Saturday 14 November 2015

Book 4 - The International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival: The Transition Years

I'm proud to announce today the publication of my fourth book, The International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival: The Transition Years through Apocalypse Later Press. Yeah, not all my books were going to have titles as catchy as Huh? and yeah, you haven't seen book three yet. I'm still working through cover issues but that will be out soon too!

It will be available at, the various international Amazon stores and other usual online merchants such as Barnes & Noble in the next few days, priced at $17.99 in the US, £12.99 in the UK and €16.99 in Europe. It's not only my longest book thus far, but actually longer than my previous two put together, running to 446 pages. Here's my author page at, where you'll see it first.

The inspiration for this book came from the realisation that many of my reviews of festival films, especially but not only for this particular festival, were the only reviews that existed online. What's more, some films had no presence left on the internet, as if they had never been. Film festival sites tend to last twelve months before rolling over to the next year's event. Many short films never have websites of their own, but those that do tend to lapse as filmmakers move on to new projects. Films don't even always make it to IMDb, the 'source of record' in this industry. If a feature doesn't obtain distribution or a short film doesn't get uploaded to Vimeo or YouTube, then a few years can be all it takes for them to vanish from the internet.

So, while I'd already been reviewing films from this particular film festival, the first one that I'd ever attended and still the closest one to my heart, I redoubled my efforts to cover everything that screened, not only the features but especially the short films. This book, whatever else it is, is a line in the sand to say that these films existed, that they played a festival, were seen by an audience, even won awards. Hopefully reading about them here will keep some of them alive because no film deserves to die. No, not even that one.

The scope is every feature and every short film which screened at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival at the Harkins Ciné Capri in Phoenix, AZ in 2011, 2012 and 2013. These were 'the transition years' as, after six years as a separate entity, the festival had merged into its big sister, the Phoenix Film Festival, and it was forced to reinvent itself.

They followed 'the early years' of 2005 to 2007 at the Harkins Centerpoint in Tempe, when founders Brian Pulido and Chris Lamont were building it into something sustainable, and 'the classic years' of 2008 to 2010, when it went on the road, playing indie venues like Chandler Cinemas and MADCAP Theatres. 2016's event, which you can follow at, will be the last in the fourth set of three years and I'm still trying to figure out what they will be known as. I hope to cover all these in future books.

The thoughtful foreword was written by Mike Flanagan, the director of Absentia, my favourite film of the last decade, which won Best Horror Feature at this festival in 2011, and Oculus, which screened in 2014 as a showcase feature.

The gracious afterword was written by Andrea Canales (formerly Beesley-Brown), the Midnite Movie Mamacita, who had served as the festival's program director for many years.

The handsome cover is by Marty Freetage, who was responsible for some of the most memorable posters, T-shirts and other imagery that the festival has had over the years. He also handles that work for the parent Phoenix Film Festival.

The book is dedicated to Jason Carney, the most obvious face of the Phoenix Film Foundation, which puts on this festival every year, not only because he's had to put up with me for the last, holy crap, nine years and has done so without throttling me to death.

Features reviewed include Absentia, Midnight Son, The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue, Triple Hit, Hisss, I am Nancy, The People vs George Lucas, Stake Land, Tucker and Dale vs Evil, Below Zero, It's in the Blood, Folklore, Pig, Beyond the Black Rainbow, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, FDR: American Badass!, Monster Brawl, Slumber Party Slaughter, The Theatre Bizarre, The Victim, With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story, Found, Nailbiter, Sader Ridge, Channeling, Found in Time, Space Milkshake, Errors of the Human Body, The Four, Gamera vs Guiron, The Ghastly Love of Johnny X, Kiss of the Damned, Play Dead, Saw and They Live.

Short horror films reviewed include Zombiefication, I Rot, Last Seen on Dolores Street, Cold Sore, Bugbaby, Red Umbrella, Cell Phone Psycho, Escape, Shoreditch Slayer, Follow the Sun!, Brutal Relax, Bad Moon Rising, Ambush, The Table, Roid Rage, The Waking, Employee of the Month, Diecons, Game, The Root of the Problem, Steve from Accounting vs The Shadow Dwellers, Sybling Rivalry, Midnight Daisy, Welcome Wagon and Killer Kart.

Short sci-fi films reviewed include The Island, Earthship, Picture Show at the End of the World, Roman's Ark, Earwigs, Antedon, The Hollow Men, SNAFU, The Turing Love Affair, The Recipient, Carry Tiger to the Mountain, The Uncanny Valley, Doctor Glamour, Hollywood Forever, Secret Identity, 20th Century Man, Solaria, Alchemy and Other Imperfections, Mirage, Y Sci Fi, How to Kill Your Clone, Anaphora, Outsight, Dream Cleaners, Dry Gulch, Ontogenesis, Ellie, A Conversation About Cheating with My Time Traveling Future Self, The Secret Keeper, Low Tide in the High Desert, Restitution, Iris, Odokuro, Sol, All I Think of is You, Quantum, Golem, Sunset Day, Flashback, White Room: 02B3 and The Phoenix.

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