The 3rd annual Beyond Fest has kicked off over at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California and judging from the first 4 days, it’s off to a stellar start!
While the event kicked off with a special screening of the new Tom Hardy movie LEGEND on Thursday October 1st, this writer wasn’t able to make it down until Friday night, October 2nd for the BETTER OFF DEAD 30th anniversary screening. Granted, the often quoted 1985 comedy from the great Savage Steve Holland isn’t “horror” per se, but enough people that grew up in that golden era of 80’s cinema no doubt think back fondly of this oddball, quirky flick. And revisiting it, it’s easy to spot tons of horror nods and references to Alfred Hitchcock, Steven Spielberg and even George Romero’s NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. Writer/director Holland professed these influences and his general love of horror back when he appeared on the Killer POV podcast a few years back.
On Friday night, the film played to an overly enthusiastic, rambunctious crowd that laughed out loud at all the right parts and applauded at key scenes and character introductions. In attendance for a post-screening Q & A were writer/director Savage Steve Holland, Curtis Armstrong (Charles De Mar), Diane Franklin (Monique – and wearing the original trench-coat & hat from the movie!), Kim Darby (Jenny Myer), Aaron Dozier (the villainous Roy Stalin!), Elizabeth Daily (aka EG Daily) and believe it or not, Demian Slade aka Johnny Gasparini aka the “I want my $2 dollars” paperboy!
A lot of the cast had not seen each other in the 30 years since they made the film, so the audience was treated to a very fun, lively chat about their memories of the movie, how each of the actors fell in love with the unique script as soon as they read it and the recent live reading of the original script that some of them were a part of in San Francisco earlier this year.
For Saturday evening, all the primitive screwheads and disciples of the Deadites were out in full force for a double bill of THE EVIL DEAD with EVIL DEAD 2: DEAD BY DAWN! Prior to the actual movies, attendees were given the opportunity to get free EVIL DEAD tattoos, something that Blumhouse’s own Ryan Turek took advantage of!
In between the films, Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) led a Q & A with the franchises’ star Bruce Campbell, but one question into the discussion, the great Sam Raimi joined the duo on stage for an inspiring chat about these little movies from earlier in their careers that forever changed their lives.
LA. We love you so fucking much. Thank you for another amazing night. #beyondfest #brucecampbell #EvilDead #edgarwright A photo posted by Beyond Fest (@beyondfest) on
Sunday night saw what will arguably be the stand out of the entire festival, the first ever US live performance from composer Fabio Frizzi, best known for his iconic music in the films of Lucio Fulci! A very enthusiastic and visibly happy Frizzi took the stage with a full band and kicked off the evening by playing some queues from both SCREAM and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET while screen shots from both of those franchises played on the screen behind them. He made the opening a dedication to the late, great Wes Craven before launching into an eclectic set consisting off the best bits of his entire vast body of work.
When he tackled one particular movie, it’d often be a long “jam” of several of the cues mixed together and played with clips from the movie on the screen behind the band. So we were treated to everything from THE PSYCHIC to MANHATTAN BABY to CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD to ZOMBI to CAT IN THE BRAIN. He also played a bit from a recent short film he composed to called SAINT FRANKENSTEIN, which judging from the clip that played during the cue looks to be amazingly grotesque yet oddly beautiful. And of course, he closed by playing a medley of several cues from THE BEYOND, which was also the full length feature presentation planned for immediately after his set.
All in all, the first few days of Beyond Fest have been top notch with a wide array of movies, music and all around madness. Still another week and a half to go!