Posted by Michael Parsons on September 28, 2015 in / No Comments



October 8-17, 2015

Since 2006, October has belonged to the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival.

The festival that brought the DC area such films as THE BABADOOK, EXISTS, TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL, A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, HOUSEBOUND, and EXCISION–-holds its 10th annual event in Washington, D.C. from October 8-17 at the AFI Silver Theatre.  The Opening Night film is Sony Pictures’ THE FINAL GIRLS.

As in past years, the Spooky Movie Festival showcases the best in new horror cinema from around the world, and again, the entire festival (more than 40 shorts and features) unspools at AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Also featured in this year’s festival is a special closing night event – the 40th anniversary screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW presented by drag performer, emcee, filmmaker, and actor, “Peaches Christ.” Expect two completely different screenings! The first will include a hysterical and passionate pre-show filled with songs and surprises, and a second will include an once-in-a-lifetime “shadowcast” performed by all-star performers from the Washington, D.C. area.

Additional highlights of the festival include Henry Rollins in HE NEVER DIED, the Sundance hit “creature feature” THE HALLOW, the bloody and crazy NINA FOREVER, the best horror anthology of the year GERMAN ANGST, the award winning CRUSH THE SKULL, the unnervingly brilliant THE INVITATION, and the North American premiere of the horror comedy NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEB.

Tickets are sold exclusively by the AFI Silver Theatre at the box office and online at or through

Founded in 2006, the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival is Washington, D.C’s only genre-based film festival. Recognized as one of D.C.’s premiere festival events, as well as “the world’s premiere horror film festival” (; Fangoria Magazine), Spooky Fest works closely with our partners to offer year round screenings of feature and short films, in addition to our signature festival event every October.


All Fest Pass

The Spooky Movie All Fest Pass grants the bearer access to all screenings in the 2015 Spooky Movie Film Festival.  All Fest Passes can be purchased at AFI Silver online for just $80 (a savings of $136). After purchase, passes can be picked up at AFI Silver Theatre beginning Oct.8.

Additional information on the Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival can be found at


Spooky Movie 2015 – Full Schedule:

Thursday, October 8 – Opening Night

7:30 p.m.

The Final Girls

Max Cartwright (Taissa Farmiga), a high school senior, is mysteriously transported with her friends into a 1980s horror film that starred Max’s mother, Amanda (Malin Akerman), a celebrated scream queen. Trapped inside the movie, Max finds herself reunited with her mom, who she lost in real life. Together with Max’s friends, they must fend off the camp counselors’ raging hormones, battle a deranged machete-wielding killer, and find a way to escape the movie and make it back home. For everyone who loved Tucker and Dale! “Genre enthusiasts will get a kick out of Todd Strauss-Schulson’s creative homage to classic slasher movies, which respects familiar horror conventions while introducing a sly contemporary perspective.” – Hollywood Reporter.

DIR Todd Strauss-Schulson; SCR M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller. US, 2015, color, 88 min. RATED PG-13

Preceded by:

Knock Knock… On a dark, stormy night, a brave little boy decides to find out who is knocking on his door… his closet door, that is.  DIR Anthony Lund. US, 2015, 3 min.

Mr. Dentonn On a cold winter night, Laura reads his brother David the story of a strange creature that attacks children  DIR Ivan Villamel Sanchez. Spain, 2014, 9 min.


9:45 p.m.

North American Premiere

Night of the Living Deb

Deb Clarington is a hardworking 30-year-old gal, not a stickler for hygiene and holding a terrible track record with men. That all changes when she wakes up on the Fourth of July in the apartment of the most attractive man she’s ever seen. An awkward walk of shame turns even uglier when they discover that most of the town has contracted a zombie virus overnight. In their fight for survival, they are forced back into each other’s arms! “There are some films that, upon viewing, you just can’t help but fall in love with…the most fun I’ve have with a zombie comedy since the first time I watched ‘Shaun of the Dead.’ 5 Stars!” –

DIR/SCR Kyle Rankin. US, 2015, color, 85 min. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

Copycat In the summer of 1990, a teenage filmmaker successfully raises $100,000 to shoot a pioneering horror film. Twenty-five years later, he tells the story of a cult classic that never was.

