First-ever Horror Film Festival comes to North Brooklyn this weekend

October 13, 2016 By Scott Enman Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A scene from “The Man Who Caught A Mermaid,” which will be shown at the festival. Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Tinker
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Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore.  

The inaugural Brooklyn Horror Film Festival will be coming to North Brooklyn this weekend, just in time for All Hallows’ Eve. The event will showcase more than 40 gruesome films over the course of the weekend, with 14 feature films and 25 short films in competition.

“Brooklyn has a great respect for the arts and a great appreciation for film,” Festival Director Justin Timms told the Brooklyn Eagle. “There’s also a lot of filmmakers here. I was honestly surprised that there hasn’t been a horror film festival in Brooklyn before, so that was the thought process on starting it.

“It certainly has gotten a bigger response than I expected,” Timms added. “We initially planned for it to be on one night for six hours, but it expanded to three days as more and more people became interested in it.”

The festival is set to kick off Friday at 8 p.m. with the opening film “Dearest Sister,” which will be paired with a live music performance and the premier of a new music video. Following the film, there will be an after party at The Abbey Bar in Williamsburg.

In addition to a plethora of international films, the festival will also feature a selection of Brooklyn-based films, including “The Sentinel” from 1977, which, according to Timms, is a “classic Brooklyn horror film.” There will also be a showing of the feature film “Psychotic,” which was made by two Bushwick filmmakers.  

Timms explained to the Eagle how he and his staff chose the films on display.

“We wanted the films to be ones that a casual horror fan could watch and appreciate,” said Timms. “All of the films we chose tell a story, but they also have a voice behind them.”

In addition to sharing some of the borough’s spookiest films, the festival will feature several other hair-raising events.

One highlight will be an audience ghost story event called “Ghosts We’ve Known.” Festivalgoers will be able to tell horrifying tales around an actual campfire in the backyard of Catland Books in Bushwick. Each raconteur will have 10 minutes to tell their tale, and the storyteller with the most frightening story will win two tickets to a haunted Brooklyn walking tour.

There will also be an art exhibition dubbed “Apparition: A Popup Art Show,” which will showcase strange and unearthly artwork by emerging Brooklyn artists.

Additionally, there will be a drinking game called “Critical Drinking.” Four film critics will face off in a “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”-styled trivia contest. Each portion of the audience will be assigned to a critic, and if an audience member’s assigned critic loses a round, he or she will have to take a sip.  

Timms said the “Critical Drinking” event is “going to be fun, random and unpredictable.”  

Lastly, there will be a live spoken word performance by author Grady Hendrix as he tells the bone-chilling true story called “Summerland Lost: A Ghost Story” about a group of psychic teenagers.

The majority of venues showing films will have bars where patrons can buy refreshments. Coney Island Brewery is sponsoring the event.

Brooklyn Horror Film Festival takes place from tonight through Sunday at various times and locations in Williamsburg, Greenpoint and Bushwick. Film Festival Badges are sold out, but individual tickets to each screening can be bought from $3 to $18.

For more information on Brooklyn Horror Film Festival and to see a full list of all the films on display, go to www.brooklynhorrorfest.com.


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