Be afraid … be very afraid
Horror fest runs the gamut from camp to terror in music and film
Programming a film festival has its strange moments, but none as odd as when Derek Clayton, organizer of the Deadmonton Horror Festival accidentally found himself on the phone with movie mogul Bob Weinstein, cofounder of Miramax Films.
“We were looking for the distributor for a movie, so I Googled for a phone number. I kind of didn’t know what to say, but he was really nice and put me through to the extension I was looking for,” he recalls.
Weird, but considering the nature of the festival, not completely out of the ordinary — Deadmonton is all about horror fans and what they’d do to get their hands on the latest and scariest.
Clayton has always loved horror movies, ever since he “accidentally” got exposed to them, “thanks to myparents’ lack of supervision,” in the early days of pay TV when The Thing would pop up on Superchannel late at night. As an adult, though, finding those films has become a bit more of a challenge.
The Return to Odd horror fest used to fill that niche, but when the original organizer left the city, Clayton and a friend, Matt Acosta, put together a day-long version last year, expanding it to a weekend event this year, with films that are attracting attention from across the West.
“Our Saturday night is almost sold out! That’s our big night. We have My Name is Bruce, which is about ( Evil Dead actor) Bruce Campbell as himself. As soon as that one was announced, we started to get e-mails from people, even from Saskatchewan and Vancouver, telling us that they were coming.”
It’s this fan-centric programming that is selling tickets, Clayton says.
“In Hollywood, there’s a big trend toward remakes. That doesn’t mean it has to be bad — John Carpenter remade The Thing from a ’50s movie, or there’s The Fly. But now, they tend to make PG-friendly versions to throw in the theatres, just a disposable thing to make money over a weekend.”
Rather than going for those big-budget features, Clayton and Acosta have turned to an international roster of new and old horror classics, from the campy to the truly frightening.
“We decided to have a bit more fun with it, since it’s near Hal- Deadmonton Horror
Festival When: Today through Sunday
Where: Metro Cinema Tickets: Available through Metro Cinema, Mars and Venus, Megatunes, and The
Lobby on Whyte Info: www.deadmonton.net loween. Night of the Creeps, for example, is a fun zombie horror comedy. And it’s the first time it’s been shown here since ’86. We had to beg Sony to lend us their only print.
“But as far as horror goes, we go on websites and we hear buzz on stuff — wekept hearing about Tokyo Gore Police and how crazy it was.”
The festival also includes a night of music at the Starlite on Thursday, and a Zombie Walk to and from the screening of Night of the Creeps on Friday.
There are also short films, old classics like Phantasm, and even a few locally made movies, which is all part of the entire Deadmonton horror culture.
“We’re hoping to put Edmonton on the map as a horror city,” he says.
“That’s one of the reasons we went with the Deadmonton name. People used to use it as an insult, but we’re taking it back.”
Deadmonton festival organizers hope to put our city on the map.