Have your very own Graveyard Fest
This weekend, last year, the Alamo Drafthouse LaCenterra hosted Graveyard Fest, a four-day horror film festival. While a 2020 version of Graveyard Fest is not an option for a handful of reasons, I encourage you to play along at home this year and catch up on any titles we showed last year that you didn't have a chance to watch. Most of them are available to stream or rent and one - ATTACK OF THE DEMONS - is set for release later this month.
In this zom-com sequel, the entire crew is back! We opened the festival with a screening of ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP featuring a delightfully decadent train of Twinkie treats included with guests' tickets. Fried Twinkies, Twinkie shakes, chocolate-filled Twinkies. Even though the sequel didn't end up touching on Woody Harelson's Twinkie obsession that much, there was little need to find a reason to gorge on Hostess' sweet snack.
By the way, ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP's MVP ended up being Zoey Deutch. She absolutely killed in her supporting role
Flashback to the opening night of Graveyard Fest. I had been working like a dog all day to get ready for the festival and had just finished cleaning up from the opening night party. I was planning to check inside the theater, to make sure that everything was going well with the screening of PORNO, and then go take a nap somewhere. But I saw THE scene was coming up. If you've seen the movie, you know what scene I'm talking about.
I sat down and watched THE scene with the audience, and then I proceeded to watch the rest of the movie with the audience because PORNO is such a fun film. I couldn't leave. I had been sucked in, much-needed nap be damned.
In PORNO, a group of repressed teenagers working at the Chick-Fil-A of small-town, Christian-oriented movie theaters in the '90s accidentally unleash an evil sex demon after they play a cursed porno they discover in the theater's basement. High jinx - bloody, bloody high jinx- ensue. You'll see EVIL DEAD-inspired carnage, you'll experience psychedelic trip-outs, you'll learn how to tie great knots.
KNIVES AND SKIN is an absurdist dark comedy and an absolutely delightful trip through the profound and parody. Writer/director Jennifer Reeder has created a movie that, to watch it, is to sit in a state of confusion and bewilderment, unsure of what to laugh at and what to cry at.
When a young woman disappears, a small town deals with the tragedy by retreating into their own personal idiosyncrasies. The film, in its nearly two-hour running time, deals with toxic masculinity, burgeoning sexuality, grief, infidelity, clown oral sex, queer identity, high school drama, and beaver mascots.
Oh, and it’s also a musical, with characters frequently singing somber, mostly acapella renditions of ‘80s pop songs by bands such as Modern English and Cyndi Lauper.
One of the greatest Euro-horror films of the '70s, THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE tackles the counter-culture movement through the prism of zombie horror under the direction of filmmaker Jorge Grau.
Released under over a dozen titles including DON'T OPEN THE WINDOW, LET SLEEPING CORPSES, and BREAKFAST AT THE MANCHESTER MORGUE, Grau's film sees a pair of hippies on the run from a cop who suspects them of committing a series of murders that are actually the work of zombies!
Featuring splatterific effects from Gianetto De Rossi (ZOMBIE, THE BEYOND), a socially-conscious message inspired by the work of George Romero and a terrific performance from Arthur Kennedy, THE LIVING DEAD AT MANCHESTER MORGUE is a movie dying to be rediscovered by modern audiences.
Presented via a brand new 4K restoration from Synapse Films that was created using the original 35mm camera negative.
SWORD OF GOD is a stunning film about two missionaries in the early Middle Ages whose attempt to convert the heathens living in a pagan land drives a wedge between them. One man attempts to bring Christianity to the pagans through violence, the other love. Their battle of faith will only lead to death, destruction, and damnation.
When two knights of Christ - the elder Willibrord and Noname, a young man with a mysterious past, are sent to convert a small pagan village, they discover the previous missionary paid for his attempt with his life. While Willibrord has no problem using his sword and violence to break the love of God into the village, Noname sees an opportunity to connect with the villagers through personal sacrifice.
