You know it's October when there's not merely a multitude of horror films finding their way into theaters, but a full-fledged film festival of them to fill your appetite for flayed and filleted flesh. The eight-year-old Screamfest LA starts Friday, October 16 with a screening of The Tournament and runs through October 25; in addition to offering some 20 feature films, three shorts programs and an awards dinner, horror fans will get an opportunity to see upcoming theatrical releases ahead of time, and maybe even hobnob with a few of their favorite stars. All of the films are being screened in the heart of Hollywood at Grauman's Chinese Theaters.
While we'll be covering more of the festival as it progresses, check out a couple of the must-see movies that are screening in its first few days:
The Tournament – Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan alumnus Kelly Hu co-stars with Ving Rhames, star of the Dawn of the Dead remake, and Robert Carlyle, star of 28 Weeks Later, in this violent odyssey about a closed-circuit TV competition where the world's deadliest assassins square off against one another. Also featuring the free-running bomb maker from Casino Royale, Sebastien Foucan, as well as Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder and Hardware supporting player John Lynch, this is Screamfest's Opening Night film (7:30 PM Oct. 16), and promises to have members of the cast and crew in attendance.
Finale – John Michael Elfers directs this tale of a family that descends into madness after the oldest son commits suicide. Starring Carolyn Hauck and Suthi Picotte, the film screens on Saturday, October 17 at 9:00 PM.
Vampire Girl vs. Frankenstein Girl – After getting thoroughly disturbed at 9:00, stick around for this movie that only the Japanese could make: two high school girls both in love with the same boy find themselves in mortal combat when one turns out to be a vampire, and the other a corpse resurrected by her mad-scientist father. The film screens at 11:00 PM and promises to be more genre-bending gibberish than you can shake a severed body part at.
The Human Centipede - Two American girls and a Japanese man are part of an horrible medical experiment in this freakish film directed by Netherland director Tom Six. The film debuted at Fantastic Fest a few weeks ago and by all accounts is too bizarre and twisted to ever see a proper theatrical release, which means this may be your best chance to check out this future cult classic up on the silver screen! Sunday, Oct. 18 at 8:30 PM.
The Revenant – With Zombieland currently making a killing in theaters nationwide, this movie promises to offer more horror-themed comedy, and vice versa. David Anders (Heroes) stars as Officer First Class Bart Gregory, a soldier who mysteriously returns to life after being killed in the Middle East. Though initially horrified to discover his dead pal up and moving around, his best friend and fellow soldier Joey (Chris Wylde) eventually agrees to help him satisfy his (literal) blood lust, with predictably (and hilariously) gory results.
Later in the festival, check out House of the Devil, Ti West's pitch-perfect recreation of 1980s horror, Cabin Fever 2, West's now-disowned sequel to Eli Roth's cult classic horror film, and The Fourth Kind, an alien encounter film starring Milla Jovovich, Will Patton and Elias Koteas. For more information about the festival, including film synopses, programming information and ticket sales, go to screamfestla.com.