Sadly, we had to make a decision, along with our venue, to once again delay this year’s festival. However, we refuse to let this year’s festival die. Through careful consideration on projections and post holiday concerns, new dates have been selected for the festival.
The 2022 Buried Alive Film Festival will be at the 7 Stages Theater this coming March 31st through April 3rd.
The full updated schedule and more details will follow in the next week. We hope to see you all there and hope you understand that this decision was for everyone’s health and safety.
Forgive the poor sound quality at times and the tilter way he sits and looks at the camera, as Justin is new to recording video interviews after years of exclusively recording audio podcasts. Thankfully, the cast and crew of Duyster was far most interesting and engaging than he.
Here the writer and on of the co-directors, Thomas Vanbrabant, is joined by cast members Maïmouna Badjie, Tristan Feyten, and Charles De Meester. Sadly, due to Justin having to reschedule their first attempt to talk, co-director Jordi Ostir was unable to join this go around.
The discussion focuses primarily on the process of making the film and the actual film, a film that takes on the found footage format in a unique blend of modern Belgium and a horrifying Old World Europe, exploring witchcraft, executions, torture, and more. The genre gem that results is a frightening and singular film that uses the found footage conceit perfectly to tell its captivating and sometimes brutal tale.
Without further ado, enjoy BAFF’s chat with Thomas and crew from your new favorite Belgian horror film, Duyster!
Well, Julian didn’t actually go anywhere, but we figured that since he left our humble horror festival a few years back, you may have lost touch with what’s he’s been up to. The answer is… an awful lot. But, before we get there, let’s bring it back to BAFF 2018, when the Redhead English Viking made his way to Hotlanta to hang out for the festival and catch some local sights.
Alberto Corredor’s impressive short film, Baghead, was selected for BAFF 2018 and the film’s star, Julian Seager, decided to travel “across the pond” to hang with the BAFF crew, take in some great films, and scoot over to Marvel to see some of his Asgardian buddies at Marvel – since it’s just down the road. He got more than he expected. getting to spend a day at Marvel, walk on set with some of his faves at The Walking Dead, and meet tons of great creative minds at the BAFF screenings and events.
Vikings: Valhalla comes to Netflix in February with one burly Mr. Seager as Viking Jarl Gorm. No stranger to being an on-screen Viking, Seager did work on Thor: The Dark World and has played a Viking in various other projects on the big and small screens. While there seem to be a variety of reasons to check out Valhalla, Julian’s Jarl Gorm should prove to be among the top reason.
When I asked Julian about his new YouTube channel, asking what he’s been doing on there, he responded:
Reviewing food, doing stupid challenges, beating speed eating records, and sometimes failing miserably at the huge portions of food records
He has, however, beaten 3 professional eater’s records and has applied for an official Guinness book of records certificate for one of them so far. This is his other main focus, when his not on set for Valhalla or one of the other various projects he’s been a part of. Well, that and his family, of course. Those of us who hung out with him at BAFF couldn’t forget the comic and collectible stores he checked out while stateside, picking up swag for himself and his family.
Even if food videos aren’t your thing, following Julian’s HairyFoodyGuy YouTube channel is definitely the right move. He’s funny, entertaining, and sometimes quite impressive, as well. Whether you wanna see him suggest some great grub or just need a laugh, go check it out. In fact, get a sneak below of one of his more idiotic feats below:
All said and done, Julian has certainly kept busy since visiting us in 2018 and we’re excited to see how he continues to be successful and entertaining in everything he does. That said, we sure hope to get him back in Atlanta soon. Hurry back, Jarl!
Without further ado, here’s a brief interview with Brian about his love of film, the true story of Crow Hand and more!
Give me a brief bio of who you are as a filmmaker, in your own words.
I’m what you may call a “trash filmmaker.” I make films that tend to be low/no budget and feature ridiculous creatures and concepts. Some might find my work to be strange, others may find it challenging, and most find it to be stupid.
How did you get started making movies?
