Thursday, October 31, 2019

Indie Memphis Day 2: All Hallow's Eve

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2019 at 11:02 AM

click to enlarge Horror Noire
  • Horror Noire
Indie Memphis hasn't had a Halloween night since 2014, but this year the calendar aligned to supply the festival with a fright night.

This being a Very Serious Film Festival (TM), it's not all ghouls and goblins. The evening starts out with a timely and enlightening documentary, Horror Noire (4:30 p.m, Hattiloo Theatre).

It's an old cliche that, if you see a black person in a horror film, they're going to the first to die. This production by the Shudder streaming network, which specializes in horror, goes beyond just dissecting that particular trope. Director Xavier Burgin starts with Birth of a Nation.

The seminal 1915 film, famous for its technical innovations, pre-dated the horror genre by about 16 years (if you accept Dracula as the first "true" horror film, which is a huge debate we don't have the bandwidth to pursue here) and was considered a historical epic by its creators.

But to the black people who watched the "heroic" Klansmen lynching their ancestors, it certainly qualified as horror. African Americans got their first horror hero with Duane Jones' timeless performance in 1968's Night Of The Living Dead, which Horror Noire uses as a jumping-off point to explore the evolving relationship between the genre and race. Interviewees include veteran horror and sci-fi actor Kieth David and the current best horror director in the business, Jordan Peele.

The centerpiece of Indie Memphis' spooky night is Blacula, (6:30 p.m., Playhouse on the Square) the 1972 classic which I wrote about in this week's Memphis Flyer cover story. Check out this awesome trailer for a little taste of the ebony bloodsucker.

Meanwhile, back at the Hattiloo, the Narrative Feature competition kicks off with Di Lo Mio at 7:00 p.m. Here's director Diana Peralta discussing the origin of the film, which explores the experience of Dominican immigrants, at her Brooklyn Academy of Music Cinema Fest appearance.

Happy Halloween, and stay tuned to the Memphis Flyer for more daily updates from Indie Memphis. 

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