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.dead­mon­ 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.

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