Horrors Abound at the Princess Theatre

Beyond the Woods (The Nerdy Kid Production)

Princess Theatre
Friday October 11 through Sunday October 13, 2019

Preview by Wade Buckley

While most people might lament the chill in the air as the fall season progresses in earnest, for fans of the spooky, dark, and gruesome, October is prime time for their preferred festivities. Truly, the Edmonton scene around Halloween is a hub of variety as we get closer and closer to Oct. 31.

Between costumed bar crawls, haunted houses, outdoor festivals, and even ghost tours, this spooky season has something to offer for everyone. However, some people may prefer to just stay at home, maybe with friends, and watch their favorite horror films. If that’s no enough for the dedicated horror fan, there is a way to see all of the up and coming great horror films fir the first time in Western Canadian theatres. The Edmonton Festival of Fear.

The third annual Edmonton Festival of Fear (EFOF) is an international film festival that runs from Friday October 11 through Sunday October 13, and will be taking place at the Princess Theatre on Whyte Avenue. The festival, which was conceived and created in Alberta, will be showing eight feature length films as well as over fifty short films curated from acclaimed international filmmakers, as well as films created by Alberta based filmmakers and actors. For the dedicated horror fan, or just a film fan in general, it will be the first opportunity to see most of these films in Western Canada.

If your interests go beyond simply watching films, and you are also interested in how films are made, or even want to make films of your own, the EFOF is also a great place to meet filmmakers and actors involved with the films, both at the festival itself and at the EFOF After Party, which will be taking place on Sunday October 13 at Funky Buddha.

Before each film is screened, it will be introduced by any attending cast and crew, including directors and actors. So, it won’t matter if you know their work inside and out, or have never heard of them before, being able to match a face to the name makes approaching that filmmaker for a chat a very simple ordeal.  Additionally, cast and crew will also be taking questions from the audience after the film screens, so if striking conversation isn’t your strong suit, or if you can’t attend the after party, you can ask your questions then.

It’s not just actors and directors in attendance, but also professionals from all aspects of the film industry. Say you are more interested in composing music for film, then the EFOF is a great chance to meet film composer Matthew Blake, who worked of the Venezuelan feature film Infection. Has film production been a subject of curiosity? Then you should be on the lookout for Ruediger W. Kuemmerle, the producer of Blind, another feature film from America.

Regardless, a film festival without good films does not a festival make, and while I am not able to comprehensively preview all 50 plus short and feature films that will be shown at the festival, I am able to comment on a few that I am personally excited to see.

            On Friday night you can check out the aforementioned Venezuelan feature length film Infection, directed and co-written by Flavio Pedota. This will be Pedota’s very first feature length film. The plot follows a father attempting to save his son from disease and violence, as a new and aggressive strain of rabies begins to ravage Venezuela, turning people into zombies. Infection is one of two international feature films that will be premiering for the first time in Canadian theatres at the EFOF, and with a nomination for best picture from the Guadalajara International Film Festival under its belt, Pedota’s feature length debut is one any zombie fan should have on their radar.

Infection trailer

On Saturday you can tune in to the world premiere of Beyond the Woods, directed by Brayden DeMorest-Purdy, and filmed in British Columbia. Some people’s relations with their in-laws can end up antagonistic, but Beyond the Woods ramps it up to a whole other level. In the film, Jack visits his brother-in-law Andrew after his sister’s presumed suicide. The two are alone together in a secluded cabin in the woods, and Jack finds he doesn’t know the psychopathic Andrew as well as he thought. If you want to be one of the first people on the planet to know how this situation plays out, be sure to check out this one out.

Beyond the Woods trailer

The last film this preview can cover is Blind, directed by Marcel Walz, and the film I am most excited to see. One of the more critically acclaimed feature films at EFOF, Blind has won “Best Horror Film” at the Anaheim International Film Festival and the Canadian Cinematography Awards, “Best Thriller Feature” at the UNDO Divergent Film Awards, and “Best Twist” at the Independent Horror Movie Awards. Additionally, lead actress Sarah French won “Best Actress” from the Independent Horror Movie Awards as well. French plays a former actress named Faye, adjusting to her new circumstances after a botched laser-eye surgery leaves her blind. As Faye adjusts to her new circumstances, a masked man named Pretty Boy begins lurking in and around her Hollywood home, hiding right under her nose. You can check out the Canadian Premiere of Blind on Sunday, Oct 13.

Blind trailer

Right after Blind the EFOF will be doing a spotlight on short films made in Alberta, each one introduced by the attending cast and crew. “It’s very important, because it adds to the culture, and flavor of Edmonton,” says film director, actor, and festival founder Barry J. Gillis. “… It helps Edmonton, and Alberta filmmakers, to have their Films seen by an Edmonton Audience.” The EFOF will be showing seven Alberta made films in total, with three of those seven being show for the very first time on the silver screen.

Speaking of Alberta audiences, audience members can participate in the festivities beyond putting their bodies in seats. “We encourage anybody who likes to dress up in a costume, to come on down and have a blast,” says Gillis. Dressing up is not mandatory, but if you are a costume enthusiast, you’ll probably relish in any opportunity that presents itself. Additionally, audience members can vote for their favorite feature and short film during the EFOF’s award’s ceremony, awarding the winners with an “Audience Award.”

For all there is to do at EFOF, it can feel a little overwhelming deciding which days to attend, and that’s without touching on the multitude of short films. Thankfully, the EFOF has scheduled the showing of these short films by sub-subgenre.

My personal preference are films that are on the eerier, more psychological side, so if I had to choose a day, I would attend Friday, which is showing short films under the “Creepy Shorts” category. If you prefer your horror with a bit more blood and guts, then Saturday’s “Grisly Shorts” may be more your style.

Either way, being selective with your attendance is both easy and affordable with EFOF’s Three Day Pass. Passes can be shared with friends on days that you can’t attend.

A full 3-day pass is only $39.95, and day passes are $16.95 (Friday and Sunday), and $24.95 (Sunday).

For the full schedule, as well as trailers, photos, and more info about the films, as well as getting festival passes, check out EFOF’s official website : https://edmontonfestivaloffear.com/