As I've said previously, the greatest thing about Fantastic Fest is that it's not just about watching movies there, it's about experiencing them. It's something the Alamo Drafthouse hammers through our thick Hollywood-ized brains every year during the September genre festival, when they create interactive themed events to go along with the films they premiere. One of those films was a glorious little documentary called The American Scream, which follows three families -- sorry, home haunters -- around as they construct massive homemade haunted houses to entertain (and subsequently scare the crap out of) their neighbors every Halloween.
Funny, poignant, freaky and amazingly heartfelt, The American Scream takes you to a small town in Massachusetts where Halloween is kind of a big deal. The three families are all different, with one living on what seems to be the verge of a nervous breakdown to another -- a unique father and son -- whose bumbling love for one another is expressed in the most hilarious of ways. All of them have one thing in common: they know how to rock a homemade haunted house, and we follow the trials and tribulations of constructing these monstrous haunted houses (for free, mind you) in time to show them off to their neighbors for one night only.
You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll definitely want to hunt down your local homemade haunted houses for a good scare. Following the premiere, Fantastic Fest wanted to make sure we experienced what so many people in the film experienced by asking one of the doc's subjects to create a haunted house for them that would be connected to the theater. Following the screening, they surprised the audience by blocking off the entrance due to "vomit on the floor," forcing people to exit straight into the haunted house.
And just how scary was their haunted house? Watch the video below...
In addition to the haunted house video, Movies.com sat down with The American Scream director Michael Stephenson (Best Worst Movie), as well as producer Meyer Shwarzstein and home haunter Victor Bariteau to talk about making the movie. You can listen to that below.
The American Scream premieres on the Chiller network on October 28, as well as in a few limited theaters. I highly recommend it -- the film was a true standout at the festival this year.
Scare yourself by reading the rest of our spooky Fantastic Fest coverage