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Terror Vision Fright Fest 2022

While I’ve been a lifelong horror fan, I’ve never gotten the chance to go to a convention or film festival. There aren’t a whole lot of them near me, so when Terror Vision, the magnificent boutique blu-ray company out of Savannah, Georgia, announced that they were having a film festival, I was all kinds of in. I bought by tickets the day it was announced and, as the time grew closer, got more and more excited for the movies and guests that had been announced. Suffice it to say, I was ecstatic to learn that the event was just as stellar as I had hoped it would be, and I learned first-hand that the horror community is an incredible phenomenon filled with like-minded souls who love shitty films as much as they do amazing ones.

The city of Savannah is beautiful, filled with Spanish moss-draped oak trees and the faint smell of horse poop from the carriages that lead visitors on tours through the city. It’s as much a historical smorgasbord as it is a tourist location, the buildings often dating to before the Revolutionary War. Thankfully, I had been to the city several times before, so I wasn’t interested in any of that fascinating historical shit. By the time the festival was about to start at Savannah College of Art and Design’s Cultural Arts Center, I was ready to see some films and hear from the folks that actually created them, something that I had thus far only been able to achieve through the computer and the miracle of email and Twitter. The film lineup was incredible, with each film having some member of the cast or crew for us to grill with questions after the film’s credits rolled. The whole event was hosted by Aurora Gorealis, who did an amazing job and was as lovely of a host as I could possibly imagine, fitting the whole event like a glove.

Pic Credit @auroragorealis via Twitter

First up was May, director Lucky McKee’s feature debut (if you don’t count the pre-make of All Cheerleader’s Die). I love the film, having seen it many times in the past, but it was such a trip to see it play out on the big-screen with fans of the film and first time viewers in the audience. I’ll definitely get around to reviewing the film one of these days, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s fucking amazing and well worth a watch. As a surprise after the film, Lucky McKee did a Skype Q&A with the audience. I’m a huge fan of his work, so I was totally fucking pumped to hear from the man himself as he discussed the film and his experiences making it. While the Q&A wasn’t quite as fun as it would’ve been as a one-on-one, it was interesting to hear the perspectives from people in the audience talking about the things that they wanted to know about the film.

May, Directed by Lucky McKee

The second film in the lineup was Sledgehammer, which… is god-fucking-awful and a perfect representation of SOV horror. It was an absolute blast to watch the film with an audience, a hilarious example of why these movies are so much fun when you add some friends to the experience. While I can’t say I’d recommend the film by itself, watching with a roomful of people is a great time and definitely something that’s worth checking out. Brad Henderson of Vinegar Syndrome, another outstanding physical media company who works closely with Terror Vision itself, told us all about his love of SOV horror and those hard-to-find movies from yesteryear, hinting that they may be doing a SOV-themed filmfest in the future. Count me in for that one, for sure.

Sledgehammer, Directed by David A. Prior

The third and fourth films, Waxwork and Chopping Mall, were joined by the composer of the score for Waxwork (Roger Bellon) and the star actress (Kelli Maroney). Both were excellent representatives of 80’s horror, providing those who hadn’t seen the movies before a picture of what those cheap, lovable horror movies were like when I was growing up. Both are truly fun films, and ones that I was definitely glad to see in the lineup. The final movie of the show was Satanis, a documentary from the American Genre Film Archive about Church of Satan founder Anton LaVey. While I wasn’t a huge fan of this one, it’s definitely worth checking out for horror documentary lovers.

Aurora Gorealis with Kelli Maroney for a post-screening Q&A

The star of the whole fest, though, was the Southeastern premier of the sequel to The WNUF Halloween Special, a movie that is actually titled Out There Halloween Mega Tape but was lovingly referred to during the activities as WNUF 2. The movie was amazing, even, in my not-so-humble opinion, eclipsing the original. Aurora Gorealis, whose real name is Melissa LaMartina, was the star of the film as disgraced talk show host Ivy Sparks, and she was just as wonderful in the movie as she was as the host of the film festival in which it was showing. The Q&A afterward was with director Chris LaMartina (who is married to Aurora Gorealis), and he was awesome in answering all of our questions about how these movies get made and all of the intricate webs that related the two movies together. I made sure to stop by their merch table and pick up several different films from LaMartina, and the two were the most gracious guests and wonderful people that I met during the entire trip. I had a truly great experience with them and I cannot recommend their films enough.

Out There Halloween Mega Tape, Directed by Chris LaMartina

I could not have asked for a better experience for my first film festival, with literally every person I met being wonderful and happy to help in any way that they could. It was more than apparent that every person there loved these films as much as I do, and I definitely understand now why these film festivals are such huge draws within the horror community. If you haven’t had the chance to check out a fest or a convention, I highly recommend doing so because there’s nothing quite like it.

As a final note about our trip to Savannah, I definitely want to make a couple of other recommendations for anyone who has the chance to get to the Most Haunted City in America. The city itself is filled with artists, creators, and Bohemian sensibilities, and its erstwhile motto “Keep Savannah Weird” is no more evident than in the people that I met and the places that we were able to stop by, most notably those at Graveface Museum and Record Store and at the Terror Vision store itself.

Graveface was incredible, a magnificent collection of oddities and one of the largest collections of serial killer memorabilia in the world. There was a ton of crazy shit in there, from actual Flavor-Aid packets from Jonestown to some memorable paintings by John Wayne Gacy. There are all sorts of bizarre taxidermied animals, crazy artifacts from various cults and criminals, and even the actual sign from the Spahn Ranch, where Charles Manson and his follower hung out before their murderous spree. It’s an incredible collection, and it’s definitely worth seeing for anyone with an interest in true crime, serial killers, or just random weird shit.

Terror Vision… man, Terror Vision was like fucking Disneyland for a guy like me who collects physical media. They had stuff from every boutique company under the sun, from Arrow Video to Vinegar Syndrome and everything in between. Tons of out-of-print rarities, an awesome collection of horror toys and action figures, and even an unlimited-play pinball arcade that only costs $5 an hour and is included with your ticket to the Graveface Museum. I’m a huge fan of the Terror Vision releases so far, and they’ve curated a nifty little collection of odd horror movies that had never seen the light of day before. I cannot recommend them enough, both the storefront itself and their online collection through the Vinegar Syndrome website.

It was actually while I was at the Graveface Museum that I learned that a lot of the scenes in Halloween Ends had been filmed in the city, and I managed to take a self-guided tour through all of the locations around town. We saw Laurie’s new house, the house that Corey grew up in, the location used for the radio station, and more. I’ve included those pictures in here as well to share with you guys, because this was something I hadn’t planned on and was super stoked to be able to do (even if the movie wasn’t all that great). All in all, it was an incredibly successful trip to an amazing city filled with weird and wonderful people, and I will once again be first in line when the next Terror Vision Film Festival comes around. If you get the chance to make it down to beautiful Savannah, I highly recommend that you do so as well.

Laurie's New House

Cory's House

Gas station where Cory meets Laurie

Radio Station

Dr. Mathis' House

The Junkyard AKA Where Halloween Ends

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