Mise En Scenesters’ Frightening Ass Film Fest is back for scary year four
Along with the crisp air and frost-covered grass, Chattanooga’s best film club and Chattanooga Film Festival partner Mise En Scenesters is returning for year four of the Frightening Ass Film Fest, on Halloween itself at Barking Legs Theater.
It doesn’t seem like four years—not very long ago I was watching a movie about an evil Santa Claus while leaning against a post in a thrift store in St. Elmo, attending one of the first MES screenings. That year was the beginning of the FAFF and it’s grown each and every year since.
MES is known for its love of genre film. Founder Chris Dortch has a yearly tradition of watching a different horror movie every night during the month of October, which is a tradition that more of us should embrace in our own households.
While MES has done a fine job of bringing us films across a wide range of genres, their bread and butter has always been the weird, the disturbing, and the gross. The FAFF is a celebration of their roots and powerful example of what grassroots film club do best: bring together like-minded fans to celebrate dismemberment and depravity.
Dortch says the goal of this year’s FAFF is to have something for every horror fan. He says: “The idea was to do the whole spectrum. A classic, something modern and truly brilliant and something that was a bit more of a splatter-filled evil dead heir apparent.” Looking at their lineup, it appears that the festival will be a success on this front. Here are the films that will shock and thrill audiences this Halloween.
“The Demon’s Rook”
The great thing about MES and the Chattanooga Film Festival is the access to filmmakers and actors is has. “The Demon’s Rook” appears to be a film without a clear synopsis. Billed as a no-budget demonic spectacle, descriptions of the film include references to horns, death, surf-rock barn parties, and portals to hell. However, if questions about the film abound after the screening, the filmmakers will be on hand to guide the souls of the audience to understanding.
According to Dortch, “The story of how the film was made and its struggles is just as unique as the film, which is why we are bringing out the filmmakers to help give the audience context.” These touches are what set the FAFF apart from other horror festivals. It’s not just a marathon of scary movies. FAFF serves to educate as well as horrify.
“Texas Chainsaw Massacre: 40th Anniversary”
My experience with the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” started with the critically panned 2003 remake starring Jessica Biel. I didn’t think it was that terrible myself, but it did spur me on to see the original film. The original TCM is an experience all on its own—twisted, violent and haunting, with a fascinating subtext exploring the horrors of animal processing. Anyone that hasn’t yet discovered the film should take the opportunity to do so this year. The showing at the FAFF will feature an intro by “Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III” director (and Dalton, GA native) Jeff Burr, which is sure to shed light into the dark corners of the film.
Of the films being showing, “The Babadook” is the film I’m most interested in seeing. It appears to be a simple boogeyman story, about a disturbing fairy tale come to life to terrorize a family. But as with all films of this nature, nothing is as it seems. Many of the most frightening stories involve children (as seen in films like “The Exorcist” and “The Omen”).
Our need to protect the innocent from the evils of the world can become conflicted when the evil is rooted in a child. “The Babadook” will explore this idea again. Chris Dortch calls “The Babadook” the most “cerebral” of the three films featured, and notes that it was just awarded best horror film at the Fantastic Fest in Austin, TX. Notes Dortch, “it [is] a real coup to get it for the city so shortly after a big win.”
Of course, beyond just the films, the FAFF offers more entertainment than most can handle in a day. Louisville-based White Reaper and Chattanooga favorite SoCro will be performing in-between films, and comedy darlings Evatt and Bloom will be performing their “Startling Ass Stand Up” for anyone needing a break from the mayhem in screen. Throw in a costume contest for good measure and there’s not another Halloween event in the city that can compete.
For tickets, check out the event page on Facebook: facebook.com/events/660627340695346, or chattanooga-film-fest.myshopify.com/products/copy-of-frightening-a-film-fest-iv-faffour