Report: Mascara & Popcorn Film Festival & Body Horror Contest


At the stroke of six p.m. on Friday October 17th, MASCARA & POPCORN’S Body Horror Contest commences. Short films will be shown and gory FX shown off, live performances, freak performances, all thanks to our Mistress of Ceremonies Florence Touliatos (Freaky Miss T) and crew. Winners will walk away with the coveted Golden Skull by audience vote for the best of the best for shorts. As Touliatos has put it, “the whole world has to come.” Well, there is your invite world, now get to it. 

The first time I met Touliatos, she was sans white-eye contacts and witchy wig (the gear she wears as her counter-self Freaky Miss T). I’d heard about MASCARA & POPCORN shorts film festival from a local NYC filmmaker, Kim Garland, whose piece Vivienne Again made it into the Friday Brunch block and then went on to win the Audience Award during the festival.

Looking at MASCARA & POPCORN’S site I became fascinated by the fest’s call-to-action: “At times amusing, sometimes dark, but for the most part inspiring, edgy and current, MASCARA & POPCORN events are most certainly on the subversive side of the tracks. Count on fetish, punk, Goth, burlesque, pin-ups and rockabilly to have an intricate part in the whole mix!” Touliatos and I tweeted a bit, mostly in support of Garland’s work (she is a friend of mine) and the most glorious and humbling thing happened: I was invited as a guest to the festival in August, a mere five days after Montreal’s Fantasia. Later I would find out, it was due to my writing about and evangelizing for underground and transgressive cinema.

Touliatos and I met in-person for the first time downstairs at the Hotel Rue Berri on the Thursday before MASCARA & POPCORN began. The conversation covered the films we loved and that special place in our hearts for non-narrative experimental cinema—which should be an area of exploration for all those interested in extreme or emotionally stark genre fare.

We discussed the Black Carpet event and Awards, which would take place in Bistro de Paris. The honorees this year I could not be happier for: Éric Falardeau (THANATOMORPHOSE) and Izabel Grondin (LA TABLE, currently making its rounds in film festivals), both of whom I know from Fantasia. I have even written about Grondin’s uncompromising work in these digital pages of Fangoria here.



Our first night allowed us to bear witness to the madness of Rick Genest (Zombie Boy) and bloodied haunted house performers. Many faces familiar to me were in the crowd; Mitch Davis (Fantasia Film Fest) was on the jury alongside Kelly Michael Stewart (The Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival), Darrell Marsh (Little Nightmares Canadian Horror Shorts Festival) and Eric Falardeau (ThanatoFilms).

Thea Munster (inventor of the first zombie walk) was a guest; we had just hung out for the first time at Monster Bash, and of course Grondin and Garland. Dre Boulet, whose film DEAD FIELD was a featured contender, brought home not only the audience award, but a special award for “Best Director as chosen by the Festival’s Director.” I also was introduced to Nadine L’Esperance and her muse Samantha Mack from Vancouver, who were there presenting their punk rock short NO PETS ALLOWED (whose ending I support thoroughly; a short that is a must-see). And Jill Sixx Gevargizian, whose special bumper piece can be seen in Drafthouse’s ABCs OF DEATH 2, staring a special UK someone (see it on VOD now!).

Surrounded on all sides was a bizarre bazaar of skulls and jewels and leather gear. The crowd was filled with folks with shaved heads, Manic Panic and gear cross counter cultures (punk and goth mostly). The screen across the room showed bits of what audiences would be exposed to these coming days. The Golden Skulls were then given out for Honorary Awards for Audacity & Excellence. These were the brave voices, embodied certainly by the works of the first recipient, Falardeau and THANATOMORPHOSE, a story of heartache, body rot, and the end of that loving feeling, displaying an unsentimental look at love and what it means to die in abuse and betrayal. Grondin’s was awarded next for her series of short film works; raw, brave and honest portrayals of sub/doom sexuality woven into the leather straps of horror, rape, and death.

