With digital media encouraging the international proliferation of entertainment trends, one genre that has really benefited from the global marketplace is the humble horror film. Already there have been innovative films from as far-flung destinations as Japan with Ichi The Killer, and Germany’s Rammbock. But South Africa is the latest country to place itself firmly on the horror map.
The arrival of the upcoming South African Horror Fest is a clear signal to the international community that South Africa is getting serious about horror.
The Horror Fest is now in its eleventh year of operation since its inception in 2005. The first Horror Fest took over the Labia Theatre in Cape Town and featured an array of horror films from George A. Romero’s 1968 classic Night Of The Living Dead, to South African short horror flicks such as Shadow Realm Volume 1: Distorted Visions.
The introduction of the Horror Fest illustrates the rapid media development that has been occurring recently in South Africa, and festivals like this are a great way for the world to sit up and take notice.
For example, the South African music scene has been given a shot in the arm with the modern African rock sounds of BLK JKS, whereas the burgeoning South African gaming industry can be witnessed through the likes of Springbok Casino whose vast range of online games can even be played abroad. Furthermore, the South African film industry is rapidly growing, especially after the worldwide acclaim given to films such as Neill Blomkamp’s 2009 alien drama District 9.
A big part of the South African Horror Fest is the fact that fans are able to submit their own horror movies for inclusion at the festival’s screenings. This aims to encourage homegrown horror in a way that engages the community and provides a good deal of gory entertainment too!
Once entered, each film submission has the opportunity to be featured in the Horror Fest’s awards categories. In 2014, the Best Short Film category was won by both The Carriage and Dracula And My Mother who picked up the R10,000 prize. Plus there are further enticing categories including Best Comedic Entry and Most Gory!
Aside from film, the festival will also host a Bloody Parchment short story competition that will be extended in 2015 to feature novellas with the possible prospect of publication for the lucky winner.
As well as the movie delights on offer, Horror Fest will feature a few other attractions too. Notably, there have already been exclusive Q&A sessions with top horror aficionados such as Fangoria editor Chris Alexander, as well as a special night market catering in horror-themed goods.
And finally, music will feature extensively in the South African Horror Fest. The Cape Town based The Makabra Ensemble will be on hand to perform a live horror movie soundtrack.
And although this year’s soundtrack is still under wraps, last year the band performed a chilling version of the legendary German Expressionist horror film The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, so expect something similarly gruesome when they return for Horror Fest 2015!