The Sci-Fi Spectacular (run by Movieside Films) has become an annual tradition over the past few years. It's particularly special for fans of the annual horror movie marathon, The Massacre, which occurs each October. This year on March 9th at the Portage Theater, the sci-fi festival was a few notches cooler than before because it ran 24 hours for the first time. As a result, it felt like another Massacre for local horror fans. Another cinematic test of endurance! The featured guests were director Frank Henenlotter and Jay Bonansinga (co-author of The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor).
The majority of films screened were prints, which is part of the draw for cinephiles. Besides seeing these classics on the big screen, the 35mm format increases the sentimentality. When I arrived during the presentation of The Dark Crystal, a huge wave of nostalgia swept over me. Pure creativity and hard work made this epic fantasy that cannot be matched. This was made during a time when there was no relying on computers to do the work! Other features screened: Attack of the Giant Leeches, Matinee, Soylent Green, The Last Man on Earth, Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1978, Brain Damage, Silent Running, Shock Waves, In the Mouth of Madness, Dark City, Don Hertzfeldt's bizarre animation It's Such a Beautiful Day, and a great finale with Battle Royale! (Watch the trailers for all the films at the fest in my last post HERE)
The highlight of the festival was the featured guest, director Frank Henenlotter, who has made some gloriously unforgettable body horror films like Basket Case, Frankenhooker, Brain Damage and Bad Biology. Being one of my absolute favorite directors, it was a dream come true to finally meet him. While getting his autograph, he talked about the exploding leg scene in Frankenhooker, explaining that they simply used a trial and error method to blow up the props. One would be a dud, and the next would eviscerate the entire leg! He also noted that some of the leg props ended up getting stolen. He also mentioned that the “Aylmer” props from Brain Damage did not age well, thanks to cheap latex and the fact that they never imagined the film would have become the popular cult favorite that it has over time. (More anecdotes in the photo gallery below!)
Aside from the fantastic films screening, there was a competition for filmmakers to send in their one-minute tributes to Roger Corman's science fiction works in the fifties. I cannot express how much fun all the entries were – look for a blog post about that very soon! However, the winners were a 3-way tie:
Screams on Planet Zero! by David Schmidt
The Day the Earth Spun by Ryan Oliver of Deathblow Productions
Attack of the Cosmic Frank-Einstein from Haunted Space... and the Moon by Zoran Gvojic of Low Carb Comedy.
Now, why don't we head on over to the gallery below for some photos of the event? Total hours awake: 40! See you at The Massacre in October!
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