Each day of the festival was set up into blocks at the Mainline Theatre —Friday Brunch, Tainted Love, The Edge, Strange Days and The Grind hole. There were Audience awards tallied live after each block, speeches were made, Golden Skulls photographed and then another round of Awards given by jury at the festival’s karaoke close out that Sunday. I filled my eyes with as many shorts as I could. I also drank a lot of black coffee to keep going after 15 days of Fantasia. The selection ranged in subject and quality, some overlapped with the shorts shown at Fantasia, and it was good to see them again, but there were three I’d like to mention with the most honor:


Zachary Ramelan for DEAD RUSH

A first-person zombie short. A group of friends are trying to escape the undead and not become one in the process. The choreography and editing is stunning; the composition of the zombie hordes is terrifying. It made walkers scary again. Ramelan is ready to shoot a Hollywood film.


LA TABLE (The Table), dir. Izabel Grondin

Black-and-white elegance suits this story of a submissive and her requests. Extremely sexual and unashamed, our unnamed woman gets what she wants as we all look on in horror or eroticism or both. A stunning piece of art.


L’OURAGAN, FUCK YOU TABARNAK! (The Hurricane, F.Y.T.!), dir. Are Ball

Almost the kid version of MAN BITES DOG, this short tells the tale of a trash terrorist wannabe rapist, drug addict kid. The narrative plays off different view points: society’s, his class-mates’, the educational system’s. All have set him up to fail or have seen his failing as hopeless situation, which is why he is railing the world (“What do you got?”) through chaos and violence. Brilliance. “Wild in the streets, running, running, wild in the streets…”

Through watching these blocks of curated independent shorts, we now can evangelize new content and themes, but more so I believe in such a thing as a chainsaw family between these filmmakers and self. We travel to find our own kind without judgment and with grace and understanding. I have found my own chainsaw family at Fantasia for many years, and I also felt it at MASCARA & POPCORN—we still talk to each other and feel connected like degenerate in-bred brothers and sisters of the genre, across Canada and the US. And that might be the biggest triumph of the festival. Unity. Fiends. Deviants.

As for the October 17th, I could only imagine the insanity in-store. MASCARA & POPCORN gathers a community of its Land of Misfit Toys together, at least for a short while, which is what any City needs, that is until we can all find Midian (“North of Athabasca, east of Peace River…”) Please drive, fly, or astral project (No transportation pods due to insect issues) to the MASCARA & POPCORN Body Horror Contest. I may not be able to make it this year, so I need all you rock ‘n’ rollers to go in my place. Have fun and get gory as hell. Happy Halloween Montreal.

A list of all winners can be found here

MASCARA & POPCORN’s Body Horror Contest

Friday October 17th 2014 at 6 p.m.

Foufounes Électriques (87 rue Ste-Catherine Est)

Montreal, QC

Presale: $10—Doors $15

  • Eight makeup artists compete, winner takes home the $300 grand prize (when they are done, their creatures head to photobooth of horrors for our exhibit of human oddities)
  • Short films compete, winner takes home the Golden Skull: very simple contest, audience votes for Best Film
  • Our vendor fair is composed of over 20 artisans (a mix of bizarre art, jewelry, singular collectables and hand crafted items)
  • Progressive metal band Bookakee are preparing a big light show and use of tons of FX to simulate decapitation, evisceration, GWAR-style.
  • Plenty of other performances, raffles, macabre art, a costume contest, a Halloween makeup stand, a photobooth of horrors, a “vomitorium”, masks, gifts, props, costume giveaways…


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About the author
Heather Buckley
Heather has a dual career as a Producer (Red Shirt Pictures) and a film journalist. Raised on genre since the age of 13, she’s always been fascinated by extreme art cinema, monster movies and apocalyptic culture. Her first love was a Gorezone no. 9 bought at Frank's Stationary in Keyport, NJ. She has not looked back since. Follow her on Twitter @_heatherbuckley
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