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November 22, 2010

First Annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival

On Saturday, November 6th, I was fortunate enough to attend the First Annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival. It is, I believe, the first horror film festival in the city of San Diego; and here's hoping it happens every year.

Visit The Horrible Imaginings Website today!

Miguel Rodriguez is a newcomer to the city, but he's managed to do in two months what others have tried for years and failed to accomplish, and for that, the fans thank him. And there were plenty of fans there to enjoy the varied selection of micro- and moderate-budget shorts and features; some older films and some newer ones. The 10th Avenue Theater & Arts Center building downtown was the perfect venue. The lobby was decorated with various horror props, including many creepy undead babies, and behind a table covered with T-shirts and other merchandise sat {artist name here] who does some amazing graphic novels dealing with the Cthulu mythos. Upstairs was an art space with some wonderfully dark art and a very cool room of neon 3D art. On the roof they served hot dogs and nachos, sodas and beer, and mixed drinks on a constant basis until the after party closed at 2AM. For a first outing, Miguel really hit all the high points. About the only thing missing was a large dealer's room, but there wasn't really enough time to peruse one anyway.

The films were shown in two sections, Mind and Body - the idea being that the first set of films would be more about emotional and intellectual horror, and the second half would be more physical horror. It was an interesting way to separate the films, but I'm not entirely sure all the films were reflective of the section they were placed in.

After the final film, most of us adjourned to the roof for an after-party that lasted until 2AM, when my parking meter finally ran out. (Downtown really sucks for parking.) hanging out on the roof grazing on nachos and hot dogs, and chatting up independent film directors and die-hard horror fans made this the perfect way to end the night.

I'd like to thank Miguel Rodriguez for bringing us the First Annual Horrible Imaginings Film Festival, and I can't wait for the next one. Who knows, San Diego might become a horror destination yet.

Here's a short run-down of the films shown


For Us: A beautifully shot noir mind fuck that really set the tone for this section of the festival. - dir by Chris Smith, 8 min

Distraught: A brutal short that telegraphed its ending within the first moments, so the rest of the 5 minutes was spent just waiting for the inevitable. - dir by Brenda Fies, 6 min

Algesia: a fascinating film largely devoid of dialogue, mainly told with sound and color; reminded me a bit of Tetsuo. dir by Cathy Alberich, 15 min

The Commune:
This micro-budgeter is a very predictable film that would be right at home with other hysterical cautionary made for TV movies like Tunnels and Trolls with Tom Hanks. The acting isn't terrible and the scenery is pretty, but the directing is functional at best, and the story is reads like a Jack Chick tract. I would be remiss, however, not to mention that it has won an award or two. After the film was a quick Q & A with the Brenda and Elisabeth Fies. - dir by Elisabeth Fies, 1hr 31 min

Simone: A young woman wakes up in bed with a corpse after a night of partying. Or does she? This well-worn premise is handled deftly here, and you won't see the ending coming. - 9 min

Peeping Tom:
I'd been wanting to see this one for a while, and was very excited to finally get a chance. It was worth the wait. The film concerns a young photographer who kills women and films their final moments. When he gets involved with a downstairs neighbor, he starts to question his own obsessions. There is a lot of sexual imagery on display here, and I can imagine it was quite shocking for audiences in 1960 - so much so that the film apparently destroyed Michael Powell's career. There are some (very fair) comparisons made of this film to Psycho, which came out the next year and which didn't destroy the director's career. - dir by Michael Powell, 1 hr 41 min


Green Fly: Kristin shot this while in film school in San Diego. It's a creepy little short with a fun-if-obvious ending. - dir by Kristin Elmond, 8 min

... Or Treat: The best 90 seconds you'll ever treat yourself to. Sublime. - 90 sec

Consumed: The title refers to the love a young woman has for her dog, with darkly comic results.. - dir by Elisabeth Fies, 6 min 20 sec

Derailed: A young man misses his train, and while waiting for the next one, he hears a young woman calling for help out on the tracks. He makes the worst decision of his life and decides to help. This one was honestly terrifying, and I highly recommend you seek it out. - dir by Nicolas Simonin, 19 min

President's Day: This micro-micro-budget ($5000) feature was a terrific surprise. It hit all the right notes of an 80's era Halloween clone, and even had time to make some low-level social commentary on the way. The crowd loved it, and it was interesting to see what a talented filmmaker could do with no money, actors, or sets. I would recommend this film to any horror fan. - dir by Chris LaMartina, 1hr 22 min

Dead Hooker in a Trunk: The next-to-last film was a pure grindhouse feature called Shot on handheld DV, it's a creative and fun film about finding a dead hooker in the trunk of your car and having no idea if you are responsible for putting her there. Drugs, gore, rock music, genital torture - this film has it all, and it's all over-the-top. This was a crowd favorite, but I have to say, as much as I enjoyed it, I liked "President's Day" just a little bit more. Even so, I can recommend this one as well. - written and dir by twins Jen and Sylvia Soska, 1hr 32 min

The Beyond: This is a serious mind-fuck of a zombie movie and one of my faves. Apparently, there are seven Gates of Hell, and the hotel in the film is sitting right on top of one. Toss in bad dubbing, a warlock, a blind girl, some very melty gore gags, and Fulci's signature eye trauma and you have a recipe for, well, I'm not sure what, but it sure is fun. I'd seen this one before, but it was better watching it with a crowd of fans. - dir by Lucio Fulci, 1 hr 29 min

1 comment:

  1. The Beyond should never be viewed anywhere but in a theater. Sounds like a few great little films were there. Maybe we'll get lucky enough to find them online somewhere.