New film fest launches this weekend: Telluride Horror Show

New film fest launches this weekend: Telluride Horror Show


(Above is a trailer from Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, one of the feature films playing at the Oct. 15-17 Telluride Horror Show.)

One of my earliest childhood memories is of being shooed out of the TV room when the movie my aunt and uncle were watching turned really gory. I can vividly recall the scientist, whose arm had just been torn off by the monster he’d created, streaking blood across the wall as he died a slow, horrific, cinematic death. I don’t remember my first day of kindergarten or much else from those tender years, but that movie has stuck with me all this time.

Over the years, there were other things that contributed to my closet fascination with the horror genre: old Twilight Zone reruns, Stephen King novels, a masked Michael Myers lumbering after Jamie Lee Curtis in "Halloween." Scary movies are one of my guilty pleasures, but it’s always been hard to find someone to catch a flick with me. Until now.

This weekend, the Telluride Horror Show will celebrate the genre with three days of films and hundreds of bloodthirsty fans like myself. TIO caught up with the festival director of Telluride Horror Show, Ted Wilson, to ask him about this year’s inaugural event. The following is part one of the Q&A:

Telluride Inside: How long have you been in Telluride? What made you want to create the Horror Show?

Ted Wilson: I’ve been a Telluride full-timer for 13 years (I have the scars to prove it). For most of those years, I’ve worked the festival scene and the idea for a new festival popped in my head back in May (while walking through the cemetery. True story). A horror film festival. In mid-October.  Seemed like a good idea, one to get something going during what is typically off-season and bring some business to town, and second, two weeks before Halloween…who ISN’T in the mood for some horror movies that time of year? And just like that, I found myself spending the summer watching hundreds of horror movie submissions. It’s not as easy as it sounds…. 

TIO: When/how did your personal interest in horror films start?

TW: I’ve always been a fan. Even though I’m still freaked out by a good horror flick, I’ll put myself through the pain, just for the experience. It’s that lingering feeling you get from a well-made horror film that makes them so memorable, right? Horror movies have an EFFECT on you. Or to put it this way, when you watch “The Sound of Music” do you go out afterwards and run across the mountaintops, singing at the top of your lungs? (I hope not.) But when you watch “Jaws," you think twice about going for that swim in the ocean. And the list goes on of horror films that make sure you’ll never want to walk through the woods alone or upstairs without turning on all the lights first. But you know it’s not a real fear, so it’s a bit fun. There it is—horror films make fear FUN.

TIO:What kind of horror films do you like?

TW: I’m all over the board. Everything from “Bride of Frankenstein” to “Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” But if I was forced to choose, I’d go with horror comedies. It’s even better when what’s supposed to scare you makes you laugh your ass off. (Can I say “ass” on the internet?)

TIO: How did the festival come together? How did you find films, and what did you learn about the horror film industry as you were putting together the program?

TW: There’s an industry website where film festivals post their listing and independent filmmakers can submit to your festival right through the website. We did that, and the submissions started rolling in. I kept a close eye on the schedules of the bigger genre festivals this summer (London, Montreal, San Francisco, Austin) and contacted the films playing the circuit. When I first started putting together this festival back in May, I remember saying that maybe someday we’ll get all these films playing the larger, more established festivals. Well, we got lucky and we got them our first year. I give all the credit to the Telluride name. It’s a name that gets your email or phone call answered… 

TIO:What are some of the highlights of this year's program?

TW: Having Tom Holland, the writer/director of horror classics “Fright Night” and “Child’s Play”(Chucky) here at our inaugural year is beyond cool. He has a new series of short horror films that will have their world premiere at the Horror Show. Afterward, Tom will have a Q&A session with Chris Alexander (editor of Fangoria magazine and another guest I’m thrilled about). That will be a definite highlight. Also, Jon Davison, producer of huge hits like “Airplane!” and “Robocop," is our ‘vault keeper’ and he’s dug out his old 35MM print of “Piranha," the cult classic produced by Jon and directed by Joe Dante (Gremlins). Jon will do a Q&A after the film. All very cool stuff! It’s a dream line-up for me and hopefully for all the horror fans out there. These guys are legends. Then, of course, there’s all the films we have: 17 feature films and 22 shorts! Each film is an event in itself. And, just the other day, at the last minute, we were able to add the documentary “Machete Maidens Unleashed!” and the hilarious horror comedy “Tucker & Dale vs Evil” to the line-up. These two films will close out the festival on Sunday. I could go on and on about these films, but I invite everyone to head to our website and watch the trailers for themselves!  And, remember, we’re just like any other film festival. None of these films have been released yet— you’re seeing them first.

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