Featuring stunning visuals and storytelling that is stark and lean, SWORD OF GOD is one of the best movies you will see this year, guaranteed.
A Colorado town is preparing for a music festival but their fun is about to be interrupted by a demonic infestation that turns anything it touches into a puking, snarling beast from Hell. Even pooches!
A nifty animated film from Austin-based director Eric Power. ATTACK OF THE DEMONS is a tribute to the horror films of the '80s, full of gnarly monsters, gross-out body horror, and a cool synth soundtrack. Power has animated this film almost entirely by hand using construction paper, similar to the way the early years of SOUTH PARK was animated. The result is a cool looking film that has some great scares and heart to match.
Kiersey Clemons (HEARTS BEAT LOUD, DOPE) stars as Jenn, a woman who has washed up on a small tropical island. As the bodies of her friends begin to wash up on the beach, Jenn quickly realizes she's completely alone and must struggle to survive the elements and try and plot an escape. Unfortunately, as the days pass Jenn begins to suspect she's not quite as alone on the island as she originally suspects. At night, a malevolent force emerges from the water and it's going to take Jenn everything she has to survive its attacks.
In this modern-day retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Vanessa Lutz (Witherspoon) is a white trash, illiterate 15-year old. After her parents are arrested, Vanessa decides to visit her dear old grandmother’s trailer park to move in with her. While driving down the interstate, Vanessa’s car breaks down and she accepts a ride from Bob Wolverton (Kiefer Sutherland), a counselor at a school for boys. After gaining her trust, Wolverton begins a slow mental attack on Vanessa’s impressionable mind. Soon, Vanessa discovers that Wolverton is the “I-5 Killer” that has been preying on young girls and must escape the sociopath creep’s warped mind games.
FREEWAY is a reminder that fairy tales aren’t all charming princes and glass slippers. Much like the original translations of Little Red Riding Hood were extreme showcases of graphic cruelty, FREEWAY is an extreme showcase of life’s little horrors. Instead of a wide-toothed wolf, Vanessa must battle a mentally disturbed individual and the US judicial system.
Maeve Higgins stars in EXTRA ORDINARY as Rose Dooley, a woman who has inherited her father's ability to talk to ghosts. After a tragic accident, though, Maeve has abandoned her skills and turned her back on her destiny. When a single father (Barry Ward) reaches out for help to settle the restless spirit of his dead wife, Maeve finds herself at the center of a Satanic plot by two dimwitted villains (Will Forte and Claudia O'Doherty).
EXTRA ORDINARY is a delightfully funny farce with heart. Directors Mike Ahern and Enda Loughman have delivered a movie that perfectly blends belly laughs, tender characters in search of redemption, and gross ectoplasmic goop.
In 1994, future stars Paul Walker and Denise Richards starred in a film from MAC AND ME director Stewart Raffill called TAMMY AND THE T-REX. The movie, a PG-13 romp, starred Richards as Tammy, a high school girl whose sweetheart Michael (Walker) is murdered by lions and has his brain inserted into a giant robot T-Rex. Full of all the sight-gags you could imagine from a film featuring a giant animatronic dinosaur with the brain of a hormone-filled teenage boy, TAMMY AND THE T-REX was 100 percent a product of its time - full of outrageous stereotypes, JURASSIC PARK-inspired dino chaos, and a quartet of bumbling villains led by Terry Kiser as a mad scientist.
Things were, though, weirder. As it turns out, TAMMY AND THE T-REX was actually shot as an R-rated, gore-filled horror-comedy featuring special effects by the legendary John Carl Buechler. Head crushings, decapitations, spilled intestines - all in the plot from something that could have been a made-for-the-Disney Channel movie.
TAMMY AND THE T-REX is a shotgun blast of insanity as only the 1990s could provide - full of young promising actors in compromising situations with scary-as-hell dino robots.
