“San Diego is great for film, but the horror genre... has been like an ignored stepchild,” festival founder Miguel Rodriguez tells CityBeat. “I wanted to start something to give local and independent artists and filmmakers some exposure and to give the genre some of its due.”
The one-day event, which includes five features and several shorts, will be divided into two parts. The first is based on terror of the mind and will showcase psychological thrillers such as the 1960 classic Peeping Tom and Lis Fies' The Commune. Part 2 is based on the body and will get considerably more graphic, featuring movies like The Beyond and the perfectly named Dead Hooker in a Trunk.
Rodriguez, who also runs the podcast “Monster Island Resort,” says that although horror films and their fans are considered niche, the genre offers something universal.
“It satisfies a base human darkness,” he says. “I think everybody has a dark side, and horror is able to expose our dark side in a safe medium. It's nothing new. Historically, you had public executions and gladiators, where people would satisfy that dark side of them with actual acts of violence. But this is more of an artistic medium.”
After repeated trips to Los Angeles for horror events, Rodriguez, who's gotten advice and promotional help from FilmOut and the San Diego Asian Film Festival, decided to put on a show of his own. Part of his mission, he says, is to overcome public perception of horror and the stigma that is often attached to being a fan.
“There is an overarching feeling that something is wrong with someone who is a fan of the horror genre,” he says. “And it's regularly scapegoated as the reason for violent crimes. But, of course, that's kind of ridiculous. Giving horror a public forum and celebration is a good step towards overcoming it. Exposure is the greatest weapon against stigma.”
All-inclusive tickets to the fest, including an after-party, are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. horribleimaginingsfilmfest.com
Due Date: Road-trip comedy stars Robert Downey Jr. as a guy desperate to get across the country, but the only way he can do it is by catching a ride with insane Zach Galifianakis. Directed by The Hangover's Todd Phillips.
Fair Game: Naomi Watts is Valerie Plame and Sean Penn is Joe Wilson in this look at how CIA agent Plame's identity was leaked to the press after husband Wilson authored a controversial op-ed in The New York Times. The acting's good, but this should have come out years ago. See our review on Page 25.
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf: Tyler Perry adapts Ntozake Shange's celebrated play with Whoopi Goldberg, Janet Jackson, Phylicia Rashad, Anika Noni Rose, Loretta Devine and Macy Gray.
Journey into Amazing Caves: Which one goes up, stalactites or stalagmites? This one will screen Fridays at 7 p.m in the IMAX theater at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
Megamind: A new 3-D animated flick with Will Ferrell as the misunderstood bad guy, Brad Pitt as the hero and Tina Fey as the funniest person in the room.
Monsters: Low-budget sci-fi romance about a reporter escorting an American tourist through an alien-infested Mexico. Um, that's aliens as in outer space.
My Dog Tulip: Christopher Plummer, Lynn Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini lend their voices to this low-key, animated tale of a man and his dog.
ONE TIME ONLY
Coming to America: What's Arsenio Hall up to these days? Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
The Princess Bride: Wallace Shawn steals the show in Rob Reiner's 1987 classic. Screens at 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 4, through Saturday, Nov. 6, at Cinema Under the Stars in Mission Hills.
Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: A look at environmental damage and how little we do to fix it. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the Sierra Club office (8304 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite 101, in Kearny Mesa).
Days and Clouds: Well-made Italian film about a couple struggling to keep things together when the husband loses his job. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the Little Theatre on the Oceanside MiraCosta College Campus.
Deen Tight: This documentary looks at the role hip-hop plays in the lives of young American Muslims. Screens at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 5, at the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.
Encinitas Silent Film Festival: Last year's debut festival was such a success, they decided to do it again. This year's featured star is Buster Keaton; films include Steamboat Bill, Jr. and Sherlock Holmes, and some of them will feature live accompaniment. It runs Friday, Nov. 5, through Sunday, Nov. 7, at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas. See etcinfo.net for details.
Alice in Wonderland: If you go expecting to see the recent Tim Burton / Johnny Depp version, you'll be pleasantly surprised by the Disney cartoon. Screens at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.
Spike & Mike's New Festival of Animation: More highbrow than the standard sick-and-twisted stuff you've come to expect from the animation powerhouse, but just as entertaining. Starts at 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla.
For Heaven's Sake: This silent Harold Lloyd feature will be accompanied by two Laurel and Hardy shorts, as well as live organ accompaniment. Starts at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at Trinity Hall in Spring Valley.
Winter's Bone: Debra Granik's noir thriller, set in a closed, meth-cooking community in the Ozarks, is as grim as its name. It's also well-written and well-made and features an award-caliber performance from Jennifer Lawrence as a 17-yearold who has to find her deadbeat father or she and her siblings will lose their home. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Fascinating, Oscar-nominated documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration.
A must-see for potential whistle-blowers and journalists. Screens at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, at the Central Library, Downtown. Free.
El Nido Vacio: The first of the San Diego Latino Film Festival's Jewish Latino Film Series is about a married couple who get a serious case of empty-nest syndrome when the last child moves out. Screens at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, at UltraStar Poway.