DIR Charlie Lyne. US, 2014, 8 min.


Friday, October 9


7:30 p.m.

Crush the Skull

Winner of the Nightfall Award at this year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, Viet Nguyen’s debut feature shows an adept, comic blend of old fashion slasher movie and home invasion flick themes, with a nice slather of slapstick. Two robbers (Katie Savoy and co-writer Chris Dinh), on their “last” job, end up involved in a caper beyond their limited misfit resources. Toss in a serial killer, a nasty gangster or two, a deserted estate (or is it?), the requisite gore, and a few nice twists, and you have a nice genre b(l)ending effort. “A wildly original and completely hilarious film, on par with TUCKER AND DALE VS. EVIL and SHAUN OF THE DEAD.” — Icons of Fright

DIR Viet Nguyen; SCR Chris Dinh, Viet Nguyen; PROD Aya Tanimura, Jimmy Tsai. US, 2015, color, 83 min. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

A Way Out For aging gangster Vic, a ride with his upstart protégé becomes a twisted game of cat and mouse when both killers discover the other has been keeping a deadly secret.

DIR Jason Tostevin. US, 2015, 14 min.


9:30 p.m.

Nina Forever

The Blaine Brothers, known for their award winning short films and sketches, have crafted a breakthrough debut feature which gives new meaning to the phrase “sexually aroused.” What begins as a roll in the hay between wannabe paramedic Holly (Abigail Hardingham) and the depressed Rob (Cian Barry), a lost and angry soul since the death of his girlfriend Nina, evolves into an emotionally-driven bloody ménage-a-trois with a crazy WTF attitude. “… smart, sobering … darkly erotic … memorably disturbing moments of visceral creepiness.” — The Horror Show

DIR/SCR The Blaine Brothers (Ben Blaine, Chris Blaine); PROD Cassandra Sigsgaard. UK, 2015, color, 98 min. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

Glasshole In early 2015 Google announced it would be canceling its Google Glass wearable device, but did the true reason behind the products failure have more sinister undertones? This short horror comedy asks what REALLY killed Google Glass and addresses the potential supernatural dangers of wearable tech.

DIR Jonathan Brooks. UK, 2015, 4 min.


Saturday, October 10


4:30 pm

The Invitation

Director Karyn Kusama trades in the demonic blood-splatter of JENNIFER’S BODY for a singularly creepy and uneasy night’s tale centering on a tension-filled reunion between Will (Logan Marshall-Green) and his ex-wife Eden (Tammy Blanchard), at the Hollywood Hills home she shares with her new husband. The tragedy that split them apart is just the starting point for an insidious agenda that wreaks havoc on the guests. Prepare to have your nerves rattled. “The trip is compelling from frame one and proceeds with unerring unease right down to its perfectly judged, powerfully suggestive final shot.” — Fangoria

DIR Karyn Kusama; SCR Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi; PROD Martha Griffin, Phil Hay, Matt Manfredi, Nick Spicer. US, 2015, color, 97 min. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

The Witching Hour When the clock strikes midnight… The Witching Hour begins.

DIR Carl Firth. Australia, 2015, 9 min.


7:00 p.m.

He Never Died

DC area native son Henry Rollins gives a career-topping performance here as Jack, a loner haunted by a violent past. Insulated from society, his refrigerator may be bare, but there’s a hunger burning in him for a nice chunk of human meat. There’s nothing like a grumpy cannibal served on wry to brighten up your day. This darkly comic effort from writer-director Jason Krawczyk is a well-polished, blood-soaked gem, blending a crime noir design, some fine on- and off-screen gore-feasting moments, and an unexpected family reunion. “Krawczyk has unquestionably struck the jackpot…an inspired, gruesome, violently funny and, at times, truly touching take on the subgenre.” — Scream

DIR/SCR Jason Krawczyk; PROD Zach Hagen, Adrienne Stern. US/Canada, 2015, color, 97 min. RATED R

Preceded by:

Night of the Slasher A ‘shot-in-one-take’ slasher film about a teenage girl who must commit horror movie sins by drinking alcohol, doing drugs, and having sex in order to lure a masked killer and defeat him.

