For four years, Lionsgate films partnered with After Dark films to create a yearly “Horrorfest”, called “8 Movies to Die For”. I am deeply saddened that Horrorfest didn’t generate enough interest to continue past its fourth year. Horrorfest 4’s festival selections were “Zombies of Mass Destruction”, “The Reeds”, “Dread”, “Hidden”, “The Graves”, “Lake Mungo”, “Kill Theory”, and “The Final”. Take a look at some of what the final year, Horrorfest 4, had to offer.
The Biggest Scare
Without a doubt, the scariest movie of Horrorfest 4 is “Dread”. I am a seasoned horror fan, and most films don’t faze me all that much, but “Dread” hurt my feelings. It is the all time champion of the entire Horrorfest series. My wife and I don’t agree most of the time about which movies scare us the most, but we were both destroyed by this movie. Recently we rewatched all four years of Horrorfest. We saved “Dread” for the absolute last because we couldn’t face watching it again till the very end. This may be the most intense depiction of sadism and psychological torture I’ve ever seen.
Sometimes horror movies aren’t all that scary, they’re just awesome. Films that are rude, crude, nude, and lewd often have horror themes, but aren’t too big on the scare meter. This ‘Grindhouse” type of film is a staple of the horror genre.
While “The Graves” might be short on scares, that doesn’t stop it from being bloody awesome. It is fast paced and stylish, with a good story, good acting, and high production value. The main characters look hot in their tight outfits. There’s blood, murder, religious fanaticism, everything you need for a good time. Horror movie veterans Bill Mosley and Tony Todd turned out solid performances. I loved Todd as “the preacher”, his trancelike sermonizing was the high mark of the film. If you enjoy a good Grindhouse style film, like “Death Proof” or “Natural Born Killers” you’ll agree with me that “The Graves” is a winner.
“Zombies of Mass Destruction” is one of the most amazing films I’ve ever seen. Like “Shaun of the Dead”, this film looks at the zombie apocalypse and incorporates a sense of dark comedy. The highly politically charged jokes are offensive by even Family Guy standards, and the film grimly dishes on the state of lying media and politicians rampant in our world. The zombie attack is covered by the media with a bias toward Islamic terrorism, the media coverage of the attacks fuel that irrational fear throughout the film, turning the townspeople against each other. Racism, homophobia, political party, religion and education are all in play among the characters and sarcastic jokes in this film. This film openly shows the ugliness of the real battles we are fighting every day in our media and lives. The director creates visual motif using one of the “Five Scares of Horror Movies” I discus in another article (here), the False Scare. The only scares in the film that make you jump are False Scares. The motif being that all the terrorism coverage the characters are seeing on their TVs is a “false” scare.
As a Whole Season
Horrorfest 4 was the best season of After Dark Horrorfest’s “8 Movies to Die For”. After a fairly weak Horrorfest 3, Horrorfest 4 recovered its edge with grand style. In addition to “Dread”, the scariest movie of all seasons, “Lake Mungo” and “The Final” were also intense experiences. Horrorfest 4 also distinguishes itself, by not having any films that were particularly weak. Other Horrorfest seasons had at least one film that I wondered what was so scary about them. Horrorfest 3 in particular had several entries that seemed far away from being “too intense for mainstream audiences”. If you’re considering purchasing any of the Horrorfest films, I highly recommend buying Horrorfest 4 as a collection; it is by far the strongest season.