Fear Potion #9: Buried Alive Film Festival UnEarth’s World’s Best Horror to Atlanta

Posted on: Nov 19th, 2014 By:

2014BAFFPOSTERThe Ninth Annual Buried Alive Film Festival; Saturday, Nov. 22, 3:00 p.m. – 12:30 a.m.; Sunday, Nov. 23, 1:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m.; Fabrefaction Theatre; Tickets $50 (all access, both days), $10 per programming block, available here. Opening night party Friday, Nov. 21, 8:00 p.m. – 11:59 p.m. @ Joystick Game Bar.

By Aleck Bennett
Contributing Writer

Need a reason to be bloody thankful this month? Well, here’s something to make your twisted Thanksgiving complete: the notorious Buried Alive Film Festival (BAFF) is back for its ninth reincarnation! Atlanta’s favorite, longest-running horror film festival will be at Fabrefaction Theatre on November 22 and 23. This year, Festival Director (and ATLRetro Kool Kat of the Week) Blake Myers and the Buried Alive team have exhumed three features and 50 short films—almost 20 hours of programming including nine American premieres and three world premieres! With a host of filmmakers in attendance, this year promises to be a glorious celebration of horror, further sealing Atlanta’s place as the horror capitol of the nation!

baskin 1The weekend kicks off in style with an opening night party at Joystick Game Bar on Friday, Nov. 21, from 8 p.m. to midnight. Come on out and meet the filmmakers behind this year’s fearsome feast of fright! But pace yourself, because Saturday’s programming starts off at 3 p.m. with Shorts Program 1: Tentacles, Kidney Stones and Cannibalism. This exploration of the darkly comic and disturbingly surreal spans the globe, from here to Turkey and back again. Highlights include the post-apocalyptic doom of THE LAST HALLOWEEN, a disorienting trip with four Turkish policemen into the gaping maw of Hell in the highly acclaimed (by no less than Eli Roth and Richard Stanley) BASKIN, the hilariously gory DEAD ALIVE-meets-“Love Potion Number 9” French splatstick of SPEED FUCKING and the world premiere of local director Jay Halloway’s subterranean terror UNDERLOCK.

Extreme_PinocchioBAFF reconvenes at 5 p.m. for Shorts Program 2: Some Real, Some Fake, All Fucked Up. Taking a more realistic turn than the previous program, these shorts focus on the horrors of the here-and-now, ranging from the twisted psychosis of EXTREME PINOCCHIO, also French, to the provocative documentary GLASS EYES OF LOCUST BAYOU. The standouts in this category—along with those previously mentioned—include the American premieres of the funerary revenge short PARA NOCHES DE INSOMNIO and the expertly executed murder of RELLIK.

After a short break, we’re back at 7 p.m. to ponder love, desire and the meaning of “togetherness” in Shorts Program 3: Healthy Relationships. Whether living or dead, functional or dysfunctional, human or inhuman, all of the permutations of companionship are on display in this variety of shorts. Two noteworthy local entries make debuts during this program—Brandon Delaney’s first-person dialogue MY BOYFRIEND’S BAG in its world premiere, and local filmmaker James Sizemore’s Satanic opus GOAT WITCH which hits Georgia screens for the first time. Also getting American premieres are two UK shorts: SKIN, which turns the hostage/captor relationship on its head, and the unsettling physical manifestation of a deteriorating relationship of SPLIT. Add in the Norwegian sadistic ANGST, PISS AND SHIT and the fetish-laden morgue visit of I AM MONSTER, and you’ve got an evening full of romance. Well, in a manner of speaking anyway.

satpanicNight falls with the festival’s first feature program at 9 p.m. This kicks off with two shorts: the tortured texts of M IS FOR MOBILE and the Georgia premiere of Patrick Longstreth’s Tybee Island-lensed giant monster rampage HELLYFISH. That’s followed by the world premiere of ATLRetro Kool Kat Eddie Ray’s long-awaited second entry in his epically comic tale of devil worship, rock ‘n’ roll warfare and government conspiracies, SATANIC PANIC 2: BATTLE OF THE BANDS!