DIR Shant Hamassian. US, 2015, 11 min.


9:30 pm

The Hallow

A sensation from this year’s Sundance film festival: deep within the darkness of secluded forest land in rural Ireland dwells an ancient evil. Feared by the nearby superstitious villagers as cursed creatures who prey upon the lost, their secrets have been kept from civilization and remain on their hallowed ground. But when a conservationist from London moves in with his wife and infant child in order to survey the land for future construction, his actions unwittingly disturb the horde of demonic forces. Alone in a remote wilderness, he must now ensure his family’s survival from their relentless attacks. “Visual artist Corin Hardy’s arresting first film is an unabashed creature feature!” – Variety

DIR/SRC Corin Hardy.US, 2015, color, 97 min.

Preceded by:

In Extremis is a short in the mold of classic British horror films of the 1960s and 70s. A night watchman is sent to guard the cellar of a museum by its mysterious curator. But once alone in these vaults he starts to hear something…

DIR Gregory Crosbie. UK, 2015, 14 min.


Sunday, October 11


4:00 pm

Spooky Shorts Block 1

  • Knob Goblins – On his last day of being institutionalized, a young man is allowed to return to his childhood home in hopes of proving that there’s no such thing as a demonic creature that bites your penis off. From Spooky Movie alum Christopher Moore. DIR Christopher G. Moore. US, 2015, 11 min.
  • Point of View – A tired coroner is stalked by the living dead – but only when she isn’t looking! DIR Justin Harding. Canada, 2015, 8 min.
  • Lifeline –  When an enigmatic traveler with an unusual lifeline pays a visit to Madame Golorio’s psychic parlor, the ailing palm reader is compelled to take the future into her own hands. DIR Jeffery Wang. US, 2015, 18 min.
  • Shi – An ordinary day starts horribly for the character when he receives some bad news. It changes his life right away. Everything would go wrong from that moment on. DIR Pablo Absento. Japan, 2015, 8 min.
  • Medium Rare –  A paranoid woman who has traumatic childhood experience, meets her sister, the source of her misery, which causes a brutal family murder. DIR Xuanyi Solax Zhu. US, 2015, 6 min.
  • Don’t Let Them In – Dan Metzger, a struggling author, consumed with the urban legend of the Black Eyed Kids, fears his obsession has led their evil to his door. DIR David Lawrence. US, 2015, 13 min.
  • Son – A sheltered kid cons his way into a sick day. Left alone for the first time, he stumbles upon a sinister family secret. DIR Judd Myers. US, 2014, 14 min.
  • Demon Garden – An ambitious gangster calls upon supernatural forces to advance his career. But in the Demon Garden nothing is what it seems. DIR Michael Granberry. US, 2015, 12 min.


