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Horror Fest brings short, feature films to Jacksonville

By Katie Gile

Not everyone wants to watch a movie theater’s fare of horror movies. The Third Annual Horror Fest at the Five Points Theatre gives an alternative to mainstream fear flicks this Halloween season.

The theatre will host a myriad of the macabre starting Oct. 21, offering classic and locally made horror films. The event is crafted to draw the broadest audience possible while maintaining the integrity of horror, said Jack Shad, owner of the Five Points Theatre.

This year, the fest will focus primarily on local horror — showcasing both full-length and short films made in the Jacksonville area.

Among the full-length films is the Florida-born 1971 film “Zaat” by director Don Barton. The film tells the story of a mad scientist turned psychotic man/catfish. This 40-year anniversary showing is likely to bring in many members of the cast, Shad said.

Another of the film fest’s special attractions is the 2006 film “Special dEaD,” by director Todd Phillips. After the frenzy of campy fun, audience members can look forward to a Q-and-A session with its director.

Audiences can also see a marathon of Jacksonville short horror films, including “The Dead Beats,” by Jeremy Tidwell, a Jacksonville filmmaker. As a three-year employee of the Five Points Theatre, Tidwell founded the Horror Fest to expose the Jacksonville audience to more independent horror films, he said.

This year’s boasted classic film is the 1922 silent “Nosferatu” by F. W. Murnau. It’s the most family-friendly of the fest’s options this year, Shad said.

Musicians Tony Steve and Bob Moore will perform a live score along with the film.

Though some DVDs of silent films have an attached score playing alongside the film, Shad said Steve and Moore’s live scores make the show all the better.

“It’s a completely different experience to hear musicians play live as you’re watching,” Shad said.

The Five Points Theatre takes an unusual approach to film that draws many movie buffs. The Horror Fest has also earned a reputation for a different kind of excellence.

“It’s great to catch the unusual ones,” said Daniel Thompson, a Horror Fest veteran. “Most horror movies are a lot alike. [Five Points Theatre] shows the classics and stuff I’ve never even heard of.”

Typically, the fest attracts viewers ranging from curious 9-year-olds to viewers in their 70s who have sentimental ties to the films, Tidwell said.

“It’s a big draw for the older crowd,” he said. “They remember when the movies were being made here.”

Oct. 21 — 7 p.m.
$10Oct. 21 — 11:30 p.m.

Oct. 22 — 5 p.m.
Local short films, including Tidwell’s “Dead Beats”
Price not listed.

Oct. 22 — 7 p.m.
Special Dead -$8.50 (or $7.50 with student/senior/military ID)
*Includes question/answer session with Director Todd Phillips

Oct. 23 — 7 p.m.
Zaat- $10

Buy tickets at the box office or buy a $35 pass for the entire weekend at fivepointstheatre.com/movie/horror_fest

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