Each year for over a decade and half, the New York City Horror Film Festival has handed out its Lifetime Achievement Award to an icon of horror cinema. The festival was created and organized by the late Michael J. Hein back in 2002 and the first two recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award were George A. Romero and Tom Savini.
Perhaps fittingly this year’s recipient was Tony Todd, who broke into the horror genre in Savini’s 1990 remake of Romero’s classic Night of the Living Dead. Two years later, he became a true horror legend when he played the titular hook-handed Candyman in Bernard Rose’s film based on the Clive Barker story The Forbidden. Since then Todd has used his massive 6’5″ frame, size-16 shoe, and deep voice to leave a lasting impression on the horror industry with appearances in the Final Destination franchise, Hatchet 1 & 2, Masters of Horror, and more. Saturday night at the Cinepolis Chelsea, The Candyman showed up to a sell-out crowd (with probably 50+ others standing in the aisle) to accept his award and partake in a Q&A.
Even though Halloween is past, it’s not safe to put away the horror films just yet. The New York City Horror Film Festival returns to the city for 4 gory days starting on Thursday, November 29th and running through Sunday, December 2nd at the Cinepolis Chelsea. This is the 16th edition of the festival started by the late Michael J. Hein and continued by his family and friends. When all is said and done nearly 40 feature-length and short horror films will be screened at the festival.
Back at the New York City Horror Film Festival in the fall of 2016, I saw a super cool poster for an original horror film The Barn. I missed it when it premiered there and it took my nearly a year to finally see a screening at this year’s New Jersey Horror Con and Film Festival. At that con, I met and spoke with writer/editor/director Justin M. Seaman. Based on a story he wrote in his childhood, Seaman put his heart and soul into this film, and it was worth it. You can read my review of the film and the screening Q&A here.
With a week to go before Christmas, horror fans looking for the perfect gift can stop searching. The Barn is now on Blu-ray and would make any horror fan happy, particularly fans who grew immersed in the video store culture of the 1980s. Right before Halloween, I got to speak with the creator of The Barn about his inspirations, the challenges of independent filmmaking, and more. See what he had to say along with some thoughts on the Blu-ray release below.
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.
With Halloween quickly approaching, the New York City Horror Film Festival took over the Cinepolis Chelsea in Manhattan this past weekend. When all’s said and done, over 40-feature length and short genre films will be screened. Filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, and more showed up to support their films and take part in Q&As with the audience. Friday night, the cast and crew from The Night Watchmen showed to support their indie-horror comedy and it made another great night of horror.