This is the seventh year the International Horror and Sci-fi Film Festival is taking place, but it’s the first time as part of the larger Phoenix Film Festival (which you can read about here in an article by Mandy Zajac of the East Valley Tribune).
Depending on your point of view, this either has the potential to diminish the standing of independent sci-fi and horror films in the Valley or, festival directors hope, expose the wide variety of genre offerings to a greater audience. Either way, it’s great news that the Horror & Sci-fi festival is around.
Here’s a look at the festival’s showcase films with official descriptions:
- I Am Nancy is a heartwarming look at Heather Langenkamp’s (Nancy in A Nightmare on Elm Street) attempt to overcome the shadow of Freddy Krueger. The film is told through fan interviews as well as candid interviews with the likes of Robert Englund and Wes Craven. Heather Langenkamp will be present for a signing and post screening Q&A in conjunction with this screening.
- Tucker & Dale vs. Evil won the SXSW Audience Award and the Fantasia Film Festival Best First Feature. Starring Alan Tudyk (Firefly; Serenity) and Tyler Labine (Mad Love), the film is about Tucker and Dale, who are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.
- HISSS is based on the Far Eastern myth of the snake woman who is able to take on human form. The film stars Irrfan Khan (Slumdog Millionaire) and popular Bollywood actress Mallika Sherawat and is directed by Jennifer Chambers Lynch (Boxing Helena).
- Stake Land takes place in the aftermath of a vampire epidemic, where a teen is taken in by a grizzled vampire hunter on a road trip through a post-apocalyptic America, battling both the bloodsuckers and a fundamentalist militia that interprets the plague as the Lord’s work. The film stars Danielle Harris (Halloween) & Kelly McGillis (Top Gun).
- The documentary The People vs. George Lucas, uses a courtroom debate approach to explore the issues of filmmaking and fanaticism around one of the industry’s most famous franchises and its creator. The innovative film combines filmmaker and celebrity interviews with fan films – submitted via the film’s site – to make this the world’s first digitally democratic feature documentary.
And here are descriptions of the four films in competition:
- Absentia is about a woman and her sister that begin to link a mysterious tunnel to a series of disappearances, including that of her own husband.
- The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue (pictured) is a horror/ comedy that explores what happens when a terrible situation is dropped into the laps of the two people least equipped to deal with it.
- Midnight Son is about a man forced by a disease to drink human blood for sustenance. He must learn to control his increasingly violent tendencies as local law enforcement narrow their focus on him as a suspect in a series of grisly murders.
- Triple Hit about a disgraced scientist carrying out illegal experiments to confirm the existence and begin travel between parallel universes. When she accidentally cracks the problem, she finds that her counterparts in neighboring universes are also working on the same thing, but they but they have their own agendas and things get out of hand.
The International Horror and Sci-fi Film Festival takes place April 1-6 at Harkins Scottsdale 101, 7000 E. Mayo Blvd. Website: www.horrorscifi.com.
While we’re kind of on the subject, check out our calendar for even more of the Grand Canyon State’s robust fan convention scene.