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Wreak Havoc Film Festival: Fear, fright and fun

Wreak Havoc Productions is getting the jump on the Halloween season, as the independent,  Triad-based film consortium presents its third Wreak Havoc Horror Fest, designed to raise hell – in a good way – and scare up a fun time among the region’s horror and fantasy buffs. The two-day festival takes place Sept. 22 to 23 in the Crown at the Carolina Theatre in Greensboro, the second time the event has been held at that venue.

“Our plan is for the WHHFF (Wreak Havoc Horror Film Festival) to grow each year and to gain new audience members while keeping our returning members,” Wreak Havoc president and filmmaker (Hank vs. the Undead) Dan Sellers said. “We’ve heard so much positive feedback from last year’s festival, and plan to have an even bigger and better festival this year.”

The festival’s success thus far is manifest in the increase of submissions, to say nothing of the quality of submissions.

“We had 123 submissions, with the official selection comprised of 22 short films and three feature films, from the United States, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Frances, Australia, and nine films from North Carolina,” Sellers said. “We are proud to screen the world premieres of The Haunting of Four Points and Midnight Shift as exhibition selections. Each year I’m even more surprised and delighted by the quality of films that make it into our selections. I get the pleasure of seeing some of the very best shorts and features made by talented filmmakers not only from North Carolina but across the country and around the world.”

The festival kicks off Friday with the aforementioned world premiere of Sellers’ Midnight Shift, with much of the cast and crew on hand for a Q&A, followed by the first block of short films: Night of the Slasher, Previews of Coming Attractions, Creatures of White Chapel, Hypodontia, Little Angel and Jigsaw.

After an 8 p.m. dinner break, the festival resumes with Tommy Faircloth’s award-winning feature film Family Possessions, starring Mark Patton, in only his second film since his starring debut in A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge (1985), and Felissa Rose, well-remembered as Angela in the original Sleepaway Camp (1983), followed by the second block of short films: The Candle, Flesh, Say Nothing, iMedium, Dead City and Lost in Buffalo City.

Saturday’s screenings open with the world premiere of The Haunting of Four Points, which was the subject of a YES! Weekly cover story last year. Filmmaker Joey Martin’s schedule won’t permit him to attend the screening, but members of the cast and crew will be on hand.

“I’m happy with what we all managed to accomplish during this project and I believe a lot of the hard work translates well into the movie,” he said. Although post-production took longer than he anticipated, a recent cast and crew screening provided some all-important feedback. “It got a very good reception, especially from people outside the project,” he said. “They really seemed to enjoy the mix of comedy, drama, and horror.”

The next block of short films includes Gut Punched, As I Prey, Balloon, Alfred J. Helock, Tethered, A Peculiar Thud, Born Again, Three Way Cut, The Corner and Exercising Demons. This will be followed by a pair of feature films: Jacob Grim’s Deviant Behavior and Kelton Jones’ award-winning directorial debut Dry Blood. The festival then wraps with filmmakers’ Q&A and the awards ceremony.

For Sellers and Wreak Havoc partner Sammie Cassell, the festival is only one of their several ongoing endeavors. The Wreak Havoc Films Buff Podcast has notched 56 episodes during its two years, and in addition to their feature and short film work, they’ll soon be introducing Carolina Haints, which delves into ghost stories, folklore and unexplained mysteries here in the Tarheel State.

See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2017, Mark Burger.

Wanna go?

The third Wreak Havoc Horror Film Fest takes place 6 pm-midnight Friday, Sept. 22 and 4 pm-midnight Saturday, Sept. 23 in the Crown at the Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets are $20 (general admission) and $17 (senior citizens, students and military personnel with ID). Tickets are good for both days of the event.

For advance tickets or more information, call the Carolina Theatre box office: 336.333.2605, or visit the official Carolina Theatre website: https://carolinatheatre.com/.

To learn more, visit the official Wreak Havoc Horror Film Fest website, check out the official Facebook page and view the official festival commercial.

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