A month ago (October 14-16 2016), I had the pleasure of attending the Telluride Horror Show in the picturesque town of Telluride, Colorado. One of the most beautiful places on earth got invaded by one of the coolest film festivals out there right now. With a jam packed schedule and a slew of great new horror to discover, let’s delve into some of the highlights of the festival. Be sure to check out my coverage of Day 1 and Day 2.
My day 3 started a little differently than the others. I decided to start my day with a short film block instead of a feature this time. I was primarily stoked to finally be able to check out Jill Gevargizian’s The Stylist (read my interview with Jill here) since I had been hearing about so much about it on the festival circuit. It was playing during a block of short films called “Sunday Suspensefuls”. I was pumped.
Movies: “Sunday Suspensefuls” Short Block
Doll – The block started with a short film called Doll that the director introduced. He mentioned this film was part of a bigger proposed feature. Well, I’m excited to see the feature version because I really enjoyed this short. I’d love to see what the film turns out to be.
Blight – Blight was a superbly made exercise in terror. It appeared to be shot on film and told the story of a small European town exorcism. I wanted this film to be a feature. I believe this was the longest of the shorts, and I just wanted more. Great effects and acting too.
Jezebel – The weakest of the shorts presented here was still a pretty well done little movie. It’s another well shot horror yarn with a Tales from the Crypt style twist. Its one of those short predicated on its ending, but it doesn’t waste too much time getting us there.
Curve – This one gave me massive anxiety. Beautifully shot, Curve tells the story of a woman trapped on a curved surface that drops down into a bottomless pit. We watch as she tries to hold herself up even as the weather turns on her. I couldn’t breath during this one it was so tense.
The Stylist – Finally! I couldn’t wait to see this film, and it delivered! The Stylist is well shot and edited and features a haunting performance by Najarra Townsend. Be sure to check out my interview with the director in the link above for more on the movie. Needless to say, if this one comes to a festival near you, don’t miss it.
The Tunnel – The Tunnel was another example of a short that riddled me with anxiety. This one really gets under your skin too. It presents a not far from reality glimpse into the future with a family trying to return home going through the “death tunnels”. I won’t say any more on this one other than see it.
The Babysitter Murders – Wow! This short blew me away! Give these filmmakers a feature now. It’s a fun and campy send up to the slasher genre that had me smiling from start to finish. This was a very polished work and featured some great acting and story twists
My stomach was in knots before Rats began. The buzz around this “horror documentary” was that it was pretty hard to watch at points. Coming from the director of Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock, I knew the film was going to be entertaining, but it wasn’t going to shy away from the gross truths. That’s exactly what I got. While I didn’t exactly lose my lunch, the film had a few moments that certainly made me cringe. Its pretty hard for me to get queasy, but this film got me a couple times.
Event: Secret Shows
Next up, the fest had in store for us a triple threat of surprise screenings. I had no idea what we were in for when we were seated. Were they going to be classics that we had all seen before? New movies no one ever heard of? Something in between? No, the result was even better. We got top-quality movies making their rounds on the festival circuit, movies that held their own with the other movies that had screened all weekend. This is what they had in store.
These Secret Sunday Shows made their Colorado Premieres at Telluride Horror Show and screened at Sheridan Opera House and The Nugget Theatre:
THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE
directed by André Øvredal
starring Emile Hirsch and Brian Cox
Synopsis: Cox and Hirsch play father and son coroners who receive a mysterious homicide victim with no apparent cause of death. As they attempt to identify the beautiful young “Jane Doe,” they discover increasingly bizarre clues that hold the key to her terrifying secrets.
directed by Julia Ducournau
Synopsis: When a young vegetarian undergoes a carnivorous hazing ritual at vet school, an unbidden taste for meat begins to grow in her.
directed by Chris Peckover
starring Virginia Madsen, Patrick Warburton
Synopsis: On a quiet suburban street tucked within a ‘safe neighborhood’, a babysitter must defend a twelve-year-old boy from strangers breaking into the house, only to discover that this is FAR FROM a normal home invasion.
The movie I luckily chose to end my festival with was the surprise screening of Raw. If you’ve heard the hype, you know people were passing out and throwing up at screenings of this movie at other film festivals. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but the film does have some sick moments. I honestly felt queasier during Rats. Raw is basically Ginger Snaps if you take the werewolf out of it. It’s a feminist horror flick, and those are my favorite, so I really enjoyed this movie.
Movie: HERE ALONE
Another film I had the pleasure of seeing was Here Alone. It’s the story of a survivor trying to make it in the zombie apocalypse when she meet other survivors who might compromise her way of life. If the plot sounds familiar, it is, but the movie handles it’s worn out plot well. We do get some new twists and surprises, and we end up caring for our lead characters. This one would so well with the Walking Dead crowd.
Movie: THE AUTOPSY OF JANE DOE
One of the surprise movies is one of the coolest genre movies of the year. Featuring amazing performances from both Brian Cox and Emile Hirsch, Autopsy is a spooky haunted house movie set in a morgue. This is perfect Halloween fare. Plenty of spooky moments and creep out scenes throughout make this film an entertaining blast from start to finish.
Other feature films screened I wasn’t able to see were: The Girl With Two Faces, The Eyes of My Mother, Kill Command, A Dark Song, Spring Break Zombie Massacre, Trash Fire, and Beyond the Walls.
Overall, I had a blast and a half at the Telluride Horror Show this year. I’m already making plans to go back again in 2017 to see the best of what the genre has to offer then. The date has been set for 2017 as starting on Friday, October 13th. I can’t wait. Congratulations to all the festival directors and programmers on such a great year, and thanks to Travis Volz for giving me the opportunity to check it out. See you all next year!