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Women of Horror Re-Cap

Well first of all I wanted to thank everyone for coming out to the Women of Horror Film Festival last Saturday and supporting independent film and the Lynn Sage Foundation. It turned out to be a great time for all the vendors, guests, and the audience as well. Even if it was a cold and rather monsoon like rain outside, it was nice and dry in the theater. Our goal for this festival was to try and showcase all sorts of films that women have some sort of role in. Either behind the scenes or in front of the camera, each one of the films tried to show what women in the horror genre can do.

The day for me personally started out very early and I had to grab some tables from a rental agency. I guess the theater didn’t have enough for everyone that was coming, so thanks to Halls Rental and Jon Kitley for bring some extra tables. Not sure what I would have done without Jon and his generosity.

Horror Society tried to gather a diverse lineup of films for this festival ranging from shorts, feature length, full women productions, women as the villains, and the more extreme feminist angles of film as well.

The night started out with a great short from Matt Storc called Phobia. It looks like Matt had a bit of a following with this one as some of his friends and family came out in the rain to check this out. I have to say that you should expect some great films from Matt and Jeremy in the future. After a short Q&A with the two, we moved on to Wretched. One of the more gory productions and another short featuring Heidi from Pretty Scary who wrote and co-directed it. From the audience’s reaction it went over well, and Gregory Nicotero  did an excellent job with the special effects.

Next up was another short with a brutal twist to the ending called Side Effect. Liz Adams did an outstanding job with this one. Staying with the babysitter theme up next came Death in Charge. A short and quirky film featuring “Death” as a babysitter who got thrown into a situation completely new to her, but remember… she still has a job to do. Great job with this one.

Throughout the night and during some of the breaks, I got a chance to speak with a few of the guests and vendors. Everyone seemed to be having a great time and the atmosphere in general was sort of like a party. That is what we try to do each and every time with these festivals. What’s a festival without the festivities right? On a side note, the theater should not give the guy in charge free drinks all night long! HAHA

We try and bring some local trailers to each of the festivals that we do in order to help out the Chicago area filmmakers and give them a bit of exposure. With that said, I brought up Emil Hyde the director of The Landlord to introduce his trailer and give the audience a bit more info on the film. After a great speech about women in horror we got a chance to see The Landlord trailer. Up next was the charismatic Ryan Oliver and his film She-Bang. I loved this guy and he was personable, fun, and was offering help with anything throughout the night. The trailer for She-Bang looked great and got a great reaction from everyone, so we are looking forward to seeing this one in the future. Thanks Ryan for bringing a great feature to our attention. We also got a look at the new WildClaw trailer called The Revenants. It’s a trailer for their new play that is gaining attention from everyone in the Chicago area. Nice to see a trailer for a play rather than a movie.

Up next was one of our features called Women’s Studies. Lonnie Martin introduced this and we had some of the cast and crew with us all the way from Virginia out in the lobby to talk and mingle with everyone. Lonnie, Cindy, Tara, and Laura all were a great group and their table was a busy one all night long.

OK, so here is where we got into some trouble. Once again, for some reason the DVD player starts to freeze up a bit and it just so happened to stop completely right as the ending of Women’s Studies started. And I’m talking the very last 2 minutes or so. Not good! This has happened before not only to me, but other people and film festivals as well. I remember one year at the Chicago Horror Film Festival it happened about half way through on of their movies. I’m not sure why, but the only thing I could think of was it gets overheated a bit with the amount of movies its been playing. I do apologize for this, greatly. The point of a film festival is the films and when they don’t play, it looks bad on the person running the show. Regardless of why it happens. I was told by the theater that it is the DVD itself, but once it started, I popped in the backup copy and it did the same thing.

So I have to apologize to Lonnie and the crew from Women’s Studies, and apologize to you the audience for this happening as well. Next time we do an event at Portage, I’m bringing not only backup copies of the movies, but a backup DVD player too… so once again, sorry.

Luckily once it started to happen we had the excellent showman Brian Kirst to provide us with some questions and some fun during the mishap. Thanks BK for all your help with that and for helping out on stage throughout the night. I had a bunch of great questions ready for the crew, but I had to run up and deal with the problem… so stay tuned for an interview with Lonnie here at the site. After a few re-enactments, a brief tennis game, and a few questions from BK, we got the player to work, and finished the movie. Thank god!

During the break I had to have another drink or two to calm the nerves! I also tried to make the rounds with everyone to see how they were doing. After being interviewed by Jeff of Dragons, Robots and Ghosts, check the site HERE, it looked like we were back on track, but behind a bit.

