Tuesday 18 July 2000

International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival 2008

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.

Rating System
1 - Abysmal | 2 - Bad | 3 - Poor | 4 - OK | 5 - Good | 6 - Excellent | 7 - Classic

Horror Features
Title Year H D Director IMDb
Alien Raiders 2008 5 5 Ben Rock IMDb
The Alphabet Killer 2008 4 4 Rob Schmidt IMDb
Farmhouse 2008 5 5 George Bessudo IMDb

Sci-Fi Features
Title Year H D Director IMDb
The Man from Earth 2007 7 7 Richard Schenkman IMDb
Ray Bradbury's Chrysalis 2008 5 5 Tony Baez Milan IMDb

Showcase Features
Title Year H D Director 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
Rapturious 2007 Kamal Ahmed IMDb
Re-Animator 1985 5 5 Stuart Gordon 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

Deadly Event
Title Year H D Director 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
Survive 2008 4 4 Wade Stai 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
Title Year H D Director IMDb
Zombie Gets a Date 2008 Leetal Platt IMDb
Double 2008 Keith Ray Putman IMDb
Lost 2006 4 4 Zachary Rothman IMDb
Centigrade 2007 5 5 Colin Cunningham IMDb
Finger Food 2008 4 4 Joe Russo IMDb
Dead Bones 2008 3 4 Olivier Beguin IMDb

Horror Shorts B
Title Year H D Director IMDb
Prombies! 2007 5 4 Frederick Snyder IMDb
Detour 2008 4 4 Akeseh Tsakapo IMDb
Look at Me 2008 5 4 Daniel Turner IMDb
The Room 2007 5 5 Diego & Andres Meza-Valdes IMDb
Kirksdale 2007 6 6 Ryan Spindell IMDb

Sci-Fi Shorts
Title Year H D Director IMDb
Terrafarmer 2008 Will Adams IMDb
Outsource 2008 Dan Trezise IMDb
Probed 2008 Joel Cranson 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

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