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SF Informer interviews local filmmakers premiering at HoleHead!
More local filmmakers discuss their premieres for IndieFest horror
By Adam Brinklow, SF Informer
SF IndieFest’s “Another Hole in the Head” film festival rolls out even more local talent in December with films like Charles Webb’s The G-string Horror, a half-documentary shot in the infamous Market Street Cinema. Is the venerable old theater turned strip bar really haunted? Maybe, maybe not, says the veteran director.
“The club is built inside of the movie palace but it’s much smaller, so there are large areas of the old theater that aren’t open to the public,” Webb said. “They’re just full of memorabilia and theater seats and costumes and it’s really creepy.”
Webb describes a virtual underworld of subbasements, tunnels, balconies and abandoned dressing rooms behind the club façade. “I was aware that the place had a reputation for being haunted. I thought it would be a great place to shoot a horror film.”
Webb laid aside his initial script when he became more interested in the testimonials of Cinema employees. “There’s one story after another of people seeing a dancer appear and vanish, or appear backstage. There was a janitor quite a few years ago who died of a heart attack and he likes to show up in the front row of the theater.” Webb took the testimonial footage and married it to scripted footage shot with scream queen Debra Lamb and adult actress Natasha Talonz to create a singular, half-documentary style movie.
But is the haunting for real? “I’m a skeptic about that kind of thing,” Webb said. “But you’re always skeptical until the next thing happens.”
Also playing in December is Cynthia Curnan’s Road to Hell, a quasi sequel/homage to the 1984 cult classic Streets of Fire. The project stemmed from a longtime argument with director Albert Pyun about the ending: “Albert thought it was the most romantic ending, but I thought something terrible was going to happen,” Curnan said. “I said I was going to write a script trying to prove my point of view.”
Road to Hell was shot almost entirely on green screen in 2008 but only recently hit the festival circuit because the entire thing was nearly destroyed. “A catastrophic camera failure damaged every single frame of the movie. We’ve spent four years fixing and reshooting. It was laborious: frame by frame.”
Curnan said some Streets of Fire fans feel a bit jilted by her radically different vision. “There were some people who wanted to kill us for turning their beloved romantic fantasy tale into something very dark. I’ve had fans tell me I should be ashamed of myself.” But she stands by her interpretation.
Almost half of the films appearing at the festival are shorts like Jeff Cohlman’s “This Little Light.” Curnan’s movie may be thematically dark, but “This Little Light” is the real deal: “Ninety percent of the movie is in pitch darkness,” said producer Danielle Cohen. “It’s a nine-minute short film and you only get to see what’s going on over the course of three matches.”
The project grew from a simple question: What scares people? “Over and over again [when we asked] it was things like ‘Being in the dark and not knowing where I am.’” So Cohen and Cohlman shot a film about a single character alone in the dark with no way to verify where she is.
“We shot it all at CELLspace in the Mission and I was having nightmares at the end of both nights of shooting,” Cohen admitted. “But we still had a great time.”
The G-string Horror screens Dec. 5th at the Roxie. Road to Hell plays December 6th at the Roxie. “This Little Light” plays in front of the film Zero Killed at the Terra Gallery, Dec. 9th.