The Bonebat Comedy of Horrors Film Festival is a festival in Seattle put on by Steve and Gord of The Bonebat Show podcast. It is an annual event funded through Kickstarter every year. The event is put on at Central Cinema, a cute venue that loves to showcase cult films with dinner. The venue itself is a little small and I had to lean forward into my table every five minutes to let a server through, so that left me a little irritated at the event and I did not enjoy it as much as I should. Maybe next time I’ll try a different seat to see if that is any better.
I did submit my 48 Hour Film Project, The Beasts of the Earth, to this festival and it was rejected, which really was not a big deal. However, multiple filmmakers had several films that were of the same caliber and style as their others in the festival and that was a little disappointing. They screened 39 films including two features, 36 shorts, and a special selection short. The films ranged in quality, but most were filled with lowbrow humor. There were the rare few that had that special element of horror matched with great filmmaking skill that made attending the fest as a fan of higher brow story worth it, but overall a great majority of the films lacked in storytelling despite their higher quality of filmmaking.
Several of the shorts have been viral sensations online, so seeing them at a festival was a little off-putting. With that said, it is still great that this event allows those films a screening venue whereas most festivals do not. Many of the films that screened here would not be welcome at a great majority of festivals and having somewhere for those filmmakers to go and feel that acknowledgment and encouragement as a filmmaker is awesome and worth supporting.
The festival also included musical acts from Lester T. Raww’s Graveside Quartet and The Pine Box Boys, both a kind of bluegrass rock (is that the correct genre?) with horror themes and fronted by Lester T. Raww. Both acts were incredible and I am now a fan of both.
I need to get the rights for some of their music for a film. Wow.
About halfway through the show, prizes were raffled off. Raffle tickets were included in the goodie bag that attendees received and there were a lot of prizes from sponsors and other people including books, games, t-shirts, and movies. A nice portion of attendees (including myself!) left with some extra goods.
The first feature film was brutal to watch. It was Fear Town USA, a Troma Pictures film directed by Brandon Bassham. It was just boring, drawn out, and made me want to claw my eyes out. It had a poorly executed plot with annoying characters and a try hard humor that is quintessential of bad movies that are just bad and not “good bad.” I wish I had walked out to the merch booth during the film to buy things during this film, but I hate walking out of movies, so I forced myself to suffer through it. The joke’s on me, though, because after this film, I had a horrendous migraine.
The second feature was Wolfcop, directed by Lowell Dean. I did not stick around for that film because before it started, my migraine was so bad that I was convinced I was going to puke. However, the film just reached Netflix, so I can view it there and not feel like I missed anything at the festival.
Out of the 36 short films, my favorites were Marrying the Sea, I Love You So Hard, and First Date.
Marrying the Sea, is a beautifully animated short by Sarah Walsh in the UK. The trailer description reads, “Between life and death there lies a place, a place where Seamus walks through the crystallised dead remains of a memory, a haunted tale of his wife’s death at sea.” The film has garnered a lot of much-deserved attention around the world online and off and it was wonderful to see it included. It is the kind of film that I prefer to see when it comes to horror: gothic, romantic, and scary. The fact that it is all included as an animated piece makes it doubly amazing and a true work of art.
I Love You So Hard is another animated piece created by Ross Butter and Joel Veitch. It has been an Internet sensation and I first saw it on b3ta.com when it was posted, but seeing it here was pretty awesome. It is a weird tale of a guy violently obsessed with a woman and he spends the duration of the film proclaiming his love to her. The animation and art style complement the story in a way that makes watching it reminiscent of watching a junkie tripping on meth between the dumpsters outside the apartment window. Then it’s over, and he grabs his hat and jacket and walks away like nothing happened, but you continue staring after him, stunned that you watched the entire process… and liked it. The whole film is still available online, so watch it and tell me what you think!
First Date definitely got the most reactions from the audience and I think I only liked it because of the audience reactions (which is one of the main reasons I make films). Directed by Steven DeGennaro, a man takes a woman home after their first date. She invites him inside and before they get to doing anything fun, he realizes he has to go to the bathroom. He uses the toilet, but discovers there’s no toilet paper… and the story just escalates from there. It received so many reactions because it built on the previous gag so well by topping it continuously with a kind of mundane experience that almost everyone can relate to, if not just see it happening. It was very well done. It was perfectly disgusting and great watching so many of the audience members gag and scream out in horror. The audience reactions to this film made the entire film festival worth attending.
This film is also available online in full!
The festival was a great experience and I am so happy that Jerry Kuch shared his tickets with my husband and me. Maybe next time a film of mine will get in, and if not, I’m sure it will be a great show anyway.