2nd annual New York Horror Film Festival in Tribeca


By Ashley Winchester

The Village isn’t the only New York neighborhood with a few tricks up its sleeve this Halloween. Independent horror film director Michael J. Hein, in conjunction with the Independent Film Channel, will bring the second annual New York Horror Film Festival to the Tribeca Film Center, 375 Greenwich just below Canal. It begins tonight, Tues. and will run through Oct. 26.

Over the past ten years, Hein has been working his way up through ranks of the New York City independent film scene. After his debut film, “Biohazardous,” was accepted at a Los Angeles horror film festival, Hein knew it was time to bring horror to New York. Over the next year, Hein and his friend, special makeup effects designer Anthony Pepe, called in favors, made connections, and brought the city’s first horror film festival to Tribeca last October.

“The reason we did this downtown was to try to bring people down to Tribeca,” Hein said. “We could have hosted the festival somewhere else in the city, but something like this brings a different crowd down to this neighborhood which needs a lot more exposure. We started this at a time when New York was hurting, and for people to come down to downtown was rare … IFC got in touch with us, wanted to back it and help the city, and it took off from there.”

The horror begins this week with an evening-long kickoff party on Tues., Oct. 21 at Don Hill’s, 511 Greenwich St. at Spring St. and includes short film screenings, live music, giveaways, a music video competition and an open bar from 8-9 pm.

The festival itself is broken into three-hour programs with a different daily theme. A $15 screening ticket includes admission to several short films, a feature film and an appearance by a guest emcee as well as several trivia games and freebies. Last year, nearly every show sold out, with over 400 attendees at the kickoff party alone, Hein said. This year’s event is expected to draw even more visitors, from the die-hard horror fan to the classic independent film viewer.

“A lot of people have a preconceived notion of what a horror fan is,” Hein said. “You’ll see anyone from a goth girl with a punk outfit to a guy in a suit, but not some guy with Spock ears like so many other similar events. This isn’t a Star Trek convention. When we do ours, it’s a classy event, as upscale as you can get.”

Festival highlights include screenings of Stuart Gordon’s “King of the Ants” in its east coast premiere; “The Exorcist: The Version You’ve Never Seen;” and Troma Entertainment’s “The Toxic Avenger.” Thomas Edison’s 1910 silent short “Frankenstein,” considered to be the first horror movie and the first incarnation of the Frankenstein monster on film, will be shown throughout the festival.

“This is huge for film fans and horror fans alike,” Hein said. “To see this film, thought to be lost forever several years ago, screened in the theater is an amazing opportunity.”

TNT’s “Monstervision” Joe Bob Briggs will be signing copies of his new book, “Profoundly Disturbing: Shocking Movies that Changed History,” as he emcees Friday night’s screenings. NYC Horror Film Festival and The Independent Film Channel will present horror legend Tom Savini with this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award following a screening of his 1990 remake of “Night of the Living Dead” Saturday night. A question and answer session with the actor, director and special effects pioneer of “Friday the 13th” and “Creepshow” fame, will follow.

The festival will conclude with a Filmmaker’s Discussion Panel Sunday at noon. This interactive discussion with film directors, producers, reviewers and programming directors is an outstanding opportunity for filmmakers and fans alike to get inside the heads of industry professionals.

Troma Entertainment’s Lloyd Kaufmann (“The Toxic Avenger”), writer/directors Jeff Lieberman (“Satan’s Little Helper”) and Larry Fessenden (“Wendigo”), director Steve Cuden (“Lucky”), IFC’s Michael Ruggiero, “phantom of the movies” Joe Kane and Fangoria magazine editor Michael Gingold will answer audience questions on all aspects of the industry. Festival Director Hein will moderate the event.

“I did something in this city that’s never been done before and it was successful,” Hein said. “How many other people can say that?”

For tickets, show times and a complete list of programs, visit www.NYCHorrorfest.com or call 1-800-595-4TIX.