KPBS film critic Beth Accomando previews the horror festival Horrible Imaginings
Related Story: Local Event: Horrible Imaginings Film Festival
KPBS-FM Radio Film Review: Horrible Imaginings
By Beth Accomando
Air Date: November 4, 2010
Halloween may be over but you can still find something scary in San Diego. KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has a preview of this Saturday's Horrible Imaginings Film Festival.
HORRIBLE(ba).wav SOQ 3:57 (music out at 5:00)
(Tag:) Horrible Imaginings Film Festival is this Saturday at the Tenth Avenue Theater starting at 1pm. For more information go to Beth's blog at K-P-B-S-dot-O-R-G-slash-cinema-junkie.
If you're a horror fan like myself and are counting the 361 days left until next Halloween then here's something to make the wait a little easier: Horrible Imaginings. The film festival serves up horror features and shorts both old and new as well as two floors of artwork. This celebration of horror is the brainchild of Baltimore transplant Miguel Rodriguez.
MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: What people can expect from the film festival is people can walk around, meet other people who are like-minded and like the same type of genre. They will be able to expect artwork of dark or macabre nature, and also a number of films including two classics that are being screened over the course of the twelve-hour period.
Twelve hours may sound like a long time to spend in the dark getting scared but the festival is broken up into two halves representing two different kinds of horror.
MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: I wanted to showcase how the horror genre can bring out different ways that people communicate fear. And that could be either from a psychological way or from a more visceral way.
One of the films representing the psychological horror is the Michael Powell classic "Peeping Tom."
CLIP Viv: What would frighten me to death? Set the mood for me Mark.
Mark is a photographer who not only murders young women but films their final moments for his own personal snuff movie.
CLIP Mark: Imagine someone coming toward you, who wants to kill you regardless of the consequences…
MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: We all have a dark side and horror is an artistic venue and a safe venue with which we can explore that dark side about ourselves.
To show the more visceral side of horror, Rodriguez went for thecult classic, Lucio Fulci's "The Beyond."
CLIP The Beyond: Screams.
Fulci's films have a striking visual style, a penchant for unrestrained gore, and the terror of a waking nightmare. Graphic horror films like this prompt people to ask why we need to explore such gruesome territory. But that's precisely why Rodriguez wanted to do this horror showcase.
MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: It's a very stigmatized genre. It's not only not respected but it's almost in vogue to say that horror is something you should not partake in and something that you should be ashamed of yourself for.
Rodriguez isn't ashamed of his passion for horror. The genre addresses some of our more base instincts but Rodriguez doesn't see why these instincts should be ignored within an artistic medium. He hopes that the exposure a festival like this can offer will help break down some of that stigmatism.
CLIP The Commune: Oh god...
The festival also challenges the idea that horror can be misogynistic by highlighting work from women filmmakers. Some of the films, like "The Commune" still cop out to stereotypes of women as helpless victims, despite a female behind the camera.
CLIP Dead Hooker: song and screams
But others explode that cliché, like the enticingly titled "Dead Hooker in a Trunk."
MIGUEL RODRIGUEZ: It's a very fun kind of grindhouse film... just go for the ride. Turn the brain off and have a lot of fun.
The film was made by identical twin sisters Jen and Sylvia Soska, and the female characters they play are anything but passive victims. The film is an uneven, ultra-low budget project fueled by wild energy and do-it-yourself inventiveness. A similar inventiveness is on display in such local shorts as "Derailed" and "Algesia," both of which make excellent use of sound.
So if you feel in need of extending the Halloween spirit for just a little longer, check out some of the horrific fare at Horrible Imaginings. Rodriguez has programmed a diverse festival filled with wicked treats that will make horror fans happy.
For KPBS, I'm Beth Accomando