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Crimson Screen Horror Film Fest returns with a huge lineup of thrillers and chillers

The Dark Arts

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For better or worse, if there were any genre more prone to excessive sequelization, it's the horror genre. Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter promised us that was the last time we'd ever see Jason. Nightmare on Elm Street 4: The Dream Master claimed Freddy had finally met his match. Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers told us The Shape was back for the last time. And then there's Leprechaun 4, the one set in spaaaaace.

Speaking of the number four, this year the Crimson Screen Horror Film Festival creeps its way back into Park Circle for the fourth time. From gloomy comedies to atmospheric ghost stories to grindhouse-inspired slasher flicks, the festival offers a little something for anyone who likes peering into the dark chasm of horror.

Local author and College of Charleston professor W. Scott Poole, whose H.P. Lovecraft biography In the Mountains of Madness was released last year, will give another writer's workshop about adapting fiction to screenplays. Meanwhile, the festival welcomes special guest horror icon Joe Bob Briggs. Known mostly for his funny, acerbic critiques of B-movies and former hosting duties on TNT's late-night variety series MonsterVision and TMC's Drive-In Theater, on Saturday Briggs joins the festival for a special Q&A panel. He will also be presented with the festival's second Horror Icon Award.

With over 40 shorts and features in the line-up, there is a little something for everyone willing to entertain the dark parts of their psyche. Like past years, a few South Carolina folks have their own horrific works to present:

106 White Lake

The first of six films offered in the South Carolina Short Films Block, local actress/filmmaker Elizabeth Mear's entry begins with a tape of a frantic 911 call then flashes back to earlier in the evening as a young woman arrives home. Needless to say, the spectre of the phone call hovers over the mundanity of her nighttime ritual.

Arrhythmia

Dustin Weible's short film focuses on the heightened anxieties of a grieving, single father as he begins to notice his young daughter has been acting strangely after a recent heart surgery. It could just be a heavy case of paternal paranoia or maybe something or someone has followed them home from the hospital.

Devil's Advocate

Ghost hunters, ghostbusters, paranormal witnesses — a large chunk of people believe spirits, ghosts, and all that other hibideejibidee. Others, like Sam, do not. While at a wedding, a ghost hunter claims to have an audio tape of the devil's voice. Claiming to have anything to do with the prince of darkness never sounds like a good idea.

Through the Night

It's bad enough when psychos in burlap sacks are running out and about doing that psychotic thing they do. It's even worse when the weather hasn't been feeling especially kind while you shack up in a log cabin in the woods actively avoiding the aforementioned burlap fella. It should be noted that the burlapped one loves chainsaws more than Leatherface in this ode to survival horror.

Off the Beaten Path

Look at Rachel and Stuart; they're in love and stuff. You'd be correct to assume a random trip to the woods with a loved one could be the recipe for a beautiful memorable moment. You'd also be right to assume that this local entry in the festival will not end nicely.

As I Prey

When you're in a horror film, it's never a good sign when you have an online chat session that ends with a date between two strangers and the not-so-harmless question "What could go wrong?" Since this will be showing at a horror festival, it's highly likely that things will go wrong.

Lake Moultrie Massacre

In the latest from local production company Turn A Phrase Films, six college kids take a trip to a family cabin. Apparently, the cabin holds some old secrets. Those secrets aren't of the "I know where One-Eyed Willie hid all the gold" variety, of course.

Edgar Allan Poe's The Lighthouse Keeper

Having been marooned by a violent storm, a young man, J.P., wakes up alone on a remote beach. With a case of that old amnesia, he soon meets Walsh, a lighthouse keeper. The enigmatic Walsh explains to him they are stuck in there for a while. Though Walsh insists they're the only ones there, the man is convinced he's seen a woman — oh, and the visions of phantoms haunting the grounds are driving him a little mad. Based on the unfinished work of everyone's favorite dead horror writer/poet, and produced by University of South Carolina graduate Jeff Miller, this feature film is a gothic tale that harkens back to B-movie king Roger Corman's Poe adaptations from the '60s. If Walsh (Vernon Wells) looks a little familiar, you may recognize him as the mohawked villain from The Road Warrior and Weird Science.

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