Recently, I, Robin Goodfellow, have learned some harsh lessons – most of them hard and fast, and a lot like Brannigan’s Law, but unlike Brannigan’s Law, a lot of these lessons have centered around one fact and that fact is that I’m emotionally exhausted with horror. Crazy, right? Hear me out. Horror movies, for me at least, and really just the horror genre in general mean a lot to me. When I was diagnosed with depression at a very early age and my whole emotional being went numb for about ten years, horror movies were what made me FEEL. Even though I was feeling frightened, I was still feeling, and at the time, that was really important to me. It still is. There’s really no feeling like being scared, it’s a thrill and it’s addictive. I adore a good scare! Fact is – most “modern” horror is less on the fear side and more on the pompous wank side. And some more hard truth is, I’m kind of over saying “well that movie didn’t scare me, but I guess you have an A for effort” – mostly because if we get right down to the painful honest truth – most modern horror isn’t putting in any effort. I’m saying most, not all. Most horror flicks that are coming out these days are either homages, musicals, shakey cam found footage disasters, poorly executed ghost movies, remakes, and any other plethora of pseudo art designed to get people talking under that “no press is bad press” ideology and I’m sick of it. I’m also sick of being told to “go kill myself” and to “die” by self righteous turd burglars on twitter because I dislike the Hollywood cinema that is force fed on the movie going public. Can we all just get over James Wan? PLEASE? THE CONJURING SUCKED. INSIDIOUS SUCKED. CABIN IN THE WOODS WAS TERRIBLE AND STEPHEN KING IS A REALLY SHITTY WRITER. End of discussion. So while I do enjoy getting hate mail, being told that one should take their own life because they didn’t like the Shining is really just a bit much, and because of this, I’ve grown weary of the horror community in general. Fact is – scare the fuck out of me, make me want to throw up or void my bowels in terror or GTFO, thanks for playing.
I had really almost given up on the whole thing.. until Housecore Horror Film Festival came along.
I won’t pretend I knew much about the whole thing other than that Scotty Floronic wanted to go desperately and I’ve never been to Texas so we said hey why not. We purchased our early bird VIP passes and began the process of preparing for this festival. Scotty listed off some directors and films that would be screening and I tentatively asked if Eli Roth would be present. Scotty gave me a strange look and said, “I really don’t think it’s that kind of festival”. I was relieved.
For those not in the know, Housecore Horror Film Festival is the brainchild of Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down) and Corey Mitchell (true crime author) and centered around three days of horror films and heavy metal concert going. Surely to be a booze drenched mess of metalheads and horror fans looking for the next scare.
And survey says – that’s exactly what it was.
Held in Austin, Texas, at the Emo’s/Antone’s complex right before Halloween and if you can think of a better way to spend Halloween than with a bunch of the grossest horror movies and heaviest bands, then.. it had better involve Aleister Crowley and Anton Lavey simultaneously coming back from the dead at a Ghost show, or else..
Scotty Floronic and myself flew out of Vancouver BC and made our way to Austin via Dallas Fort Worth. Though I can’t say either of us much cares for flying, we made sure to pack in style (though I dreaded having my bags opened and having to explain why just about everything I packed had pentagrams all over it).
We got to Austin around midnight on Thursday October 24th 2013, bundles of nervous energy, eager to find some beer and get off the pressurized tuna can that had flown us from Canada. We stayed at the “official” hotel of Housecore Horror, the Austin City Plus Best Western, and the hotel was actually pretty nice, for a Best Western. We were immediately drawn to the neighboring 7-11 in the desperate attempt to find late night alcohol but.. no dice. We also looked like crazy alcoholics, because I’m pretty sure the lady at the 7-11 thought we were going to rob her.
The next day we had time to kill before the badge pick up party at the Dirty Dog bar in downtown Austin, so we did what any self respecting member of society would do.. we went to Wal-Mart to pick up supplies (and by supplies of course I mean $1 burritos and cheap beer). Apparently, the National Beer of Texas is LONE STAR and like grown adults we bought a 24 pack for about $11. I also purchased 5 litres of boxed wine for about $6. Both of these things were great/terrible. Also burritos.
Alcohol in the United States is criminally priced. CRIMINALLY. I had a feeling we might be in a whole mess of trouble, but I drowned those troubles with a huge STRAWBERITA and immediately had to take a nap.
In Canada, you can’t just stroll into Wal Mart and buy beer and wine. Nor can you go to a gas station and buy it. We sell our booze in liquor stores like sane and reasonable people who don’t want you to be a wasted ass drunken mess with liver cirrhosis by the age of 25. We were intensely titillated. On this day, we also met director Jim Van Bebber who was staying at the Best Western as well. It was a very intensely surreal experience to watch a Best Western be overtaken by droves of satanic shirt wearing metal heads.
