Horror fans get ready for the sixth annual B-Grade Horror Fest, and with more and more filmmakers catching the chocolate sauce blood craze, festival co-founder Feet Banks is putting out an early call this year.
“I think the fest is so popular because it’s very honest about what it is,” he said. “There are none of the bells and whistles that usually accompany an event in Whistler. It’s just a bunch of locals with cameras having a good time and watching their movies with their friends. No one is expecting an Oscar winning performance; it’s B-grade and that just makes it that much better.”
The B-Grade Horror Fest challenges filmmakers to make short films typical of the B-grade genre.
The 15-minute-or-less films are produced in the style of the 1950s and 1960s horror film genre made famous by classics such as Devil Girl From Mars and Door to Door Maniac. B-grade horror movies are anything but standard Hollywood flicks. B-grades are all about making a film on a nickel and dime budget and packing in as many horror film clichés as possible, such as zombies, aliens, monsters, murderers, blood, guts and — always an audience favourite — token nudity.
Anything goes, whether leaving audiences with their arm hair standing on end or splitting a gut at low-brow humour.
“Horror is cool because fear, as an emotion, is somewhat universal,” Feet said. “We’re all so different (in our tastes for comedy and love), but take almost anyone, put them in a dark house with a homicidal maniac wielding a chainsaw and they’ll be shitting themselves. Certain things are scary to almost everyone, and that is why the horror genre is still alive and kicking.”
Laughs, as opposed to screams, generally dominate the festival screenings, but it’s the bone chillers taking Best of Show over the past few years.
The winner walks home with the gleaming Skull of Horror, the festival’s infamous silver skull trophy that opens to reveal a hidden rye bottle and six shot glasses. Prizes are also awarded to best actor and actress.
This grassroots festival, now entering its sixth year led by Banks and co-conspirer Chili Thom, continues to grow with entry numbers doubling since the first year. The event also sells out every year within a day of ticket release. Locals can’t get enough of the short frights.
“‘If you make it, we’ll show it’ is the motto for the fest and hopefully we can keep that going this year too,” he said. “People roll in there expecting to laugh and have a good time and that’s what they get. Chili and I are very hands-on, the whole thing started because we wanted to show our weird ass little movie and I think that personalized enthusiasm carries over to the other filmmakers and the audience. Sure you can win the coolest looking trophy ever and a small cash purse, but in the end, it’s really all about having fun, not selling anything. And unfortunately that kind of attitude is getting harder and harder to find in this town.”
So if filmmakers are looking for a grassroots adventure and an outlet for their “weird ass little movie” register by contacting Feet at firstname.lastname@example.org .
The $20 entry fee includes two tickets for B Grade Horror Fest staged Oct. 30 at MY Millennium Place.
The registration deadline is Sept. 1.