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.

Fame Fatale (2021): Michael (Michael James Daly, who also co-wrote this film with director Michelle Iannantuono and story consultant Maddox Julien Slide) has been acting for twenty years and trying to get his break. The role he’d been so hopeful to get has been awarded to someone else, so he heads off to a horror movie convention to try and get his mind off the loss.

The director said, “Michael and I have both spent a lot of time on the film circuit, and we’ve seen a LOT of indie horror movies. And while gay characters are certainly becoming more prominent in horror films, they are still often the first to be victimized, or they are villainized due to their sexuality. Often, their sexuality is their singular character trait that defines and motivates them – which is simply not a reflection of reality. On top of that, very frequently heterosexual actors are hired to play gay roles, making the pool of opportunity even smaller for struggling LGBT performers.

We wanted to create a horror film that stars a gay character, played by a gay actor, who is well-rounded, funny, and sympathetic. His identity is core to his portrayal, but his character is not motivated by it.”

With a strange interaction with Halloween Kills actor Michael Smallwood and an indie filmmaker panel that nearly destroys whatever hope for a career that Michael has, Fame Fatale does a great job at showing just how clique-ish the so-called horror fam of conventions can be. Yet there are still individuals that want to make it better, that know how to reach out to one another and not gatekeep. There’s still a reason to love fandom and push yourself to want to be a creator.

I really loved how Fame Fatale used VHS tracking to denote dream sequences and get inside the head of its lead. It made me consider the indie films that end up on the site and consider the lives and careers of every actor and crew member, no matter how small.

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