The full lineup of the 2012 Starz Denver Film Fest won't be released until next week, but fans of the weird, dark and twisted elements of the festival's programming got a sneak peek Friday when the festival's Watching Hour lineup was revealed. This year's batch of late-night favorites includes the bizarre science-fiction of John Dies at the End, the horror classic The Amityville Horror and, perhaps most intriguingly, two horror documentaries as some of its highlights.
"When people think horror, they don't always think documentaries," acknowledges Keith Garcia, Watching Hour impresario and programming manager for the Denver Film Society.
Those documentaries, The American Scream (from Best Worst Movie director and Troll 2 star Michael Stephenson) and My Amityville Horror, might change a few people's minds.
"The American Scream is going to be a lot of fun. It's just this fun, sweet little horror documentary about home haunters, people who spend most of the year turning their houses into haunted houses for Halloween," Garcia says.
If that doesn't sound scary enough, maybe the documentary about the infamous Amityville hauntings will do a better job hitting your creepy bone.
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"My Amityville Horror is about the oldest Lutz son from the Amityville hauntings who finally comes forward to talk about what really happened at the house," Garcia says. "It's not just a 'this is what happened,' it's a complete examination of a person, run through the microscope of us trying to figure out -- based on his saying this all really happened, this happened to me -- did this all happen because of the situation you were in with the family? We get to learn more about how that family dynamic worked, and other stuff going on. It paints a really interesting revisit to the old Amityville story."
Once you've seen that, you'll no doubt want to catch the original Amityville Horror, so that's on the menu as well. According to Garcia, seeing the documentary first will add a whole new spin to the classic spook show.
"It's funny, I watched it again after watching My Amityville Horror, and it kind of works a little bit more, because there are specific points that Daniel Lutz brings up in the documentary that when you see them in the movie, they just mean a little bit more, hearing someone talk about the specific thing that happened," he says.
Besides the documentaries, weird film fans can look forward to the future cult classic John Dies at the End, a sci-fi mindfuck about a drug that lets you see between realities; Headshot, a film noir from Thailand; The King of Pigs, an animated feature from Korea about bullying; and Wrong, the second feature from the director of Rubber. Also on the menu is a star-studded panel on zombies featuring the godfather of zombies, George Romero, Max Brooks (World War Z, The Zombie Survival Guide ) and Steven Schlozman (The Zombie Autopsies) (Disclosure: I'll be moderating that panel).
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If you're dying to see one or more of these films, tickets to the festival, which starts November 1, go on sale October 19. For more information, visit denverfilm.org or call 303-595-3456.