Last week, I attended the 1st annual FEARnyc horror film festival in New York City’s Cinema Village. Director John Capo brought together 65 films during the week, including classics like The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Halloween, as well as a bevy of independent horror films, making their world and or NYC premiere. One of the films was Lost Creek. Made a on shoe-string budget of $30,000, director Colin Adams-Toomey and his co-writer Dan John Witherall, created a wonderfully original film that paid homage to favorites from the 80s, all the while creating something new and unique. The film is about three young kids, Peter and Bill (Oliver and Henry Stockman) are friends at school, and Maggie (Brynna Bartoo) is the strange girl Peter hangs out with in the woods. Together, they must unite to battle a monster that is channeling their fears and draining their small town of life. The film put the weight of the story on three unknown first time child actors, who at the time of filming were all under 13. After catching their film and cast and crew Q&A Sunday, I had an opportunity to speak with the creators on Thursday after the screening of Halloween.
Halloween – 1978 Available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Amazon Video
Written by John Carpenter & Debra Hill
Directed by John Carpenter
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Donald Pleasence, P.J. Soles, Kyle Richards, Nancy Loomis, Nick Castle
Original release date: October 25, 1978
FEARnyc screening: October 27, 2016
There is almost nothing left that can be said about John Carpenter’s Halloween. It is widely recognized as a classic of horror, one of the scariest movies ever made, and the film that inspired and jump-started the slasher sub genre. What I can offer is perhaps a fresh perspective. You see, on Thursday night, at the final night of the weeklong FEARnyc horror film festival, I took my 12-year-old son Brandon to see Halloween on the big screen for the first time.
Introduced by FEARnyc director John Capo, Halloween starts with a long uninterrupted take tracking the killer arming himself, heading upstairs, putting on a clown mask, and stabbing a girl to death. We find out this was 6-year-old Michael Myers, and the victim was his older sister Judith. “That’s him?,” Brandon whispered. A few seconds later, when a 21-year-old Michael leaps on top of Loomis’s station wagon to escape, “That was him?” Sitting next to him, you could feel his body tense up when Carpenter used one of his taut musical cues. Having seen Halloween countless times, I was enjoying my son’s experience more.
Lost Creek Written by Colin Adams-Toomey & Dan John Witherall
Directed by Colin Adams-Toomey
Starring Oliver Stockman, Henry Stockman, Brynna Bartoo, Lisa Caruzzi, Matthew Lovlie
New York City Premiere (FEARnyc): October 23, 2016
Spending my weekend at FEARnyc film festival at the Cinema Village in New York City has given me the chance to fill up on horror this Halloween season. The festival, directed by John Capo, is featuring 65 horror movies ranging from the all time classics to NYC and world premieres. In the three days so far that I spent at FEARnyc, I took in 10 films, and the one that felt the most genuine and authentic was a low-budget, small-town ghost story, that’s labeled on IMDb as a “drama, fantasy, horror.” The film is Lost Creek directed by Colin Adams-Toomey, and co-written by him and Dan John Witherall.
Lost Creek is a horror movie because it features ghosts and monsters, but in reality it’s a story about childhood, friendship, and imagination. Peter (Oliver Stockman) just moved to his mom’s old hometown after her messy divorce, the particulars of which keep his mother busy and distracted. He walks around town alone, through the woods where he finds the old “lost creek.” There he meets and befriends a young girl, Maggie (Brynna Bartoo). Their instant connection reminded me of my own daughter, who at almost 6 years old will walk up to random kids in the playground and call them “best friend” within seconds.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre – 1974 Available now on Amazon Video
Written by Kim Henkel & Tobe Hooper
Directed by Tobe Hooper
Starring Marilyn Burns, Paul A. Partain, Edwin Neal, Jim Siedow, Gunnar Hansen, Teri McMinn
Original release date: October 1, 1974
FEARnyc screening: October 21, 2016
When one thinks of the movie title The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, even those who’ve seen the film, we think of gore, bloodshed, and visceral horror. That is the reason, maybe more than any, why The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a classic of the genre. After watching a special screening on Friday night at the FEARnyc Film Festival in Manhattan, it again amazed me just how little blood and gore are in that film. What director/co-writer Tobe Hooper does use is a hot, disgusting atmospheric vibe; a grotesque arthouse quality, and unnerving sound design and score. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre screening was introduced by FEARnyc director John Capo and hosted by Heather Buckley from Fangoria and Dread Central.
For the third straight day this Sunday, I found myself inside the Cinema Village in Manhattan for the FEARnyc film festival. The festival, which lasts through Thursday night, is directed by John Capo and features over 65 horror films ranging from world premieres to classics. General admission tickets are only $12 ($8 for seniors), and the festival pass is $125 for all events.
Sunday afternoon started with a double shot of Stephen King love, but not in the way you’re probably expecting. Rather than show King adaptations, FEARnyc presented the NYC premieres of both the short documentary Resurrecting Carrie followed by the feature-length doc Unearthed and Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary. Resurrecting Carrie was directed by Michael Stever and is about the revival of Carrie: The Musical. While the Carrie novel and film were some of King’s biggest hits, the musical was an all-time bust when it debuted in the 80s. The 13-minute documentary features interviews with film star Piper Laurie, King collaborators, and cast and crew of the updated musical.