The Frightening Ass Film Festival returns for year five of spookiness
October is a month of promise. Even when you’re older, and wandering the neighborhood in a mask asking for handouts in exchange for not vandalizing property is largely frowned upon, there is always a certain excitement that builds as Oct. 31 approaches.
Part of it may be the change in the season. Crisp air, falling leaves, magnificent colors, dramatic skylines, and wistful remembrances of a fading year affect us all in some way. Part of it may be that Halloween represents the childhood adrenaline rush of fear of all things that go bump in the night. But mostly—it’s the candy.
The aisles are just packed with orange-and-black packages of nougat-y chocolate, candy corn, or something that vaguely resembles marshmallow. The best part of being an adult is that no one gets to set your candy budget or ration your intake. If you want to develop diabetes in a four-week period, so be it. Some holidays just never lose their appeal; they are too intrinsically linked to our childhood. Age only enhances the nostalgia.
This year represents the best kind of Halloween. It happens to fall on a Saturday. Anyone that is so inclined can spend an entire day celebrating the darker side of humanity. Facilitating that inclination is Mise En Scenesters and the Chattanooga Film Festival with year five of the Frightening Ass Film Festival, graciously hosted by the Majestic 12. In what has become one of the most exciting Halloween traditions in Chattanooga, the FAFF has expanded this year to include six full-length feature films, a shorts block by local Chattanooga filmmakers, special guest intros by filmmaking Jeff Burr and festival friends Bleeding Skull, an after-party/costume party hosted by The Coin Op, with musical guests Kindora and Rock Floyd, and a special Halloween edition of Startling Ass Stand-Up comedy. From 11 a.m. to 1 a.m., there will be something scary happening downtown and it’s absolutely not to be missed.
As always, there are choices to be made if you don’t have time to spend the entire day in a dark theater (although I can’t understand why you would want to do anything else). I have a few recommendations, but the full schedule can be found on the FAFF Facebook page.
I will say that it is absolutely imperative that you don’t miss the first few hours of the FAFF. Starting at 11 a.m. you can see an hour of shorts by local filmmakers. Chattanooga has a wealth of filmmakers who need and deserve our support. The FAFF is a perfect vehicle to showcase local talent.
At 12:15 p.m., you have the opportunity to witness the first feature film, “From a Whisper to a Scream,” which is a classic in underground horror. It has the distinction of being Vincent Price’s last horror film and is likely the lowest-budget film in which he ever appeared. On hand to do a Q & A about the film is filmmaker Jeff Burr, who can likely answer burning questions about just how he managed to secure such a legendary figure for his film, particularly after Price had sought to distance himself from the genre.
The film itself is an anthology of four separate stories set in the fictional town of Oldfield, TN, a place fraught with violence and evil. A big-screen viewing of “From a Whisper to a Scream” is a rarity—that Chattanooga is home to one is nothing short of incredible.
If you can’t quite make the early shows, starting at 4 p.m. is a Sundance selection/creature feature called “The Hollow.” This is a film about dangerous sprites that live in the woods (what other kind of sprites are there and where else would they live?). There is nothing better for Halloween than a good monster movie. This one has everything a person could hope for—dark, secluded locations, creepy locals, and flaming farm equipment. It certainly seems to be worth a look.
Rounding out the features at 9:15 p.m. is “Deathgasm,” a film about metalheads fighting demons that appears to be a cross between “This is Spinal Tap” and “Evil Dead.” Of all the FAFF features this year, “Deathgasm” is one that I wouldn’t miss. Comedy and horror are like peanut butter and chocolate. They are just better together.
Without a doubt, the Frightening Ass Film Festival is the best place to be in Chattanooga on Halloween. No other event comes close.
Tickets can be found at: chattanooga-film-fest.myshopify.com/products/frightening-ass-film-fest-5