Horrorfest another heavy hitter 

It was cold last Thursday, perhaps the coldest night of the year so far. But it didn’t stop people from hanging out by the front doors of MY Place asking all who went in if they had any extra tickets to sell.

Ah, scalping, the truest measure of success.

The sold-out event in question was the second annual Heavy Hitting Films B-Grade Horrorfest, which had footnoted itself to a Halloween party at the GLC the year before. On its second birthday, not only did it have its own night in its own venue, and a classy venue at that; it had its own scalpers too. Daddies Feet Banks and Chili Thom must have been so proud.

The fest lineup included 15 independent short horror films, many from Vancouver, featuring everything from flesh eating zombies, to nightmare clowns, to monkeys wielding killer bananas, all splashed with buckets of fake blood, guts and gore. Films taking a more subtle approach were not as popular as the blatantly B-Grade, in your face offerings. This was an audience thirsty for blood.

Taking the whiskey-bearing metal skull head trophy from last year’s winner Lauren Graham and, new this year, a cash prize donated by sponsor Base energy drink, was Vancouver’s Stu MacKay-Smith. His entry, titled Happy Anniversary starring his girlfriend Pilar Alvarez, was clearly a cut above and a unanimous audience favourite.

The surreal black and white film styled after the early Charlie Chaplin era featured a young couple possessed by a malicious doll to hack each other to bits over and over again. MacKay-Smith’s use of animation, exaggerated sound and disassociated backgrounds raised both the creep factor and the bar for next year’s films.

Runner up honours went to Bacchanal, a film produced by a group from Whistler Cable 6 which told the gruesome tale of two partiers who wake up blank and retrace their bloody steps to discover they were responsible for the previous night’s slashathon.

A packed venue and a winning entry that would be at home on the short reel of any big time film fest in a major urban centre – not bad for an event started for fun by a couple of local boys. And judging by the overwhelming response and ticket demand, next year’s Horrorfest is not just guaranteed to happen, it’s guaranteed to grow even more.


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