For those sick of superhero and “Star Wars” films, Long Island offers something a few shades darker this weekend. Friday the 13th marks the opening of the Macabre Faire Film Festival, where more than 90 indie films are shown in four screening rooms at the Clarion Hotel in Ronkonkoma.
The festival, now in its fifth year, is more than just gore.
“Macabre includes thrillers, suspense and mystery in addition to horror. Each film has a dark element to it,” says festival director Elsie Martinez-Ginsberg. “The stage we continue to build is for the filmmakers. They are the celebrities here.”
On Saturday, the red carpet gets rolled out at the Gala Awards Dinner, where nominated 2017 films will be honored. Here are three films from local filmmakers who will be part of the festivities:
MACABRE FAIRE FILM FESTIVAL
WHEN | WHERE 5 p.m.-midnight Friday, Noon-1:30 a.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 13-15, at the Clarion Hotel, 3845 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Ronkonkoma
INFO 516-395-3049, macabrefairefilmfest.com
Writer-director Patrick Devaney of Forest Hills delivers a moody sci-fi short about a family that gets evicted from their home by a futuristic government. The stylistic film has garnered 11 award nominations in the festival.
“It’s embarrassing in a way because it’s an ungodly amount of credit,” says Devaney, who will also receive the Patron of Independent Film Arts Award. “Showing your film at a festival is nerve-racking and amazing at the same time. You are always worried if people are going to like it.”
SHOWING 12:45 p.m. Saturday and 2:20 p.m. Sunday
‘THE RUINS OF VILLASTRIGO’
Inspired by the old Universal Pictures and Hammer Studios horror films and Italian/Spanish Gothic horror films from the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, Keith McMahon’s horror short about a cryptic vampire was shot in the woods of Muttontown Preserve. McMahon, who resides in Brentwood, portrays the vampire from 1900 who wrestles with the bit of human spirit left inside him.
“I wanted to bring people back to the way movies used to be made,” says McMahon, who wrote and directed the film. “There’s no gore, no cursing and no nudity. It’s a story with presence.”
SHOWING 6:30 p.m. Friday and 4:15 p.m. Sunday
‘THE LAST TAXI DRIVER’
This horror-comedy, shot in Eisenhower Park in the winter, set out to be frightful and ended up being funny. Taxi driver Dorman O’Mearain works his job while trying to dodge the undead.
“People get a kick out of Dorman. He’s an unlikely hero they seem to identify with,” says writer-director Debra Markowitz of Merrick, who is nominated for best comedy-horror short. “With actor Robert Clohessy [who plays Dorman], you’ve got to leave the camera rolling because you never know what’s going to come out of his mouth.”
SHOWING 8 p.m. Friday and 1:35 p.m. Sunday
ZOMBIE IN THE HOUSE
If actor Eugene Clark is standing near, don’t fret, he won’t bite. The man known as zombie “Big Daddy” from George A. Romero’s “Land of the Dead” (2005) will be on hand to take photos and sign autographs.
“I enjoy meeting horror fans from age 5 to 80,” says Clark. “It’s fantastic because they remember and cherish everything.”
For Clark, working with Romero was a dream.
“George was a perfect gentleman who was very giving,” says Clark. “He allowed us to give input for our characters and make suggestions.”
However, his makeup took three hours to put on and three hours to take off.
“You couldn’t hide behind the prosthetics. Anything you thought the audience could see,” says Clark. “It was freezing and the contacts hurt, but if they called me tomorrow, I’d do it again.”