Oh the Horror!

There are lots of things I love about October. The blustery weather, the changing colors of the leaves, pumpkin flavored everything at Trader Joes, and not being able to change the channel without seeing buckets of fake blood spilling out over a new B list Hollywood actress.

I love horror movies, and I always have. Ever since I was a little kid and my father damned me by subjecting me to Stephan King’s magnificently creepy It. Tim Curry plays an evil clown that devours children, and as a child I derived sick enjoyment out of being scared witless and having to sleep with the lights on. My birthday also falls at the end of the month, and that meant lots of bday sleepovers where I dragged various friends through countless haunted houses only to get them home in time to watch another scary movie. Movies, for me, were always where the fun was at, and that’s what made it so exciting for me to be involved with this year’s Idaho Horror Film Festival.

First off, COI is the best because they definitely hooked up myself and afew other bloggers with VIP tickets to all the events at the festival. This meant that not only were we able to get into all of the shows and check out the action for free, we also had access to the VIP Lounge upstairs where all the movie making folks were hanging out (and the free bar was being kept). If there’s a marriage on this earth more perfect than scary movies and free booze, I don’t know what it is. My first night of the festival, I headed downtown with Ashley Miller to see The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, a silent film brought to explosive sound by College of Idaho Alumni, Sean Dahlman, and his incredibly talented sound team. While the black and white classic played out over the big screen of Boise’s historic, and possibly haunted Egyptian Theater, Sean and his crew performed a live soundtrack to transport the audience into the unfolding world of the show. The music was both verrrrrry creepy and excellent fun to listen to, and the team did a great job keeping the crowd entertained and engaged with the film. A small group of COI students came out to support the enterprise, and all of us enjoyed ourselves immensely. The movie was one I hadn’t seen before, and a part of me genuinely doubts I would have been super into it (I know, I know, I’m an uncultured swine) if it hadn’t been for the music keeping me absorbed. The whole night was a ton of fun however, and it was a great time and a delightful ambiance to be immersed in. It definitely got me ready for the rest of the festival.

            The next morning Ashley and I woke up early made our way to the ten o’clock showing of Hocus Pocus. It was so cute, it was undeniably one of the few child-friendly events at the festival, and the kids had shown up in full force. Everyone was dressed up and face painted, and I felt very much like an adult invader sitting in an audience full of excited princesses and ghosts and superheroes. Before starting the main attraction, we were all treated to an original new work created by a local filmmaker. The children’s movie was short and sweet, boasted an anti-bullying message, and revolved around a couple of kids staying the night at a haunted house. I’m sure the kids in the audience enjoyed it very much, but I personally would have rather have spent my time ordering an extra bloody Bloody Mary. Hocus Pocus was everything I remembered it being from my childhood….and last Halloween. I love that movie and I adored getting to watch it on the big screen in all it’s cheesy, 90’s era glory. There’s something extra magical about seeing an old and beloved movie brought to new light in a new place.

            I had to take a little break from the festival after that, as my directing class and I were scheduled to see the matinee premiere of BCT’s A Skull in Connemara. Ashley and I killed a little time together by walking around the Saturday Market and treating ourselves to some tasty sambusas and ginger beer. Downtown Boise is such a fun place to be, it’s easy to forget sometimes when we’re all so involved in school stuff and Caldwell life that there’s a growing city full of adventure only thirty minutes away. I headed out to the BCT Theatre around 1:30 to meet up with the class and my professors Mike Hartwell and Joe Golden. Due to the show, I unfortunately had to miss the first hour of the 48 Horror Film Festival Competition viewing, but as soon as the play let out (it was amazing, by the way, everyone should go see it as soon as possible) I ran those few blocks back to the Egyptian in time to catch the last several videos.

            I’ve competed a few different years at I48 during the summer time, but this was my first opportunity to get a look at  the “Horror” I48. It was a lot of fun! I arrived just in time to see a film called “Sisters”, made by a couple of the folks I’d met in the VIP Lounge the night before, so that was pretty thrilling. The films always range in level of quality, from beginners who are just getting a handle on editing and whatnot, to professionals with expert equipment and years of experience. The cool thing about I48 is that everyone has 48 hours to write, film, and edit a video. At the very beginning of the competition they are given a line that must be used (“no union is more profound, don’t you agree?”), a prop that must somehow be incorporated (a very… sharp turkey baster, haha), and they’ve gotta make it allllll work together and make sense. This year’s competitors more than rose to the challenge, and it was clear that everyone had worked very hard and had a good time. My favorite film was probably a play off of Hansel and Gretel, only instead of the children getting eaten by the witch at the end, the little trick or treating kids end up being monsters who eat the murderous old witch trying to trap them. It was cute and creepy, and a crowd favorite.

            Overall, my time with the Idaho Horror Film Festival was entirely wonderful. I had a great time hanging out and watching cool films with my friend and fellow blogger, Ashley. I got to eat good food and drink delicious drinks while viewing the creations of my fellow Idahoians. Finally, I got to enjoy all of this in a city I love, with a film community I’m only just now beginning to understand and appreciate. Better late than never, certainly. It was a great way to start off Fall Break, and just the little jump start I needed to get some creative juices flowing.