Lightning Octopus Phoenix Film Festival 4

The films are easily the second best part of going to The Phoenix Film Festival / Sci-Fi Horror Film Festival.

The best thing, by far, is the people:

First off, year after year, the PFF volunteers  are some of the most helpful and excited that I’ve ever encountered. Not only did they put up with my boys on Kids Day, I never got lost, they answered all of my questions, were able and willing to talk film with me, and they were respectful even when I was obviously becoming a fire hazard in the hallways.

Second, there’s nothing like watching an independent film then having its makers stand up, tell stories, and answer questions about what you just watched. Sometimes films become more alive and even funnier after you’ve seen them when you hear what was going on behind the scenes. Plus sometimes they like your tweets and want to hang out a little afterwards.

Lightning Octopus Phoenix Film Festival 2

Lightning Octopus Phoenix Film Festival 1

And, my favorite, is running into friends and fellow fans. The wife and I were lucky enough to once again run into Geeksociated Press, Nerdvana, some friends from Phoenix Comicon, Paul from UAT, and even The Midnight Movie Mamacita and crew.

(Ahh! Repressed “Royale closing” memories resurfacing…)

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Okay, you probably came here to read about what I saw.

The crowd-pleaser was FDR: American Badass.

When I chatted up the writers/directors of this film, they told me one of their goals was to create the most ridiculous film ever made. They may have come closer than they think. From Werewolf Hitler to Kevin Sorbo as a flying Abraham Lincoln, to FDR’s silver-bullet-shooting rocket-launching wheelchair (designed, of course, by Albert Einstein), the film makes no apologies for “going there.”

My least favorite was the disappointing Monster Brawl. It’s the one about monsters getting in a ring and punching each other in the face. Yeah, that’s about it. The wife and I literally walked out of this film about 20 minutes in – we were so bored. Too bad. I couldn’t help but think this idea could work in a web-series format, but not a full film.

Favorite short had to be Shoreditch Slayer, which was an adorably morbid two-and-a-half minutes of vampires bemoaning their fates in a post-Twilight world (while surreptitiously feasting on whoever was around). “I’ve even taken zombie work!”

And Beyond The Black Rainbow was not the retro-sci-fi-paranoid-mind-bender I was hoping for. I have to throw it into the “trying way too hard” category. It was gorgeous to watch for retro-future fans like myself, but even I start losing interest in 3 minute shots of overly blurry figures having black goop poured on them. Yeah, there’s a lot of that. Some major Kubrick overkill going on here.

I missed Shuffle, but if my Twitter feed is to be believed, it was supposedly pretty dang amazing. I’ll have to catch it sometime.

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Films, parties, people… I love film festivals.