Kristin Vaughan stars in "The Moose Head Over the Mantel,"...

Kristin Vaughan stars in "The Moose Head Over the Mantel," a feature showing at the Macabre Faire Film Festival. Credit: Kristin Vaughan stars in “The Moose Head Over the Mantel,” a feature showing at the Macabre Faire Film Festival.

The Macabre Faire Film Festival returns to Long Island Friday, Jan. 12, packing darkness sans the gore with its screening of more than 80 independent films by American and international filmmakers.

As part of the three-day festival, feature and short films from such genres as horror, dark drama, thriller, animation and comedy will be showcased, as will student productions.


“We are not a ‘horror’ film festival but instead a festival that seeks films with a dark element in its script,” says Elsie Martinez-Ginsberg, who started the event in 2012. “A ‘horror’ film would naturally cater to those things dark in the film business but we have screened films with a premise serving racism, comedy, animation, domestic violence or a romantic story line that ends with the boogeyman under the bed or in the closet.”

Each year, hundreds of submissions are reviewed by festival co-founders Martinez-Ginsberg and her husband, Adam Ginsberg, plus about a dozen others. Eileen Dietz, who is best known as Captain Howdy and Pazuzu from the original “Exorcist” film, will serve as a judge for the fourth straight year.

The selections are typically narrowed down to 80 to 100 titles. This year, there are 89.


Submissions featured a larger number of films directed by or starring women than is typically the case, Martinez-Ginsberg notes, which she says is refreshing.

Once the official selections are made, judges review the films and vote on their favorite actors, directors, cinematographers, screenplays, editors and other categories.

Of course, it isn’t all about the accolades, organizers say. The Macabre Faire Film Festival and others like it provide a stage for independent filmmakers to network, have their films screened, find actors for upcoming projects and a space where producers can discuss potential collaborations.

“Films are not based on budget because an excellent film can be made with a few dollars so long as the director has a script that can accommodate its budget and that director has the skills and team to make the magic happen,” Martinez-Ginsberg says.

At this festival, some short films were produced with as little as $100 and feature-length works with budgets of $2,000, according to Martinez-Ginsberg. This is what she believes makes the end products that much more impressive.


“The Moose Head Over the Mantel” Spanning 100 years worth of dark events in the same house — with one catch: The camera never leaves the room with the moose head. The 89-minute feature film was “excellently put together,” Martinez-Ginsberg says.

“Creatures of Whitechapel” A 25-minute student film from Utah gives a new take on Jack the Ripper. It was directed by Jonathan Martin, who won the best short film award at the Macabre Faire Film Festival several years ago for “An Evening With My Comatose Mother.”

“Alfred J Hemlock” Australian director Edward Lyons’ 14-minute comedy/fantasy/horror short follows a woman whose only way home is through an alleyway after she is abandoned by her boyfriend at night. It is there that she is terrorized by an entity named Alfred J Hemlock.

“Murder in the Woods” The 89-minute feature stars an all-Latino cast and follows a group of teens who, after arriving to a mysterious cabin in the woods, discover the dark secrets it holds as they fight for their lives.

Macabre Faire Film Festival

WHEN|WHERE 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, Jan. 12, noon-midnight Saturday, Jan. 13 (7:30-10:30 p.m. red carpet dinner gala) noon-6 p.m.Sunday, Jan. 14, at the Clarion Hotel, 3845 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Ronkonkoma


ADMISSION $25 Friday, $30 Saturday and $20 Sunday; $55 weekend screening pass ($100 includes gala)

Top Stories

ONE-DAY SALE26¢ for 5 6 months