Halloween Horror Nights 24: The Scares Are There, but Go For the Novelty (Video)

Sneak Peak of Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Orlando from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

The sun had set and the sky was indigo. As you walked passed the revolving globe and up to the arches, the eerie music coming from the loudspeakers and musky, earthy smell of the lingering rainfall set the scene perfectly.

Though Universal Studios Orlando can't control the weather (and they likely wouldn't want it raining on their parade as often as it does), the trickling mist after the afternoon downpour made the opening night of Halloween Horror Nights 24 (HHN) feel as if you were transported into a classic horror movie.

And after walking through the gates and encountering any scare-actors roaming the streets with chainsaws, yeah, you totally felt like Laura Strode.

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The Guest Cast Talks Dark Humor and '80s Nostalgia (Video)

Categories: Film Fanatic

Cast and Crew of The Guest on '80s Nostalgia from Voice Media Group on Vimeo.

There's no sense denying it: The 1980s was the heyday for horror movies -- the decade even had its very own scream queen (Jamie Lee Curtis, for you '90s babies). Present day thrillers are arguably lagging behind; that is, unless someone brilliantly concocts a film that fits right in with both modern cinema and the original Friday the 13th and Halloween. (Yes, both those films have been shamefully remade in the last decade, so the originality must be noted).

Enter the filmmaking team of Adam Wingard and Simon Barrett: one directs and the other writes. Their latest collaboration stars Downton Abbey alum, Dan Stevens, as the world's worst (and creepiest) houseguest in the appropriately titled The Guest.

The film centers on Stevens' character, David, who returns home from war and goes to visit the family of a fellow soldier. What follows is plenty of violence, some mysterious deaths, and a whole lotta '80s music. Everything from the soundtrack, to the close-up shots, to the font used evokes the yearning for that decade.

The starting point for Wingard was essentially a back-to-basics, nostalgic inspiration: "I wanted to do a film that encapsulated sort of why I became a filmmaker to begin with."

See also: Young Stars of The Maze Runner Bring Dystopian Tale to Life

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Jason Fitzroy Jeffers on His Film Papa Machete and the Art of Machete Fencing


Jason Fitzroy Jeffers has been a Renaissance man of sorts in South Florida. A musician and journalist, he recently changed his focus to filmmaking and his first official production, the short documentary Papa Machete has been steadily picking up momentum. This week it was officially selected for the Toronto International Film Festival's (TIFF) inaugural section of short international works, Short Cuts.

Concentrating on the life of farmer Alfred Avril, the movie explores his status as the last remaining master of tire machétt, a martial art created by slaves when combating Napoleon's armies, there is a poesy of protection and pragmatism as "the machete, which is both a weapon and a farmer's key to survival," transcends symbolism and hyperbole.

We spoke with Fitzroy about his experience with Third Horizon working on the film with the Borscht Corporation, Haiti and his latest musical endeavors.

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Crazy Hood Film Academy's Avaricious Needs Your Help


"Between greed and desire lies necessity." That's the tag atop the teaser poster for Crazy Hood Film Academy's (CHFA) upcoming short narrative film Avaricious. Michael Garcia and DJ EFN have been steadily making a name for themselves outside of South Florida since the release of their excellent documentary on Cuba's current underground hip-hop scene, Coming Home. Lauded in the festival circuit and currently on rotation on Puff Daddy's Revolt TV, the success of the film led to another documentary focusing on Lima, Peru,'s hip-hop that is currently in postproduction.

DJ EFN is already a legend in hip-hop and mix-tape circles, and Garcia, a heavy-hitter in the local rap scene, is no stranger to behind-the-camera work, as he has directed numerous videos for acts like Tech N9ne, Kat Dahlia, and N.O.R.E. He's now switching focus to a more straightforward narrative in what will be the first of four short films detailing the influence and tangible disruption of money within the microcosm of South Florida.

See also: Tech N9ne on "That Fast Flow," Strangeulation, and Being a "Job Creator"

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Palm Beach International Film Festival 2014 Is "Something to Be Proud of"

Categories: Film Fanatic

African Gothic

This may be a bold statement, but Palm Beach County has too much going on. Not all the time, but some of the time. And with the snowbirds still chirping around, this has been one of those weeks.

One of the busiest events of the season is the Palm Beach International Film Festival. Now in its 19th year, the fest is bringing to town a fitting 19 filmmakers from 19 different countries. And though this truly global event is about halfway through, there are still plenty of screenings to attend and potential celebrity sightings on the horizon. Also, FYI, a killer Netflix queue doesn't mean anything if you ignore a mammoth film festival happening right in your backyard.

