Horrorfest turns 10 

Homegrown B-Grade Horrorfest celebrates its birthday with depravity, nudity and gore


WHAT: 10 th Annual B-Grade Horrorfest

WHERE: Fairmont Chateau Whistler

WHEN: Sunday, Oct. 30, 9 p.m.



The fact is, if organizers had put their heads together last fall, the B-Grade Horrorfest 10 th anniversary would be "twice as good" as it will be.

So says Feet Banks, Horrorfest co-founder and co-organizer (and Pique columnist). Instead, with only two months of work put in, the annual horror film festival will be the usual celebration of low-budgetary, gore and absurd sexual deviance - and that, faithful readers, means an outrageous and offensive good time.

"We were definitely pushing it with lots of off topic jokes and gratuitous violence and gore," Banks says.

Each year, filmmakers compete for the Silver Skull trophy - the "Stanley Cup of horror," according to Banks. For the 10 th anniversary, all the past winners have been invited to submit new films. Banks says he has no idea what the films are about but, if history is any indicator, it's going to be an evening of depravity and nonsense.

And, as usual, the crowd will heckle, boo and throw garbage at the screen.

"Ah, it's gone downhill," Banks laughs.

Since the beginning, Banks and co-founder Chili Thom had limited restrictions on submissions, giving filmmakers carte blanche in terms of subject matter. But because the festival features the same filmmakers year after year, the films have become increasingly offside and distasteful.

"They end up pushing the sexual deviancy," Banks says. "Topics like that get pushed more than the regular violence and blood than maybe would have been a bit more extreme in the early 90s."

It's not a bad thing, though. It all began one fine autumn day in 2002. Banks and Chili were getting stoned and...no, no nix that. They were engaging in the innocent, sobering pastime of couch sitting and discussing possible creative endeavors. The pair had recently completed a ski film, Parental Advisory , and was itching to make another film with the camera equipment they had lying around.

Chili suggested they make a horror movie. Banks asked what the point of making a film would be if they had no place to show it, so suggested they throw a film festival and invite all their friends to make films.

So then they made their first B-Grade film together: Green Jesus , a 15-minute work of depravity featuring our bong-ripping Lord and Saviour defeating an evil gnome and evil pom-poms and debuted it at the first ever B-Grade Horrorfest.

It went off "gang-busters," Banks says. Ten films were shown at the GLC to a rowdy batch of costumed drunks. There were no sponsors. There was no hype - just an hour and a half of gleeful, ultra-low-budget horror-comedy.

Since then it's been the Halloween party and the hottest ticket of the fall shoulder season. This year's batch of 1000 tickets sold out in 24 hours, an incredible record when one considers the apathy among Whistler's youth toward anything not snow related. This is, Banks says, because it's a strictly Whistler event - for the locals by the locals.

"Everyone knows that it's a true local event that no credit card companies or giant corporations are trying to come in and impose their brand images or anything like that," Banks says.

Of course, few if any corporations would attach their names to these films. Never mind the blood and gore. A man, uh, making sweet love to a roast pig? Yeah. If nothing else, the festival has evolved into a celebration, or maybe just an observance, of Whistler's most demented tendencies.

"There's nowhere else that we can even show that. People would look at you like you're f---d in the head," Banks says.

As offensive as it has become, all the films are made in good fun. Nearly all of them are comedy films with elements of horror. The violence is largely cartoonish and over the past 10 years the films have been tailored to inspire audience participation. Boos and jeers are encouraged and expected.

"It's still mostly about everyone doing it for the fun. I think that's what most people pick up on and that's what made it catch fire," Banks says.

This year's festival is completely sold out, as we mentioned, so there's no real point in writing about it other than to hype it up for those who already have tickets.

For the rest of you, there might still be some tickets floating around on Craigslist. Happy hunting.




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