Thanks to the pandemic, indie film lovers and creators have the opportunity to view more indie films at home and over a longer period of time. The Phoenix FearCon, based out of Arizona, has established its indie horror film festival through festivee.com, an online platform, so now viewers worldwide can fulfill their frightful desires. The other upshot: the festival has extended its program to last far beyond its standard two-day event to two months, ending on December 31st.
FearCon offers features and short films for avid viewers of the horror genre; panels for screenwriters and filmmakers to learn more about the horror genre in indie film; as well as keynote panels from famous names of the horror genre. Some features that we are particularly excited to see include:
Butchers; Adrian Langley; Canada; 2020; 133 minutes
“Butchers,” directed by Adrian Langley, pulls on the fears city-dwellers have of the folks living in the backcountry of rural America. “Butchers” is available for streaming starting on October 30.
Beneath: a Cave Horror Film; J. J. Perez; Texas, USA; year; 83 minutes
“Beneath: a Cave Horror Film,” directed by J. J. Perez, is the first production ever allowed to film in this particular Texan cavern. They were able to use the location thanks to the cast. All actors are actual tour-guides of the cavern and provide a way for Perez to film at that location. Perez’s film relies of the natural backdrop of the cave and local folklore to emphasize the horror. Celebrate the last Friday the 13th of 2020 by watching “Beneath: a Cave Horror Film” in November.
Woman of the Photographs; Takeshi Kushida; Japan; year; 89 minutes
“Woman of the Photographs,” directed by Takeshi Kushida, relies on subtlety for its horror. In the same way Netflix’s “Black Mirror” questions the effects of technology on our lives, Kushida explores the history of photography and the effects of social media in an unsettling feature set in Japan. Watch “Woman of the Photographs” starting December 18.
But Fearcon is much more than just films! The convention also offer panels on topics such as “How to Write Horror” with Owl Goingback and John Skipp; “Playing with Monsters: Video Horror Games”; and the obligatory 45-year anniversary screening of “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Below are just a few of the panels we are excited about at Phoenix FearCon:
Blood and Gore
Special effects designer Elizabeth Piper Schlitt (known as Elizabeth Piper S.) has created a new kind of stage blood: edible gore. It is safe for consumption and washes out of fabrics and almost everything else. Her panel will cover how to use special effects in your film.
Indie Horror Filmmaking [three-part special]
Join Marcus Slabine, director of “The Dark Offerings,” the first horror film to use social distancing filmed during the pandemic, and Antoine Le, director of “Followed,” as they discuss what it took to create their acclaimed films in the first part of this panel. The second part will have members of the principal cast of “Followed” (Matthew Solomon, Sam Valentine, Tim Drier, Kelsey Griswold, Caitlin Grace; with special guest, producer Matthew Brewbaker) share their thoughts about the art of filmmaking, the state of the industry, and the horror genre. The series finishes with an indie filmmakers roundtable.
Keynote Speeches by Lynne Lugosi Sparks, Bill Oberst, Jr., and Dacre Stoker
Lynne Lugosi Sparks is the granddaughter of the man who created the visual representation of Dracula as we know him today. Bela Lugosi first portrayal of Count Dracula appeared in the 1927 Broadway stage production of “Dracula”—the make-up, the style of dress, the mannerisms, all crafted by Lugosi. Universal Studios’ film “Dracula” used Lugosi’s portrayal of the infamous Count, the first showing on February 12, 1931, at the Roxy Theatre in New York and showing nationally on February 14, 1931.
Bill Oberst, Jr. is a Daytime Emmy Award-winning performer in “Take This Lollipop” and actor on CBS-TV’s “Criminal Minds,” among numerous titles in the horror, thriller, and sci-fi genres.
Dacre Stoker, the great grand nephew, continues the Dracula story with an endorsed sequel to the original story of Dracula. He also co-wrote “Dracul,” the prequel to “Dracula,” and “The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker: The Dublin Years.”
Note: Most features will be available to watch over one weekend, with a new film screened each week of FearCon. Most shorts will be available for the duration of the festival, with a few noted exceptions. Keynote speakers and panels are recorded and available for playback at your convenience.