6:00 pm

Spooky Shorts Block 2

  • Hipster Cannibal – Some cannibals have discerning tastes. DIR C.J. Arellano. US, 2015, 4 min.
  • The Peripheral – When a patient, Kenny, shows up at her home unexpectedly, Dr. Joanna Redding attempts to help him overcome his ‘irrational’ phobia of the creatures that he sees in his peripheral vision. From J.T. Seaton, who first blew us away in 2009 with his wonderful feature GEORGE’S INTERVENTION. DIR J.T. Seaton. US, 2015, 11 min.
  • Bump in the Night –  The story of the boy who cried wolf meets invasion of the body snatchers. DIR Maru Buendia-Senties. US, 2015, 3min.
  • Pyramids Hostel – A group of Egyptian and French tourists is stopping by a hostel. Although the host is present, the place seems inhabited. In his walls, he’s hiding a terrible secret. When the night comes, the houses rises. The nightmare can finally start… DIR Thierry Iledo. Egypt, 2015, 19 min.
  • The Blue Rhino vs. The Dragonfish – We’ve lost track on the number of films Adam Bradley has had in the festival since the first fest in 2006. You would think we would have learned our lesson. DIR Adam Bradley. US, 2015, 3 min.
  • The Watcher – A troubled young man searches for peace of mind as a naked, armed, masked man searches for him. DIR Nicholas Bartlett. US, 2015, 27 min.
  • Telephone – Lucy gives her eight-year-old daughter Dani a toy telephone made from two tin cans and a string. However, when they move into a new house and Dani goes missing, a much more sinister voice begins to echo out of the telephone. DIR Nathan Hoffman. US, 2015, 9 min.
  • What’s Eating Dad? – When Chloe meets her boyfriend’s parents for the first time, what’s really for dinner is something she never imagined. In the vein of ‘Meet the Parents’ meets ‘Shaun of the Dead,’ DIR Michael Goldburg. US, 2015, 11 min.
  • El Aura Azul – A strange day at the pool in the mountains of Medellin, Colombia turns horrifying when something unexpected follows Sasha home. DIR Andy Harbeck. US, 2015, 8 min.


8:00 pm


The film so shocking, ambulances and paramedics were called during its world premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival this summer! While on her bachelorette party getaway, Casey, the bride to be, gets a seemingly harmless bite from an unknown insect. After returning home with cold feet, Casey tries to call off her wedding but before she’s able to, she starts exhibiting insect-like traits. Between her physical transformation and her wedding anxiety, Casey succumbs to her new instincts and begins creating a hive that not only houses her translucent eggs, but feeds on the flesh of others. As her transformation becomes complete, Casey discovers that everything can change in a single bite. “Fun, gory visuals and an increasingly affecting lead performance leave us craving more!” – Film School Rejects

DIR/SCR Chad Archibald; Canada, 2015, color, 90 min. NOT RATED – NO ONE UNDER 17 WILL BE ADMITTED.

Preceded by:

Neighbors – Hidden within the closed doors of a normal apartment building is a horrific secret. DIR Brandon Boudreaux. US, 2015, 11 min. and

The Head Collector – Those who sin must be saved from their sins. DIR Joseph D’Urso. US, 2015, 18 min


Monday, October 12


7:10 p.m.

Valley of the Sasquatch

After losing their home following a devastating tragedy, a father (Jason Vail) and son (Michael Joris-Peyrafitte) are forced to move to an old family cabin out in the woods. Their fractured relationship is complicated when two old friends arrive for a weekend of hunting. This trip into the forest will unearth not only buried feelings of guilt and betrayal, but also a tribe of Sasquatch that are determined to protect their land. John Portanova’s feature directorial debut sports a great indie cast (including Bill Oberst, Jr.!), excellent Bigfoot action, and horrors from all directions. “… a riveting, top-notch creature feature that hits the bull’s-eye in nearly every category.” — Horror Society

DIR/SCR John Portanova; PROD Matt Medisch, Brent Stiefel. US, 2015, color, 92 min. NOT RATED


Tuesday, October 13


7:10 p.m.


Post Screening Q&A with filmmakers Mahsa Ghorbankarimi, Alexander Gorelick


For a while, everything’s fine for Mahsa and Alexander, young working parents living with their 7-year-old daughter, Mina, in a high rise apartment. Snippets of their lives whiz by. But their normal-looking veneer peels away, slowly, then violently. An unexplained house guest arrives, accompanied by ghostly, ominous events. What exhausting nightmares are lurking in the darkness and disrupting this family’s crumbling sanity? This slow boil scream fest features an actual family—Mahsa and Alexander (yes, Mina’s their daughter) put this whole thing together: producing, directing, writing, editing. Home grown invasive horror with more than a few unsettling didn’t-see-that-coming surprises.