When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to do something creative with my life. I was interested in puppets , drawing and making people laugh. But it didn’t solidify in my mind that I wanted to be a filmmaker until I saw Jurassic Park at age 10. After I saw that, making films was all I was interested in. Though we couldn’t afford to buy a camcorder, I found ways to create stories and my parents bought me a lot of books about filmmaking. Once I got to college and had access to cameras and equipment, I made over 40 short films in that time.
My entire family thinks Crow Hand is hilarious and my kids have been screaming “Crow Haaaaaand!” at random times since showing them the short. Can you tell us the “true story” aspect of that gem?
Back in 2014, my wife Tori and I were attending the Florida Film Festival where one of my films was screening. We got our badges and walked to the parking lot and there I came across a strange totem on the ground that looked like a crow. Tori was creeped out and told me not to pick it up… but I did anyway because I was curious. I joked that because I didn’t listen to her, my hand was cursed by the totem and transformed into a crow. I yelled out “CROW HAND!!!” and we both laughed and said, “that would be a fun movie to make.” Funny enough, a year later after the film was completed, the film screened at the Florida Film Festival where a person came up to me and said they lost their keychain in the parking lot the year before…and his keychain looked like a crow!
What do you love about the short film format? Do you plan to direct a feature anytime in the future?
The short film is a great way to experiment with ideas and make something outside of the traditional three act structure. Films like CROW HAND!!! and Gwilliam work perfectly as short films. I tried to elaborate them into features but it falls apart for me. I lose interest. A feature could be in my future someday but I really need to find the right idea and be in love with it. But most of my ideas I imagine as short films.
When will you be making a short about podcasters and can I costar in it with our mutual friend and my longtime pod cohost Blaine McLaren?
Bonus question: what would the story be about?
It might be fun to do a “pod people” type of film with podcasters replacing people. They can point their finger at a normal person like in the 1970s Invasion of the Body Snatchers but instead of shrieking, they thank a sponsor.
I showed my wife Gwilliam and she puked. Do you consider that a compliment?
It’s the greatest compliment I could ever receive for one of my films. But I am sorry she threw up.
Thanks for the short chat, so before we go… what’s on the horizon for you?
I’ve got a music video that will be premiering online later this month. And I’ve got 3–5 short films I am working on! Lots of stuff coming!
“You either loved this film or hated it, there’s no in between!”
These were the words of William Tokarsky, who voiced the role of the toy gnome “Mr. Stuffy Bottoms” in Joe Badon’s surreal head trip The God Inside My Ear.
This amalgamation of comedy, horror and drama centers on Elizia, a shy woman who has a mental and emotional breakdown after being dumped by her boyfriend. Suddenly, we don’t know what’s real anymore as Elizia begins hearing voices, getting strange voice calls and experiencing cryptic visions.
Greggs had a heavy load in navigating such a wide range of emotions. One minute, Elizia is crying tears of joy because the “beauty” she finds in a horror movie sequence. The next she’s screaming her head off in fear or incredulous when the toy gnome starts talking to her (and her neighbor’s dog too, for that matter).
The narrative is loose and presented in fragmented chapters as Elizia tries all mediums (medical, psychic, psychiatrist, drugs, and friends) to cure her illness. We hear her repeatedly state she’s “broken” and can’t be fixed after the devastating loss of her boyfriend.
Ultimately, your view of this film will rest with its conclusion, where it’s implied that Elizia is the reincarnation of a nun that died several decades earlier. Her mental issues then have to be viewed as her own spiritual and psychological process of accepting death, ala Jacob’s Ladder. Her ex-boyfriend’s Jesus-like appearance adds some credence as to why the breakup was so devastating to her psyche.
For me, I found the dismissal and indifference of Elizia’s friends as the most striking aspect of this film. We continually hear them say “she’ll snap out of it” and it’s just “the breakup process.” Even in the hospital, the nurse injects her own views into the proceedings and not only does a hypnotism session, but directs Elizia to the quack psychiatrist (Satan, possibly?) who later tries to kidnap her. The constant dead ends and misdirection says a lot to how those suffering from mental illness aren’t protected and disregarded in modern society.
