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Horrible Imaginings Film Fest Kicks Off At MOPA Wednesday Night

Horror festival celebrates seventh year

Sky Elobar, left, and Michael St. Michaels star in Jim Hosking's

Credit: FilmRise

Above: Sky Elobar, left, and Michael St. Michaels star in Jim Hosking's "The Greasy Strangler," the closing night film at Horrible Imaginings Film Festival.


Miguel Rodriguez, founder, Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

David Agranoff, author

Beth Accomando, arts reporter, KPBS

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Horrible Imaginings Film Festival kicks off its seventh year on Wednesday with the California premiere of Sion Sono's "Tag!" at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival takes its name from a line in Shakespeare's "Macbeth" about present fears being worse than "horrible imaginings." Although film is its primary focus, the festival's connection to horror in literature has always been present.

When the festival first began at Tenth Avenue Theatre, festival founder Miguel Rodriguez used to read scary stories in the art gallery. This year Rodriguez and San Diego author David Agranoff build on that connection with a horror in literature panel (Saturday at 5:35 p.m. at MOPA) followed later that night by author readings around a "campfire" at night on the lawn by the Botanical Garden (Saturday at 9 p.m., free to the public).

The festival's mission is to expand how we define horror and to showcase all things macabre.

In pursuing that mission, Rodriguez is also partnering with the San Diego Museum of Man and offering Horrible Imaginings attendees a VIP tour of the museum's Cannibals: Myth and Reality exhibit. This will be followed by a panel on cannibals featuring the museum's former director of exhibitions Dr. Emily Anderson, as well as a screening of the short film adaptation of Stephen King's "Survivor Type." The Cannibal events start Friday at 5 p.m. at the San Diego Museum of Man and then move over to MOPA at 6 p.m.

HorribleImaginings Film Festival Preview

The mainstay of the festival is film and there are shorts, documentaries, animation and features from around the globe and the United States to choose from.

Films run the gamut from a French musical called "Bionic Girl" (screening at 12:24 p.m. on Saturday) about a scientist creating a clone to replace herself to "The Disappearance of Willie Bingham" (screening at 1:34 p.m. on Saturday), a disturbing look at capitol punishment that shows how the genres like sci-fi and horror can be used for a cause. You can also find "Stained" (screening at 8:41 p.m. on Thursday) about the horrors of running out of toilet paper as well as "Hada" (screening at 9:40 p.m. on Thursday) about the things that lurk in your closet or under your bed.

The closing night film on Sunday is Jim Hosking's "The Greasy Strangler."

Rodriguez described the film in the program notes as:

"This is the kind of film that comes along once in a blue moon. It defies the audience to understand just what the hell is going on, tests the limits of their intestinal fortitude, and still somehow manages to slip something almost undetected into the mix that allows some of the snobbish cinema elite to pick up what it's dropping. It hit Sundance like a grenade and managed to garner some shockingly good reviews from mainstream press. My favorite probably comes from The Guardian: 'The relentless monstrosity of a film is rife with fetishized cellulite, disgusting food and firehose penises. It’s not for everyone — but perhaps it should be'... It delights in its filthy repugnance, and we love it all the more for it! Think 'Pink Flamingos' for modern audiences."

Horrible Imaginings showcases a delicious selection of films in order to reveal the amazing diversity of the horror genre. Because fear comes in many flavors.

Horrible Imaginings Film Festival runs Wednesday through Sunday at the Museum of Photographic Arts. For a full preview of the festival check out Cinema Junkie Podcast 89.

Editor's note: Beth Accomando was a judge for the Horrible Imaginings Film Festival Awards.


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Photo of Beth Accomando

Beth Accomando
Arts & Culture Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI cover arts and culture, from Comic-Con to opera, from pop entertainment to fine art, from zombies to Shakespeare. I am interested in going behind the scenes to explore the creative process; seeing how pop culture reflects social issues; and providing a context for art and entertainment.

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