The New York City Horror Film Festival wrapped up Sunday, in a four day genre extravaganza that featured over 40 full length and short genre films. The highlight was last night when Chucky himself, Brad Dourif appeared to accept the Lifetime Achievement Award. Over four decades ago Dourif was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Billy Bibbit, his first credited role in the Oscar winning One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His IMDb page reads like a who’s who of writers, directors, and classics. Amongst his films are The Lord of the Rings series, Dune, The Eyes of Laura Mars, and Alien Resurrection. But his career will likely forever be tied to a red-headed “Good Guy” doll. In 1988’s Child’s Play we met Charles Lee Ray aka Chucky, a serial killer who uses a voodoo curse to transfer his soul into a doll. Six sequels later, the rest they say is history. The auditorium at the Cinepolis Chelsea was packed to see the man behind the doll.
The Saturday night program started with a tremendous short film, Don’t Feed the Troll, written and directed by Marc Fratto and starring Gaetano Iacono as one of the most easily despicable characters I’ve ever seen. Iacono’s Danny is an internet troll who spends every waking minute sending disgusting messages to strangers. That is until an actual troll sets its sights on Danny. In only 17-minutes, Fratto and Iacono say a lot about modern culture and make bold statements about humanity and the lack thereof.
The feature film was Hostile, a post apocalyptic thriller written and directed by Mathieu Turi. The film thrives off a great lead performance by Brittany Ashworth. She plays Juliette, a Mad Max-style heroine struggling through a charred landscape trying to survive. Turi juxtaposes the bleakness of the future with that of the past as we see Juliette’s relationship with photographer Jack (Gregory Fitoussi), who tries to rescue her from her drug addiction. The film took a tired sub genre, and made something wholly original out of it.
Finally came the main event. Brad Dourif arrived to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award and took part in a 30-minute Q&A moderated by NYCHFF hosts Sean Marks and Chris Rowan. He was asked about his career longevity to which Dourif responded that he worked so much because he had to when he was younger to make a living. “I set my bar really low”. The audience got a chance to interact with the Oscar nominee, asking several questions. One fan asked about Exorcist 3, to which Dourif joked about seeing a regretting Exorcist 2 drawing a rousing response.
Brad Dourif: “William Peter Blatty was going to direct it, and he sent me a copy of The Ninth Configuration which was really interesting. So I agreed to do it, and I think it turned out really well. Plus I got to work with George C. Scott. It was terrifying. I had a 20-minute monologue in a straight jacket in front of one of the greatest actors who ever walked the earth.”
He was asked about having his daughter Fiona Dourif act alongside him in the Chucky franchise. He told a story about Fiona getting scared at him doing Chucky screams from the sound booth when she was 5-years old, and then how him being Chucky got cooler for her as she got older.
Geeks of Doom: What’s it feel like to be an Oscar nominated actor who is known mostly for a voice acting in a horror franchise?
Brad Dourif: (After running down a list of actors he was sure had won/been nominated for Oscars), Well, you see how stupid it all is!
He was asked about Cuckoo’s Nest and working with the litany of great directors and Dourif did not have anything bad to say about anyone. When asked about what film of his was his best, he admitted he’d have to take Cuckoo’s Nest. Host Chris Rowan asked about his involvement in the Rob Zombie’s Halloween franchise and Dourif spoke about the relationship on set he had with Danielle Harris, who played his daughter, and how impressed he was by Zombie as a filmmaker. When the Q&A was over, Dourif took red carpet photos with all the fans.
Brad Dourif has 167 credits on IMDb, and has 8 films currently in pre/post production. Cult of Chucky, the seventh installment in the Child’s Play franchise is streaming on Netflix now. Check out http://nychorrorfest.com/ for more information on the New York City Horror Film Festival.
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