Your body is ready for this movie, but is your mind?
Matvey is a wound-magnet - beaten, stabbed, shot, and tortured - as he attempts to honor his girlfriend's request to kill her dad, a corrupt police detective whose dirty actions have begotten a web of violence in this Russian dark comedy.
Shot with slick cinematography and a dedication to ultra-violence, WHY DON'T YOU JUST DIE! is an amusement park of torture that will have audiences laughing their heads off as violence is inflicted upon a collection of terrible people who have done terrible things.
The new film from the makers of GOODNIGHT MOMMY, THE LODGE stars Riley Keough as a soon-to-be stepmom who is trapped in a cabin during a snowstorm with her fiancé's children, who happen to hate her. A bad situation turns into an even worse deal when spooky shit stars to occur, leading for dark secrets to be revealed about the stepmom's past.
This movie is dark AF - it will melt your soul into a black puddle of tar.
Director Adam Egypt Mortimer delivers a cosmic horror spin on the imaginary friend story, utilizing two Hollywood legacy actors (Miles Robbins, Patrick Schwarzenegger) as dark mirrors of depression.
Mortimer (who will be in attendance at the screening) adapts a novel by Brian DeLeeuw about a young man being pushed to the fringes of his sanity. Luke's mother is losing his mind and struggling in his personal life when his childhood friend Daniel reappears to help him cope. The only problem - Daniel isn't real.
Patrick Schwarzenegger stars as Daniel, the suave and confident imaginary friend to Luke, the frayed college freshman unable to deal with life's pressures. At first, Daniel's return is the salve Luke needs. He's a friend, a wingman, and a reminder of happier days. But something dark is lurking behind Daniel's visage, something ancient and evil.
Mortimer has crafted a wonderfully dark film that's equal parts FIGHT CLUB and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 2 - surprising, slick, and horrific as all get out.
This little-seen shocker will have your stomach churning and your mind whirling. A crazed evil wizard uses his powers to take revenge on beautiful women by making them vomit up live centipedes, which then proceed to eat their victims.
I saw this film a few years ago at Fantastic Fest and have been dying to bring it to our theater ever since. It does not currently have US distribution and, due to the dark, dark subject matter may never get distribution! A festival like Graveyard Fest was my only real chance at showing it.
The movie is from France and follows a man who splits his days taking care of his disabled sister, working a dead-end job, and dreaming of the day when aliens will come down and take him far away from everything.
Beautifully shot, hauntingly told, and featuring some truly harrowing twists, ALL THE GODS IN THE SKY is the best extraterrestrial movie I've seen in years and I think it's going to blow your mind.
After a motorcycle accident, a woman wakes up in a hospital with new skin and a new appetite. Meanwhile, the city of Montréal is transformed into an incubator for gunk-spewing vampires. We screened David Cronenberg's seminal body horror classic because, well, what reason do we need to screen a David Cronenberg film?
Lucky McKee’s latest is an emotionally honest and truly touching Lifetime Movie. And I mean that as an absolute compliment. A trashy blast in the best way possible, the film features amazing performances from its three leads, especially Caitlin Stasey. A single mom (Thora Birch) finds her life turned upside down when her prodigal sister returns after years missing and proceeds to SINGLE WHITE FEMALE her niece, Birch's daughter. Wild, unpredictable and gleefully bloody - this movie rules.
VFW, the latest from director Joe Begos (ALMOST HUMAN, BLISS) stars Stephen Lang, Martin Kove, William Sadler, and Fred Williamson as grizzled veterans who must protect their beloved VFW and a young woman who has taken sanctuary there from a hoard of rampaging mutant drug addicts who want nothing more than to put the men's heads on pikes. This hyper-violent, hyper-fun ode to '80s VHS mainstays features a murderer's row of character actors being given the chance to show off just how badass they still are. Heads, limbs, and souls are exploded in this bonafide Begos bloodbath.