In 2004 and 2005 Paul Blom and Sonja Ruppersberg (founding members of Industrial-Metal band Terminatryx) decided to create what was soon to become South Africas ultimate Halloween event, the South African HorrorFest Film Festival. Under their Flamedrop Productions and Shadow Realm, inc. banner they have hosted the event every Halloween season since at the legendary Labia Theatre indie cinema in Cape Town. br>
2012 will see the festival running its 8th year, with its wide selection of wild and crazy movies across 10 days, the festival also branches out into other areas, like literature, music, Halloween dress-up and much much more.
In addition to submissions, special pre-selections are also made to ensure an exciting range of horror genres, themes and subjects for maximum scares and dark amusement. Most will make their South African theatrical premiere and you are unlikely to see them anywhere else. Some of the 2011 feature films included:
DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE (the classic 1920 silent film with a new soundtrack performed live by The Makabra Ensemble, incl. members from Terminatryx, Lark, Mr. Sakitumi)
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD REANIMATED. George A. Romeros legendary zombie movie was re-created by over 100 animators with various animation techniques.
I AM NANCY. A documentary in which Nightmare On Elm Street star Heather Langenkamp explores horror fans obsession with villain Freddy, and not the heroine Nancy.
THE THEATRE BIZARRE. A brand new 7-part horror anthology from make-up FX pioneer Tom Savini, Karim Hussein, SA-born Richard Stanley & others.
THE ORPHAN KILLER. A tour de force serial killer flick that defied classification. It went far beyond current trends in gore and broke open a new suffering genre of horror.
DRACULA - The Vampire and The Voivode. The first documentary to reveal the true story of Bram Stoker and his legendary novel. Shot in Transylvania, Whitby, London and Dublin, separating the confusion between Vlad Tepes and Count Dracula. This was produced in association with the Transylvanian Society Of Dracula.
Others included, The Holding, True Nature, Skew, Cursed Bastards, Night, The Bleeding, Under the Scares, Die for Real and Pov.
The short film competitions HD production prize is sponsored by VISUAL IMPACT and HD HUB, and is a great incentive which ensures that you get a range of creativity, excitement in small packages and visions of great future moviemakers with these incredible shorts.
The Bloody Parchment literary chapter includes a live reading night at The Book Lounge (cnr Roeland and Buitenkant Str, Cape Town) and another short story competition to be announced soon. This is convened by Nerine Dorman.
In creating the annual South African HorrorFest Film Festival in 2004/2005, Paul and Sonja wanted to diversify it as widely as possible to include all media. From the very first HorrorFest they incorporated music by creating new original soundtracks to classic silent horror / chiller movies, and performing it live to the screen. Starting as their Terminatryx-driven collaborating project with Sean Ou Tim (Mr. Sakitumi, Lark), Simon "Fuzzy" Ratcliffe (Lark, Ravenwolf), and violin maestro Matthijs Van Dijk, several years back this phenomenon was dubbed THE MAKABRA ENSEMBLE.
Music is not randomly played but specifically written for each scene and can range from subtle moods and nuances, to energetic musical eruptions (and everything in between), with everything from guitar, bass, voice, keyboards, drums and percussion, to various wind instruments, violin, samples, FX and strange instruments like the Theremin.
These shows are one of the HorrorFest highlights each year, if not on, close to Halloween night.
Since then The Makabra Ensemble has written and performed new soundtracks to legendary cinema milestones, breathing new life into the likes of Nosferatu, The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, Haxan, Maciste In Hell, and The Phantom Of The Opera.
Nosferatu has been released in its entirety with its new soundtrack recorded live at the HorrorFest as part of the Terminatryx / Nosferatu DVD. Nosferatu and Maciste In Hell was also performed at the 2009 and 2010 Oppi Koppi festivals.
Occasionally for some soundtrack performances, in addition to the core players, special guests have included Francois Blom (V.O.D / K.O.B.U.S. / Die Kruis), Max Starcke (Aeon Song, Damnatia), The Crackpot Realist, and Lara Block.
Each year co-organizer Sonja features as the HorrorFest postergirl, and has appeared as a zombie, vampire, devil-girl and more. The 2011 event saw her as the Grim Reaper, with the poster being shot by Paul with post production by Dr-Benway (who also did the 2010 devil-girl poster).
Besides the Halloween dress-up competition, there are audience prizes and give-aways before each movie screening (incl. DVDs, and books from Penguin), drink specials at the theatre bar & more cool stuff.
Organisers aim to add something new every HorrorFest, 2011saw an alternative market running outside the Labia Theatre, including clothing, professional Halloween and make-up products, CDs, DVDs, comics, even an indie coffee brand. HorrorFest merchandise was also on sale.
The South African HorrorFest is held each year during October and November at the Labia Theatre at 68 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town.
For more information please contact:
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