CINEPOCALYPSE is back at the Music Box Theatre in Chicago and Team Gregula could not be more excited to indulge in one of our favorite film festivals! This event formerly known as the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Fest has been scaring up moviegoers since 2017 in its current incarnation and this year is looking to be simply fang-tastic. Da Count and I were present on Thursday June 13th for the opening night festivities that included the world premiere of director and punk rock legend Glenn Danzig's (who was also in attendance) horror anthology VEROTIKA.
Before the movie started, we had the opportunity to preview the Child's Play pop-up bar inside the Lounge next door to the theater. The decor was fun and creepy, dark with strategically placed colored lights highlighting toys in all forms of destruction and a wall of the boxes the "Buddi" dolls are packed in.
There were also live actors in scary toy costumes who did an excellent job creeping out the patrons by lurking about the bar and theater invading personal space. Horror themed drinks were available as well, we tried the "Bloody Martini" which had a good Bloody Mary flavor, but was rather spicy.
Then it was time for the VEROTIKA premiere, opening up to a full house of rock and horror fans with introductions by CINEPOCALYPSE founder Josh Goldbloom and director Glenn Danzig.
VEROTIKA is an adaptation from Danzig's own comic series VEROTIK, and this film features three separate stories hosted by a sinister demoness called Morella (Kayden Kross) in a Tales From The Crypt style. It gets off to a promising start with our hostess with the mostess gouging out the eyes of an unlucky female victim as she introduces the first segment “The Albino Spider of Dajette”. We are introduced to Dajette (Ashley Wisdom), a woman who has EYEBALLS for nipples. If that wasn't weird enough, her eyeball-nipple actually sheds a tear splashing on an albino spider turning it into a giant humanoid creature who goes on a killing rampage in a town that is supposedly Paris. Because you know, bad French accents? This was the one that actually had the most potential if it weren't so campy.
The second and third segments were unfortunately less creative. In "Change of Face" we now have a tale of a mysterious stripper called (appropriately enough) Mystery Girl (Rachel Alig) who has a habit of murdering her fellow strippers and saving their face skins to wear like a mask as her own face is disfigured. Unintentional humor was sprinkled throughout especially when Mystery Girl would spend time with her "face family". The acting was a bit tired and the scenes got a bit repetitive after a while but I was still entertained. The last one “Drukija Contessa of Blood” was another retelling of Elizabeth Bathory and her penchant for bathing in virgin blood. Even though the scenes were also repetitive, I kind of liked this segment the best as I have an interest in vampire legends and similar stories.
To be honest, I feel that VEROTIKA was probably way better on paper than what was translated onscreen but it's still entertaining and has potential to be a cult film in the vein of THE ROOM. Team Gregula gives it **TWO AND A HALF FANGS UP**.
It was a fun night, we didn't manage to make it to the after party but we still had a great time and look forward to the rest of the fest.