October 28, 2018 marked the 10th anniversary of Guignolfest, Portland’s own do it yourself horror filmfest. Every bit esoteric as it was entertaining, I put this as one of my favorite things I’ve done here in Portland thus far in the arts community. I’ve noted before, friends of mine continue to push my limits of what art is, and they push me to go experience types of art that I have never really liked or even had any experience with. Horror presents no exception to this. I never got into the old Amityville movies or the Nightmare on Elm Street, or Halloween franchises. I just didn’t. I don’t know if it was because they scared me, the horrible demonic influence (sarcasm intended), or just that I am a funny guy versus a scary guy. Anyway, I enjoyed every minute of the screening last weekend at the Clinton Street Theater and I will go back next year!
My new friends Julia and Dylan (who wrote Shock Opera – articles forthcoming) put this event on every year, and I will discuss a lot about Grand Guignol and those two individually in my forthcoming Shock Opera articles (that will get you to actually stick around and read them when they come out:)). When they told me about Guignol a few months back, admittedly, I had no idea what the hell they were talking about. I had no idea about French history nor French artists, let alone French influenced horror films/festivals. I can’t stress enough, by just being around different people, and especially these two, I keep getting thrust into an entirely different world when it comes to the arts. Every bit serious as eclectic, these two really have helped redefine (or at least expand) what I define as good art.
The festival actually starts a week before the screening. Teams (there were 18 this year) get 72 hours to write, direct, edit, cut, and produce their short film. Each team also gets a genre (for example, corporate, psychological, sci fi….) within the horror genre to create. They have an initial drawing that Friday evening, and then they are off for the next 72 hours to create their work. I can’t really fathom putting something together that quickly. I’ve made several funny, super short films/clips for contests like this, but I never did the editing or the actual production. I was always, eh hem, the on screen talent…the star…I never needed to be bothered to do any of the real work:) To me it only underscores my main point of how talented these people really are, and how I continue to find myself wanting more and more! You can see all of the movies here. My favorites were number teams 9, 15, and 17 (Team Dylan Grab My Hatchet, Team Foul is Fair, and Team Mystery Van, respectively). All of them were good, and, wow, again to do it under 72 hours is exceptional. Ultimately, like I said, this is uncharted waters for me, and I cannot wait to get more and more involved:)