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Screamfest Returns to TCL Chinese Theater Oct. 10-19; Full Feature Line-up

By: J. Carlos Menjivar

It’s that time of year again. I’m not just talking about pumpkin spice or cooler weather, I am of course, talking about the 17th annual Screamfest Horror Film Festival. The female-run festival is making its grand return to the center of entertainment at TCL Chinese Theaters in the heart of Hollywood.

The film festival gets under way on October 10, 2017 with the World Premiere of Dead Ant, the trippy drug-infused tale of a glam rock band on their way to make a much awaited comeback. Right after the screening things will kick off with an opening night party, just around the corner, at Lucky Strike. The festival will showcase 19 feature films this year (more on that below), but also, Screamfest looks to bring the finest short films from around the world. You can catch six short film blocks over the weekend (October 14 and 15); they start at noon on both days. 

Also on the program, is a tribute to the late horror director Tobe Hooper, and a screening of his film The Funhouse (1981), on Friday the 13th. Also on the unlucky day, you can catch a glimpse of the next installment in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise, with the prequel Leatherface.

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Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Child’s Play with a screening of the film on Saturday, October 14, with a Q&A after the film with director Tom Holland moderated by Sean Decker and Jack Ulrich.

A pair of documentaries will take a look at icons from the horror community. Vampira: About Death, Sex, and Taxes will be a free screening to be held on October 16, and will feature Vampira memorabilia. Legendary Kane Hodder gets the documentary treatment in To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story on October 17th; a Q&A with Kane Hodder will follow the screening.

This Screamfest is looking to continue its celebration of classic horror filmmakers and films with its closing night triple bill that includes three films by the late George A. RomeroNight of the Living Dead (1968), Day of the Dead (1985), and Creepshow (1982). Closing night party and awards reception will be held at the Hollywood Roosevelt on October 19.

Below is a list of the feature films– and their official synopsis– set to appear at Screamfest (sans retrospective films). Individual tickets and festival passes are still available. Visit screamfestla.com for ticketing information and full schedule and line-up.


Dead Ant  (USA)
Dir. Ron Carlson
Running Time: 87 minutes

“Dead Ant”

“When the ‘one-hit-wonder’ glam-metal band ‘Sonic Grave’ embark on a trip to Coachella in hopes of a comeback, their peyote trip pit stop in Joshua Tree incites an ‘unworldly’ vicious attack, and they must ‘rock’ themselves out of harms way.”


Trench 11 (Canada)
Dir. Leo Scherman
Running Time: 91 minutes

“Trench 11”

“Northern France, 1918. Canadian tunneller Abrahm Berton (Rossif Sutherland) specializes in tunneling under enemy lines and exploding their trenches from below. It’s brutal, claustrophobic work – even more deadly than life above ground in the trenches. As World War One approaches its bloody conclusion, Berton allows himself the luxury of dreaming about a life after war with his French fiancé, Veronique (Karine Vanasse). Berton’s superiors Captain Jennings (Ted Atherton) and Dr. Priest (Charlie Carrick) have other plans. They need his unique expertise to lead a team of Allies below ‘Trench 11’ inside a secret underground German base they suspect to be the home of Reiner’s (Robert Stadlober) weapon laboratory. World War One was a violent era for the development of lethal force. ‘Mustard gas’ and the machine gun were both invented during these unforgiving years. Reiner has lost control of a highly contagious biological weapon – a parasite which was intended to destroy Allied livestock, but has an even more profane effect on humans. Despite profound apathy towards his commanders and all forms of authority, Berton has to confront this sophisticated and profane evil to survive.”


Alone (France)
Dir. David Moreau
Running Time: 98 minutes

“Alone”

“Leïlais 16. She wakes up late, like any other morning. Except that today, no one is here to tell her to get moving. Where are her parents? She gets on her bike and rides through the neighborhood: it’s all empty. Everybody has disappeared. Thinking she’s the sole survivor of an unexplained disaster, she eventually crosses ways with four other teenagers: Dodji, Yvan, Camille and Terry. Together they will try to understand what has happened and to learn to survive in a world that has become hostile… But are they really alone?”


Tigers Are Not Afraid (Mexico)
Dir. Issa Lopez
Running Time: 83 minutes

“Tigers Are Not Afraid”

“We are in a Mexican city turned into a ghost town by the drug-war. Estrella is 11, and when her mother vanishes, she makes a wish: she wants her mother to come back. And mom does return—from the dead. Terrified, Estrella escapes and joins a rag-tag gang of other children orphaned by the violence, all escaping their own past. But she learns that in a city ruled by death, you can’t simply leave the ghosts behind; they walk with you wherever you go.”

Vidar the Vampire (Norway)
Dir. Thomas Aske Berg & Fredrik Waldeland
Running Time: 82 minutes

“Vidar the Vampire”

“Vidar Haarr is a 33 year old, sexually frustrated bachelor farmer who leads a Christian, monotonous and strenuous working life on his mother’s farmstead in the Western outskirts of Norway. In a desperate attempt to break free from routine, Vidar prays to a higher power to grant him a life without boundaries. Unfortunately, his prayers are heard and Vidar wakes up one evening as the Prince of Darkness in sin city, Stavanger.”

