Where's a filmmaker who favors maniacs jumping out of closets, foamy-mouthed monsters and the rampaging undead go to really get her work noticed? Screamfest is the obvious first stop. Founded in 2001 as a way to give new directors with a darker vision (as well as others behind the camera) a spotlight, this ten-day festival has attracted the likes of Wes Craven, Stan Winston and other patriarchs and matriarchs of the make-'em-squirm genre.
Major screenings are on the bill -- Michael Dougherty's anticipated "Trick or Treat" is the buzzed-about flick this year -- as are various shorts programs and chances to chat up horror honchos. We were momentarily bummed to learn that the opening night showing of "Trick or Treat" is sold out, as we've been admiring Dougherty's artsy coffee-table book about the film for some weeks now (Barnes & Noble at The Grove had it prominently on display, which basically says this movie and man are expected to break out majorly). But the fantastic bookstore Dark Delicacies in Burbank is featuring a signing with the director at 7PM tonight, so fans can still get a bit of face time.
Gore and ghouls aside, we're just giving a cheer -- or bloodcurdling scream? -- that films which aren't normally accepted at the traditional festivals get their chance to shine for a few days. Though we suppose "shine" is the wrong word. Lurk? Menace? Cackle maniacally?
Grauman's Mann Chinese 6 Theaters, 6801 Hollywood Boulevard