As the festival heads into the wee hours at 11 p.m., the second feature program of the night is Andres Torres’ horrifying journey through the seedy underbelly of the New York art world and into the twisted mind of a lonely hot dog vendor, BAG BOY LOVER BOY. Driven by killer performances and an escalating sense of discomfort, this film—which meets us at the cross-section of William Lustig’s MANIAC and Roger Corman’s A BUCKET OF BLOOD—is well worth staying up for. The evening closes with a French short film that explores the unease lurking under the comforts of HOME.

988Feeling rested? Slept well after the horrors of the night before? Already got your brunch on and ready to go? Good! Because Buried Alive rises again Sunday at 1 p.m. with Shorts Program 4: Scary Animal Monsters from Outer Space at Your Service. As the program’s title suggests, the selection here is widely varied. The subjects range from the whimsical DEAD HEARTS to the vengeful water spirits of SHUI GUI, from a killer’s paranoia in SEMBLANCE to the wild Australian pathogenic zombie-kangaroo horror of WATERBORNE. Receiving its American premiere is the hilarious BUDGET CUTS, an instructional short on how to maintain your serial killer lifestyle when time and money are tight. Also making its American debut is THE BEAR FAMILY SECRET, a stark and powerful tale of homebound human horror set during the Brazilian dictatorship of 1970. And on the local front, Dayna Noffke unveils her latest work, RECOMPENSE, in its world premiere! It’s a twisty little gem in the EC Comics tradition, in which a prisoner finds out just how much his freedom will cost.

Hana-Dama-p1The first feature program of the day follows at 3 p.m. The supporting short, DONE IN, follows a man’s reminiscences as he pens his farewell to this world. In the featured slot is the American premiere of veteran Japanese director Hisayasu Satô’s HANA-DAMA: THE ORIGINS. A visually explosive exploration of the torment a young girl faces at school and at home, the film takes a novel path in its tale of revenge: a bullied student becomes possessed by a flower, the Hana-Dama, which makes manifest the secret desires of all those who have caused her pain.

At 5 p.m., we leave the realm of the photorealistic behind and enter Drawn and Quartered: The Animation Program. This series of shorts is bookended by the works of Edgar Allan Poe, in adaptations from Moonbot Studios: visually stunning old-school animation adaptations of THE RAVEN and THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO. In between, the festival is serving up two tales of teddy bear terror in MEAN TEDDIES and UNICORN BLOOD, the final evolution of life rising from a wasteland in Germany’s OMEGA, a wacky SHINING-inspired tale of wacky sibling rivalry and murder in the witty THE LAST RESORT and a knowing tale about the importance of choosing the right doctor in EYE IN TUNA CARE. On the local front, Amanda Smith fistoffirepresents a disturbing stop-motion account of a romantic dinner gone horribly awry in TRUE LOVE, and Wally Chung presents a cautionary warning about conformity and discrimination in TALL EVIL. One entry that stands out, however, is Finnish director Tomi Malkki’s FIST OF FIRE (aka TULIKOURA), the surprisingly touching story of a dying death metal drummer, his faithful dog and his post-mortem journey. Maybe my love of Finnish metal is showing through, but the short is moving and ghoulishly funny in addition to being totally and brutally metal. Malkki also will be in attendance, all the way from Finland, to talk about his film.

