I’ve been aware of the Sacramento Horror Film Festival for a long time now. This year was the first year I was able to actually attend and it was quite an experience. There’s definitely something to be said about being a huge genre fan, sitting in a theatre with like minded individuals. It makes for excellent company and one hell of a time.
The day began with the few early birds, myself included, piling into the building to find some good seats. The festival is held at the old Colonial Theatre on Stockton Blvd near Oak Park, an older part of Sacramento, just outside of downtown. When you enter the the building you’ll see a small lobby with a concession stand with very reasonable prices and two theatre entrance doors on both sides of the concession stand. As I entered the theatre I was able to grab a seat a few rows from the front, directly in the middle, which was perfect! I also had that whole row to myself for the first 3 hours.
As we sat down we were greeted by a beautiful woman who announced the first block of films (and each block and intermission to follow). Each film block is predominantly short films and both days had a feature length film. Fridays Feature being Haritz Zubillaga’s The Glass Coffin; a very intense film about an actress going to accept an award and ends up stepping into the most terrifying limo ride of her life. The first day had some of the short films that stood out the most to me. These included Humbug, a fun holiday horror comedy short about the term “humbug” being an actual parasite that lives in people, causing them to hate Christmas. The second film that stood out, probably over both days, was a short titled Foxwood. This was an incredibly original piece that plays on the typical fears of internet dating and turns into something TOTALLY different. It was a blast and I enjoyed every second of it. The only critique I had with Foxwood is that I didn’t see it having enough momentum to write a full length, unless it was constructed to be an anthology film.
Aside from the aforementioned two films, my favorite short of the weekend was on the first day and it was titled Meow and it was an awesome nostalgic nod to 80s horror with a heavy synthwave soundtrack done by a group called Fangg, which can be found on bandcamp.com (which I highly recommend checking out). Keep your eyes peeled for my review of Meow which should be coming soon.
The second day I arrived a bit later but was greeted by an awesome surprise as I entered the theatre and took a seat. There was a special showing of the short Night of the Slasher! If you haven’t already seen this cool nod to the Slasher Genre, definitely give it a whirl because it’s easily accessible on YouTube for free. Although I sat down about two minutes into the short, I was highly appreciative to see it on the big screen in all it’s glory. Of course as it ended people cheered and whistled which was the exact reaction I was hoping for.
Another fun short that stuck out to me was one called Patient Zero which was a very short zombie film done entirely in zombie POV. It was drenched in heavy dubstep and was a laugh fest for it’s short life span.
I think the overall highlight of the festival was the feature length film showcased on Saturday which is something I was anticipating thanks to a podcast episode from the boys over at Forever Midnight. It was called The Night Watchmen which was directed by Mitchell Altieri who you may recognize from the After Dark Horror Film fest success, The Hamilton’s. The Night Watchmen was a raunchy horror comedy about some security guards having to fight for their lives in an office against vampire clowns. It was totally off the wall and I loved every minute of it.
After The Night Watchmen the night continued with a few more blocks of short films and some very fun and risque entertainment. This was actually my first time experiencing a burlesque show and needless to say I was in awe. I also think the fire dancing as well as the fire swallowing was a big contributor to my shock and amazement. As I watched this performances, I thought to myself why the hell haven’t I gone to performances like these before?!
If you’re a horror fan and ever in the Sacramento area around the beginning of October, definitely hit up the Sacramento Horror Film Festival. There’s a reason it’s been going for 11 years strong! Having something like this so close to home makes me incredibly proud to be from Sacramento!