DIR/SCR/PROD Mahsa Ghorbankarimi, Alexander Gorelick. Canada, 2015, color, 89 min. NOT RATED


Wednesday, October 14


7:10 p.m.

Killer Rack

Post screening Q&A with Gregory Lamberson and Paul McGinnis

Blaming her physique for her unhappiness, Betty Downer (Jessica Zwolak) seeks breast enhancement surgery from Dr. Cate Thulu (Debbie Rochon). The operation is a success, but the patient discovers her new assets are man-eating monsters hell bent on global domination – and only she can stop them. So, direct from Buffalo, New York comes this screwball romp! Chock full of nuts and lunatics and a special appearance by Troma Entertainment’s Lloyd Kaufman (just in case you couldn’t figure out the film’s Z-movie attitude).

DIR Gregory Lamberson; SCR Paul McGinnis; PROD Rod Durick, Michael Gesel, Gregory Lamberson, John Maclay, Marc Makowski, Paul McGinnis. US, 2015, color, 98 min. NOT RATED – NO ONE UNDER 17 WILL BE ADMITTED


Thursday, October 15


7:10 p.m.

Circus of the Dead

Bill Oberst, Jr.’s Papa Corn is one of the most sadistic clowns you’ll ever see on the big screen. When his circus comes to a small West Texas town, poor Donald Johnson (Parrish Randall) finds his family under attack from Papa and his gang of nihilistic clowns. From Spooky Fest alum Billy Pon (DOLL BOY, MISTER FISTER), CIRCUS OF THE DEAD does for clowns what JAWS did for sharks. You’ll never walk into the big top (without adequate protection) again! “(Director Billy) Pon has gifted genre fans with a masterfully crafted exemplary work of independent horror cinema, successfully gaping open that fine line between morality and the basest animalistic instinct inside each of us.” — Fangoria

DIR Billy Pon; SCR Lee Ankrum, Billy Pon; PROD Aaron Ray Ballard, Melissa Land. US, 2014, color, 105 min. NOT RATED


Friday, October 16


7:10 p.m.

They Look Like People

Winner of a slew of awards at Slamdance and other fests, here’s a genre-bending psychological tale of love, loyalty, and living nightmares. Suspecting that those around him are actually malevolent shape-shifters, Wyatt (MacLeod Andrews) flees to New York City to seek out his estranged childhood friend Christian (Evan Dumouchel). As the mysterious horrors close in on Wyatt, he questions whether to protect his only friend from an impending war, or from himself. An incredibly well scripted and directed first feature from Perry Blackshear, who also co-produced, edited, and shot it. “It boggles my mind that the slight movement of someone’s jaw, a bottle of sulfuric acid and a nail gun combine for the most terrifying film I’ve seen this decade.” — Slug Magazine

DIR/SCR Perry Blackshear; PROD Kimberly Parker, Perry Blackshear. US, 2015, color, 80 min. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

Invaders A pair of home invaders consider their potential character choices just prior to their planned invasion.

DIR Jason Kupfer. US, 2015, 6 min


9:00 p.m.

German Angst

Introduced by producer Eli Savada

Partnering with Jörg Buttgereit (NEKROMANTIK) and Andreas Marschall, Spooky Movie alum Michal Kosakowski (ZERO KILLED, from the 2012 Fest) is back with a disturbing collection of three tales of love, sex, and death in Berlin. A calculated slashing is the centerpiece of FINAL GIRL, about a young girl victimized by years of abuse. MAKE A WISH explores xenophobia via torture-laden role reversals between victim and perpetrator. ALRAUNE harkens back to the early days of German expressionism, showcasing a too-adventurous photographer caught up in erotic nightmare over-stimulated by the pleasure-inducing mandrake root. Fresh of its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest.”A striking horror statement that proves that Germany horror is alive and kicking.” — Horror Movie Diary

DIR Jörg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski, Andreas Marschall; SCR Jörg Buttgereit, Goran Mimica, Andreas Marschall; PROD Michal Kosakowski. Germany, 2015, color, 112 min. NOT RATED

Preceded by:

Iris A hitman uses his smart phone to aid in burying a dead body. DIR Richard Karpala. UK, 2015, 10 min.


