The end of September saw the NOLA Horror Film Fest roll out the red carpet at our single screen mecca The Prytania, to the joy of many fans of genre and spooks. While we patiently wait for the award winners to be announced, another movie event of the macabre gears up to disturb and entertain.
Called “Loup Garou”, this film program specialty will take place over two nights, Oct. 5 and 6 (Saturday and Sunday), and mix the efforts of musicians, artists, and filmmakers, toward the call of darkness and that which crawls and creeps on screen and in our hearts and minds. Local film groups and collectives such as Terror Optics, Pyramid FX, and Creepy Fest (on which Terror Optics is currently doing a documentary).
Featuring punk rock, foreign cult sensations and local art pieces, Loup Garou is more than just another gathering from the folks at Bar Redux; it’s a downright bloody affair.
I chatted with DJ Mange Vorhees (no known relation to Jason of “Friday the 13th” fame) and Bill Heintz of Creepy Fest about Loup Garou, the Son of Celluloid show and what makes New Orleans the perfect setting for various horror-themed events. Indeed, Halloween isn’t just an “end of October” thing. At least, not in NOLA:
What comes to your mind first when you think “Loup Garou”, and why was it chosen as the title of a film festival?
Mange Vorhees: Loup Garou is one pronunciation of the local version of the werewolf mythology, so it’s a fitting name for a local festival, even though we don’t try to limit ourselves to LA creators. My first impression, upon hearing the phrase, is of a primal force that inhabits the wilds of Louisiana; powerful, destructive and secluded. It speaks to some of the best elements which good horror draws from of our basic fears, that something malevolent exists in the world and that mankind is not so safe in this world we think we control.
Bill Heintz: I always think of the Loup Garou statue at the Audubon Zoo. I was entranced by it as a kid. It sparked my curiosity on the whole story and has stuck with me since. It seemed like an appropriate name given its local horror story ties. Actually, Jenn Attaway came up with the name for the festival at one of our early meetings with Janya at Bar Redux.
The “Son of Celluloid” program chose Ichi the Killer this year. Why? What locally made horror films might you consider to screen in the future?
MV: I like foreign horror a lot, and it’s easier to deal with a kind of guerrilla marketing of a small festival if we sidestep most of red tape by using foreign films. I’m also a big fan of the more uninhibited bizarreness of Japanese cinema, and a big fan of splatter and gore. If we were to consider domestic films only, I would like to find more films like “The Void” or “Beyond the Black Rainbow”; atmospheric with a visually distinct style, but also a hard edge of shock and viscerally appalling effects. I love films that make you cringe rather than startle you. Body horror and grotesque creature design are my two favorite elements of this nature.
BH: I usually screen one of the features that I’ve made with Terror Optics at the fest so it’s up to Mange to pick out the midnight screenings. It’s in good hands though because he has great taste in cinema! I’ll be screening our latest film “Silk Scream” as well as short films from my friends Will Frank and Jason Affolder. We do hope to screen more locally made films down the road so local filmmakers are encouraged to get in touch!
It strikes me as very interesting how New Orleans has at least two film fests dedicated to horror. What is the relationship like between our city and this genre of film? Are these spooky times, or straight-up scary?
MV: NOLA revels in the macabre and occult. We use it like salt in marketing to tourists; some use just a pinch, some pour it on. It’s therefore natural to have a horror film fest here, where we celebrate this fascination with darkness a bit more as an entrenched element of the culture. I would hope we hit all the markets of horror: spooky and scary, as well as chilling, terrifying, unsettling…
BH: New Orleans has so much dark history that it’s only natural that the locals embrace the film aspect of it. The Overlook Film Fest moved to New Orleans due to the haunted history of the city which makes a lot of sense. That particular fest brings a lot of people from out of town and utilizes the haunted hot spots. NOLA Horror Film Fest has been consistently amazing year after year so it has become a staple of local film culture. There’s also a lot of one-off horror film screenings like Horror Nights On Frenchmen at Bamboula’s, as well as movie nights at Gasa Gasa, AllWays Lounge and many more. The Loup Garou Film Fest brings more local ties in and focuses on the people that organize a lot of these other screenings.
Does Bar Redux hold other movie showtimes throughout the year? How open are they to filmmakers and programmers of all backgrounds?
MV: Son of Celluloid does a monthly event of two films somehow related. I’m open to everything, and I try to give more airtime to lesser-known works but it’s tough as that cuts into the draw. There’s a fine line between catering to the connoisseur who appreciates the time put into finding hidden gems vs having enough people interested to make the event worthwhile, which means putting in more popular fare.
BH: They host quite a bit of film screenings throughout the year often as a themed double feature. It’s really cool because they hit a lot of my favorite genres like delinquent films, classic horror, cult faves and just plain weird. Janya and Russ are huge supporters of local filmmakers so NOLA-made movies are pretty common fare.
Is there a cover charge to enter The Scrapyard (Bar Redux patio) or is the event mostly free for all?
MV: The monthly Son of Celluloid is free, and it would be really tough to convince me to ever do otherwise. For the Loup Garou fest, the cover (if any) will be set by the organizational group and posted along with the other information through social media and the website.
BH: It’s $5 a night for the art show and local films. Most likely the cover will be lifted in time for the midnight screening. It’s the type of event where you could hang out for hours. The bar is set up with a great selection and their food is top notch. One of my favorite gumbos in the city!