Overflowing with scare, gore, and even the occasional laugh at some of the comedy horror submissions, Eerie Horror Fest is back again. Last year, the festival hosted up-and-coming releases both professional and amateur, as well as several star-studded guests including Brian O’Halloran (Clerks, Dogma) and Fred Williamson (From Dusk til Dawn, The Inglorious Bastards). This year, they’re bringing back O’Halloran but also hosting The Boondock Saints cast (Sean Patrick Flanery, Norman Reedus, and David Della Rocco).
In their normal tradition, the Eerie Horror Fest reserves the Warner Theatre on State Street from Thursday through Sunday (Oct 27-30). There are 30 short, 17 feature-length, and several student films being showcased throughout the festival from both international and local origin. Just to give a taste of the outer limits of the festival, they showed a Norwegian film last year called Morke Sjeler (Dark Souls) that had some of the freakiest shaky-cam sequences and plot movements, especially in comparison to measly Hollywood horror offerings of late. They have similar submission origins on their roster for this month’s event too, everything from Brazilian adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe to a short film from Bangladesh. The majority of submissions are from the U.S. with some local talent mixed in with bigger production companies from Afflicted Picturehouse to Lionsgate.
The more talked about submissions have been The Afflicted and The Orphan Killer. The Afflicted centers around the true story of a mother and her three daughters. Mother Maggie (Leslie Easterbrook of The Devil’s Rejects and House of 1,000 Corpses) is a bible-reading, god-fearing wife and mother who drinks too heavily and proceeds to torture and abuse her family. Maggie does everything from tie them up for beatings to feeding them disgusting slop and bludgeoning them for not eating it. Her husband, Hank (Kane Hodder who played Jason in the Friday the 13th series), desperately wants out of the house and out of the relationship, but his endeavor will prove harder than originally thought. Sure to be one of the favorites of the festival, Afflicted isn’t one to skip.
The Orphan Killer is a low-budget, high-gore film that revolves around a boy who was mistreated at his childhood orphanage and comes back to the institution for revenge on anyone and everyone. Criticized for being over-the-line in several occasions, Matt Farnsworth responds with “horror is meant to push the sensitive limits of the mind… [Dario] Argento did it, so why not me and any other modern horror director” (IFC Interview). Marcus Miller, after seeing his parents brutally murdered in a robbery, is given no other opportunity than to be placed in an orphanage with his sister. After being mistreated by these Catholic nuns, he responds violently and is segregated from the other children and forced to wear a mask so nobody will go near him. In the slasher genre, there isn’t much room for deviation, but the praise surrounding this film shows that it does.
There will also be a “meet, greet, and watch” with the actors from Boondock Saints. They will introduce themselves before a viewing of Boondock, and afterwards, they’ll take questions and be available for autographs. This film has an immense cult following throughout the country, and having these guys here in Erie is nothing to miss. Doors open at 11 a.m at the Warner Theatre on each day of the event, showings end at approximately 1:30 a.m. and the tables of artists, actors, writers, and other specialties come and go throughout the fest. Support your local arts scene, and support the little part of everyone that desires a good scare.