Darius might be crooning about the Lowcountry's homegrown honeys, but we prefer our Charleston with a side of guts, gore, and ax murderers. While the second annual Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest features movies from all over, we've got a special place in our recently-ripped-out hearts for flicks shot right here in South Carolina. From a creature from the netherworld to a creepy porcelain doll, the villains in these films will make you leave on the night lights.
Fri. May 15
$15/adv., $20/door (one-day pass)
Sterett Hall Auditorium
1530 7th St.
What Happened to Sarah Silver
Directed by William Stancil
Summerville resident William Stancil's film What Happened to Sarah Silver follows Sarah, a lonely woman who discovers a book of recipes and conjures up a creature from the netherworld. Makes sense to us. Sarah projects her darkest feelings on the creature, and he takes out acts of revenge for her, opening up the opportunity for her to become queen of the netherworld. The entire film was shot in Charleston and Summerville, but don't expect to see the pineapple fountain or carriage houses in any scenes — Stancil says a lot of the film was shot inside a home. Local actress Heidi Rune Vaughan plays Sarah, while William Boyd and Thomas Stewart teamed up to play the creature. This is Stancil's second horror film. "I love the genre of sci-fi and horror because it gets my creative juices flowing," he says. Stancil says that he's loved horror movies since childhood when he would sneak around and watch them in secret. "It's the kind of poetry I like. Creating that graphic atmosphere ... it's just fun to live in that world."
Do Not Disturb
Directed by Anil Dhokai
When it comes to filmmaking, Anil Dhokai of Rock Hill likes to use whatever resources he's got handy. "My dad happens to own a hotel, so I knew I had access to that and to a housekeeper's uniform," he says. In Do Not Disturb, a short film — we're talkin' six minutes short — a housekeeper is going about her normal day and stumbles upon something strange in one of the rooms. Because the film is so short, Dhokai chose not to make a trailer for it, so we don't even get a hint of what strange thing may be lurking behind that hotel door. Dhokai has done a couple of feature films and he works full time as a freelance videographer/editor on commercials and TV shows. He grew up watching horror, fantasy, and sci-fi TV shows like Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, so he knows a thing or two about weird and scary things. This is Dhokai's first time at Crimson Screen.
Directed by Stephen Nemeth
Knocking Do Not Disturb from the shortest of the local shorts, Deathlust comes in just a "hair over five minutes," according to directo Stephen Nemeth. "It's an intimate experience," he says. He admits that because the film is so short, it's hard to describe without giving anything away. "I want people to have a first time experience when viewing it," he says. We're right there with you, Stephen — anything for the thrills. A man of many talents, Nemeth and his wife own Goose Creek Dance Company, and he hosts the online radio station, Sadistic Cinema, which features directors and filmmakers talking about their craft.
The Return of Crinoline Head
Directed by Tommy Faircloth
Sat. May 16
$20/adv., $25/door (one-day pass)
Sterett Hall Auditorium
1530 7th St.
For those of you not in the local-horror-film know, Tommy Faircloth's Crinoline Head, which came out in 1997, is back for more with the sequel Dorchester's Revenge: The Return of Crinoline Head. You can catch the original film on VHS (hilarious, we know), or just check out the sequel. Faircloth says new audiences will be able to catch up with the plot through flashbacks. "It's scary but it's also tongue-in-cheek, a satire of the whole genre," he says. The bad guy in this film is the same as the one in the original — Dorchester Stewart, a.k.a Crinoline Head. Crin Head killed off a lot of the first film's cast, but college kid Paul Donner (John Vail) escaped and re-appears in Dorchester's Revenge as Professor Donner, who's just assigned his students a project to cover "local legends." The students travel to Stewart's childhood home and the usual slasher hijinks follow. "They get there, get killed," he says. Actress Lizzie Mears, who plays Janet, was nominated for best kill scene at the Horror Society awards, an online publication similar to Fangoria. "The death scene's too complicated to explain," says Faircloth, which makes us wonder just how much gore this film will have. Dorchester's Revenge has a lot of local love, with scenes shot in Columbia, Aiken, West Ashley, and Hollywood. Faircloth says the advent of technology makes horror films a lot cheaper to make, so when Crinoline Head fans asked him to do a sequel, he couldn't really say no. In a nod to indie horror fans everywhere, Faircloth has employed horror icon Deborah Rochon (Santa Claws, Bleed, Terror Firmer) to play what he calls a "really funny role." Because Faircloth is also one of the fest's founders, Dorchester's Revenge will not be competing for any awards.