Leatherface (USA)

Dir. Julien Maury & Alexandre Bustillo
Running Time: 90 minutes

“Leatherface”

“In Texas, years before the events of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, in the early days of the infamous Sawyer family, the youngest child is sentenced to a mental hospital after a suspicious incident leaves the sheriff’s daughter dead. Ten years later, the Sawyer teen kidnaps a young nurse and escapes with three other inmates. Pursued by authorities including the deranged sheriff out to avenge his daughter’s death, Sawyer goes on a violent road trip from hell, molding him into the monster now known as Leatherface.”

1922 (USA)
Dir. Zak Hilditch
Running Time: 104 minutes

“1922”

“After murdering his wife with the help of his teenage son, Wilfred James’ life unravels, and he is haunted by visions of what he has done.”

Todd & the Book of Pure Evil: The End of the End (Canada)
Dir. Craig David Wallace & Rich Duhaney 
Running Time: 80 minutes

“Todd & The Book of Pure Evil: The End of the End”

“Continuing where the cult TV series left off, Todd & The Book of Pure Evil: The End of The End: The Animated Feature Film returns to Crowley Heights to find Todd, Jenny and Curtis grieving the loss of their dear friend Hannah. The three must reunite to fight evil when the Book of Pure Evil returns to Crowley High, bringing with it some familiar faces as well as some new foes. But these enemies are merely warm-ups to the final battle with their greatest nemesis yet: The New Pure Evil One.”

The Laplace’s Demon (Italy)
Dir. Giordano Giulivi
Running Time: 109 minutes

“The Laplace’s Demon”

“Eight people are imprisoned in a secluded mansion on an uninhabited island. After waiting in vain for the host, they find a model with eight self-propelled pawns that reproduces the movements of each group member in real time…”

Tragedy Girls (USA)
Dir. Tyler MacIntyre
Running Time: 90 minutes

“Tragedy Girls”

“Best friends Sadie and McKayla are on a mission to boost their social media fandom as amateur crime reporters hot on the trail of a deranged local serial killer. After they manage to capture the killer and secretly hold him hostage, then realize the best way to get scoops on future victims would be to, you know, murder people themselves. As the @TragedyGirls become an overnight sensation and panic grips their small town, can their friendship survive the strain of national stardom? Will they get caught? Will their accounts get verified?”

Ruin Me (USA)
Dir. Preston DeFrancis
Running Time: 87 minutes

“Ruin Me”

“Alexandra reluctantly tags along for Slasher Sleepout, an extreme event that is part camping trip, part haunted house, and part escape room. But when the fun turns deadly, Alex has to play the game if she wants to make it out alive.”

To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (USA)
Dir. Derek Dennis Herbert
Running Time: 108 minutes

“To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story”

“Featuring interviews with cinema legends, including Bruce Campbell (Ash vs. Evil Dead), Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger), and Cassandra Peterson (Elvira: Mistress of the Dark), To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story peels off the mask of Kane Hodder, cinema’s most prolific killer, in a gut-wrenching, but inspiring, documentary. To Hell and Back is the harrowing story of a stuntman overcoming a dehumanizing childhood filled with torment and bullying in Sparks, Nevada. After surviving a near-death burn accident, he worked his way up through Hollywood, leading to his ultimate rise as Jason Voorhees in the Friday the 13th series and making countless moviegoers forever terrified of hockey masks and summer camp. After decades of watching Kane Hodder on screen, get ready to meet the man behind the mask in To Hell and Back – an uniquely human story about one of cinema’s most vicious monsters.”

The Lodgers (Ireland)
Dir. Brian O’Malley
Running Time: 93 minutes

“The Lodgers”

“A gothic ghost story about orphaned twins Edward and Rachel who share a crumbling manor in 1920s rural Ireland – but they are not alone. They share the house with unseen entities who control them with three absolute rules. As separate fates draw them apart, the twins must face the terrible truth about their family’s ghostly tormentors.”

Double Date (UK)
Dir. Benjamin Barfoot
Running Time: 90 minutes

“Double Date”

“Meet innocent Jim, terrified of girls, and on a reluctant quest to prove his manhood the night before he turns 30. He and his cocky friend Alex think they’ve hit the jackpot when they meet the beautiful siblings Kitty and Lulu, who seem up for anything on a wild party-fueled night. But little do they know that the femmes fatales want to make Jim lose much more than just his virginity – Getting laid has never been so bloody difficult.”

Like. Share. Follow.  (USA)
Dir. Glenn Gers
Running Time: 90 minutes

“Like.Share.Follow.”

“Garrett is a rising YouTube star. Shell is a deeply emotional fan. When they begin a romantic relationship, he’s forced to question whether opening your life to strangers online is an invitation community and rescue…or stalking, obsession and madness.”

Vampira: About Death, Sex, and Taxes (USA/Finland) *Free Screening*
Dir. Mika Ripatti
Running Time: 64 minutes

“Vampira: About Death, Sex, and Taxes”

“An exploration of the unlikely and dynamic career of the outrageously subversive Finnish actress Maila Nurmi, whose flamboyant personality and claim to notoriety was as presenter of midnight horror movies on L.A. station KABC–notwithstanding the conservative climate of the ’50s.”


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