The hotel offered free breakfast, so each day we were treated to the rather sorry sight of some obviously worse for the wear metalheads scarfing down burritos and orange juice, trying to shake off the nausea and headache leftover from the previous night.
The Thursday night prior to the Friday festivities, there was a VIP party for badge holders that involved a very awesome/very low rent biker/metal bar called the Dirty Dog. Several bands were set to play, as well. Like a well adjusted fully grown woman, I donned my Lana Del Rey flower headband, a shitload of body glitter and crammed as many mini bottles of wine into my purse that I could and we set off.
The bar was busy and in the middle of Happy Hour, which meant that our PBR tall boys were only $2 – the first of many mistakes made on this night. We picked up our badges and mingled around the crowd and I was made fun of by the bar tender, likely because I was wearing flowers and glitter in a filthy biker bar. Oh, me.
The first act of the night was a one man act called Goatcraft, which involved a dude in camo pants covered in blood playing classical music. Basically, classical music plus blood equals metal, so just go with it. He was pretty cool actually and I think Dracula would definitely chill to his music, so kudos to him.
I won’t pretend that I really knew too much else about what was going. Remember what I said about PBR tall boys and mini bottles of wine in my purse? Yeah I really started to get idiot drunk, and the only thing worse than being idiot drunk in a strange country, is being idiot drunk wearing flowers and glitter.. I am assuming I was quite the spectacle because I found this picture on my phone the next day.
I was truly excited to see the band blackQueen play.. I had been looking most intensely forward to it – mostly because they play witch metal, and are obsessed with Suspiria and Dario Argento.. it’s pretty weird and it appeals to me on many sick and strange levels.. plus all the members are pretty hot so sexy witches is a good thing.
Unfortunately, by the time blackQueen got on stage, I had torn my way around the bar and ranted to some new friends of ours, who saw my agitated state and decided to give me marijuana.. I’m sure that didn’t help matters at all. At one point a metal head bought me a shot and the next I knew, blackQueen was playing and I was losing my mind and rocking out. If you like your metal sludgy, witchy and sounding very much like a funeral dirge, then I highly recommend. I was even with it enough to purchase their CDs! Amazing!
I’m told that other bands played that night, but I will be honest, I was far too excited, and also far too wasted. At one point I drunkenly declared to one of the members of blackQueen that “I came here to hail Satan and fuck witches”. I really need to sort myself out and also put that shit on a hat or a patch or a badge or something, because that shit is solid gold.
After blackQueen’s set, and after smoking more weed with our new friends, we staggered around downtown Austin for a while and came across a death metal pizza parlour called Hoeks.
I don’t recall much about the pizza, but the shop was small, cramped, and playing deafening death metal. It was really great.
Eventually we ended up cabbing back to the hotel where we drank most of the cheap boxed wine we had purchased earlier and I became grossly intoxicated and ended up throwing up for a while in the bathroom. At one point I was throwing up straight wine, and despite my previous declarations of “fucking witches”, I didn’t fuck anyone that night.
I don’t really need to tell you that the next morning, I was rather worse for the wear and I glumly made my way through my breakfast burritos and we headed over to the festival to watch Fulci’s Cat in the Brain. I have to say that I felt sick through most of the movie and I’m not sure if it was the subject matter or the wicked hangover, but it was good to see that I was not alone in being a total greasy mess that day.
I ended up back at the hotel for a nap, but I recharged my batteries for the metal epicness that was to take place that night – Goblin, Warbeast, and Down, but not before catching Jim Van Bebber’s Deadbeat at Dawn, which was FUCKED and also a pretty amazing piece of film that made me even more eager to catch The Manson Family.
Scotty Floronic is quite the DOWN fan, despite never having seen them live, so attending the show with someone so excited to see them was really a positive burst of energy – it was an amazing show and everyone was collectivey losing their fucking minds.
Goblin played a really amazing prog-set and it was just a really fantastic show. I can’t really explain much more than that. Goblin is a legend, and really so is DOWN. I wasn’t ever really into Down or Pantera or any of that stuff, but Phil is just a powerhouse, and I was pretty impressed.
Earlier on in the day we had had the pleasure of meeting DOWN and Phil is a very personable dude and makes each meeting with a fan memorable. He talked to me about GHOST, because I was wearing a Ghost rosary, and later he ranted and raved to Scotty Floronic about Willow from the Wicker Man (Scotty was wearing a Wicker Man shirt). Phil declared loudly that he “would totally fuck her” and that was that.
We returned to our hotel that night, tired, sweaty and full of PBR.