"I really think that the caliber of movies here at this festival is something to be proud of." says director Gabriel Bologna. His film African Gothic addresses the issue of apartheid, which made its national debut at the festival. He's elated to have his movie grouped in with the quality films selected.

See Also: Palm Beach International Film Festival Highlights the Art of the Music Video, April 4 to 11, 2013

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Deep City: Birth of the Miami Sound Screens at MIFF


South Florida owes a debt of gratitude to former Florida A&M Marching bandmates, schoolteachers, and music aficionados Willie Clarke and Johnny Pearsall. Without their gamble on the short-lived Deep City Records, there would've never been such a culturally identifiable thing as the "Miami sound." While some of the Deep City Records' artists went on to much more with TK Records or into the vaults of obscurity, the slabs that were cut remain some of the best R&B and proto-Motown/funk known to man.

Had it not been for the disagreement between Clarke and Pearsall trying to push Betty Wright and Helene Smith respectively, the latter being Pearsall's wife; the musical landscape of South Florida might just be slightly different nowadays, for surely the caliber of their stars, had they remained under the same stable, would've vaulted this sliver of America into the same rooms Motown would eventually come to occupy. Oh, well.

This year's Miami International Film Festival will feature Deep City: Birth of the Miami Sound as part of their roster of fine films. For info on the movie and the team behind it, click here. Hopefully this piece of Floridiana will not go unnoticed by the locals and let's hope local filmmakers are detracted from pulling Ai Weiwei-styled protesting. What follows is a Miami sound playlist for your listening pleasure.

See also: Deep City Records Documentary: A Behind the Scenes Look

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Submerged: Alternative Cuban Film Festival at FAU Will Provoke "Interesting Discussions"

Categories: Film Fanatic


Outside the reach of Fidel's block committees, working without the approval of Havana's bureaucrats, independent filmmakers are bursting the limits of mainstream Cuban cinema.

A selection of these films, rarely seen in the U.S., will be screened today through Sunday on FAU's Boca Raton campus. The festival, "Submerged," was curated by two leading lights of Cuban film, Dean Luis Reyes, of the prestigious International School of Cinema and Television, and director Miguel Coyula, who will speak on the festival's concluding day.

Michael Horswell, an FAU prof and expert on Latin American cinema, helped organize the festival and arranged to bring it here. He told New Times, "the main thing is to open local audiences to this interesting, challenging new work being done in Cuba."

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L-Dub Film Festival Announces Special Guests and Calls Workshops "Off the Chain"

Categories: Film Fanatic

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For the fourth year in a row, Lake Worth Playhouse's Stonzek Theater in late September will be home to the L-Dub Film Festival. This year there will be a strong international presence as well as guest appearances by two veterans of cinema visiting town to share of their knowledge with local aspiring filmmakers.

One of the quirky little city's signature events (others include an annual street painting festival and a major gay pride parade), the festival is a training ground. It's become a networking occasion, with competitions for shorts and features in six different categories, and workshops on the making and marketing of movies.

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Swede Fest 2, "Bad Films by Good People", Nears; Submit by July 9

Categories: Film Fanatic


They're back. Or almost back -- the end of July, actually, will mark the return of the cinematic high point of the summer silly season. Swede Fest 2 slouches this way July 27, like a latter-day Rodan, as local amateurs enter home-brewed mini-remakes of great films of the past to see who can most cleverly turn a silk purse into a sow's ear. It's work to put Michael Bay to shame (if that were possible).

Anyone can play, but it has to be done soon, with entries due at festival headquarters before midnight, July 9. So if your inner Fellini just has to bust free upon the screen (for three minutes or less) and show the so-called masters how it should have been done, here's your chance.

See also:
- Swede Fest Palm Beach Remakes Your Favorite Films

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That Was Piddie Korn: The Documentary Nobody Asked for That Everyone Should See

Piddie Korn in a not-at-all creepy group glamour shot.

By Jesse Scheckner

Suddenly, on screen someone is being fellated. In a bargain motel room in the stretch between Miami and Athens, Georgia, sometime during their summer tour of 1998, two members of South Florida's oft-overlooked goof-pop-punk quintet Piddie Korn are tag-teaming some Tampa tail. To what is sure to be the on-screen girl's relief, nearly none of this pornographic scene will make it into his movie, but director, editor and producer Joel Sotolongo has a good explanation as to why it is among the footage he brought over for review.

"I'm showing you this, because I want you to know that when I say I filmed everything on the tour, I filmed fucking everything on the tour," he says.

That scene is among the 11 hours of raw footage Sotolongo is working through while piecing together his first full-length documentary feature, That was Piddie Korn, a subtle titular riff on the seminal 1984 Rob Reiner mocumentary, This is Spinal Tap.

See Also:
-Ten Reasons You Needed Club Q More Than It Needed You in 2001

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