The things I saw at New York City Horror Film Festival 2014!

horrorfest NYC

Everything seemed perfect. Two Halloween themed horror movies were taking place on Saturday, November 15th. There was enough time in between the two movies to go out for dinner. AND, Norman Reedus of The Walking Dead was going to be there after the second movie to get an award. This was especially amazing because the bar/lounge area where that happens is very cozy. I would have been close enough for Daryl Dixon to nail me right between the eyes with his arrow.

Then that got canceled. Norman couldn’t make it until Sunday. But I opted to stay with my Saturday programs because I wanted to see Halloween horror flix more than I feel a need to meet a horror celebrity.

My first program went off without a hitch. And it went something like this:

What’s Eating Dad? (short film)
Directed by Michael Goldburg

horrorfest eating dad

10 great minutes of campy humor and gross out gore as a young woman meets her boyfriend’s parents for the first time…and notices something is most definitely not right with dear old dad….

Fare (short film)
Directed by Andrew Silke

horrorfest fare

Also running 10 minutes, this is a tension builder about a pregnant mother and her young daughter, who get into a taxi to get to the airport…but soon find the driver taking a detour to nowhere. This one is brutal and offers no explanation for why things go the way they do.

Pretty (short film)
Directed by Elysa Sardinha

You know the drill. A gothic introvert can’t get the popular pretty boy to notice her. So she takes matters into her own hands. Not a “scary” film, this is actually a 20-minute dark and macabre tale that leads to necrophilia. What I can’t understand is why people in the audience were actually chuckling at a situation that wasn’t in any way designed for a laugh. It was gruesome and tragic.

Berkshire County (full-length feature film)
(aka: Tormented)
Directed by Audrey Cummings

horrorfest berkshire

In a unique twist to the final girl rules, our main girl Kylie in Berkshire County is slut shamed at the beginning of the film and just completely loses her sense of worth…right before she has to go babysit on Halloween night. This ends up playing a key role in her motivation to fight back when Berkshire County turns into a mash-up of Halloween, the When A Stranger Calls remake, The Strangers, and You’re Next. Kylie spends the entire movie trying to save herself and the children she’s sitting from a trio of intruders wearing pig masks (one of them being a major muscle stud in a wifebeater).

berkshire hunk

It is a super suspenseful thrill ride from start to finish, even if it does challenge your suspension of disbelief a few times and concludes with an over-the-top final scene that might just be for shock value but really should be the promise of a sequel because it leaves us with a load more unanswered questions.

After the film, the director, the main girl, and the writer were present to take questions about the film…but the wifebeater hunk wasn’t. Bummer.

Following such a great marathon of films, I was looking forward to the next set of films after dinner. Once back in the theater, the appetizer was two more short films:

The Jigsaw (short film)
Directed by The Al Safar Bros.

horrorfest jigsaw

Running only ten minutes, this short film gets right to the point. Some dude walks into a shop, buys a jigsaw puzzle even though the shop owner warns him not to, then returns home to put the jigsaw puzzle together. The kick ass payoff comes when the puzzle is complete.

Luna (short film)
Directed by Antonio Perez

Running a little over ten minutes long, this is a quick werewolf story with a twist ending. The movie is much more about the delicious twist than the werewolf, because there are no phenomenal werewolf special effects to blow you away.

The Scarehouse (full-length feature film)
Directed by Gavin Michael Booth

horrorfest scarehouse

Finally, it was on to the second main movie. We watched the first fifteen minutes of The Scarehouse, and just as shit was getting crazy…the film started to skip. Then it locked up. Then it started to jump ahead to later parts of the film! Talk about spoiler alert!

The powers that be apologized and said they’d fix it asap and skip ahead to the part at which we left off so we wouldn’t have to watch it all over again. After a few minutes, the movie was on again…from the beginning. So we watched it again and…it started freezing and skipping at the same exact spot!

After more apologies and some arguments between the theater workers and the producers of the film, it was decided if we could all wait a while, the film would be moved to the other theater where they had determined it would play correctly—and we were once again promised they would start us back at the point at which we left off. So we were all sent to hang out in the bar/lounge for a while.

It ended up being about forty-five minutes. Luckily, strikingly handsome Tales of Poe director Bart Mastronardi kept me and my friend entertained a majority of the time.

nyc horrorfest 2014 bart mastronardi

My friend Harry left, Bart Mastronardi in the middle, and me right.

He also introduced us to Eileen Dietz, who was the face of fricking Pazuzu in the original The Exorcist! She was there promoting a short film in which she appears entitled Hag.

So anyway, we finally get into the new theater and The Scarehouse begins right back at the very beginning again! However, after watching the first fifteen minutes for a third time, the movie kept playing and we finally got to see it through to the end.

Taking place in a Halloween haunted attraction, The Scarehouse gives the seemingly tired plot a whole new twist. This isn’t a “scary” movie; it’s essentially a torture porn in which pretty, boobalicious young women are mutilated…by other pretty young women! It’s collage girls gone insane! It also turns into a brutal and violent revenge film with a twisted sense of humor. It is definitely a fun film with a mean-spirited ending, which totally fits its overall tone. There was only one scene that made no sense to me, in which two captives have a pillow fight to the death—even though there was no threat of recourse if they chose not to have the pillow fight! It’s a plot hole that easily could have been corrected with just a line or two of dialogue.

scarehouse door

After the film, the director, a few of the actors, and the producer came up for a Q&A. They were a very cool crew and had a lot of great stories about making the film, but it was difficult for me to pay attention because not only was the producer guy incredibly cute in an unassuming way, but he was sporting this huge bulge in his jeans that I really could not stop looking at. Like, I wasn’t even staring in a perverted “I want that dick” kind of way. I simply have never seen a guy in baggy jeans being all nonchalant in front of an audience while wielding a sword that just cannot be hidden. I guess it’s a truth the poor guy just had to learn to live with!

horrorfest nyc scarehouse crew

Found a pic of the package…I mean…producer (left) hiding it behind a blazer. And hey, the director (right) is a cutie too!

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at
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1 Response to The things I saw at New York City Horror Film Festival 2014!

  1. Pingback: Back when phones were still scary…. | BOYS, BEARS & SCARES

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