I was beat last night and skipped opening night of Shriekfest. I did head out today (Saturday) to see the first set of shorts and I finally got to meet the heart and soul of Shriekfest, Denise Gossett. The venue is gorgeous – the screening room at the Raleigh Studios (formerly the Chaplin Studios). Comfy seating for 170, full size screen and across the street from Paramount. I had to sign in at the gate and get a daily visitor pass (which I forgot to return). The Closer is filmed at Raleigh – how do I know? It was painted on the concrete parking space stops, so it must be true.
Standout shorts included:
The Procedure – a cash-hungry man gets a job that becomes more and more frightening. The ending is unexpected and totally satisfying. A great script well-executed. Literally.
Side Effect – nicely realized script with a few surprises. An overworked baby sitter takes a drug to help her get more done. It does.
After the shorts came Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown, which chronicles the peculiar, troubled life of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. The film includes interviews with Guillermo del Toro and John Carpenter and several current writers. It is at once entertaining and intellectual, finding the humor and humanity of Lovecraft amidst the bizarre world he created. I especially liked the discussion about the impact that such a strong imaginative vision can have on some people, creating something akin to a new religion. This film is accessible enough that people who may not be fans or even aware of Lovecraft can still enjoy learning about the artist’s journey.
If you’re a horror or sci-fi fan in Los Angeles, Shriekfest is definitely worth checking out. Screenings continue today and through Sunday. You can buy tickets at the door and get to meet some interesting people like feature screenplay finalists (each with two scripts!) Tom Manning and fellow ReelHeART 2008 alum Diana Kemp-Jones.