The second night of the New York City Horror Film Festival took place on a fitting day, Friday the 13th.
The NCYHFF is a four-day-long event that takes place each November at various venues throughout the city. The festival is competitive and screens approximately 50 to 80 films each year. Awards such as Best Director, Best Horror Feature Film, Best Short Film, Best Screen Play and Audience Choice are presented at the end of the festival. There is also the Lifetime Achievement Award, which is presented to one legendary horror filmmaker. Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award include Wes Craven, director of The Hills Have Eyes, The Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream and Mick Garris, director of The Shining.
I was greeted at the door of Times Scare by a tall man with ragged clothes and a skeleton painted face, who led me up the stairs past hanging, bloody skeletons and coffins into the Elektra Theater.
The first short film of the program was an 11-minute short “Iris,” directed by Richard Karpala. Alluding to the world renowned iPhone operating system Siri, “Iris” is about a new smartphone so advanced that it decides not to help its owner by calling 911 during a life threatening situation, leaving him to die.
Next was the short film “Dead Hearts,” directed by Stephen Martin. The 16-minute short follows the story of a young boy whose family comes from a long line of morticians. Years later, his heart is donated when he dies. After waking from the dead, he seeks the person with his heart. The short film tells the story of the boy to show that “for some, death is only the beginning.”
The feature film of the night was Friday The 13th. Directed by Sean Cunningham, the legendary horror classic follows a group of camp counselors who, while trying to reopen a summer camp closed as a result of the drowning of a young boy years before, are stalked and murdered one by one. After the showing of the film, Sean Cunningham came to accept the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award. Sean Cunningham has directed movies such as A Stranger is Watching and produced movies including The Last House on The Left and My Boyfriend’s Back.
During a Q&A following Cunningham’s acceptance of the award, he said, “In Friday the 13th these are all pretty nice kids. They weren’t doing anything bad and bad things happens to them and that’s something that’s really hard to deal with. And inside of that is something that draws us back again and again.”
The NYCHFF is a great event that celebrates all things horror. As a horror film lover, I will definitely be back to the festival in the coming years.