The Psychotronic Film Society and Graveface Records are combining their curatorial powers to fill the Lucas Theatre on Sept. 29 with buckets of blood, severed limbs and abundant screaming when they host the annual Fright Fest.
The 13-hour horror movie marathon will screen some delightfully disgusting flicks that deserve to be re-appreciated on the big screen. Don’t expect big-budget classics like “The Shining” or “The Exorcist.”
If you have ever visited Graveface Records in the Starland District, you might have an inclination of where their tastes lie. “It’s mostly ’80s, schlocky, not necessarily violent or gruesome, but fun. So that’s sort of the curatorial view for Fright Fest, as well,” says Ryan Graveface, owner of Graveface Records. “So much so that I think it would be really cool for younger people to come to it ... Nothing that we’re showing is vile or pushing that horrible edge of horror.”
Jim Reed, founder of the Psychotronic Film Society, would agree with that assessment. “The Fright Fest is open to all nice and mature folks ages 14 and older,” says Reed. “Some of these films are rated R, but we're not gonna make you drag your parents, unless they want to come anyway.”
Reed and Graveface have been separately hosting horror film fests around Savannah for years, but found that they share a mutual interest in exposing film-goers to the outer edges of cinema.
“I can only speak for myself, but I cannot help but feel that that strong desire to introduce friends and strangers to something you personally think is worthwhile or perhaps underappreciated is likely the main motivator behind both of our endeavors,” Reed says.
It is a feeling that traces all the way back to Graveface’s childhood, discovering VHS tapes with lurid covers in the video store. “I loved being 13 years old and being able to tell everyone about ‘Slime City’ or ‘Killing Spree’ or ‘Spookies,’ and then I’d have everyone over for a sleepover and we’d watch them,” says Graveface.
The marathon will kick off at 11 a.m. with the 1964 Herschell Gordon Lewis splat-fest “2000 Maniacs.” The film was shot in Florida, but takes place in a fictional town in Georgia where a small group of Northern tourists are terrorized and murdered by the local “rednecks.” “It very clearly over the top,” says Graveface. “Goofy gore. So much blood that it’s just funny.”
To tie into the screening, Graveface’s horror soundtrack record label Terror-Vision will be selling vinyl editions of the “2000 Maniacs” soundtrack.
The next film will be a Stephen King adaptation — the curators are keeping that one a secret until the actual screening — followed by the 1981 slasher film “The Funhouse,” directed by Tobe Hooper of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Poltergeist” fame.
The fifth screening, 1990’s “Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III,” will feature a special guest appearance by the film’s director, Jeff Burr, with a live question and answer session.
Capping off the fest is the fully restored version of Fred Dekker’s 1986 cult classic horror comedy “Night of the Creeps” which includes the director’s original ending that had been removed from its theatrical release. “(It’s) a wonderfully campy homage to old 1950s and 1960s teen exploitation pictures, mixed with a decidedly 1980s sensibility,” says Reed.
During the event, there will be raffles for cool collectibles, merchandise, and gift certificates to local businesses. “We'll also have a Vendors Section open all day long in the Lucas' second-floor lobby where a handful of shops from around the Southeast are bringing all kinds of cool merchandise and horror-themed collectibles to sell,” Reed says. “There will be plenty of Psychotronic and Graveface items for sale, as well, including some things made just for this event.”
And as if there wasn’t enough going on already, there will be a special appearance by Graveface Records’ artist The Marshmallow Ghosts.
Advance all-day passes are $20, but a limited special VIP package is available for $50 and can only be purchased at Graveface Records or from terror-vision.com. The package includes a limited-edition custom-printed tote bag filled with an exclusive Fright Fest T-shirt, a souvenir 18x24-inch silkscreen poster, set of three pinback buttons, a rare horror film on DVD from the Psychotronic Film archives, a free pass to any PFS screening at The Sentient Bean, one bag of popcorn and a complimentary all-day pass to the Fright Fest itself. That is a $100 value for $50 and the packages are moving fast.
Even if you miss out on the coveted VIP package, Fright Fest is a can’t-miss event for movie lovers.
“There's nothing quite like the feeling of hundreds of people sitting alongside each other in rows, being collectively manipulated through fear and intimidation,” Reed jokes. “You know, like in church!”