The 2009 International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Fest Starts Thursday!
One of the highlights of the Phoenix horror scene is the annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival. This year's iteration runs October 15-18, 2009, at MADCAP Theaters, the festival's new home in downtown Tempe. Running the show once again is Andrea Beesley-Brown, the Midnite Movie Mamacita, and she's put together an amazing line-up of features and shorts. The IHSFFF opens on Thursday, October 15th with a 7:15PM screening of one of my favorite underrated sci-fi action flicks, Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997). Star Casper Van Dien, Johnny Rico himself, will be in attendance, answering questions after the movie and then signing autographs in the lobby (all proceeds from Van Dien's signing go to Childhelp USA).
The festival really kicks into gear on Friday, with six feature films and two sets of shorts on the schedule, starting at 6:00PM. The highlight is a showing of George A. Romero's original Night of the Living Dead at 7:30, with special guest Judith O'Dea (Barbara in the movie) on hand for a post-film Q&A. That alone would make it an evening to remember, but there's more. At 9:45, the IHSFFF hosts what I believe is the Arizona premiere of the new Coffin Joe film, Embodiment of Evil. Brazilian gore and depravity not your thing? Swing by the Friday night party (9PM-1AM), see the Gore Girl Contest sponsored by ICanSmellYourBrains.com, and get the properly tanked for the 11:30PM showing of Andrea Bianchi's awfulsome zombie flick, Burial Ground.
Saturday's daytime programming features a smorgasbord of selections, especially if you're keeping your eye out for the next big thing. Films range from cyber-thrillers (8th Wonderland, Eyeborgs) to spoofs (Trail of the Screaming Forehead from The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra's Larry Blamire) to suburban slashers (Neighbor) to documentaries (Zombie Girl: The Movie). There's also two sets of horror shorts; the fest's horror programming folks assure me that neither set should be missed.
Believe it or not, Saturday night looks just as awesome as Friday. Anyone who has ever yearned for the full-immersion experience of seeing 1974's Texas Chain Saw Massacre in a proper movie theater will need yearn no longer. At 7:30PM, the fest has Tobe Hooper's directorial debut projecting on that big beautiful screen with star Marilyn Burns answering questions and signing autographs afterwards. Didn't get enough partying Friday? There's another shindig Saturday, running 9PM-1AM. this time with a costume contest! Come the end of the night, you'll be faced with a near-impossible choice. Do you witness the total insanity of Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (see the trailer) at 10:30PM or the unintentional hilarity of Bruno Mattei's Night of the Zombies (aka Hell of the Living Dead) at 11:00PM. Decisions, decisions...
Sunday wraps things up with encore showings of several of the films you might have missed earlier the weekend, including Embodiment of Evil and Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl (hey, that makes your late-night Saturday selection easier -- or does it?). The festival closes out with a 7:00PM showing of D. Kerry Prior's horror/comedy The Revenant, about an articulate zombie (David Anders of TV's Alias) who becomes a vigilante by feasting on the scumbags of his city.
As we did last year, Classic-Horror.com has signed on as a sponsor of the festival and I'll be introducing a screening -- but which one? You'll have to attend to find out! Ticket ordering information and a full schedule can be found at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival website.