Saturday - Program 8
Saturday night has always been and will always be the biggest night of the festival. The Lifetime Achievement Award program. Finally this year it was given to a true acting legend in the horror community, Mr. Robert Englund. This was the first year that the award was not given to a director (Tom Savini received the award in '03, but he did do the Night of the Living Dead remake) and who better to be the first than the man that made Freddy Krueger a household name. Wes Craven of course deserves credit for that as well but without Robert, there is no way that franchise and character becomes what it is today.
I also saw something that I haven't seen in the previous years. Not to take away from the previous winners of the award but there was a certain excitement that was in the air. People in attendance brought their Nightmare on Elm Street posters, their Freddy gloves, along with other various Krueger merchandise. Some even chose to wear the classic red & green sweater and trademark hat. Not only did this screening sell out the main screening room but they packed out the other room as well.
Once Robert arrived at Tribeca Cinemas he was instantly mobbed with fans, asking for pictures and autographs. Had I not just met him a few months earlier, I'm sure I would have been right there in the crowd. Instead I decided to wait on the already building line to get into the theater room.
When the program started there was a short introduction by Robert, which resulted in a huge response from the crowd. An extended trailer to his new film opening next year Inkubus was shown first. It looks like a slasher version of John Carpenter's Assault on Precinct 13. Bad ass.
Now let's get to the films
Zombiefication - Zombiefication is the ultimate manual when it comes to the proper handling of the living dead at the movies. There was a slight audio mishap when the short started. So the first minute or so had no sound at all, just picture. But as soon as this one got on track, I knew I was going to enjoy it. A movie theater attendant guides you through the steps of fighting off the living dead. The crowd loved it and for good reason, it was hilarious.
The Living Want Me Dead - It's not uncommon for people to seem a little "on-edge" come the holiday season but for mild-mannered Howard Phillips, it just so happens that everyone else is suddenly running right over that edge with bloodshot eyes, foaming mouths, and unstoppable urges to kill...and they're running towards him. I can think of only one word to describe this: AMAZING. Without question this was one of the funniest shorts I've seen in all the years. I don't want to ruin it, just find a way to see this film. Especially if your a zombie-fanatic.
Frank DanCoolo: Paranormal Drug Dealer - When Neo-Mega-Ultra-Tokyo is besieged by a new drug that is wrecking havoc on its citizens, its up to ace reporter Holly Malone to uncover and squash the source - no matter how many stop-motion fiends get in her way. This is a very visual film which reminded me a lot of the work of Zak Snyder. Maybe that's an unfair comparison. Even though I did end up enjoying it, still it was almost like a buzzkill. The last two shorts had the audience in stitches from laughing so hard. This was way different from anything else shown but still pretty interesting to watch.
The Necronomicon - Do you want to be a nicer person? Are you looking for inspiration to do good things? Well keep looking. But if you're into opening up terrifying vistas of reality then the Esoteric Order of the Old Ones and Cthulhu Cultists want to help. A two-minute film made to look like a commercial for the Necronomicon. Simple and amusing but too short to have any real opinion on.
The Feature film:
A Nightmare on Elm Street - Do I really even to need to comment on this? C'mon if you've never seen this film, then you are not a horror fan. The film that started a franchise, that gave birth to one of the all time great movie monster characters. It propelled Wes Craven & Robert Englund into superstars. It single handily helped a small studio company on the verge of bankruptcy, and turned it into one of the most successful of its time.
After the film concluded in both screening rooms. Everyone in attendance entered the lounge where Robert was going to be presented his award. Every other year they've always done this in the actual theater room. However due to the huge turnout, they had no choice but to change locations. After a speech by the guest of honor, came the photo op's for all the press in attendance. I must say that Robert really did seem genuinely thankfully for the award, and to all the people that showed up. Always a good sport, he did end up signing more autographs and posed for even more pictures with the fans. The night concluded sometime around the 2am mark.
Also I must mention another special guest in attendance. Tony Todd who horror fans know from the Candyman & Final Destination franchises, was just chilling in the lounge all Saturday night. Pretty f'n cool if you ask me to see an established actor such as himself to be so accessible.