The 10th annual Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival, an event that attracts movies and viewers from across the country, brought several thrillers to the College Park area this week. What follows are two reviews of films shown during the festival.

Valley of the Sasquatch:

It’s halfway through October, and people everywhere are already all in full Halloween mode.  From pumpkins to planning the perfect costumes for “Halloweekend,” the only things missing are the monsters and ghouls. Luckily local events are helping to add a little more creep and fun to our Halloween.

The AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Md., screened the movie Valley of the Sasquatch Monday. 

John Portanova, director of the film, combined the classic Sasquatch, or “Bigfoot,” tale with a tale of family who has suffered emotional trauma from experiencing death and alcoholism.

When forced to move into an old cabin, the father and son characters with a strained relationship must work together to defend themselves against the brutal attacks of the Sasquatch.

“Horror movies are my favorite,” Portanova said.  “I love being scared and seeing things I can’t see in real life. I love the effects.”

Portanova was drawn to the Sasquatch because of the possibility that it could really be living in the woods amongst us. Growing up in Washington, he was surrounded by woods and reported Bigfoot sightings.

“I love the adrenaline part of it,” Paige Smith,  a 21-year-old from New Jersey, said.

The film was as good as it gets for another Sasquatch movie remake. The integration of family life and strongly developed characters livened up the exhausted plotline.  

I will admit, it is difficult to take a Sasquatch seriously, and if you’ve seen your fair share of Bigfoot movies, this movie is totally skippable.  However, if you’re a lover of the horror genre and gore, like myself, I would recommend adding another notch to your Sasquatch movie belt.

“With horror movies you have to put the crafts at their peak to make a really good one,” Portanova said.

Despite the predictable Bigfoot plotline taking the fear out of the movie; the family drama, violence and gore might appeal to your inner horror lover.

Killer Rack:

Quick!  What’s the first thing you think of when you hear ‘Killer Rack?’

If you thought about boobs that could kill, then you should check out Killer Rack written by Paul McGinnis and directed by Greg Lamberson.

The hosts of the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival screened this movie on Oct. 14 at the AFI Silver Theater in Silver Spring. The writers, directors, producers and an actor from the movie came from Buffalo, N.Y. to attend this showing.

“I’ve had my eye on this particular festival for years,” Lamberson said. “I know a lot of people wanted to be a part of this, I’m really honored to be here.”

Now I know what you’re thinking, my inner feminist also started screaming when I realized a movie centered around boobs was directed by men. However, their low budget gore fest turned out to be a ridiculous comedy.  

“I went in being afraid that it was going to be more misogynistic than it was and I really like how they pulled it off without being overtly sexual,” said Rachel Pinate, 25, of Miami.  “They made it fun, it was intentionally campy.”

When lead character, Betty, gets breast implants, she is horrified to find out that they’ve been seducing people and eating them while she is sleeping! Forced to fight her demon boobs with the power of love, Betty’s path to self acceptance is a bloody one.

“I like slasher,” McGinnis said. “This has gotten some comparison to Teeth but there isn’t a movie about killer boobs.  I heard the phrase ‘killer rack’ and just wanted a movie to match the title, so I wrote one.”

The catty female characters and disrespectful, sex-driven male characters coupled with cheap special effects and over-dramatized acting made it clear that this movie was not to be taken seriously. While it would’ve been nice to see a movie where the female characters don’t tear each other down, we can’t expect much progression from B-list horror.

If you’ve outgrown evil scientist antagonists or laughing at the word boobs, I recommend not wasting 98 minutes on this movie.

Screen capture from Rocky Horror Picture Show, the film that will close the festival.
Screen capture from Rocky Horror Picture Show, the film that will close the festival.

However, if you have a passion for all things slasher and ridiculous, you’ll be able to see Killer Rack soon.

“I have two pretty good companies we’re talking to right now, it’ll be out on DVD in 2016,” said Lamberson.

Killer Rack diversified this horror film festival by adding laughs to the mix.  The Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival ends on Oct. 17 with a 40th anniversary screening of Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Featured Photo Credit: Screen capture from They Look Like People, another film shown at the festival.

WritersBloc_Headshots_14Katie Ebel is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at katieebel@gmail.com.

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