Horror buffs at the Stanley Film Festival named Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows the audience favourite among a programme dripping with bloody excellence.
The award was announced at the festival’s closing day Horror Brunch, alongside the presentations of Stanley’s Visionary and Master of Horror honorary awards.
Stanley, only in its second year, is quickly establishing a solid reputation for itself on the genre festival circuit. It’s built on one of those ideas that slurs great after midnight and too many beers: hey guys, why don’t we hold a horror festival in that spooky hotel which inspired Stephen King’s The Shining?
What, you mean the hotel that’s “consistently ranked the #1 haunted hotel in the world”?
That’s the one.
The difference from most such evenings was that when the Denver Film Society woke up the next morning, it still seemed like a good idea – and they turned it into a reality.
This year, the programme included some panel discussions and announced some high-calibre ticket sellers ahead of time. Joe Dante (Gremlins) was announced as the recipient of the festival’s Master of Horror award.
Presenting SpectreVision with the Visionary Award was a smart move. It delivered a title for the programme, Nacho Vigolando’s Open Windows, and SpectreVision founders Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh Waller as guest speakers, along with filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, whose Sundance-premiered A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night SpectreVision produced.
The long weekend festival bookended its programme with two broad appeal titles, opening with Doc of the Dead, which will soon be seen here in the Doc Edge Festival accompanied by its director Alexandre Philippe, and closing with What We Do in the Shadows. Bloody Disgusting offered a positive if cryptic review of Shadows.
Also screening during the weekend were Gerard Johnstone’s SXSW-premiered Escalator feature Housebound and Paul Glubb and Nic Gorman’s triple award winner at Show Me Shorts and the Best Short winner at the Moas, Here Be Monsters.
From across the ditch Jennifer Kent’s Sundance-premiered The Babadook and James Fleming & Kelly Hucker’s short Ghost Train were also selected.