The second feature program of the day starts at 7 p.m. with another local offering: the Georgia premiere of Robert Bryce Milburn’s AMERICAN HELL, a short glimpse of the nightmare of isolation a family confronts when they are subject to a home invasion. That provides a perfect lead-in to the feature attraction, Adam Petke and sunderSean Blau’s THE SUNDERLAND EXPERIMENT, quite simply one of the most gob-smackingly original films this festival has to offer. This quietly building piece of cosmic horror is set in the isolated, fenced-off desert town of Sunderland. Something identifying itself as an “angel” has converted the town into a strange simulacrum of everyday society, and the adults into its surrogates. The children can either accept the angel’s “blessing” and become like their parents, or become the “fallen” and are left to fend for themselves in the wasteland surrounding the town’s border. One of the young men, David, is destined to learn the truth about his family, the town, and the true nature of the angel that controls their lives. It’s a stunning piece of work.

The festival closes on a holly jolly note at 9 p.m. with Shorts Program 5: A Very Special Zombie Christmas. MR. DENTONN opens the proceedings with the fairy tale-esque story of a sinister visitor that enters homes through mirrors and steals children’s souls. Afterward, we take a peek into the Troma-esque comedy of CHRISTMAS EVE PET MASSACRE, where the world’s worst family finds that their pets are more than glad to bite the hands that feed them. Then it’s off to Latin America for ZUGAR ZOMBIE—a potent cocktail of political corruption, the undead and grand irony. Finally, we wrap things up at the festival imagesmuch like we started: with a delicious look at Halloween. This time, it’s Jonathan Rej and Shane Morton’s ATLANTA ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. A group of rowdy youths (the best kind) find themselves trapped in a cheesy haunted house when the zombie uprising breaks out. Is it all part of Professor Morté’s spook show? Or is it all too real? A labor of love from pretty much everyone involved with the dearly-departed Halloween haunt of the same name and the Atlanta horror film scene, it’s a gut-busting and gut-munching RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD-styled throwback to the heyday of ‘80s zombie horror. Stick around afterwards to find out the Festival winners (Disclosure: ATLRetro Publisher/Editor Anya Martin is a judge). It’s also the perfect way to close yet another fantastic run of the Buried Alive Film Festival.

Aleck Bennett is a writer, blogger, pug warden, pop culture enthusiast, raconteur and bon vivant from the greater Atlanta area. Visit his blog at doctorsardonicus.wordpress.com

 

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‘80s Horror Bringin’ the ‘70s With It into the Now: THE DEMON’S ROOK Test Screening At Newly Renovated Plaza Theatre on Wed. April 3

Posted on: Apr 2nd, 2013 By:

THE DEMON’S ROOK (2013); Dir. James Sizemore; Prod. Tim Reis; Starring Ashleigh Jo Sizemore, James Sizemore, John Chatham; Test Screening; Wed. Apr. 3, 9:30 p.m., Plaza Theatre, Suggested donation $5; Trailer here.

By Josh Lowder
Contributing Writer

There are slap-happy, slimy, death-masked, gassed-out, creeper-features – as well as other such hyphenated, superlative-worthy schlock-mares that we’ve all known and loved since first sight, so long before my dog CeeGee and I killed crocs with sharks on SyFy. Then there are our most nurtured, formative dreams that reach out to us from our collective pasts to where we sit in the blissful ignorance of adulthood, slapping us into a working fervor. No? Well, fortunately the Black Riders are in this business of making awesome, chief among them is named Loup’Rah Garomore (a.k.a. James Sizemore, but what boring rubbish are Christian names when it is the darker palate from which we draw our pigments…we’ll stick with Loup’Rah Garomore).

When confronted about this sinister priory of Black Riders by Rondal at the Strange Kids Club website way back in 2011, nothing was held back and things got super-serious:

“I formed a secret art society with a couple close friends back in 2006 known as The Black Riders. We all had four things in common that we wanted to have fun celebrating in the society: our love for righteous art creation, cryptozoological creature study, veganism, and metal music. We dubbed ourselves the three elders, giving each other monikers. I was given the name Loup’Rah Garomore by my brother Lycanthropus Galleytrot. Ever since then, I’ve gone by that name when creating my art. Lycanthropus, Mudrot and I created a pretty strange set of induction rights, and since then we occasionally induct new members into the fold. As of now, we only have nine members. I guess you could say it’s a pretty exclusive society, but that’s the way we like it.”

