All Hallows’ Eve may technically fall on one spooky night at the tail end of October, but for many fans of the macabre, Halloween is a month-long celebration that kicks off as soon as the bell tolls midnight on the first of October.
Impresario Ryan Graveface, owner of Graveface Records and the horror movie soundtrack label Terror-Vision, and unabashed lover of everything Halloween, is once again hosting Fright Fest at the Lucas Theatre for the Arts on Saturday, Oct. 5. Fright Fest is a nine-hour long, hilariously splat-tastic movie marathon featuring live music, special guests, and some of the wildest horror flicks you’ve never seen.Get Savannah arts and culture news delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our morning, afternoon and food newsletters
The program begins with a screening of the silent horror classic of German Expressionism “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920) with live music accompaniment. The band Xiu Xiu was originally slated to perform, but had to cancel. Fortunately, Graveface’s band, The Marshmallow Ghosts, is filling in with vocals from Orenda Fink of Azure Ray and Closeness, and her sister.
“It’s kind of cool, in a way, for us because the Marshmallow Ghosts — which is the Graveface house band — every Halloween for eleven years now has put out a record under that moniker,” said Graveface. “We’re doing it as an eight-piece band. It’s never happened with that project, so it’s going to be pretty epic and I think anyone that’s disappointed with not seeing Xiu Xiu will be stoked.
The next film will be “Splatter University” (1984) with live sinister synthesizer scoring by its original composer Chris Burke. Graveface released the soundtrack on Terror-Vision Records and is flying Burke to Savannah for this special performance. “That’s by bread and butter — cheesy, ‘80s synth scores,” said Graveface.
Another special guest is making an appearance for the presentation of “The Legend of Boggy Creek” (1974). Pamula Pierce Barcelou, the daughter of the film’s director, recently spearheaded a 4K restoration of “Boggy Creek” and will do a Q&A after the screening. “I guarantee most people haven’t seen it and will [expletive] love it,” promised Graveface.
For Stephen King fans — or lovers of goofy gore — Graveface will screen “Pet Sematary 2” (1990) with a special video introduction by the film’s composer Mark Governor. “I think it’s leagues better than the first, which is controversial,” said Graveface. “People claim the first ‘Pet Sematary’ is incredible and I can’t stand it...’Pet Sematary 2’ is gory, but it’s funny gory. A dude with his jaw falling off in some goofy scene is not gory. To me it’s not about blood, it’s about how you get to that blood and if the means of getting to some decapitation are hilarious, then it’s not remotely gory — it’s a comedy. I tend to like my horror movies tongue-in-cheek.”
For the final film, Graveface will be showing one of his childhood favorites, ‘The Brain” (1988) which is about a giant brain-like alien monster. “It was this super low-budget Canadian horror flick that I saw when I was 8 or 9 and I’ve been obsessed with it for years,” Graveface explained. “No one knows it, but it’s so much fun.”
Graveface added, “Anyone who’s been to one of these things, at this point, will be like, ‘Well, another Ryan pick.’.”
Besides movies and live music, Fright Fest will have merchandise vendors, food from Big Bon Pizza, raffles for awesome prizes, and a fake trailer contest. A special limited VIP package is available for $50 and includes a t-shirt, tote bag, button set, silk screen poster, admission and popcorn.
Like previous Fright Fests, the movies are more hilarious than horrific, so they are appropriate for young teens and up. Halloween is meant to be fun and Graveface is no fan of melodramatic or serious horror films.
“I legitimately still trick-or-treat every year,” said Graveface. “Halloween is everything to me. I like to have fun with it. It’s not meant to make you cry. If it’s making you cry, it’s probably not the right film for me.”