The celebration starts with a visit from B-movie-producer-director-mogul Charles Band. Though most of his films will never make the cover of Premiere or unspool at an actual theater, to legions of horror fans and lovers of schlocky B-cinema, the Full Moon Video auteur is just as influential as Hitchcock or Spielberg. Band, the force behind flicks like Puppet Master, Re-animator, Ghoulies, Femalien and Demonic Toys, has worked with Demi Moore, Helen Hunt, Viggo Mortensen and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. His Full Moon Horror Road Show includes screenings of classic Band clips, freaky movie props, a fashion show (with items like "monster bras"), memorabilia for sale and more. Band is waiving admission fees for this stop, hoping his gory sideshow will pep up Houstonians who were "housing refugees only to turn around and spend 1,000 hours in traffic themselves," he says.
"I just wanted to do something, and thought this would be a fun release. Humor and horror are in the same realm," adds Band, whose latest flick, Gingerdead Man, pits a grouchy Gary Busey against a pissed-off cookie. "A guy in a ski mask killing people doesn't do it for me. But a puppet, demonic toy or even a cookie killing people...well, that's fun!"
The film frights continue with the Silver Screams Film Festival. The impressive lineup, put together by Women in Film and Television-Houston, includes classics (the 1910 version of Frankenstein; Nosferatu), modern creepies (Texas Chainsaw Massacre; the original Japanese Dark Water) and Houston-spawned horror (Unspeakable; Mr. Hell). "We selected what we thought people would want to see, regardless of whether it was a creature feature, cult film or just good drama," explains Jolene McMaster of WIFT. She's particularly proud that the festival will include Dark Night of the Scarecrow, an early-'80s made-for-TV movie. "It's on every horror buff's favorite movie list," she says, "and it's nearly impossible to get your hands on."
McMaster is also co-producer of Mr. Hell, which was directed by local filmmaker Rob McKinnon and shot entirely in the city. "It was a very low-budget undertaking but provided a great opportunity to discover a whole lot about making features in Houston," she says. The horror/thriller follows a maniacal mass murderer, Harold Eugene Loveless -- Mr. Hell -- who's offed by a young girl but later freakishly reanimated via biochemical waste.
Other films on the program, whose names McMaster says can't be mentioned because of mysterious "contractual obligations," feature Woody Allen's former paramour carrying the child of Satan; a crazed, ax-wielding family man and Tonight Show fan; and three classic black-and-white monster movies starring a hairy man-dog, a dude with bolts coming out of his neck, and something you definitely don't want to see on the other end of your fishing hook.