The earnest eyes of a dedicated special effects meister, and his team of shiny-eyed believers, pierce the murky bog clogged with so many of our computer “enhanced” chiller reels and have brought to bear a sincere glimpse into the wilding world of inspired lore and lingo that their tireless fingers and worn sculpting tools, brushes and swabs, have brilliantly shape. Some of us do still enjoy a potable slice of context with our three-hour-application monster make-ups, but with the line between flesh and art so successfully blurred with each new creature revealed in the small sample leaked to us last Halloween in the trailer, the urge to press pause and gawk might best the quest for “what happens next.” Still, don’t think that this is any reason to dismiss the journey. It’s there for a sincerely dark and ominous reason. Behold…

On THE DEMON’S ROOK from Demon himself:

“The story follows a young boy named Roscoe who finds a portal to another world where he is taught magic by an exiled demon elder. Confined to their mystical cave, Roscoe is raised up by the demon elder in secret. Once he is discovered by three other demons, Roscoe must escape to avoid their wrath. Through desperation, he is forced to escape through the portal that leads back to our world. Unbeknownst to Roscoe, he leads the demons to discover the portal for themselves. Once the demons pass through, a nightmarish foray of summoned monsters are unleashed. One demon possesses the minds and will of all whom she crosses, another transforms a man into a murderous beast, and the other summons an army of the dead to do his bidding.“

Loup’Rah Garomore, the undisputed head on this corpus cinematique – FX master, commander, and cramps to prove it, producer, director, star, husband, you name it – has faced a lot of hot-light interrogation by a number of amazingly in-depth fan and genre websites that delve much deeper than I thought possible without a medical degree and an endoscope. And after a few gently invasive exchanges via emails with this bearded peach-stater, I realized that here was a man ready to let his work speak for itself despite his complete availability to me. Moreland, Georgia can be proud of this native son and his demonic generosity of spirit and wealth of energy for us all to see through his mind-expanding kaleidoscope of hopeful oblivion. This energy he shares knows very few bounds and is steeped with experience at work and at the front of the classes leading the way – his zest for new knowledge gets qualified and solidified by passing it so readily to those eager to learn. This qualifies him to make a monster movie with fewer regrets than most first-time film makers partly learning as they go.

Within this word-starved format satiating our inquisitive minds, it is one quote in particular from the past two years’ interviews of Loup’Rah (by those who have been brave enough to utter his summon-word), that I pry liberally to parse out the best possible passionate opinion to put us in those new seats, walking across that new carpet – seeing the refurbished Plaza and enjoying the best popcorn in town. This would normally make for a genuinely worthwhile experience on its own merit, and then BOOM, demons.

When Undead Backbrain at Roberthood[dot]net teed it up for him with a 100-word essay request, the everything-man drove it home in an A-Team-constructed iron horse:

“I could do that in two words: It delivers. But I’ll elaborate… ever see a trailer or poster art for a movie that gets you totally pumped to see it, but then when you finally do, you feel cheated because they showed all the best parts in the preview, or it was nothing like advertised? This ain’t that movie. THE DEMON’S ROOK is the real deal start to finish. See the poster art [at the top of the article]? That’s accurate. See the trailer? Only the tip of the iceberg. This is the ultimate low budget fantasy-horror movie. You’ll be high-fiving strangers, guaranteed. 100.”

Now, when you remember the dark and sequestered nights staying up with one of your seminal UHF movies, that smoke-filled foam-carved cave teaming with beasts and maidens in just wisps of clarity in the snowy 14-inch technicolor or B&W tube you’d boosted from the kitchen or your neighbor – relax that reflexive memory muscle and let this feature return you to that moment with a far clearer vision, wisdom and the same solid wizardry of the old masters.

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