Shot in 13 days on a shoestring budget of $8000, The God Inside My Ear is the type of film that could very well end up being a cult favorite in several years. If you like your horror experimental, give this one a shot.
If you like to celebrate Halloween year-round, you won’t have to go farther than Little Five Points to get your next horror fix. With plenty of fake blood at the ready, Buried Alive Film Festival will keep you on the edge of your seat with five days of spooky shorts and creepy features.
The festival, which will span five days, has 36 full hours of programming, plus a special day dedicated to the festival’s first ever “Sinema Challenge.” The program schedule allows plenty of choices for horror connoisseurs, with several blocks of short films ranging from gory thrillers to supernatural horror and several feature lengths, including the world premiere of “The Night Watchman.”
“It’s a really fun, exciting movie,” Blake Myers, the festival director, said. “We’re really happy we’re the first place that’s showing that. We’re also showing bigger films that showed at South By Southwest, like ‘The Master Cleanse.’”
Buried Alive also has some one-of-a-kind surprises lined up for this year, including a presentation from a Satanist.
“Sunday at noon we’re having a film called, ‘Sympathy of the Devil: The True Story of the Process Church of the Final Judgement,’ which is a documentary about a Satanic cult and so the film is being presented by Fred from the Satanic Temple,” Myers said.
The documentary explains and debunks the conspiracy theories surrounding The Process Church of the Final Judgement, a cult that has been accused of influencing the killing of Bobby Kennedy and inspiring Charles Manson and Son of Sam, earning the group the title of “most dangerous cult in America,” according to Buried Alive’s website.
The festival will also be showing the 40-year anniversary, remastered version of Brian De Palma’s “Carrie,” complete with 1970s-style prom photoshoot and all. Fest goers can even come get their picture taken with Carrie. There will also be a zombie photoshoot for the Zombie Extravaganza.
Buried Alive is offering more than films. They’ve dipped into live entertainment, thanks to Blast Off Burlesque.
“Blast Off Burlesque are some old friends of ours,” Myers said. “They put on an amazing burlesque show, and we’re making sure they have all the fake blood they need.”
If the sight of blood doesn’t make you queasy, there will be plenty of popcorn to snack on from the Box Office. 7 Stages is also connected to Java Lords, a coffee shop and full bar so you can grab a drink and enjoy the festival.
Blake Myers, director of the Atlanta-based Buried Alive Film Fest, has a heart that bleeds for horror flicks. The local independent filmmaker and scary movie aficionado has a reputation for whipping up fake blood by the gallons. His day job is a monster lover’s dream, serving as a set dresser for AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” a gig he’s been holding for six seasons. And he’ll talk about creepy celluloid for hours.
“I like the creative, new ways you can tell stories and touch on contemporary issues in the horror genre,” said Myers, a jovial guy with a perpetually positive lilt in his voice. Call him the anti-Leatherface.
Yet, Myers puts his macabre where his mouth is. Throughout the year, he spends spare time working on the annual horror film festival, which drops Nov. 16-20 at 7 Stages Theatre in Little Five Points. Buried Alive’s 11th edition will be its largest ever. After years of collaborating with wife Alyssa Myers, fellow “The Walking Dead” crew member Lucas Godfrey, technical director Mark Malek and a horde of volunteers, Myers has watched the fest grow into something, well, monstrous.
The 2016 event promises five days of movies, including 10 features and 75 short films. This was culled from 450 submissions, some coming from as far away as Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and the Czech Republic.
“It’s about building up a local horror filmmaking community,” Myers said. “We want people to make more horror movies in Georgia, and we want to expose people in Atlanta to the international world of independent horror filmmaking.”
With a terrifyingly large amount of content on the festival schedule, how does a horror fan make sense of Buried Alive’s madness? It doesn’t take a scientist like Dr. Frankenstein to dissect.
A total of nine new horror films help occupy Buried Alive’s docket. Among them are a pair of films that freaked out audiences at South by Southwest in March. Director Bobby Miller’s “The Master Cleanse,” the story of a spiritual retreat with a dark side, stars Johnny Galecki and Anjelica Huston. “Another Evil,” a horror comedy about an exorcism taking place in a family’s vacation home, comes from director Carson D. Mell. Others on the schedule include the vampire flick “The Night Watchmen,” the gloomy future found in “Here Alone,” and “Found Footage 3D.”
