The Stanley Film Festival returns for its second year at the iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colo., from April 24-27. Any fan of the horror genre knows the hotel served as the inspiration behind novelist Stephen King's "The Shining," which then made its way to the big screen in Stanley Kubrick's adaptation. Whether you make the trek up the hill to see one film and to be a part of the zombie crawl, to see Munly and the Lupercalians perform, or to spend all weekend, there seems to be great things being curated at any given hour.
Britta Erickson of the Denver Film Society gave us the lowdown on the Stanley Film Fest before this weekend. Stream the interview above, and check out a quick guide to festival events below!
Five great films to see:
- "Doc of the Dead" by Alexandre O. Philippe
Following the film, a performance from The Zombie Burlesque Bombshells and the Denver County Fair will also showcase some of the winners of the "Corpses and Crowns Zombie Beauty Pageant" and let them perform their winning "talents." Plus Philippe is Colorado based, so it feels like supporting a hometown hero. (Check out the CPR Arts interview with Philippe in their latest arts show.)
- "Open Windows" by Nacho Vigalondo
This year's Stanley Film Festival Visionary Award co-recipient Elijah Wood stars in the film and will be at the screening to receive the Stanley Film Festival Visionary Award along with his production company, SpectreVision, co-founders, Daniel Noah and Josh Waller. Also, I saw Vigalondo's "Timecrimes" at Sundance in 2008 and it's superb (and it's streaming on Netflix so you should watch it)!
- "Gremlins" by Joe Dante
A retro screening curated by my friends at Channel Z, and afterward they'll transform an Estes Park pub into Dorrey's Tavern from the film, Christmas decorations and all! AND THE BEST PART IS: horror luminary Joe Dante will be there for a Q&A after the screening and he will also be honored with the Master of Horror award!
- "Dead Snow: Red Vs. Dead" by Tommy Wirkola
There will be two screenings of this film, with Saturday's featuring the zombie crawl procession to take folks to the screening. This is the follow-up to director Tommy Wirkola's cult hit which brings back Colonel Herzog to lead his Nazi zombie army on their unholy quest. Plus, actor Martin Starr will be in attendance for Q&A (the first film is streaming on Netflix, so get caught up.)
- "What We Do In The Shadows" by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi
If you like "Flight of the Conchords," vampires or mockumentaries, this is going to be your new favorite film. Sadly, there is no trailer, but I'm counting on this being one of my new favorites based on this description: "Living with roommates can always pose quirky challenges. But when you're a vampire cohabitating with your fellow kind for a few hundred years, things get a bit tricky. 'What We Do In The Shadows' is a hilarious mockumentary of a house of vampires trying to get back in touch with modern society."
Five events to attend:
Free and open to the public. You can stage your own crime scene. Plant and mark the evidence for the coroner photographer to capture your final moment, and see who can determine cause of death. Plenty of horror props to choose from!
The zombie process will move along The Stanley Hotel grounds and through the neighboring streets of Estes Park. It's free and if you need help doing zombie makeup there will be people there to help you achieve your undead look.
A radio play written specifically for the Stanley Film Festival based on an ongoing series of audio dramas penned by luminaries from the world of contemporary horror from JT Petty ("Hellbenders") to Simon Barrett ("You're Next") and Kim Newman ("Ano Dracula"), featuring players from Ron Perlman ("Hellboy"), to Angus Scrimm ("Phanyasm") and Mark Margolis ("American Horror Story"). The Stanley edition will feature performers culled from the film lineup. Join horror impresarios Glenn McQuaid and Larry Fessenden as they invite you to close your eyes and…listen.
A real horror/mystery narrative using the Festival itself as its medium. Those who follow the clues opt in to the game, becoming the protagonists of an engaging and creepy interactive thriller culminating in an irreproducible climax you can never unsee.
The culmination of the festival happens over brunch when festivalgoers’ votes are tallied and 2014 Audience Winners for Best Feature Film and Best Short Film are announced. Plus there's one hell of a gory breakfast to boot!