Chills, Thrills and Peals of Laughter: The Killer Valley Horror and Comedy Film Festival Celebrates 11th Run
As the full moon rises, the doors will creak open at southern Oregon’s Killer Valley Horror and Comedy Film Festival October 12 and 13. The canvas of gory, mysterious, audacious and humorous film shorts is sure to appease the darkest and lightest realms in everyone.
Filmmaker and event founder, Randy Granstrom, says submissions from around the world have kept the event team racing. Syria, England, Hungary and Japan are just a handful of the international entrants.
“We’ve had hundreds of films come in and it’s quite a selection; it does get a little overwhelming,” laughs Granstrom.
Originally, the idea for a horror film festival was slow to take off as he sought out films through friends and local filmmakers. A few years ago, after submitting his event to Film Freeway, an online film festival hub, things exploded.
“Instantly, we started getting submissions from all over. Our first year we had 880 films alone,” he recalls. “It was so hard; with only eight people we had to go through them all, but luckily, not all of them turned out to be horror and we’d skip through them. People would just be sending in anything.”
From coordinating screening and film selection to ticket sales and venue set-up, hundreds of hours are logged by festival volunteers, including Granstrom’s wife and daughter who’ve played a pivotal role from the start, whether acting in his films or being the festival producer and management. Fellow indie filmmakers, Ross Williams and Levi Anderson, cover programming and website design, and Granstrom says it’s all for the love of moviemaking.
“It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do really; to tell a story and get a laugh out of people,” he shares, although it was horror that first nabbed the would-be director. “I watched a John Carpenter film back in 1980 and from that day on I knew I wanted to direct films.”
By age 12, with Super 8 in hand, Granstrom was creating short comedy skits based on Benny Hill and Saturday Night Live.
“I would set up chairs in the apartment complex where we were living so all the adults could come out, and I’d use their kids and make short plays or movies right in front of them,” he says.
The festival captures two genres. Saturday night will have two 90-minute blocks of creepy, suspenseful, bloody horror and Sunday lightens up a bit with giggles and groans at some rowdy comedy shorts, including Granstrom’s comedy-horror, Dolly.
Like any film festival, networking and audience feedback are primary goals. Enticements like discounted lodging and waived fees have helped attract directors who attend and give Q & A’s.
“The whole reason I created the Killer Valley was so directors could have a place to showcase their skills and films in front of an audience and get their reaction, positive or negative,” says Granstrom. “We want to inspire people to keep on filmmaking.”
“Last year we did the first comedy event and had as many people turn out for that as they did for the horror, which was amazing for its first run,” he adds. “At the beginning we keep it tame but we do give a warning during intermission that it’s going to get more intense, to give people a chance to back out if they want, but they never do. It’s just lots of wild and crazy fun.”
An age limit of 17, unless accompanied by an adult, has been set for the festival. Arrive in your best costume Saturday and you could win the prize at the end of the night. An awards ceremony given for best director, best film, best actor/actress and best special effects will conclude the evening.
Killer Valley Horror & Comedy Film Festival
October 12 – 13
Bellview Grange, 1050 Tolman Creek Rd, Ashland
$10 – $15