The Scariest Things went to the Big Easy and saw LOTS of movies, and for good measure also checked out some really cool live panels. Many of these films will be getting wide release later this summer and fall, so give a listen for a preview of what’s worth checking out!
With an announced roster of twenty-six feature films and eighteen short films, it was going to be a difficult challenge to see all of them. We did manage to see sixteen of the features, and four of the short films. (With help from our Korea based Joseph Perry, doing some remote screenings for us as well.) Being in New Orleans, Mike and Eric took advantage of the good old fashioned southern Hospitality, courtesy of Liz and the whole festival. And that meant eating a lot of really good food, and attending several parties… ranging from charming to raucous. It was, in short, a grand time!
For those of you unfamiliar with this festival, it’s a professional’s conference, filled with production teams and journalists, but made accessible for the average fan who is willing to pony up the higher ticket cost to attend a gathering with so many insiders in attendance. So, the crowds are modest, but the connections are lasting. We reconnected with our friends from FANGORIA, while we were down, and made new ones like author and pop-culture historian, Grady Hendrix. We met some fans of our podcast, including The Ruins Director Carter Smith, who approached us to tell him how much he enjoyed our Arbor Day coverage of his movie. (The honor was all ours, Carter.)
And, it was fantastic to run into friends from Portland, and just make new friends standing in line, chatting about what we were enjoying (or not enjoying) about the event. In the end, even with a few duds, the experience was hugely enjoyable, and memorable for so many reasons. The Portland boys adapted to the shock of a summer weather in the South, as we soaked in all that deep fried comfort culture. Joseph, for his part managed to get some screener copies and helped fill in the gaps of movies that we weren’t able to catch live.
Stay tuned for an interview with FANGORIA’s Amanda Presmyk, a returning friend of the podcast, to discuss her most recent production, the gloriously silly and bloody, Satanic Panic. That podcast should be out within a few days, but it is always wonderful to get some of the behind the scenes thinking of what it takes to make a low-budget horror movie and make it look first class.
The event wasn’t without a few hitches. The whole program almost came apart at the seams, as the Cineplex that housed 2/3 of the films had actually SHUT DOWN BUSINESS the Monday before the event was to start. The festival was able to keep the doors open just long enough to get all of the programming included, but there was a moment where we wondered what they were going to do. Next year’s event now faces the challenge of how to host in NOLA, but if you listen to Liz, she’s got a great idea for how the show can go on, in the Big Easy.
Along with the movies, the Overlook Festival provided a number of really cool immersive experiences, including some of the most elaborate virtual reality horror programs you’ll see. I got so involved with my murder mystery of Fire Escape, that I ran out of time. Mystery… not solved. Whoops. Mike and Liz were able to catch some of the shorter VR experiences, like Neal Gaiman’s The Wolves in the Walls and Alex Aja’s
Grady Hendrix went to church, both literally and figuratively, as the festival had access to an old converted church to serve as the podcasting and lecturing venue, and Grady unleashed his patented tornado of pulp fiction goodness in talking about his book We Sold Our Souls and his upcoming book Paperbacks From Hell II: Think of the Children, in which Mr. Hendrix managed to channel his inner minister and confront the evils that adolescents do in paperback fiction. If you ever get an opportunity to see him live, he is pure entertainment!
Elijah Wood and Daniel Noah were on hand to unveil their new Shudder-bound podcast Visitations, which the SpectreVision team interviews genre directors and creators to get their back stories. They interviewed gonzo animator Casper Kelly, whose overly long Andy Kaufman-esque running gag reel Too Many Cooks has to be seen to be believed. Also podcasting was the Paul Scheer and Amy Nicholson team of Unspooled, where they discussed how the AFI top 100 shuts out horror, even the best that horror has to offer. You can check out their live podcast here. Hard to believe that The Exorcist and The Shining are not on the list, and the AFI list operates very much in the “Horror or Not” realm.
First and foremost however, were the feature films. You can follow up the podcast with reading our reviews here:
- The Lodge ★★★★★
- The Dead Don’t Die ★★
- Extra Ordinary ★★★★1/2
- Head Count ★★★1/2
- One Cut of the Dead ★★★★1/2
- Porno ★★★★
- Dachra ★★
- Satanic Panic ★★★★
- Depraved ★★★★ 1/2
- The Vast of Night ★★★★
- In Fabric ★★1/2
- Knives and Skin ★★★
- Come to Daddy ★★★★
- Nightmare Cinema ★★★1/2
- The Swamp Thing ★★★★1/2
- Horror Noire ★★★★
Wherever it happens next year, you can bet that The Scariest Things will try and get back. It is now part of our DNA, having been to two in a row, and gaining access to some of the most interesting and unique independent Genre films that are being made. Some, like Ma, Swamp Thing, and Nightmare Cinema will be out and available to see either now, or in the very near future. Others you may not be able to see for months, but sometimes, as they say, good things come to those who wait.
Listen in to our discussion for the must see moments, in our Special Road Show Podcast Extra. We hope to do this again next year, and a special thank you to all our fans who came up to us at the festival!