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HorrorFest 2015

Today’s “comic” post is going to be a special edition of sorts in which we will describe our experience from this weekend. Sadly, the experience detracted from the possibility of a comic for Monday, but perhaps we can find a way to retain your attention with some coverage of the StarFest convention. We had the pleasure of attending StarFest this weekend, and in particular the HorrorFest section of the convention. Dipping our feet into the proverbial pool of the beginning of the convention circuit here in Colorado, HorrorFest provided us some opportunities to delve into dreams of the indie and micro-budget filmmaking community. And of course share our discoveries with you fine folk.

To begin, we saw quite a few fantastic cosplays that certainly welcomed one to the atmosphere. A

superbly designed Groot suit was present, even a pair of Sesame Street Yip-Yips provided a good laugh. But the cream of the crop, for these two critics, had to be the well-done Pyramid Head that showed up.

The gentleman behind the menacing helmet was kind enough to shed some light on the dark façade. He used a style of origami to fold the helmet into shape with a light yet stable cardboard. He then added the painting touches and PVC pipe for accents. Two

triangular mesh pieces provided [albeit limited] vision. He commented that the piece was altogether about 4 pounds, and surprisingly a significant amount of that weight came from the paint. A fantastic design, and I appreciate that gentleman’s time.

After navigating the cosplay menagerie saturated with cleavage and cleavers, we found our way to the HorrorFest portion of the convention. We were graced with the presence of several micro-budget and indie horror filmmakers. Some presented their works in a small-venue screening. We were able to sit in on a couple of these cinematic efforts, and the difficulty of creating a cohesive and polished product became all-the-more apparent. Kudos to these gentlemen for their courage and tenacity.

One question Efrit raised to one of the directors was the reasoning, whether that be psychological or philosophical, behind his work. The director responded with, “There isn’t one. This is just entertainment.” Fair enough. Or is it? Both Efrit and I found ourselves a bit disappointed in that response. It was at this time we both admitted that even a little substance in horror can go a long way. And while we can appreciate a good horror jam with no reasoning beyond the mindless violence it displays, we didn’t like the reasoning of simply creating a film with no structure or point for the sake of doing it. It was interesting to see someone commit time to the creation of a film, almost seemingly for the concept of creating it. Almost like it was a dare to see if it could be pulled off.

The panels we attended delved further into the world of micro-budget filmmaking and the indie scene. It is a difficult place to find oneself attempting to share one’s vision, but the dedication and passion of these men was admirable. And other than the perplexing director who shared his thoughts (or lack thereof) of his motivations, every filmmaker’s drive could be seen in their mannerisms and trailers. They cared about preserving everything from practical effects to political and social commentary in horror. It was all a commendable and inspiring atmosphere to see what all these men were able to accomplish with buckets of blood…and sweat and tears.

One trailer in particular showed a great deal of promise. Presented as more of a proof-of-concept, the film was called The Gospel According to Stephenson. The premise is a vampire wakes from over a century-long slumber to find humanity enthralled with the vampire mythos. He finds himself no longer the bane of humanity, but a being to be worshipped. And taking advantage of his newfound popularity, he begins to recruit a new populace of vampiric followers using not only his fangs but also a mainstream-fueled religion promising eternity. The film looks to give an excellent take on social, political, and religious commentary, with a style falling right along the line of horror and comedy.

HorrorFest proved a spark to ignite this year’s run of conventions and festivals. We are looking forward to our press run for Denver Comic Con, and we hope to see you all there!

© 2020 Sickle and Efrit | Dalton Vanhooser & Kyle Hagan