The terror of St. Valentine

Local horror film fest proves red isn’t just for roses

P.J. Nutting | Boulder Weekly

Let´s face a simple fact about Valentine’s Day: there are fewer things less romantic than being forced to be romantic along with the rest of the world. Instead of crowded restaurants and run-of-the-mill flower bouquets, forget the Hallmark holiday spirit this year and embrace campy chainsaw massacres with the My Bloody Violent-tine Film Festival, a very anti- Valentine’s Day party that will showcase horror films made by Colorado filmmakers.

Razorbill Productions will hold the event at the 3 Kings Tavern in Denver the weekend after Valentine’s Day, and Colorado filmmakers are invited to submit their homemade horror films under 20 minutes in length — categories include thriller/suspense, monster, sci-fi, gore and slasher.

“Horror movies rock for couples on Valentine’s Day,” says Razorbill founder George Climer. “It falls on the middle of the week this year, and this gives them something to do the next weekend. People love sitting on the edge of their seat and being sucked into something.” Unless that something is a boring relationship, of course.

The event will take place over two days. The “Screens with Screams” launch party on Friday, Feb. 18, will showcase the best 15 film submissions, while Sailor Jerry’s and PBR will serve up drink specials as guests are invited to drink and dance the night away, dress up as their favorite killer or victim, and take home professional photos of their favorite recreated horror scene courtesy of Paper Dolls Pinup Photography. The Fright Masters award ceremony on Saturday, Feb. 19, will give out awards for films by category, and for smaller feats such as “Most Blood,” “Most Gashed Victim,” “Most Epic Scream” and the “Victim Darwin Award.”

“Halloween is Slut-oween now, and there is a trend on Valentine’s Day to make it a little more jaded, a little more twisted,” says Jim Narcy, founder of Paper Dolls Pinup Photography. “There’s 13 signs in the zodiac now. There’s a lot of upheaval in the cosmos, and I think its manifestation is that Halloween and Valentine’s Day have somewhat traded places.”

No one is more ready to tell St. Valentine to go to hell than a metal band, and the event will feature a strong contingency of local music. Denver-based metal group Black Lamb and Durango-based Thorn of Gethsemane will perform for the bar crowd after Friday’s film screening, and horror-punk acts The Royal Dead and The Insomniaxe will bring a campy, upbeat dance party on Saturday.

“We’ve got some death metal all the way from Durango, Colorado,” Narcy says of Thorn of Gethsemane. “I don’t know, there’s not much to do in Durango but play Ouija board and look for stray cats to sacrifice to Satan. I think it’s to be expected that you get death metal from that part of the state.

“The overall goal is to give local filmmakers a place to go with our industry,” says Climer of the Denver film scene. “The biggest goal of the company is in the next five years to create a Hollywood here, a lot of industry leaders with a lot of experience because they want to see it get picked up, want to see local filmmakers, actors and musicians succeed.”

In Boulder, it’s easy to see that music promotion companies use social networking and flyers like they’re going out of style, but film doesn’t enjoy the same margin of exposure. Even during a time when album sales are plummeting, many recording artists make it work by taking a DIY approach to sound engineering and marketing. These same advantages apply to film, says Climer.

“Ninety percent of companies like Sony and JVC have created low-cost, economy-value, high-definition cameras that are affordable to just about anybody on any budget, and some of these newer cameras get the same exact quality as some of these huge rigs we have in the film industry,” Climer says. “You can spend 25 bucks to create your own dolly out of some PVC pipe and a skateboard. You can make it pretty cheap, and there’s a really nice outlet on YouTube called Indy Mogul that teaches first-time filmmakers simple little things on really cheap budgets.”

“Somebody can make a horror movie out of nothing — you got some corn syrup and some food coloring, there ya go, you got blood. You got a neighbor next door who has a daughter who’s 18 years old, you say ‘Hey, can you scream at the top of your lungs?’ That’s one of the nice things about horror: It’s cheap, it’s easy, it’s fast, and people love it.”

On the Bill

My Bloody Violent-tine Film Festival happens
on Friday, Feb. 18 and Saturday, Feb. 19. Festivities start at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit 3 Kings Tavern,
60 S. Broadway, Denver, 303-777-7352.