May 13, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Dark Matters Film Fest Unspools in Albuquerque, May 16-19

"...a showcase celebration of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, running May 16-19 in Albuquerque, with a program of a dozen new features and a bunch of shorts"

By Casey St. Charnez

Media Rare

Casey St. Charnez has been video editor for Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide since 1986 and buyer for Lisa Harris' Video Library since 1981. He likes Lisa, cats, crosswords, and the Metropolitan Opera, probably in that order.

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When he walked into Video Library last week, neither Brennan Foster nor I had any idea that I’d end up reaping blog material from him. Yet, here it is.

He had a fistful of something to put on the counter for the store’s customers to notice and read. I just happened to be there when he showed up.

“Do you have someplace I can put these?” he asked me.

“No,” I replied.

It was blunt, but it was the truth. All the surfaces of Lisa’s store are covered in movies, be they Blu-Ray, DVD, or even VHS. There’s nowhere to stack a pile of anything else, even if it’s only 5x8, as were these brochures.

“But,” I continued, “you can put some on the bulletin board. Did you bring any push pins?”

“No,” he replied.

But with some diligent rearranging of papers already posted, he came up with a few spare tacks, attaching pieces of his bundle around the cork.

It was only then that I saw what he was promoting: the burgeoning Dark Matters Film Fest, a showcase celebration of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror, running May 16-19 in Albuquerque, with a program of a dozen new features and a bunch of shorts, all at the venerable Guild Theater (3405 Central Ave NE, 505-255-1848).

“Wow!” I exclaimed, perusing the filmic offerings. “There’s some cool stuff in here.” I checked out the program’s masthead. “Oh, of course,” I said, “it’s Devin D. O’Leary.” O'Leary has been the film writer for the Weekly Alibi for 20 years and now he practically owns the joint. A rabid fan of genre film, he’s even written and appeared in them, most notably in “Romeo and Juliet vs. the Living Dead” (2009) and as a lust-crazed fellow in “The Stink of Flesh” (2005), in which he energetically bangs a malformed Siamese twin in claymation. Don’t ask. 

As but one of a triad of DMFF director/founders, he’s program director, while Roberto Appicciafoco is fest director, and Foster its development director, and, apparently, its public relations front man. Why else drive all the way to Santa Fe to distribute these glossy festival guides? There must be a lot of undeadheads here.

Some of the features are real finds. Friday’s opening night film is “Compound Fracture,” starring three actors who have played some of cinema’s great slasher dudes, like Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees. Later that evening, there’sthe well-reviewed “Eddie: The Sleepwalking Cannibal,” a Canadian-Danish co-production, in which the title tells all.

Saturday brings the latest zombie apocalypse epic “The Battery,” shot for a mere $6,000; another “Battle Royale”-type moppet massacre called “I Declare War”; and a dark coming-of-age story, “Found,” among other treats.

Nor would one wish to miss “Blood Soaked” on Sunday, a made-in-New Mexico grindhouser by a guy who went to SFUAD, plus the documentary “Adjust Your Tracking,” about dedicated VHS collectors. Speaking of which, there’s also “V/H/S/2” in debut.

But wait, as the man said, there’s more: The Sister Bar (407 Central Ave. NW, 505-242-4900) will host Thursday evening’s zombie-themed launch party, starting at 8 p.m., with contests, a photo booth, live music and downtown-style carousing.

For ticket prices, fest passes, advance sales and other info, visit the DMFF Web site at www.darkmattersfilmfest.com, where you can download the festival guide, sign up for e-mail, even watch a nifty 30-second video trailer.

They’re also on Facebook and Twitter.

After Foster left, Lisa turned to me and said, “You know, that would make a good column for you.”

“I know,” I answered.

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