The International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival hit the road in 2008 after three years at the Harkins Centerpoint in Tempe, AZ for no better reason that that venue had closed down. Its first stop was at Chandler Cinemas in, well, Chandler, AZ and it was an absolute blast.
The 2007 festival was our first step into the Arizona film festival circuit and we hadn't a clue what was going on. After meeting Andrea Beesley-Brown, the Midnite Movie Mamacita, though, we found a clear direction forward. She was programming grindhouse films and other cult classics at Chandler Cinemas and we quickly became regulars, part of a loyal fanbase that followed her over the years to screenings at the Glendale 9 drive in and Farrelli's Supper Club, to a long stint of programming at MADCAP Theatres and eventually to the Royale in Mesa, her very own theatre and a year of magic.
So when the 2008 festival came around, we were all over it. We knew the venue well, we saw as much as we possibly could and we experienced the first of a succession of classic films that the festival brought to our attention over the years, Jerome K Bixby's The Man from Earth, which we're still talking about today.
There were two special guests in attendance to accompany screenings of arguably their most famous films: Adrienne King presented the original Friday the 13th and Jeffrey Combs presented Re-Animator. The opening night film was Donkey Punch and the closing night film was Sukiyaki Western Django.
Many people who programmed regularly at Chandler Cinemas at the time presented screenings in conjunction with the festival. Matt Yenkala aka AZ Rocky, who was running Chandler Cinemas at the time, hosted weekly screenings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, so one such was included in the festival. The Midnite Movie Mamacita presented double features of cult movies weekly so included The Wizard of Gore and Vampire Hookers as a double feature within the festival. Danny Marianino and Brandon Kinchen programmed films monthly and included Rapturious and Frazetta: Painting with Fire in the festival under their I Can Smell Your Brains banner.
Another bonus for local film fans was the inclusion of the Deadly Event, a set of seven films from Arizona filmmakers who often shuffled roles between each title.
The people behind the festival are mostly the people still running it today, though we didn't know them at the time: Jason Carney and the folk at the Phoenix Film Foundation; Andrea, the festival director; Danny and Brandon programming the horror side and and science fiction writer Mike Stackpole the sci-fi side.
Here are all the films that screened in 2008, with titles linking to my reviews and the IMDb pages added for reference.
1 - Abysmal | 2 - Bad | 3 - Poor | 4 - OK | 5 - Good | 6 - Excellent | 7 - Classic
|Alien Raiders||2008||5||5||Ben Rock||IMDb|
|The Alphabet Killer||2008||4||4||Rob Schmidt||IMDb|
|The Man from Earth||2007||7||7||Richard Schenkman||IMDb|
|Ray Bradbury's Chrysalis||2008||5||5||Tony Baez Milan||IMDb|
|The Blob||1958||5||5||Irwin S Yeoworth Jr||IMDb|
|Donkey Punch||2008||4||5||Oliver Blackburn||IMDb|
|Frazetta: Painting with Fire||2003||Lance Laspina||IMDb|
|Friday the 13th||1980||5||5||Sean S Cunningham||IMDb|
|Hell's Ground||2007||4||4||Omar Khan||IMDb|
|The Rocky Horror Picture Show||1975||Jim Sharman||IMDb|
|Special||2006||Hal Haberman & Jeremy Passmore||IMDb|
|Sukiyaki Western Django||2007||6||6||Takashi Miike||IMDb|
|Tokyo Gore Police||2008||2||3||Yoshihiro Nishimura||IMDb|
|Vampire Hookers||1978||3||4||Cirio H Santiago||IMDb|
|The Wizard of Gore||1970||3||3||Herschell Gordon Lewis||IMDb|
|I Will Kill||2008||5||5||Austin Nordell||IMDb|
|Skeletons||2008||5||5||Bivas Biswas & Jose Rosete||IMDb|
|Stage Fright||2008||5||5||Angel Ruiz||IMDb|
|Teller||2008||5||5||David Allan Hames||IMDb|
|Undone||2008||5||5||John Scott Mills & David Hayes||IMDb|
|The Hierophant||2008||3||3||Jay Lee||IMDb|
|Horror Shorts A|
|Zombie Gets a Date||2008||Leetal Platt||IMDb|
|Double||2008||Keith Ray Putman||IMDb|
|Finger Food||2008||4||4||Joe Russo||IMDb|
|Dead Bones||2008||3||4||Olivier Beguin||IMDb|
|Horror Shorts B|
|Look at Me||2008||5||4||Daniel Turner||IMDb|
|The Room||2007||5||5||Diego & Andres Meza-Valdes||IMDb|
|Final Journey||2007||Lars Zimmerman||IMDb|
|Things Last||2007||5||5||Constant Van Hoeven||IMDb|
|Fun on Earth||2007||Jesse Gordon||IMDb|
|D-I-M, Deus in Machina||2007||Axel & Henning Ricke||IMDb|