Telluride Horror Show: Be afraid—be very, very afraid

Telluride Horror Show: Be afraid—be very, very afraid



I guess I recognized I was different at my first Halloween party in college. There I stood, white-chalked face and spiked black hair, with eight pairs of scissors taped to my fingers, a ghoulish version of Edward Scissorhands; I was surrounded by a bunch of sexy kittens, lingerie-clad angels and Playboy bunnies. Needless to say, I didn’t reel in any dates that night.

It was then that I realized there are two types of people in the world: People who like horror movies and people who don’t. Not everyone likes to be scared, so if you find yourself in the latter camp, you might want to skip to the next article or go shop online for a cute Halloween costume, something with ears or a thong. If you belong to the cloister of us who revere ghost stories, scary movies and spooky urban myths, read on. We’ve got a festival for you: the second annual Telluride Horror Show, October 14-16.

Last year the event surprised audiences with how far and wide the genre had come—horror movies were no longer just a bite on the neck or a madman slasher running after teenagers. They ran the gamut from taut suspense, to the supernatural, to hardcore gore and even comedy. This year festival director Ted Wilson has another eclectic lineup; the 2011 offerings include classics like “Bride of Frankenstein” and “Little Shop of Horrors,” a big budget animated horror movie “Coraline,” a satirical, hip zombie flick called “The Revenant,” and a gory, historical premiere called “The Scarlet Worm.” He is also re-screening a soon-to-be cult favorite called “Tucker & Dale vs. Evil,” a comedy-horror film that won raves last year. 

But this year, my picks for the festival’s two most interesting films offer no comic relief. “The Tunnel” is one that even Wilson admits is scary. The narrative is a bit like “The Blair Witch Project” in that it is supposedly created from footage found after a real, mysterious incident in which real people disappear. Only this time the people get snatched up in tunnels below a city in Australia instead of the woods in Massachusetts.

The second film, “Sennentuntschi,” is so creepy I was afraid to use the trailer in this blog post. The premise is borrowed from an old fairy tale in which a doll comes alive, taking revenge on those who played with her. The word Sennentuntschi is Swiss German, "senn" meaning something like shepherd and "tuntschi" something like doll. In the film, lonely herdsmen from the Alps fashion a female toy from a broom and burlap and take turns sexually abusing her; the demon doll/woman comes down from the mountains and exacts her revenge on an idyllic Swiss village. It is the kind of dark, spooky thing you don’t want to watch right before you go to bed. Even the subtitles don’t tone down the fright factor in this movie.

All the movies are screened at the Nugget and the Sheridan Opera House. For a look at the complete lineup and schedule, visit the Telluride Horror Show website.

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