The Texas Frightmare Weekend isn't your typical film festival. The frames of the films at this long-running horror movie convention are stained with gallons of Karo syrup, the substance used to make the fake blood that horror movie fans crave with the strength of 10,000 methadone addicts.
While other film festivals abhor and denounce violence with documentaries that raise awareness, and cautionary tales about war, Frightmare fans cry out for it. They are a beast with a thirst for blood that will never be quenched.
However, there are only so many ways in which the big screen can treat the human body as a dog's chew toy, so the films get increasingly strange, while coming up with creative new ways to desecrate the laws protecting the human anatomy. We scanned the film screening schedule for this weekend's gathering of horror nerds, taking place at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport, for the strangest of the strangest. Here's what floated to the top of the cauldron:
Amazon Hot Box (Saturday at 6 p.m.)
The old drive-in's lack of basic morals served as the launching pad for some of the horror movie world's most insane sub-genres, like the women-in-prison movies that gained ground with 1975's Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS and the jungle survival flicks that gained notoriety with the 1980 classic, Italian stomach-churner Cannibal Holocaust. Amazon Hot Box looks like some kind of mutated offspring of the two.
A successful Kickstarter launched by director James Bickert helped bring this crazed mashup of horror genres together. Amazon tells the story of an innocent woman sent to a jungle prison colony run by an evil warden who uses her captors as test subjects for a torture device that looks like a cross between an old-timey push lawnmower and one of H.R. Giger's living room decorations. Escaping this hell jail is the first prison. Once she and her escapees make it outside the prison's walls, they'll have to fight hordes of man-eating crocodiles, religious nuts, and hordes of zombies brought back from the dead with voodoo magic.
What it's probably like: The Shawshank Redemption meets The Serpent, and the Rainbow meets Caged Heat.
The Bray Road Beast (Friday at 10 p.m.)
I know what your horror purist brain is saying "Oh, a werewolf movie. That's a new one, and if you're reading this, that was sarcasm."
Well, hold your hypothalamus because this werewolf movie is a documentary.
The infamous Beast of Bray Road has been reported by seemingly sane people in the Wisconsin town of Elkhorn since back in the 1930s. They described the giant man-wolf as a six to seven feet tall creature with "big pointed ears on the top of its head, and a bigger snout than what a bear has," according to one local who saw the thing and described it to the local news.
The weird part is hundreds of people have reported seeing the thing and the sightings keep rolling into the offices of the local authorities. This is the latest documentary from Small Town Creatures studio, which records local myths and monsters with their compelling horror documentaries.
What it's probably like: The Howling meets Making a Murderer.
Termitator (Part of the Sunday Short Film Series, Sunday at 1 p.m.)
The first time you hear the title of this movie, your honest, initial assessment was no doubt that Termitator was about some kind of killer mutant potato, but the real thing sounds so much weirder.
According to the description of this 15-minute short, found on the festival's website, "four douche-bags" go to a secluded cabin for the usual weekend party of human degradation that invariably sets up horror film victims to befall an inevitably grisly death. This time, the killer is a "humanoid-termite mutant." What more could you want? Ed Hardy-wearing jerks get disemboweled and dismembered by a man-sized insect and you can watch it in one sitting without having to get up for a bathroom break.
What it's probably like: The Evil Dead meets The Fly, meets Entourage: The Movie.
Why Does the New Federative Alliance Need an Old Military Bot? (part of the Saturday Short Film Series, Saturday at 12 p.m.)
This one jumps out right in your face, because it's been a long time since we've seen a movie with a title longer than six words like Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan, Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood or The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-Up Zombies. It's such a brave and daring thing to do in this day and age when people are demanding their attention be met every three-and-a-half seconds.
The trailer for this sci-fi horror story is also pretty mysterious, which only makes it more intriguing. The festival describes it as a post-apocalyptic tale of two men -a prisoner and his captor- wandering the scorched Earth's landscape in search of an outdated military robot that will somehow be the key to humanity's survival. It's gonna feel like watching a giant jigsaw puzzle being put together without knowing the image on the puzzle's box.
What it's probably like: Mad Max meets WALL-E, meets the middle part of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
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The VelociPastor (Saturday at 12 a.m.)
Almost everything you need to know is right there in the title. It's about a pastor who can turn into a dinosaur. Oh, and ninjas are involved somehow. Don't ask any more questions.
What it's probably like: An American Werewolf in Paris meets Jurassic Park meets First United.