Killer Clowns. Flesh Eating Fog. Alien Babies. Fetish Dolls. Disco Exorcisms. Cursed Beer. Cult Rituals. Demons!
Yep–the Killer Film Fest is back at the Somerville Theatre this Friday. A two-day international festival, the KFF promises the best in indie horror features and shorts. The Dig spoke with Michael Vallier II, a horror movie producer himself and director of the KFF, to chat about the upcoming fest and his passion for horror.
I have to ask: What’s your favorite scary movie?
That is easy … Halloween (1978)!!! I love what John Carpenter did with Michael Myers, and I think the theme song is the most simple but also the most effective. The buildup, tension, pacing throughout is just sound. No question about it!
The story is that Killer Film Fest started somewhat accidentally …
At the time, my business partner Rick Tobin and I just completed our feature film Kill Everyone, and we wanted to premiere itfor our cast/crew, friends/family, and any local horror fans. We came up with the idea of inviting other local short films to play before ours and had a band to play live as well, but we got a much bigger response than we expected and even some other feature film submissions. So I talked to the theater director, we booked a full three-day weekend for five feature films, and a nice set of shorts to open for each. Since we wanted this horror and killer-themed, we called it “Killer Film Fest” to play off of the name of our film.
After the weekend was over, people were telling us that this needs to be an annual event.
What are some lessons people can learn from horror movies? Besides never going off alone.
Stay away from sex, drugs and rock-n-roll! But everyone knows that. I’m really not sure. As a filmmaker myself, my first intention is to answer this in the filmmaking point-of-view, and that is that horror to me was the easiest genre to start off with. It’s the most popular genre, and there are so many ways to have fun with it. Filmmakers are always finding ways to keep this genre going and keeping fans entertained.
The festival has grown steadily since it started in 2009–have the submissions gotten scarier?
To be honest, it’s tough these days to make a really scary movie. Over the years there have only been a handful of truly horrifying films. But that’s not a bad thing, since there are so many other interesting ways horror can be fun.
Have there ever been crazy audience reactions to some of the submissions over the years?
Yes! We’ve had some pretty controversial films which have gotten mixed reactions and some which have made the entire audience explode in both amazing laughter and applause.
Such films are a joy to have.
You’ve seen a lot of horror movies, what scary movie cliché are you completely over?
There are two. I love zombies, but at the moment it is overdone. We do get a lot of zombie submissions, but with this huge boom in the new zombie culture, it has not been so over saturated. The other is found footage films. They are easy to make but very difficult to pull off successfully. We have had a few great ones, but since they are so easy to make, we get too many and like zombies, they are beginning to be overdone.
Most scary movies premiere around holidays–like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Why did you choose Halloween for Killer Film Fest?
We are usually always the first weekend of November–right after Halloween–but this year we had to change our date to the weekend before Halloween because the theater had to have some work done on the building.
I like the Halloween season because this is when everyone is in the horror mood.
People are looking for horror events to go to and to have a great time. So, why not? This also puts us away from most of the other horror film festivals and spreads out the fun throughout the year.
Why do you think people are drawn to the horror genre?
Because there are so many ways to have fun with it. People love to be scared or to feel that tension in their gut. People also love to see blood and guts, laugh and just have a great time. Every genre has it place but horror stands out. Horror is also a genre where we can suspend of belief and go with the flow.
As a producer of your own horror film, Kill Everyone, do you have any particular influences when it comes to scary movies?
I love the slasher sub-genre. I love the masked killers! I also love dark themed physiological horror. Films that make you think and have a very dark mood.
What can people expect at this year’s KFF?
This year we have a good amount of documentary feature films. We also have a feature film from the Philippines on KFF Online which just blew me and the judges away! We keep the mood very relaxed and try to give everyone the best experience we can.
It is also great for others to meet other horror fans and share in the fun.
KILLER FILM FEST