I also want to thank my wife for dealing with the table out front along with Kitty and Kristin too. They had a busy job of trying to interact with the crowd, gather donations, push the raffle tickets, all while I tried to keep everything rolling. Silly little problems are everywhere that you never really know about till they happen, which is all part of the game I guess. Kitty always does a great job with her god given vocals to round everyone up and get them into the theater when the films started again.

Thanks to We Are Movie Geek’s very own Travis and Kirk for providing some coverage of the event and interviewing some of the guests and vendors. Check out the coverage at the site HERE.

We also try to show some of the trailers for movies that we will be showing for our next festival. This time its in July and its Summer Slaughter. We had Kevin come up on stage and intro his trailer for the movie Serial: Amoral Uprising. I had the chance to go to the set of this, expect it to be a great slasher. Thanks Kevin for all of your work with setting everything up before the festival as well. Your help was appreciated greatly!! Frat House Massacre was the next trailer. A retro slasher film from ScreamKings. Then we have another crazy J-Horror cartoon/anime style gore fest called Tokyo Gore Police play. The next fest should be a great one!

We also brought up on stage two of the Fangoria Spooksmodel Finalists, Nora and Dan-YELL, to talk about their time in LA at the contest and what they have coming up next. Both of them are great women and role models for women in horror for sure. Doing all of this for the love of the genre, thanks to you both!

Up next was the making of Sculpture and the intro to it with Marv Blauvelt and Austin Dossey. Great guys and Marv and Horror Society have hung out together a few other times, so it was like we just had a couple of friends on stage talking about their time on the set and what to expect from the film. We were going to screen Sculpture, but it was not finished in time, so make sure to check it out whenever it comes out on DVD. I’ve seen several clips and it looks like a great slasher for sure.

Pretty Bloody was up next and from talking with a lot of people out in the lobby, many of them were real excited to see this documentary. It’s a great feature showing the different roles that women have in the horror genre. If you can get the chance to check it out and if you like documentaries, this is a good one. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Finally and about an hour behind, we screened Wicked Lake. I think that many of you have already seen this one, and for some people the reactions varied. From it’s a really bad film to it’s a work of art. I think it fit well into the theme of the festival and it shows how gruesome and brutal women can be when pushed around and taken advantage of. We like to go to extremes with the films at these festivals and I think Wicked Lake was on one end compared to the others. It fit well into theme. Adam Rockoff introduced the film and stuck around late to talk about the film and his next project he is working on, Flesh for the Beast 2. Thanks Adam for being a trooper and sticking around till the very end.

Overall the event was a success and we raised a lot of money for the foundation through the raffle, and the donations. I want to thank everyone for donating to the Lynn Sage Foundation, it means a lot to me. At one point in time, Kitty came up on stage to talk about the foundation and why we decided to pick this charity. My sister passed away from breast cancer about 2 years ago. Not even 40 yet! How shitty is that. These movies we show and the horror they display is nothing compared to the real life horror that can happen. It’s still hard for me to talk about it a bit, so that is why Kitty did and she did a great job, so thanks!! This is just my way of remembering her and trying to help stop cancer and the devastation it can bring to others. We didn’t raise thousands of dollars, but every little bit helps with the fight.

Like I said before, we here at Horror Society are still fairly new to this festival business. So I’m sure there will be bumps in the road, but overall I think everyone had a great time.

We want to bring people movies that no one has really heard of at all. We wanted to showcase them and feature them on the big screen, bring some of the people that are involved with them to talk about the films, and try to entertain the audience at the same time. Each one of these festivals is our chance to bring these types of films to people that might never see them. With each of the festivals, we also want to bring a theme to the event. There is so much great horror films in all sorts of sub-genres of horror, that we try feature them all.

So thanks again to everyone for coming out in the rain, supporting the Lynn Sage Foundation, and supporting independent horror films and the filmmakers as well.

I want to hear your thoughts, not only for this event, but all of our events. What did you think, what should we do better or do more of? Thoughts about the theater, location, films, guests, vendors, anything and everything.

We really do this festival stuff and the website for you!! Really we do! Its our chance to entertain you guys and gals with some films, horror talk, and just a general party like atmosphere. We want to make this fun for you and give you your money’s worth as well. So if there is anything that we can do better in the future, to better entertain you, please let us know.

Thanks again to everyone, and we will do it all over again in July!!!

Mitchell Wells
(and the rest of the HS crew as well)

More pictures will be in the gallery soon! If you have anything from the festival, let me know and I can post them up for you with full credit and a big thanks as well!!

Written by Mitchell Wells

Founder and Editor in Chief of Horror Society. Self proclaimed Horror Movie Freak, Tech Geek, love indie films and all around nice kinda guy!!