The Spooks and Scares of Buried Alive 2019 Horror Film Festival

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I absolutely love horror movies.

From the high tops of films like Poltergeist, to the horrid lows of Mr. Jingles, I love seeing it all. Horror movies have a special place in my heart because of the fear they’re able to elicit from me and others that watch them – terrors unbearable for the eyes to witness, but piercing to the soul nonetheless! 

Of course, Horror constantly needs new blood to keep rising from it’s grave year after year. For these resurrections, you need new eyes for film, new hearts for terror and all of the creative ideas to stitch everything together to make an experience that is both heart pounding and satisfying.

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From Jinkyu Jeon’s “Death Vendor”

That’s why I am so very glad to have attended the Buried Alive Film Fest in Atlanta which showcased some of the best and scariest talent from the area and those from around the globe. Some of the movies were campy, some were absolutely mortifying, but above all, they were exactly as promised and I could not be happier with my time spent watching all of these movies, shorts and performances.

Being that this was my first Buried Alive, I think it pertinent to share some of the great movie highlights of the fest and what you should look forward to or at least try to check out!

The Shorts

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From Tim Reis and James Sizemore’s “Budfoot”

Of course, not everything can be full length features. Sometimes people’s best creative works come from evocative, two to twelve+ minutes of amazing film. There were a veritable host of amazing shorts shown during the festival, but there were some special stand outs that I’m legitimately glad that I was able to see.

Animated films like La Noria (dir. Carlos Baena), Another (dir. Park Yeon) and The Death Vendor (dir. Jeon Jinkyu) showcase the surreal fears of kids, but in ways that stun audiences like me through amazing visuals and lack of dialogue. Whether it’s overcoming loss, escaping a life of monotony or fear of death in general, these movies prove how animation is one of the better mediums to portray horror. Each had me at the edge of my seat and almost had me crying.

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Carlos Baena’s “La Noria”

Other films like MJ, Lili and How to be Alone each stand on their own as potential feminist hits as their female centered stories all unfold in various different way, showing the variety of stories that can be told. MJ focuses on a young woman finding a murderous release through dating apps.

Lili sees the titular character almost being assaulted by a casting director before revealing herself a monster of some kind and eating him. And How to be Alone is an existential piece on a young woman standing a vigil to prevent hell from leaking out of a cabinet. All of them were amazing to see and directed fantastically.

Of course, not everything has to be serious as films like Night of the Fluffet, Unholy Mole and Playtime’s Over prove with gut bustingly hilarious stories. Night of the Fluffet is a strange, almost Deadpool like effort, but in the form of a violent “fluffet” that goes on a rage after a little girl puts her hand up its ass, attacking her and her family.

Unholy Mole focuses on a guy who trades his unborn child for guacamole and Playtime’s Over was an amazing homage to all of our favorite horror movies as a kid terrorizes his babysitter with themed pranks.

The Movies

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“The Wretched” directed by Drew T. Pierce and Brett Pierce

Aside from the shorts, there were also a few full length movies showcased during the festival and while I wasn’t able to watch all of them, I was able to see some pretty damn amazing movies.

VFW (dir. Joe Begos) was a movie about various veterans, mostly from Vietnam, and their fight against a hipster drug dealer and his ravenous band of junkies and flunkies as they’re holed up in a VFW center for the night. It had all of the feeling of an “I’m too old for this shit” romp from stars Stephen Lang and William Saddler as well as an excellent performance from Travis Hammer as the main villain. It was gruesome, violent and absolute bloody fun from beginning to end.

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Porno (dir. Keola Racela), despite its misleading title, was a standout for being a mostly comedic film about a succubus who gets summoned to Earth through a Satanic reel of film and the main cast dealing with the unknown and seedy history of the movie theater where they all work.

It was a fun film where the cast played varying degrees of Christian youth and their faith is tested again and again as they deal with the succubus exploding testicles left and right. The movie almost feels like it could have been a Disney movie… if not for all of the raunchy content.

The Wretched (dir. Brett and Drew Pierce) was a damn good movie focused on a teenaged boy dealing with both his parents divorce and a damn Tree Witch who takes over the flesh of women and eats their children.

This movie was astounding in its use of body horror, a surprising and scary story which actually saw a few kids eaten and amazing visuals throughout. This one was a great highlight for me as I actually found myself getting sucked into the movie and was genuinely shocked by its ending.

Bells and Whistles

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One of the many things that blew my mind was a Call of Cthulhu short (dir. Andrew Leman) that featured a live score by local Atlanta space Jazz group, Samadha. The movie was shot like an old silent film, complete with pauses to show the dialogue and even had claymation for the Old One himself as well as really cheap looking sets – my aesthetic in a nutshell.

What made this so much cooler was watching the live band perform as the movie went on, however. Having two drummers, a bassist and a guy on keys made this experience unforgettable with their expert musicality, timing and rhythm. They’ve definitely gained a new fan in me.

Of course, no movie festival is complete without some classics. Before the showing of Toxic Avenger, we in the audience were treated to an awesome burlesque show by Atlanta’s Blast-Off Burlesque.

Each of the five performances were unique, sexy and fun in only the way that burlesque can be with a bunch of comedy in between. Themed around the movie and the… virility of Toxie himself. The final performance, a Toxic Avenger rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” had my sides splitting.

Overall

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This has nothing to do with the overall, it’s just a nice poster for Jac Kessler’s adaptation for Stephen King’s Popsy.

The Buried Alive Film Festival was an amazing experience for me and I hope the same for the filmmakers and the other people in attendance. It was ultra fun to see just how creative people can be when they’re allowed to let their juices (and blood) flow. The presentation, the theater and everyone involved in the Festival were nice and awesome it’s definitely something I’d recommend for everyone to start going to regularly.

I’d like to thank Justin Harlan for allowing us to cover this event and I’d like to thank the filmmakers for all of the hard work they’ve put in to entertain us and get their visions out into the world. Congratulations to all of the awards winners as well for having such amazing things to show!

Be sure to keep up to date with the Buried Alive Film Festival here and as always, Stay Spooky!