: HALLOWEEN HORROR PICTURE SHOW 2007
Picture Show 2007 Film Festival
October 19-20, 2007
Tampa Bay, Florida
Review by C.
The drive to Channelside
is, for me, filled with dread. It is a very, very busy place, and traffic
there is usually hectic. Add pricey parking, and you now know why I rarely
go there, and the reason why I have not done a shoot there since doing
a photography session with actress and model Jane Park in 2002.
Tonight, however, was a different story. I was looking forward to attending
a film festival event called Hallaweenapalooza, which was the new shell
around the ongoing annual film festival, the Halloween Horror Picture
Show, series. Keep in mind that I missed last years Halloween Horror Picture
Show held at the Cuban Club venue, and the last time that I attended Rick
Danford's festival was at USF in 2005. I had fun then, and I wondered
what the night would have in store.
Upon arriving at Channelside a few minutes after the 6PM start, admittedly
because I had to spend time back at the studio calibrating my speed light
on my trusty Canon 10D, I noticed what a nice evening that it was. The
air was slightly warm, the sun was out, and there was a slight haze over
the Tampa skyline. I gathered up my camera and my computer and bolted
across the street from the parking garage, passing up three attractive
19 year old girls en route, but pausing just enough to notice that they
were there. I made a mental note that I would have to resume shooting
models in the Channelside and the downtown Tampa areas soon, and continued
to walk, adjusting the sling of my computer case on my shoulder. God,
it was heavy.
Channelside was not too crowded, however, and I made it up to the Channelside
Cinemas 10 IMAX in short order. Before going into the theater, I looked
around for signs, and noting that there weren't any, I asked a college
guy if he knew anything about the festival. I had half-expected a crowd
at the entrance and stages with bands, and it was a bit empty outside.
The guy motioned toward the theater with a bony finger which was not unlike
that of a skeleton's, acknowledging that the event was, in fact, there.
I thanked him, took out my camera, and snapped off a few shots of the
Tampa skyline before going in.
in, I noticed two main tables set in the area to the left, and saw event
organizer Rick Danford talking with some people. I approached Rick, talked
to him for a few minutes, and then proceeded to break out my camera, quietly
cursing myself because the film lineup was good and, well, I only had
three hours to spend covering the event. This meant that I would have
to loiter in the lobby area and talk to people, with next to no time to
see any actual movies. If I did have time to attend both full-days, in
fact, I might have had time to catch all of the films, take all of my
pictures, and conclude my coverage. In this case, it was interview overdrive.
wandered over to the tables. First, I was met by the pretty faces of Krista
Grotte and Tiffany Shepis. Krista I already knew, first meeting her back
in 2003 when she went to one of my auditions when I was a casting director
for one of my film projects. I didn't catch up to her again until Andy
Lalino's awesome Horror and Hotties film festival at USF back in March
of this year. Speaking of Andy, I was pleasantly surprised to see him
arrive, dressed Neo-like in black. What was next- Terence Nuzum showing
up dressed as General Zod? Paul Guzzo dressed up as a bipedal, land-roving
guppy- didn’t Rick plan a costume contest? All kidding aside, Andy
looked much sharper than I did, as I had elected, at the last minute,
to dress down for comfort, as I had to haul around a lot of gear. I was
only in jeans and a blue shirt, and didn't look all-there as it wasn't
as comfortable as it was supposed to be. I took some picture of Andy,
and he took a few of me (which reminds me to ask Andy for copies of those
image files). They came out good.
I spent a bit of time taking pictures of Krista and Tiffany. As soon as
I aimed a camera in her direction from across the room, Ms. Shepis immediately
noticed, which in retrospect was a bit hard to not notice due to the size
of the camera and the flash, and she played up to the camera. After taking
pictures, I spent some time talking with her, and I immediately noticed
that she had the brains and the personality to match those model-shattering
good looks. This woman, my friends, is one of the coolest people who I
have met in a good while, and Krista was equally as cool.
I'll admit it. I didn't know too much about Tiffany Shepis. I am not much
of a horror fan, and have not spent a lot of time watching horror films.
As a matter of fact, other than knowing that she was an actress and a
model. the only fact that I knew about her was that she did a Conker's
Bad Fur Day commercial for Nintendo back in the day, helping them to advertise
the controversial video game made by Rare. At any rate, after conversing
for a while, I would learn a lot more about her.
Tiffany was cool. Krista and I talked about modeling, photography, and
photographers that we both knew. We also talked about doing a shoot together.
Andy and I talked- well, actually, we were laughing about the controversy
behind my latest TFR film reviews, killing pumpkins, and also discussed
the planning of the next Horror and Hotties film festival. I told Andy
that I could get him as many swimsuit models as he needed for his cool
event, had some ideas, and we pondered about doing it around February
or March of next year.
I browsed over to the far table, where actress Debbie D and her companion
were seated with their wares. After hearing about the array of characters
which she portrayed, I paused on Destiny-Vampire Mermaid. Thinking the
combination a bit of an incompatible mix, I asked how that worked. Did
her character act as a Siren to lure sailors in so she could feed on them?
