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A Fringe Cinema Favorite Brings His New Horror Film To Chicago

By Joel Wicklund in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 9, 2015 9:30PM

Promotional art from event Facebook page.

Horror movie fandom has always had a warm spot in its collective heart for the low- to no-budget DIY filmmaker turning out genre offerings out of pure love. So it's not surprising that Ohio-based filmmaker Henrique Couto has found a loyal audience.

Local filmmaker, critic and fringe/cult cinema scholar Jason Coffman is part of that devoted fan base. Coffman, who has brought many terrific independent films and retro movie revivals to the city as part of the Chicago Cinema Society, took it upon himself to give Couto's new horror anthology, Scarewaves, a local public showing. It will have its Windy City premiere this Saturday, Sept. 12 at Chicago Filmmakers at 8 p.m.

Even in an era when critically-acclaimed movies can be shot on iPhones, the commitment it takes to get noticed in an insanely crowded field of backyard moviemaking is admirable.

"I'm always kind of amazed when I meet an independent filmmaker who really does everything on their own and still gets their movies out there," says Coffman.

Couto is a virtual one-man production company who directs, writes, edits and shoots most of his work, along with acting and wearing multiple other hats. He's also managed to get his work distributed on DVD and through video-on-demand despite the fact that Coffman estimates most of his budgets have been under $5,000.

In spite of the limited funds, Couto's admirers say he brings considerable style and humor to his no-frills endeavors. He's expanded his output to romantic comedy, a western and a family film, but Scarewaves shows he hasn't abandoned the core horror following that discovered him through features with lurid titles like Bleeding Through, Babysitter Massacre and Haunted House on Sorority Row.

An anthology movie based around a late-night paranormal radio talk show, Scarewaves is available for pre-order on DVD, with an official Oct. 27 release just in time for Halloween. But the Chicago Filmmakers showing this Saturday gives you the chance to see it earlier and meet the director, who will appear along with one of his co-writers, John Oak Dalton. Admission is only a $5 suggested donation.