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Bruce Campbell Horror Fest Adds Terror To Comic Con This Weekend

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 17, 2015 9:21PM

"Tales of Halloween" (© Epic Pictures Group)

As pop culture geekdom in all its proud varieties flourishes during the upcoming Wizard World Comic Con, one man will be sticking his considerable chin out to help celebrate independent horror cinema.

Bruce Campbell, whose cult film legend was forged as the star of the original Evil Dead movies (he'll be resurrecting his character in the upcoming Starz series, Ash vs. Evil Dead), presides over the aptly named Bruce Campbell's Horror Film Festival in its second Windy City edition this Thursday, Aug. 20 through Sunday, Aug. 23.

It's unclear how many of the screenings the man himself will attend, as he will also be greeting the masses and making gobs of cash signing autographs at Comic Com that weekend. But the films and related events will be at Carmike's Muvico Rosemont 18 theater, right across the street from the convention at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, and a festival press release notes Campbell will be "on hand throughout the weekend."

As for the movies showing (programmed by organizers of The Awesome Fest), there are some highly anticipated offerings. The opening night attraction, the anthology film Tales of Halloween, has a very mixed bag of directors, but contributions from Neil Marshall (Dog Soldiers, The Descent), Lucky McKee (May, The Woman) and Paul Solet (Grace) are encouraging. The cast is also an enticing mix of veterans (Adrienne Barbeau, Barbara Crampton, Lin Shaye, John Savage, Barry Bostwick), more contemporary stars and notable filmmakers taking on acting duties (Joe Dante, Stuart Gordon and John Landis among them—though we'd be even more interested if those three were working behind the camera as well).

Gorehounds will be eager for a revival of 1980's jungle carnage cult fave Cannibal Holocaust, which will be introduced by modern grime-horror auteur Eli Roth (Hostel). But considering the notorious real-life animal cruelty committed for the movie, the festival's campy presentation of the movie with a "cannibal breakfast" of various meats seems in bad form.

For our tastes, there are two more worthwhile revivals on the schedule. Don Coscarelli's Bubba Ho-Tep (2002), starring Mr. Campbell as an aged Elvis fighting a mummy in nursing home, will be shown with the star appearing for a Q&A session. And Tom Holland's funny and spooky modern vampire classic, Fright Night (1985), will get a 30th anniversary showing with Campbell acting as moderator during a conversation with the director.

Along with Tales of Halloween, new films showing include Hellions from Canadian director Bruce McDonald (Roadkill, Pontypool), the North American premiere of Contracted: Phase II (a sequel to the 2013 STD horror film that got some solid reviews), and He Never Died, featuring punk icon and raconteur Henry Rollins as a seemingly immortal outcast.

In addition to Campbell, Roth and Holland, many filmmakers and actors will appear as special guests at the screenings. Comic Con badge holders can get in free (space permitting), while separate festival passes and individual movie tickets are also on sale. The full schedule and ordering links can be found here.