, even Monroe’s ICE TWISTERS for Syfy is better than this abysmal piece of shit), it’s written by a first time screenwriter, produced by a first time production company, and it stars a handful of actors vaguely recognizable from small roles on TV shows.  And I’m not one to hate on “for hire” projects – everyone’s gotta eat- it’s just that the financial motivations are painfully transparent here.

No one cared about exerting any thought toward actually improving on the original, or giving the movie a reason to, well, exist at all.  They saw an opportunity to capitalize on a name and took it.  Nevermind bothering to attempt to make it anything unique, that would just complicate their genius formula of “Rape + Rape + 4xMurders = horror”.

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