ArtPower And Horrible Imaginings Present Horror Film Festival
A Short History Of Horror
As a film genre, horror doesn't get a lot of respect. But horror programmer Miguel Rodriguez is trying to change that with his Horrible Imaginings Film Festival in November and a mini-history of horror at UCSD now.
"My greatest hope is that they'll see horror as more than just either blind escapism or something pernicious to be avoided. What I would like to do is try to end the stigmatism that horror has as something that we need to fight against. I think horror has a place in the world as a mode of expression. I want people to come away with a feeling that horror is viable in expressing one of our deepest human characteristics namely fear."
Rodriguez will be screening a silent short from 1908, as well as the classics1956 "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" to suggest the depth and breadth of the genre. One of the rarities he's showing is George Romero's contemporary vampire film "Martin."
"It's almost never screened," says Rodriguez, "Fitting with the history of horror you can look at the way horror evolved as a movement from the super natural to the kind of more real world type horrors where in the beginning it was Dracula and Frankenstein and the Wolfman and these really deep metaphorical monsters, supernatural monsters and horror whereas as we approach the 70s we got a little more into serial killers and slashers and Martin represents a really interesting melding of the two. It is a vampire story of sorts but one rooted in the real world, a serial killeresque. George Romero has always been really good about putting social commentary into his films and Martin also says a lot about living in blue collar Pittsburgh in the 60s and 70s."
The ArtPower Horrible Imaginings horror fest is tonight and tomorrow night at 8pm at UCSD's Price Theater.
Here is the schedule for the films with notes from programmer Rodriguez.
Tonight, October 1: From the Golden Age to the Post-Atomic Age
"The Haunted House (La maison ensorcelée)"
Director Segundo de Chomón shocked and terrified audiences with this early and surprisingly apt example of stop motion animation. [Segundo de Chomón, 1908, France, 6 min]
"Un Chien Andalou"
The short film was also the focus of the early 20th century art movement, Surrealism. Here, visual artist Salvador Dali teams with the Spanish film director Luis Buñuel, the effect being a startlingly disturbing collection of images. Some of the imagery has lost no potency to shock, even today. [Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali, 1929, France, 16 min]
"Skeleton Frolic" is instantly recognizable, and features the mainstreaming of horrific elements and death symbols. [Ub Iwerks, 1937, USA, 7 min]
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers"
Steeped in what is now known as McCarthyism, America found itself paranoid of what it saw as the threat of Communist invaders who wanted to change our way of life. This fear was palpable, and it plays out on-screen with stark clarity. [Don Siegal, 1956, USA, 80 min]
Tomorrow Night, October 2: From Exploitation to Experimentation
Atmospheric Japanese horror gave new life to the genre at the turn of the millennium. These spawned countless lackluster American remakes, particularly after the success of Gore Verbinski’s The Ring, a remake of Hideo Nakata’s Ringu. [Takashi Shimizu, 1998, Japan, 5 min]
Modern technology and media outreach has made filmmaking more accessible than ever. Treevenge is an example of horror and twisted humor taken to an extreme. This type of homage is not just limited to low budget short films–it has practically built the careers of filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. [Jason Eisener, 2008, Canada, 16 min]
Director George A. Romero has become an exemplar of directors who use genre to comment on socio-political concerns. His seminal Night of the Living Dead presented class and race relations, and his "Dawn of the Dead" presented the implications of mass consumerism—all in the guise of the zombie movie. In "Martin," often cited as one of his favorite of his films, Romero focuses on the vampire myth. [George Romero 1976, USA, 95 min]