Saturday we set out to catch some mid day sets at the festival – we had been looking forward to Band of Orcs, Bloody Hammers and to seeing some films.
For those not in the know, Band of Orcs, is literally a metal band made up of Orcs who sing about being Orcs and doing Orc like things.. and for playing a 1pm set, they were full of piss and vinegar and the blood of many elves.. their makeup and costumes were pretty great and the crowd was really into their set. At one point a huge bird demon monster came out and just stood in the mosh pit as a dude dressed as a skeleton wielded an axe and danced around. It was RPG shenanigans.
Now, Bloody Hammers, was a band that I found out about through Housecore Horror and was looking intensely forward to them.. they sound like if Wovenhand gave up Christianity and sold over to the dark side (which he should, because Jesus is boring). They played a very energetic set and I was quite happy to pick up their CD and a shirt.
Scotty and I even got to meet some Orcs after the set!
We did some wandering and boozing after Bloody Hammers, and wound up meeting Goblin, and we also were privileged enough to meet Jorg Buttgereit director of Nekromantik, and also Attila Csihar of Mayhem. Scotty Floronic didn’t seem to understand how much pants shitting was going on for me upon my meeting with Attila – black metal royalty as far as I’m concerned and really something special.
Black metal means quite a bit to my dark little heart of hearts, so it was a great treat.
After this, we decided to drink in the gas station parking lot and eat some cookies, because we are adults.
The fact is, that we never really did get over the novelty of booze being available for under $2 at gas stations. We were unable to comprehend the ease with which you could get well and drunk in the USA.
I was also personally amazed at the kindness and seeming emotional stability of most of the people we met. I am fresh from a life with BC’s finest crew of filthy hippies, and all peace and love and dirty dreadlocks with miniature top hats aside, hippies are not actually very kind people – if you dare show up to an event in BC and aren’t wearing the finest organic cotton elf pants that cost about $600, and some stupid ass crystal jewelry, and the aforementioned top hat.. and if you don’t do your fair share of ass kissing, then you might as well parade around nude with a hand lettered sign reading SOCIAL PARIAH, because that’s how you will be treated. Don’t get me wrong here, I’m all for peace and love and dreadlocks and crystal magick, but a little kindness, decency, and basic respect for other humans also goes a long way.. but when you’ve done your weight in LSD and other psychotropic drugs and have your head firmly up your own ass, it’s hard to get around to such silly little botherances like treating others with any form of human compassion. This statement can easily go for most subcultures, but it is especially, especially true for dirty BC hippies. And before any of my readers with dreads and quartz crystal points at their throat get up in arms, just remember to take a moment, expel that negative energy, realize that I am just a hater out to spread bad vibes, and go back to wearing your mass produced Guy Fawkes masks and pretending it means something and eating your kale chips that are not actually at all organic. Also.. grow up and go occupy a job center you fucks. Kisses!
Well, with that out of the way… back on subject – I was thoroughly enamored with the South and with its metalheads. It was just titillating to me that you had these long haired, leather clad, angry ass motherfuckers wearing shirts with the Baphomet or Albert Fish and they were the same lads holding doors open for ladies and saying please and thank you when they ordered their beer. The South will apparently rise again and I hope it is with Southern Metalheads.
Now this is just the fans I am speaking of – all of the bands we met were also very polite and well behaved for being thrashy rock stars. I was amazed. I’ve been in many a green room and have met with many of the leather clad long haired brethern and so rarely are they polite, well mannered or even personable individuals. Phil Anselmo ran his own autograph signing over an hour and half long because he was talking to every single person, taking photos and generally being a half decent individual. it was really something.
Now, Saturday night wasn’t a huge musical draw for either of us – Iron Reagan, Goatwhore, Whitechapel, the Melvins and GWAR. I adore GWAR and saw them probably ten years ago and they tore our local college campus apart and it was awesome. Scotty Floronic had never born witness to a GWAR show so he was in for a real treat. I also had heard tales about Goatwhore and we were able to catch their set and it was pretty stand out… i even got a baphomet beer koozie to keep my PBR cold.
Now I don’t really know much about Whitechapel, but their music absolutely did not fit with Housecore.. they sound like someone found the rotting corpse of Funeral For a Friend and brought it back from the dead with bath salts. They have this gross early 2000’s screamo thing going for them and it was not in the good way. Screamo isn’t so far in the past that we can like it ironically yet, so please, let’s leave that fetid corpse where it lies.
GWAR was amazing, as per the usual, and they covered the crowd in blood and cum, and tore apart both Justin Bieber and the Queen.
