Let there be horror

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Oct. 1—Movie makers have descended on Lebanon for the second year for the Macabre Faire Film, Food & Music Fest.

One Italian director is trying his shot in the U.S. after spending more than a decade producing films in China.

Chris Bachini, 36, earned a reputation as the Italian Jackie Chan.

"I worked in martial arts and action movies," Bachini said. "I would do fight choreography. I was the guy kicking the other guy. I got a few leading roles, which is rare for a foreigner in China."

Bachini indicated that always being typecast for action films was starting to wear thin.

"I got kind of bored of only being considered good for action," Bachini said. "Oh, the good-looking foreigner knows Kung-fu. I was that guy."

Bachini started making films in his 20s. Now, at 36, he wants to shift the narrative. Horror became his main focus.

"I found myself watching more horror movies," Bachini said. "All of a sudden, I was like I am not watching action movies anymore."

According to the filmmaker, horror in China drastically differs from American cinema.

"In China, they don't understand horror," Bachini said. "You can't portray blood. Horror, as we intend it, like demonic possessions and the supernatural, is not allowed in China. If you want to make something crazy, it is hard to pull it off there."

Bachini's film, "Escalation," screens today around 4 p.m.

"I wanted something to show for myself," Bachini said. "My goal now is to work in the U.S. and Europe to make horror movies."

Bachini and actor Heather Brittain O'Scanlon were mingling throughout the Capitol Theatre on Thursday.

O'Scanlon stars in "Victim No. 6," a movie about New York City set in 1975. Two pleasure seekers head out into the night and meet some guys, then head off in separate directions, knowing a serial killer is on the loose.

Despite starring in a suspenseful movie, O'Scanlon indicated that she is easily spooked.

"It's funny when I go to genre festivals because I am a big scaredy cat," O'Scanlon said. "When I see a horror film, I have to put my fingers in my ears."

"Victim No. 6" is directed by Nancy Menagh. O'Scanlon worked with Menagh on another film. Following production, O'Scanlon and the film's lead actor, Russ Russo, were exploring new ideas. Neither of them had a script, but O'Scanlon had an idea.

"I'm going to call Nancy," O'Scanlon said. "Her wheels got turning. She has a wonderfully, deliciously twisted mind. She came up with this thriller."

O'Scanlon is the vice chair of the Garden State Film Festival, the largest in New Jersey. She shared that making short films isn't easier just because they aren't as long as features.

"You have to cut the fat," O'Scanlon said. "You want to get to the point of your story, so if there is a scene that isn't moving the story along, you cut it. You edit, edit and then edit again."

Evolution of a festival

This year, the Macabre Faire Film Fest added a couple of elements, food and music.

Co-creators Adam and Addison Ginsberg wanted to broaden the event's horizon and make it fit better at home in Middle Tennessee.

"Last year, we had 100 indie horror films, and we did a late-night movie with a little zombie vaudeville show," Adam Ginsberg said. "After living in Tennessee for three years, we recognized the importance of food and music to the culture."

Tonight, three musicians — Noah Garner, Onoleigh, and Sean Ryan- will each perform sets after film screenings conclude.

Adam Ginsberg met Ryan at a comic convention in Nashville.

"There is this guy dressed up like a mad scientist," Adam Ginsberg said. "He's got robots, homemade robots floating around his booth. They didn't look like they were out of a Tesla factory, but they were interesting, working little robots. We got to talking, and I purchased a Terminator head. In the midst of our talking, he introduced who he was."

When Adam Ginsberg returned and listened to his music, he thought this could be a great piece for what they were trying to do.

"We aimed to get an eclectic mix of musicians," Adam Ginsberg said.

With the added music, something had to give.

"We removed eight hours of potential screening time for films, so we had to consolidate," Adam Ginsberg said.

Next year, Adam Ginsberg said that he might like to bring back the seminars and panel discussions they had to cut. It would mean adding an extra day, but he's optimistic that enthusiasm for cinema would make the expansion worth it.

The festival, which is being held at located at 110 West Main St. in Lebanon, continues through Sunday.