‘Carrie’ 40 years later
On Nov. 19, Brian DePalma’s “Carrie,” starring Sissy Spacek, William Katt and Amy Irving, gets a 40th anniversary screening. It will be shown boasting a new 4K restoration. Before the movie, the acclaimed Blast Off Burlesque troupe resurrects its TabooLaLa event, which skewers the movie in question with a stage show. A “Carrie”-themed photo op display will be in the lobby, and a senior prom costume contest takes the stage. Java Lords, the neighboring coffee house and bar, pours Bloody Carrie cocktails for the occasion.
The Peach State has serious horror cred, and a couple of features from Georgia filmmakers may thrill Buried Alive audiences. Director James Bickert’s “Frankenstein Created Bikers,” a blast of exploitation horror shot in 35 mm, appropriately lands the midnight slot on Nov. 18. Amphibious werewolves howl in “Bad Blood: The Movie.” Directed by Tim Reis, the film closes out Buried Alive on Nov. 20.
More than six dozen short films get presented in several batches. Expect movies such as “The Bulb,” which melds alien phenomena with public access TV; the Atlanta premiere of director Jill Gevargizian’s “The Stylist”; and Finnish animator Tomi Malakias’ “VooDoo Rights.” If you missed the Atlanta premiere of “Spring Break Zombie Massacre,” co-written by and starring Sam Suchmann and Mattie Zufelt, it returns as part of Buried Alive.
This filmmaking challenge debuts at Buried Alive 2016. On Nov. 1, 12 teams were given 13 days to make a short horror film. Each team had to base its respective flick on a randomly selected horror subgenre from slasher to supernatural. The results kick off the festival, and will be shown at 7 and 9 p.m. Nov. 16.
Buried Alive Film Fest (Nov. 17–20)
While other local horror film festivals help Atlantans get in the Halloween spirit, the Buried Alive Film Fest keeps that spirit alive well into November. For its 11th year, the festival expands from two to four days and moves to 7 Stages Theatre. Though this year’s selections have yet to be announced, Buried Alive is known for featuring international and national independent shorts and features, as well as numerous locally produced films ranging from black comedy to grotesque gorefests. With two additional days of programming, this year’s festival is shaping up to be the biggest one yet.
If you made a Venn diagram for local cult movie aficionados, special-effects artists, film historians, heavy metal musicians, gonzo animators, burlesque performers, haunted house regulars, and Goths, the Buried Alive Film Festival might be at its center.
Held this year from November 13-17 at 7 Stages, the 14th annual independent film festival gives Atlanta’s loose-knit horror community a long weekend to hang out and cheer at zombies, werewolves, Satanists, and geysering gore effects.
Two films with local connections couldn’t feel more different but convey the breadth of the festival. The 16-minute short, “Budfoot,” featuring effects by Atlanta’s Shane Morton and his Silver Scream FX Lab, embraces trippy, Adult Swim-style humor about an underground toy designer bedeviled by his latest, cannabis-based action figure. Where “Budfoot” is edgy and outlandish, Mark of the Beast: The Legacy of the Universal Werewolf is lovingly respectful of classic film history. Local documentarian Daniel Griffith offers a snappily paced overview of classic werewolf movies, with an emphasis on shaggy transformation effects, from the dawn of cinema through An American Werewolf in London.
The communal aspect will be heightened at a couple of events that blend screenings with live performance. On November 15, Atlanta psychedelic jazz group Samadha will provide a live score for “The Call of Cthulhu,” Andrew Leman’s 2005 adaptation of the eponymous H.P. Lovecraft story in the style of a 1920s silent movie. The November 16 screening of 1986’s The Toxic Avenger will be preceded by a performance, inspired by the cult superhero film, from Blast-Off Burlesque.