Saturday, October 17 – Closing Night


Peaches Christ presents the 40th Anniversary Screening of

The Rocky Horror Picture Show


Underground drag performer, emcee, filmmaker, and actor, Peaches Christ (who was last seen at the AFI Silver with her wonderful horror comedy, ALL ABOUT EVIL) returns to the AFI Silver Theatre to help celebrate the 40th anniversary of the legendary cult musical THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW with two very different shows that will close out the 10th annual Spooky Movie International Horror Film Festival.


9:00 pm – TRHPS with special Peach Christ produced pre-show.

Midnight – TRHPS with DC All Star Shadowcast, introduced by Peaches Christ.


Recently engaged Brad Majors (Barry Bostwick) and Janet Weiss (Susan Sarandon) stumble upon a castle in the middle of the night that is definitely not a hunting lodge for “rich weirdos.” A jump to the left and a step to the right later, and before they know it Brad and Janet find themselves as guests of Dr. Frank N. Furter (Tim Curry). The sweetest of sweet transvestites, Frank N. Furter does his best to make them shiver with anticipation at what he has in store for everyone at the Annual Transylvanian Convention. A satirical tribute to classic science fiction and horror B movies, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW is the longest-running theatrical release in film history. Starring Curry, Sarandon, Bostwick, Meatloaf, Patricia Quinn, “Little” Nell Campbell, and filmmaker Richard O’Brien, ROCKY HORROR has become more than just a movie. For generations of fans young and old, the weekly experience has been a beacon and a touchstone, and for many, a way of life.


Expect two completely different screenings! The first will include a hysterical and passionate pre-show filled with songs and surprises, and a second will include a once-in-a-lifetime “shadowcast” performed by all-star performers from the Washington, D.C. area. Come for one, or come for both! Virgins are always welcome!

DIR/SCR Jim Sharman; SCR Jim Sharman, Richard O’Brien. UK/US, 1975, color, 100 min. RATED R


Posted in

Michael Parsons

Father. Realtor®. Movie nut. After pestering my parents for their commentary on “Star Wars” when I was four years old, my mind went into a creative frenzy. I’d imagined something entirely different than the actual film, which I didn’t end up seeing until its 1979 re-release at the Uptown Theater in Washington, DC. This was my formal introduction to the cinema.

During that long wait, which felt like an eternity to a child, my mind was being molded by more corrosive stuff like “Trilogy of Terror” and “Rosemary’s Baby”, most of which I’d conned various babysitters into letting me watch on television ( I convinced one poor lady that “Jaws” was actually “Moby Dick”).

The folks were pretty strict in that regard, so the less appropriate it was for a kid to watch, the more I was fascinated by it. Horror staples like “Halloween” and “Friday the 13th”, as well as lesser-known low-budget fare like “Madman”, “Sleepaway Camp” and “Pieces” all ended up sneaking their way into the VHS on a regular basis.

Since then, I’ve developed an obsession with the entire film industry. Even though I watch and review a wide breadth of films these days, my appreciation for the campy, poorly lit micro-budgeters still lends itself to my evolving perspective on movies just as much as the summer blockbusters and Oscar contenders. As I recall my trips to the movie theater, I realize that this stuff is about much more than just a fleeting piece of entertainment.

A couple years ago, I was finally given the opportunity to lend my opinion on films to a publication, The Rogers Revue, with a subsequent run at Reel Film News. It's been both a privilege and a gateway to what we’re doing now. Most of my experience has come from interviewing independent filmmakers, who consistently promote innovation. The filmmaking process is grueling and relatively unforgiving.

Fellow film enthusiast Eddie Pasa and I have created DC Filmdom as a medium for film reviews, discussion, and (inevitably) some debate. And so, the creative frenzy continues.

(Michael is a member of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association).

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