How could a Vampire be around water, anyway? I suppose that I had been
playing too many games of “Blood Omen: Legacy Of Kain” on
the Playstation, where rain smoked with impact on the character and you
lost health as long as you were exposed to water. At any rate, any fan
of the genre needs to obtain and play this game, even if you don’t
play games. A Playstation, controller, and memory card can be had for
$20.00, and the game CD itself less than $10.00. The game is worth it
just for the story and the voice acting alone, and if you can’t
play it well, just go out and get a Gameshark, which should have codes
for the game preloaded. Going back to the scene, however, I did ask Debbie
D about Vampires and water, trying not to sound like a detail-egghead
and trying not to be annoying. A question to Rick came with my answer:
It was holy water which hurt Vampires. Um, ok. I guess the rules varied
with the interpretation. Debbie D and I did get into a good conversation
about the horror and science fiction genres being closely related, parallel,
and sometimes intertwined. Hey, I get Sci Fi, as I write it, but I’m
still a newbie with the horror genre and horror movies in general. This
is why you ask questions, too, as there is no such thing as a stupid question.
I may even hook up one of my Playstations in the studio and play through
Kain again. The world of Nosgoth beckons me. Vay Victus! Oh, and for the
record, my favorite Vampire movies would have to be the Underworld series,
which really are not horror films- They are more action and sci fi.
I talked to Danford some more, discussing some of the movie lineup, indie
film downloads as a business model, past projects such as the film Web
Of Darkness and my ill-fated Reverence feature film, and two actresses/
models which we mutually knew by the names of Lowie and Roxy. Lowie...
does a good job acting like Lowie, and was a far better model than an
actress. Roxanne Kowalska..... one of the best models whom I have ever
worked with and a brilliant actress. Since moving to Los Angeles, Roxy
has been missed here in the Tampa Bay indie film community. Ah, those
two were so long ago. It seems like an entire life has passed.
Catching up and taking pictures passed the time well since I didn’t
have the time to watch anything. At one point, I even took a breather
and played a quick game of Frogger on my Gameboy Micro, keeping the idle
Tekken 5 arcade coin-op in the lobby in mind, but never getting around
to putting a few quarters in it. That done, Krista told me that her movie
was about to start, so I followed her and Rick into the Cinema.
The location that Rick chose for this film festival is one of the best
that I have seen for any Tampa film festival. How could you get any better
than a new movie theater; one of the nicest cinemas in the Tampa Bay area?
The venue was perfect, and I obtained some really good pictures of the
screen and the seating. Krista and Danford introduced Death On Demand
to the audience, I took some pictures, then I looked up into the rows.
There were only two people there. Slow start or not, this festival certainly
deserved much more attention than it was getting.
the introduction, I decided to take a break and watch a little of the
film. Death On Demand was a little pixelated blown-up to the big screen,
with jaggy edges apparent, but was well-shot and proved to be very watchable.
Actually, this was a very good movie, and it didn’t take long for
me to settle in and lose my sense of time to it. I noticed that Andy Lalino
had wandered into the theater, clutching a huge bag of buttered pop corn
and a massive soda, and I called him over to my row. He sat down by me,
and we continued to watch. I also noticed that more people had filtered
in and had taken up seats. Among them were Krista Grotte and her boyfriend,
who seated themselves toward the front of the theater.
At this point, I became very unhappy. The reason for the turn in mood
was that my time was running out, and I had to get ready to go. Death
On Demand was very good, and I wanted to watch the rest of it. I told
both Andy and Krista goodnight, and began to make my way out of the film
festival. I took out my camera and resolved to leave the venue shooting.
Steven Shea, who had been seated at a table with his people from Abyssmal
Entertainment just outside the theater, was no longer there. I suppose
that they were there for their earlier feature, Hoodoo For Voodoo (what
a catchy, and odd, title).
I returned to the lobby, and asked Danford where Tiffany Shepis was so
I could say goodbye. She had gone to dinner. I noticed Steven Shea and
his group had returned, this time with guitars and musical instruments.
The music part was about to start, I surmised, but unfortunately, I would
not be around to hear it. I talked to the group, which was assembling
in the central lobby area, and took pictures of them setting up and tuning
their instruments. At this time, it was time to leave. I told everyone
goodbye and exited the building.
I tried to leave. As soon as I exited the building, Tiffany Shepis and
her friend, Trent Haaga, came up to me. We talked for a few minutes, and
I snapped some of the best pictures of them that I had taken the entire
night. We walked inside, I said goodbye to everyone again, and then I
finally left for the night.
Here’s the lowdown on the Halloweenapalooza event and it’s
Halloween Horror Picture Show 2007 film festival. Did I have fun? Yes,
yes, yes. It was well worth my time to attend. Also, the film lineup,
which is covered in detail in a message board post by Jeff Strand, is
the best of any horror film festival ever in the Tampa Bay area.
Although the event has been criticized by the vocal minority for it’s
low attendance, I found out later that the second day had a decent turnout.
Those who dismissed the event and missed it ultimately lost out, however,
because this was an event which was well worth attending. In my opinion,
the Screamfest horror convention in Orlando hurt this event a lot as far
as attendance goes, and I do not believe that the majority attended the
best event. The best event was here.
Please note that
a score of 5 is average.
Concept (1-10): 8
Venue (1-10): 10
Vendors (1-10): 7
Organization (1-10): 8
Entertainment (1-10): 10
Attendance (1-10): 3
Features (1-10): 9
Admission Value (1-10): 9
Overall Event Score
(1-10): 8 - Excellent time spent, and very highly recommended. This event
deserves a much higher attendance, and should get it in 2008.
SOCIETY: SOCIETY HAS EVOLVED
in 1993 by DJ Frontier and his associates