Other local features include one of the first screenings of Those Who Deserve to Die, a thriller from Atlanta filmmaker Bret Wood inspired by Thomas De Quincey’s Confessions of an Opium Eater. Local feature “Hellbound,” shot by Ben Winston on black and white 16mm film, sends a pair of bikers on a nightmarish journey into the wilderness.
The festival’s multiple shorts programs include local films such as Josh Gould’s “Meat Wagon,” Tony Reames’ “Playtime’s Over,” Stacey Palmer’s “Toothache,” Ashley Young’s “Ouija,” and Anca Vlasan’s animated “Lizard Queen.” And the fourth annual Sinema Challenge screens results from a competition with Atlanta filmmakers given 13 days to film a short based on a horror genre and subject chosen randomly. Expect any of the Buried Alive Festival’s screenings to share a creepshow camaraderie.
Screen Time is a monthly column about film and cinematic narratives, from the big screen to streaming services.
“Hell is paved with good intentions”
– John Ray, cited as a proverb in 1670
We all know this classic aphorism and it proves true in Antrum, a delightfully cursed debut flick from co-writers and directors Michael Laicini and David Amito.
The filmmaker duo announce their intentions boldly, stating in the tagline that Antrum is “[t]he deadliest film ever made.” A wrap-around story claims that the film has resulted in the deaths of its audiences, usually via tragic accidents or unexplained medical conditions. We are told it will now be presented for the first time in its full form. In recalling a classic gimmick from the 1931 Frankenstein we’re even offered 30 seconds to leave the theatre before it’s too late.
As the 1979 film Antrum begins we see a boy experiencing a nightmare of his pet dog defending to hell for misbehaving (Warning: the film starts with a Marley & Me). His sister decides to take him to a forest with an unusual amount of suicides and they proceed to dig a hole to hell in the place where Lucifer fell from heaven. As the two descend deeper into the layers of hell, the imagery becomes a mix of Dante’s “Inferno,” Virgil’s “Aenead,” and the “Lesser Key of Solomon” for good measure. We question whether the pair are really in hell or if this is an elaborate way for the sister to help the brother grieve their dog’s passing. We meet a phantasmagorical cast of characters along the way and the story ends with an emotional haymaker that will leave you too distraught to properly assess the Adam and Eve symbolism.
An antrum in medicine is a nearly closed cavity such as the opening to the stomach. There are two antrums present here: the literal gates of hell in the 1979 filmstock and the film you are watching. Antrum’s characters have contrasting character arcs about the nature of reality with no definitive answer. Similarly, the audience is asked whether the act of observation and belief open the antrum in our world or if the film purely psychosomatically affects audiences. These questions about cursed media will captivate you after the credits roll.
With the use of 35mm the filmmakers manage convincing mimicry of 1979 film style. The cinematography utilizes the superimposition of creepy images and disorienting jump cuts familiar to the era. This technique was dabbled with in Grindhouse (2007) but Antrum approximates it with better results. The score is haunting, deploying atonal beats, weird counter melodies, and a level of ingenuity that rivals recent high-budget horror film scores. This film was clearly made on a low budget, but many practical creatures and effects find more purchase in our imagination rather than a giant CGI monster.
While its purpose is apparent, the film’s wrap-around story is its weakest element. Technical professionals over-explain elements of the cursed film reel we intrinsically understood. One of the talking-head commentators even mentions other killer films like Ringu (1998), The Ring (2002), and John Carpenter’s Cigarette Burns (Masters of Horror S 1, Ep 8, 2005). Furthermore, the wrap-around is used to justify Antrum 1979’s sudden ending that may not satisfy some horror fans.
The co-directors are no strangers to alternate reality games (ARGs), previously making the Mr. Tom series on YouTube. They have been playing this film as completely real in interviews. People will likely compare this to The Blair Witch Project (1999), but it strikes me as more reminiscent of Lake Mungo (2008). Sure, it has two people running around a forest to compensate for a minuscule budget, but it is the emotional moments and the amazing hidden frames that will disturb you to your core. Ultimately, this is a huge recommend for me. May I suggest watching it with a crowd, so you don’t die alone…?
Screened as part of the 2019 Buried Alive Film Fest