2015 SHFF Event Review
By Jon Mercurio Knight
A remarkable 9th year for the Sacramento Horror Film Festival with some great premieres and bold showings. With Friday night, Tim brought us not only excellent short films, but burlesque shows full of fake blood drenched goodness along with fire dancing and snake dancing and of course, an uncut hi-def transfer of one of the most controversial films ever, “A Serbian Film.” Here to present the film was the man behind it, writer/director, Srdjan Spasojevic, who flew over just for this showing. So we not only get to experience such a film, but also get rare insight into what all went into the making of such a film.
Saturday brought us more worthwhile short films and several special treats. Horror Maestro, Mick Garris, was present to watch some of the program and eventually get on stage for a sit down with a fellow horror director, resulting in a very inspirational look at his life and his work in film.
After that was a wonderful premiere of the feature film, The Storyteller, a six year odyssey for its cast and crew that included the infamous Michael Berryman (Hills Have Eyes, Weird Science) as a kind of dream entity haunting a mentally dysfunctional young man played to great effect by Fred Koehler, all of this thanks to the brilliant mastermind behind the whole film, the sadly no longer with us writer/director Andrew Getty, who passed away 6 months prior. His cast and crew pushed ahead to finish the vision, showing unyielding passion for the project. Michael, Fred, and a few key crew members were in attendance to celebrate the screening.
Just before the film played, friends and family of the crew handed out special memento staffs with little cards attached. The film started off with remarkably bizarre visuals, entrancing its audience into the gentle folds of a forming nightmare that never really ended. It only transformed into new terrors. And for the mentally challenged young man at the center of the film, wrapped up in the nightmare, the film took a risky route in bringing the audience along, but letting the audience interpret what they saw. This was not a film to that spoon fed its audience, which was both refreshing and invigorating, as it opened its carefully crafted web.
After this, more short films and performances followed, leading to a Shadow Cast of Rocky Horror Picture Show to end the night, all included in the three day pass. There are few events that give you as much bang for your buck as the Sacramento Horror Film Festival.
Sunday gave us the last bits of short films, another feature film premiere (Landmines Go Click), and a loving tribute to the late and great Wes Craven. This culminated in performances in his honor as well as a special screening of his film, Scream, with a special introduction by Michael Berryman, himself.
- Jon Mercurio Knight