We did leave GWAR early in order to be able to see Attila Csihar live scoring The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and we wanted good seats. Lucky for us, because we ended up meeting Phil and getting some photos with him.
I wasn’t really too sure of what to expect about the live score, but let me say that Attila Csihar fucking killed it. He donned corpse paint and a weird suit made of light up masks and would live record, loop and distort his own voice to create a sound much similar to what Hell would sound like. It sounded like an EVP session done in Aleister Crowley’s house and it was beyond intense.
The film didn’t end until almost 2am and we headed back to the hotel for room service and more alcohol.
Sunday was a bit of sad day upon awakening, knowing that the festival was over. We were able to meet some amazing people, made a lot of new friends, bought some amazing movies that will soon be reviewed on Drunk in a Graveyard.. and of course we met some very strange and entirely off the wall people.. including but not limited to some asshole ranting about his work with Ed and Lorraine Warren who actually believed in Ouija boards and started beaking off to me about crystals and ghosts.. it was so fucking surreal I was trying desperately not to laugh. I’m sorry.. Ouija boards are so fucking cool, but they aren’t fucking portals to the other realm. Grow up.
Also, that dick from that Face Off show was there with make up artistry stuff and yeah it was pretty cool and shit, but I caught that dude on more than one occaision acting like such a pretentious dick weed.. it just pissed me off. We get it, okay? YOU’RE AN ARTIST.. but don’t fucking act like you’re some big amazing piece of work in the face of all these amazing directors and musicians.. grab a fucking brain. That dude was rude as fuck to more than one person, myself included and looking at his face and retarded heart tattoos just makes me angry. Also, to stand out as the one rude asshole in a sea of well mannered people is really a feat, so you could be goddamn Picasso and I’d still think you were a prick.
Sunday was the showing of Jim Van Bebber’s The Manson Family, and also the day that I struck up conversation with Jim only to have him start ranting in my face about his raccoon skin cap and it was also the day we saw him chug a fifth like it was nothing and just keep on strolling. Now let me just say Jim Van Bebber is amazing. Deadbeat at Dawn was pretty great, and Jim, aside from being all kinds of insane, is also a very friendly dude. He insisted on bringing an 18 pack into the showing of the Manson Family and cracked a beer declaring “this is what freedom sounds like”. His short films, My Sweet Satan and Gator Green, preceded the showing and though I wasn’t certain about Gator Green, My Sweet Satan knocked my socks off. It made me physically ill and I was not able to take my eyes off the screen. I wanted to scream or vomit or possible shit myself.. and though I did not do any of those things, the film was very powerful and it is actually what changed my mind about horror cinema. I was scared. REALLY fucking scared. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about it, so kudos Jim.
The Manson Family was pretty amazing – I enjoyed the hyper stylization and that it was told from the point of view of Charlie’s Family rather than police or Charlie himself. It made me feel like I’d dropped a few hits of LSD and it did make me dizzy and nauseous. I had to talk myself out of vomiting a few times and since I was sure Jim Van Bebber would make fun of me, I did not vomit.
We did leave early in order to get to the Goblin signing, but we were able to purchase the Blu-ray and finish it at home on Halloween (appropriate right?) and again, a very great, very powerful film. Scotty Floronic’s review says it all really. WATCH IT.
We were just about spent that afternoon after three days of power drinking but Sunday night promised much entertainment and we headed out to the show for our last hurrah. Philip Anselmo and the Illegals, Eyehategod, and Goblin live scoring Suspiria.
Again, the bands were tight and the show was awesome, and the live score of Suspiria by Goblin was an experience that was pretty much indescribable.
In all, it was really an amazing event and we were so glad to have taken the trip. It was a great vacation. Austin is really this neat little city. It’s very hip, very cool. We were lucky enough to spend a couple days there just meandering about, and of course we saw the famed Austin bats flying out for their nightly feeding.
Under the South Congress bridge in Austin, live about 1.5 million Mexican free tailed bats and each night they zoom out to eat a shitload of bugs and its quite the tourist attraction. We aren’t normally the touristy type, but I adore bats and this was really something. I can’t say for sure but I might have started crying a bit. I’m a mess.
So that’s it. That’s all. My apologies that this took so long to write, but catching up on missed schoolwork and finals have had me quite busy. I have a couple other reviews that are coming and Drunk in a Graveyard is growing like the fucking plague it is.. so I have few worries.
I want everyone reading this to attend Housecore Horror Film Festival in 2014, because with a little luck and good intentions, we will be there too. If my badly written travelogue isn’t enough to convince you, then get fucked.
So until next time… Remember that if you see Phil Anselmo on the road, rub his bald head for good luck, don’t puke in cabs, ALWAYS go where the bats go and STAY SPOOKY!