GENREBLAST FILM FESTIVAL: The Brilliant Terror (2021)

The GenreBlast Film Festival is entering its sixth year of genre film goodness. A one-of-a-kind film experience created for both filmmakers and film lovers to celebrate genre filmmaking in an approachable environment, it has been described by Movie Maker Magazine as a “summer camp for filmmakers.”

Over the next few days, I’ll be reviewing several movies from this fest, based in the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester, Virginia. This year, there are 14 feature films and 87 short films from all over the world. Weekend passes are only $65 and you can get them right here.

The Brilliant Terror (2021): So many movies are released today — just look at Tubi or this site — because we have the tools to make a film with just our phones and the internet. Paul Hunt and Julie Kauffman have gone deep into the world of low budget modern filmmakers and why they do what they do, centered around Lancaster, PA filmmaker Mike Lombardo shooting the bloody bathroom of The Stall, in The Brilliant Terror.

These digitally made films are the children and grandchildren of the regional horror that we know and love so much, even if they don’t show the culture of where they’re made as often as Romero’s films so rooted in Pittsburgh or Brownrigg in Texas.

The movie also introduces us to Slapface creator Jeremiah Kipp, Gitchy maker Thomas Norman, Caveat creator Julie Ufema, Night of the Loup Garou director Micah Ginn and Movie Monster Insurance filmmaker Paula Helfley as well as giving them the opportunity to speak about why they love movies and what inspired them to make them.

If you’ve seen Justin McConnell’s Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business, you may have already experienced a similar story. The best part of this movie is that it shows the real world issues driving the filmmakers and what may keep them from achieving their visions. There are also appearances by author Michael Gingold, screenwriter Stephen Romano, movie lover Scott Jeune and scholars Joanne Cantor, Noël Carroll and Cynthia Freelandoll who each explain horror from different angles, from personal experience to academic analysis.

Of everyone in this, I appreciated Heidi Honeycutt the most, as she speaks to the opportunity for these movies to give creators an opportunity to “make our own art, our own alternative messages in film.” Instead of worrying about people sending negative messages and how society views them, the filmmakers here that have a chance of doing exactly that are the ones who push through and concentrate on a true vision. This movie inspired me to track down so many of their films, which makes me consider this movie a success.

You can learn more about The Brilliant Terror at the official website.

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