Do Savannnah

Graveface Fright Fest back for Halloween on Tybee

  • “Brain Damage”
  • “City of the Living Dead”
  • “Creepshow”

Graveface Fright Fest back for Halloween on Tybee

24 Oct 2017

Ryan Graveface is all about the horror.

I mean, it’s right there in his adopted surname, and in the minimalistic skull drawing that serves as the logo for not only his über-hip, Chicago-born, ultra-indie record label but also his small, packed-to-the-gills indie record store and oddities emporium (which serves as one of a handful of Bohemian retail anchors in our city’s quirky, DIY-oriented Starland District).

It’s in the creepy, distorted alt rock he records and releases under a number of monikers, and it looms large over the annual horror film marathon he is becoming known for here in his adopted home of Savannah: the Graveface Fright Fest.

Previously held at downtown’s 1,200-seat Lucas Theatre, this weekend finds the fest moving to the more intimate environment of Tybee Post Theater — another restored, historic single-screen movie house, but one with only 200 seats.

It’s always been a little tricky to get many folks to make that short drive out to Tybee for entertainment options, but with something as unique and niche-oriented as the Fright Fest, Graveface is betting his loyal fanbase (and curious newbies) will come find him.

Ryan’s something of a notoriously overextended multi-tasker with more irons in the fire than one can easily count. However, I caught up with him for a quick chat about this latest undertaking while he was attending to a host of other responsibilities, including last weekend’s anniversary block party. Below are highlights from our conversation.

Do: The horror film aesthetic is a central part of your label and store’s ethos. What exactly is the nexus between them all? In other words: why horror films?

Ryan Graveface: That’s a deep question. I’m sure my mother would love to know as well! (Laughs.) My earliest memories are all tied to the horror genre, though. It’s such a deep-rooted part of me that I don’t even think about it. There was that annoying period in the early 2000s where every horror movie soundtrack was tied to sh!tty nu-metal, and that was around the time I started my recording label.

I just remember thinking, there’s got to be more than this. Horror doesn’t have to be tied to aggression or metal or even strings (if that’s what you associate with it). It’s larger than that.

Do: How many film festivals (either here or elsewhere) have you done in the past?

Graveface: I’m not even sure anymore. This is probably the 10th? The main difference is you don’t have much freedom in Savannah. There are virtually no venues for such a thing, and not that many horror nuts here. There are so many horror fans in Chicago, you can get away with a 24-hour film festival, and have the flexibility to include weirder or more oddball titles.

Do: Is that what fueled the move to Tybee? That it’s easier to fill a much smaller room?

Graveface: We did a test run event at Tybee this summer showing (obscure, locally shot slasher flick) “The Slayer,” and that went well, so it seemed like a great option. It took zero convincing. The folks at the Post Theater were excited about it. They’ve been incredible to death with and the place is very comfy.

Do: I hear there will be memorabilia and food for sale on the grounds in front of the theater?

Graveface: I’ve been told Huc-A-Poo’s is going to be there slinging pizza all day, which is rad. I’ll have a Graveface mobile shop there, there will be a psychic, a DVD/horror memorabilia vendor and more.

Do: For someone who may be thinking about attending this, but feels intimidated by the idea of sitting through six films, how would you convince them to give this kind of event a try?

Graveface: I would say come for as long as you care to stay. The hardcore peeps stay all day and then a fair amount of people come just to see specific films.

The highlight is being around like-minded people. I absolutely love meeting people that have similar interests to me, because I spent the early part of my life assuming I was completely alone with my tastes. I do, however, recommend watching at least one movie you’ve never seen before. It’s healthy!

The schedule

Graveface also shared his thoughts on each of the six films in the 2017 Fright Fest:

“Freaks” (1932), 1 p.m.

This is probably my favorite movie of all time. It’s just so … me. It’s not scary in a traditional sense, but boy, when I first saw it, it left the most massive impact on me. Plus, I’m obsessed with sideshows and circus history. If you haven’t seen this one, make sure you catch it.

“City of the Living Dead” (1980), 2 p.m.

This is a fun movie that was partially filmed in Savannah. You’ll recognize some of the locations to this day. Regardless, director Lucio Fulci and score composer Fabio Frizzi are an unstoppable team, in my opinion.

“Brain Damage” (1988) with filmmaker Q&A, 3:30 p.m.

(Director) Frank Henenlotter makes the coolest movies. This is one of them. If you’ve seen his “Basket Case,” you’re going to love this. The characters and dialogue and soundtrack kick ass. It’s always been a favorite, and I still love it to this day.

“Deadtime Stories” (1986) with filmmaker Q&A, 5:45 p.m.

This is one that I saw forever ago on late-night TV when I must have been 10 years old. I have a hard time committing to watching movies, so the pacing of anthology films like this one feels great to me. I was so thrilled they allowed my label to release the soundtrack on vinyl this year. Plus, (director) Jeffrey Delman is a riot to talk to. He’ll be around for a Q&A and to sign autographs.

“Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter”’ (1984), 7:30 p.m.

As a kid, I watched all the “Friday the 13th” movies every single night. Seriously. I ended up burned out on them around the time I was 16 years old, but when I recently revisited them, only one held up for me, and it was this one. It’s the perfect mix of goofy, gory 1980s fun, and I had a blast watching it.

“Creepshow” (1982), 9 p.m.

I mean, what’s there to say about “Creepshow” that hasn’t been said? An anthology film directed by George Romero and written by Stephen King? Come on. I’ve watched it so many times over the past 30-plus years that I could recite virtually every line and inflection. I love it, and am stoked to close out the night with it.


What: Graveface Fright Fest

When: 1-11 p.m. Oct. 28

Where: Tybee Post Theater, 10 Van Horne Ave.

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at door