The NYC Horror Film Festival had a huge day planned on Saturday. The third day of the festival opened at noon and played all through the night with a main event featuring the Candyman, Tony Todd, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. The 16th year of the festival originated by the late Michael J. Hein saw packed houses this year since Thursday and already set their festival attendance record. I got to the Cinepolis Chelsea at around 4:00pm, right in time to catch two awesome programs including a feature that is likely to end up in my Top 10 horror films of 2018.
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.
While others are getting ready to light the menorah and decorate the tree, the fine folks at the New York City Horror Film Festival are still in pure Halloween mode. The 16th annual film festival, which started Thursday night, November 29th, was dedicated to its late founder and director Michael J. Hein, and emanated out of the Cinepolis Chelsea. Opening night saw an appearance from acclaimed horror producer/writer/director Mick Garris (The Stand, Masters of Horror), who was there to help kick off the festival with the horror anthology Nightmare Cinema, to which he contributed. Also there was Tony Timpone, longtime editor of Fangoria magazine. I made it in time for night 2 and was treated to an amazing evening of short- and feature-length horror from the cerebral to the emotional to the utterly insane.
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.