New Jersey Horror Con & Film Festival 2018: The Films
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Last weekend, the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City was flooded with horror fans for the NJ Horror Con and Film Festival. Many showed up to meet their favorite horror and rock-n-roll celebrities, and take in all the convention aspects such as cool merch, Q&A panels, and photo ops. Others came and stayed for the films. The three-day festival featured nearly 40 short and feature-length films from up and coming genre filmmakers. Many of the filmmakers were there with family and fans to support them in the Wild Eye screening room presented by Wild Eye Releasing. I got a chance to see several films while there and here are a few recommendations.

The first film that caught my eye was a short film called Road Trash by Natasha Pascetta. Pascetta wrote, directed, and starred as Alice, a woman with an unusual habit of burying roadkill. That is until she finds particularly strange animal remains and ends up attacked by a werewolf! The film is entirely narrated by my favorite final girl ever, Nancy Thompson”¦ I mean Heather Langenkamp from the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Check out the trailer below:

Another short that really grossed me out and thus gets a recommendation is Skin Baby, written and directed by Ken Cohen. It stars Phyllis Jackson as Rosie, a woman who wants a very interesting tattoo. Soon her tattoo starts thinking for itself and Jackson plays her role with a mix of grief, desperation, and psychosis. The trailer is below.

An absolutely hilarious Pokemon/slasher trailer was shown Saturday called Catch Em All, Kill Em All. I loved the Texas Chainsaw reference and the complete wackiness of it. Watch it below and follow the creators on Twitter @underbellyshow.

Perhaps my favorite short was Dane Elcar’s The Pond. This ran nearly 20 minutes and holy crap was it beautiful to watch, and at the same time hypnotic and frantic. Elcar was a tour de force writing/producing/directing and starring, basically on his own. He plays a jogger circling a pond in the middle of the huge wooded park when he becomes trapped in a Groundhog Day-style time loop. Is he dreaming? His descent into madness reminded me of Sam Neill in John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness. By the end I was just happy to have escaped. I wasn’t alone in my enjoyment of Elcar’s film as it took home Best Film and Best Editing at the Award ceremony. Check out this awesome preview below and you can follow the filmmaker on social media @DaneElcar.

Because I was so busy walking around covering the convention I didn’t get a chance to sit for a prolonged enough period to take into entire feature films, but I can recommend one that played Friday night and that’s Chris Moore’s Triggered. Having seen this before I popped in during some parts as I was circling the convention floor and I still find this to be an excellent throwback to ’80s horror while perfectly capturing the lunacy of today’s socio-political climate. You can watch the trailer below and read my full review as well. Wild Eye Releasing just picked Triggered up and will be releasing it shortly along with Moore’s other horror film, Blessed are the Children.

If you’re looking for new horror movie options, and want to discover bright up and coming genre filmmakers, the NJ Horror Con and Film Festival is the perfect place to begin your search. They already announced a return to the Showboat Hotel in Atlantic City for next Spring, March 29 – 31, 2019.

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