A quick note. While we’ll be bringing you complete reviews of the films playing this year’s Telluride Horror Show in the coming days, this post and the ones that follow offer up dispatches of the festival as a whole. For the past four years I’ve had the privilege of serving as one of the hosts for the festival, and it’s quickly bloomed in to my favorite weekend of the year. Every self-proclaimed genre fans owes it to themselves to hit one of the major festivals. There’s a ton to pick from, whether it’s one of the grand daddy of them all events such as Fantastic Fest in Austin or Fantasia in Montreal. In terms of scope, the Telluride Horror Show sits a rung or two below those, yet every year builds on the one before it, allowing for more prestige films being showed and a slew of non-film events that are woven into the fabric of what makes this such an incredible weekend. So without further ado we bring you:
The day kicked off with a screening in the brand new “Gargoyle Room” at the Telluride Public Library. The third venue for the festival is one block away from the primary facilities and it gave us the chance to screen some fantastic under the radar films that might not have made the cut otherwise.
The Bonfire This year Bram Stoker award winning author Joe r Landsdale graced us with his presence at the fest. If you’re going to have a prolific author of over forty novels attend your festival, then why not have him read a creepy tale by the fireside? About 100 brave folks turned out for the first ever “Campfire Tales” and were treated to Landsdale reading one of his short films next to a bonfire and under the stars. At one point during the event the full moon peeked its head out from behind the mountaintops and pretty much everything was perfect in the world.
Ye Olde Cemetery Walk A huge part of the appeal of Telluride Horror is the natural beauty and history of the area. Given that we’re in the mountains at an elevation of about 9,000 feet, in past years we’ve had to trudge through early season snow in order to get around. These past two years however, the weather has been glorious. Sixty degree fall days under the warm sun means hiking through as much of the area as possible. This year I made the ten minute trek out of the main part of town to the old cemetery. You gain a real sense of the town’s history walking among the century-plus old tombstones and walking through the graveyard while listening to a mix of John Carpenter tunes puts you in the seasonal spirit
The Movies. We’ll have full reviews up soon but here’s a breakdown on the best of day one. Eyes of My Mother remains one of the best films of the year. It’s a true arthouse masterpiece that examines mental illness from the point of view of its sufferer. It’s a bold choice that garners sympathy for its protagonist even as she commits acts of atrocity. Speaking of atrocities, Mexican import We Are The Flesh borders on pornography at times with its wild scenes of carnal, incestuous lust and explicit sex scenes. It follows the recent tradition of transgressive cinema from Mexico, which is eager to show audiences the social and political unrest of their country. The Horror…The Animation contained a handpicked block of dark animation shorts from around the world. Showcasing cutting edge CGI, stop motion, and shel shaded animation, the block was a marvel. Highlights included the dark religious takedown The Backwater Gospel, and the Wallace & Grommit styled zombie comedy short Under the Apple Tree.
On a personal note, the unofficial day one afterparty allowed me to cross “Singing the Spice Girls at karaoke night” off my bucket list. So there’s that.
That’s day one in a nutshell. We’ll bring you day two highlights shortly.