Risky Business: Here's your chance to see Tom Cruise in his underpants. Screens at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10, at The Pearl Hotel in Point Loma. Free.
Douchebag: This no-budget, buzzy Sundance flick is about two brothers searching for the younger one's grade-school girlfriend on the eve of the older one's wedding. Ends Nov. 4 at the Ken Cinema.
The Girl Who Kicked the hornet's Nest: The vast conspiracy at the heart of Steig Larsson's books might be a little far-fetched, but this makes for a nice conclusion to the adventures of Lisbeth Salander. At least until the Hollywood remake.
Saw 3D: Puzzles just get trickier when you're having severed limbs poked at you.
Conviction: Hilary Swank stars as Betty Ann Waters, who spent almost 20 years trying to prove her brother (Sam Rockwell) didn't commit the murder he went to jail for. Moving story, predictable film.
Hereafter: Is Clint Eastwood pondering his mortality? Possibly—his new movie looks at what happens when we die, and it does so through three disparate storylines. There's the French journalist who sees the afterlife as she barely survives a tsunami, the British boy pining for his brother and Matt Damon, who plays a psychic who hates the fact that he can talk to the dead.
Inside Job: Matt Damon narrates Charles Ferguson's exhaustive documentary about which people, exactly, were responsible for the recent global finance crisis.
Paranormal Activity 2: Because one just wasn't enough.
Tamara Drewe: Gemma Arterton is an ugly duckling who becomes a swan and returns to the town where she was born, only to raise hell with the luminaries attending an artists conference there. Ends Nov. 4 at La Jolla Village Cinemas.
Jackass 3-D: Shit is flying in 3-D. Literally.
Nowhere Boy: A portrait of an adolescent John Lennon, played by Kick- Ass' Aaron Johnson. turns out all he needed was love.
Red: Action-comedy starring Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, John Malkovich and, best of all, Helen Mirren, as retired spies some young whippersnappers are trying to kill.
Waiting for “Superman”: You may not agree with all of Davis Guggenheim's (An Inconvenient Truth) assertions about education, but you should watch his new documentary, because it's a discussion we need to have.
It's Kind of a Funny Story: Zach Galifianakis is pretty good, but this comingof-age story set in a mental hospital feels exploitative once you've been discharged.
Life as We Know It: Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel are polar opposites forced to move in together and take care of an orphaned baby girl. We're guessing it all works out.
Secretariat: Thoroughly family-friendly PG version of how one of history's most famous racehorses got his start.
Let Me In: Solid if unnecessary remake of the terrific 2008 Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In.
The Social Network: David Fincher's new film about the early days of Facebook is more entertaining than 99.9 percent of status updates.
You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger: The latest one from Woody Allen is a cynical look at marriage. Anthony Hopkins, Naomi Watts, Josh Brolin, Freida Pinto, Antonio Banderas and a host of others are linked together in some way, and none of them is very happy about it.
Catfish: When a New York City photographer finally visits a Michigan family he's gotten to know via Facebook, he finds something entirely different than what he expected. This documentary about internet deception has some viewers wondering if the entire movie is a faade—the filmmakers, however, insist it's all true.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole: Animated, PG-rated owl film directed by Zack Snyder, the guy behind Watchmen and 300.
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps: It's been 23 years since Oliver Stone told us that greed was good. Yes, Gordon Gecko is back, but he's almost extraneous, as green energy Wall Streeter Shia LaBeouf dukes it out with sleazy megatrader Josh Brolin. It's simplistic and sporadically entertaining.
Alpha and Omega: Because there just aren't enough 3-D animated movies about animals. Justin Long and Hayden Panettiere are a pair of wolves who have to learn whether love can overcome the pack's social order. We're guessing it can.
Easy A: Emma Stone finally gets a starring role in this about-face turn on The Scarlet Letter. She's Olive, a non-promiscuous high-schooler who gets a reputation for being easy—and proceeds to use it to get ahead.
Devil: Five people enter an elevator, and one of them's the devil. Hey, it was M. Night Shyamalan's idea.
The Town: Ben Affleck directs himself (not a euphemism). He's a Boston thug torn between bad-guy buddy Jeremy Renner and Blake Lively, a bank manager he once stuck up (also not a euphemism). Oh, and FBI man Jon Hamm is hot on his trail (still no euphemism).
Mao's Last Dancer: Bruce Beresford directs this biopic of Li Cunxin, who was chosen by the Chinese government to become a world-class ballet dancer.
Coral Reef Adventure: The Fleet's classic IMAX film takes you for a visit to the reefs of Tahiti. Which is cheaper than airfare and your own SCUBA gear, by the way.
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti: The latest IMAX entry at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park follows super surfer Kelly Slater as he does his thing on some massive waves.
Hubble: Leonardo DiCaprio lends his pipes to this IMAX film, which uses CGI and real footage to take a close look at saturn's rings. Just stay away from Uranus. At the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show: The camp classic continues its ongoing run, Fridays at midnight at La Paloma Theatre in Encinitas.