Friday morning started with a bang as I stumbled into the front patio of the Housecore Horror Film Festival where I was suddenly face to face with the men that haunted my childhood imagination, Gunnar Hansen and Bill Johnson; The Leatherfaces from Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1 and 2, respectively. I kind of just creepily starred at them to make sure I wasn’t dreaming before going to browse merchandise booths for cool scores. I picked up a shirt with the evil jack-o-lantern from Halloween 2 and a few buttons, including one for Abel Ferrera’s Driller Killer, the scuzzy New York slasher movie. I then killed some time looking at horror memorabilia from some really unique vendors. Before I knew it, the time had come for Brian Posehn to play the Midway stage. He joked about Star Wars, eating like an old lady’s dog, and curb stomping Guy Fieri. It was sinisterly hilarious. Next I found myself in the Grindhouse Tent for the debut of American Guinea Pig, the American version of Japan’s snuff-like Flowers of Flesh and Blood. This movie was excruciatingly brilliant in its unforgiving sheer brutality. Have you ever wanted to see people tortured in a frighteningly realistic manner? If so, go find this creepy, blood splattered extravaganza. I won’t give too much away but it’s definitely on the sick fuck level of A Serbian Film. Go see it in your town, you drooling, deviant dirtbag.
I wasn’t able to attend the day activities on Saturday but made it to the Grindhouse Tent again at nightfall, just in time for Circus of the Dead. This film was just plain sadistic. If you are into dead children and creepy, rapist clowns, you might end up masturbating in joy to this one. The body count was high, the acting was well done, and there were even some humorous moments but something about this movie just turned me off. Maybe I’m going soft after years as a rabid gore hound. Neurosis played that night and accomplished more in an hour than most bands do in a lifetime. They are heavy, psychedelic warlords, and a monolithic powerhouse of otherworldy, holy pain. I couldn’t even stick around for Gwar since half of my face melted off during Neurosis.
Sunday was a sad occasion as all good things must come to an end. I nervously got some autographs from the cast of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and paced around looking for a good film to catch. I ended up in the Die-35 Tent for Phil Mucci presenting his music videos and award winning short films. I never saw any of his pieces before but Mucci is a fucking wizard. He makes sexy, apocalyptic, landscapes of lust and death in the most surreal manner possible. Mucci showed the videos he did for the likes of Monster Magnet, High on Fire, and Pig Destroyer. Seriously, holy shit. I can’t praise this guy enough. He is passionate about his visual art and it certainly shows. As night fell, I headed to the main Emo’s building and witnessed southern swamp lords, Eyehategod, basically riff their way through a smoky set of doomed out metal. These deranged bastards can do no wrong. They have unquestionably mastered their craft. Next up was Danzig and Samhain. In recent years Danzig has become somewhat of a joke after a few tasteless public debacles but this night he rocked a set with class and fury. Danzig played classics such as “Twist of Cain”, “Under Her Black Wings” and more audience pleasers before drenching himself in fake blood and coming back out for a scorching hot Samhain set. It was an amazing end to an amazing weekend. The ghost of fifteen year old me most definitely gave my current self a high five.
FINAL NOTE: The day after the fest I learned that cofounder Cory Mitchell had passed away Sunday night after suffering a heart attack at Emo’s. I didn’t get a chance to meet Cory but he is responsible for one of the best weekends of my adult life. I was truly saddened to hear about his untimely passing and want to offer my deepest condolences to his family and friends.