Monstrous Film Festival of Horrors

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A slender man in Dracula suit flows onstage in the Landis Auditorium.

In his scariest voice “Goood Eeevening,” said Ron Chaney to a laugh from the audience.

Ron Chaney is grandson and great grandson of famed Horror and silent film stars Lon Chaney Sr. and Jr.

In the lobby of the Landis Auditorium are memorabilia from the Chaney legacy, contributed by the shadowy Dracula now eliciting chuckles.

He gives an encouraging speech and ends with a shaky voice.

“Follow your dreams and trust in your heart.” Said Chaney. “Follow your dreams.” Chaney precedes an array of horror films from Riverside Community College’s film television and video department for the Monstrous RCC Film Festival of Horror on Oct. 12.

RCC film has been working toward this evening for the past year, and it starts now with a strong audience response.

Following Ron Chaney’s laugh “The Collection” leads the film festival, and at first seems like vintage horror film.

A black and white scene of a woman screaming and running through the forest from a howling wolf says “scary.”

But the tone quickly changes to a surprising comedy when she throws a bone at the wolf, and he runs to fetch it. The films following went back and forth from comedic to dark to comedic and dark.

Some of the anticipated films of the evening were from Chris Nunez, a third year in the film department, who had three shorts – “Parasite,” “Glitter- a Vampire Story,” and “Hunger.”

Bud Tedesco, teacher in film television and production for over 25 years at RCC, brightened and showed excitement as he talked about watching Nunez and his students’ progress.

“Chris is awesome to work with,” said star of “Glitter” Scott Turner. “As a director to an actor, he’s great and he knows what he wants.“

Another anticipated film and winner of best film for the evening was “Black and White,” a dark story about a deranged killer fabricating dolls from bodies of real women.

Tedesco and Nunez both looked forward to the audience reaction to “Hunger,” a disturbing film about a man who eats his victims but then is haunted by their ghost.

The crowd grimaced, and cringed during its premier screening.

Alumni videos were also featured as a welcome to returning RCC students now working in the business like Cindy Hong, Allan Gordon, and Ibrahim El-Amin.

“The Ritual’s End,” by Adrian Rodriguez and starring Ibrahim El-Amin won best Alumni video.

The film department has a screening at the end of each semester to showcase the ability of the students, but the horror fest is a special event for this Halloween.

All films shown were produced by RCC, who boasts an excited staff of Hollywood employees.

“Film making is my drug of Choice,” said Jack McLean, professor of lighting. “It’s my life.”

McLean has been teaching at RCC for over five years and brings an energy and excitement from working in the business.

Like other Hollywood staff McLean fell into the business over an Easter dinner and didn’t leave for 30 years.

His health forced him to leave when he broke his shoulders on set.

“If I wasn’t so broken, I’d still be doing it.”

Now he lends his experience and enthusiasm to work closely with students and encourage their growth and education.

The faculty used their connections with Hollywood to create the festival of horror at the request of participating students.

Makeup artist Lynda Shaeps used her relationship with Chaney to develop an event with Tedesco over a year ago. Chaney and Shaeps acted as judges for the short films’ award ceremony.

Winner of best effects and makeup was Adriana Vargez  for “Black and White.”

Best editing was Richard Rodriguez for “Open house.”

Best director was Richard Aguirre for “The Final Sacrifice.”

Ron Chaney’s company focuses on keeping his family’s legacy alive.

Lon Chaney Sr. starred in silent films as Quasimodo and the phantom from “The Phantom of the Opera” and Lon Chaney Jr. played such roles as the Wolfman, the mummified werewolf and Dracula.  Posters, coffins, props and figures from their films added a certain haunt to the lobby.

Raffle tickets were available throughout the night for signed Posters and tickets to “So You Think You Can Dance”.

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