It’s just a few weeks until Austin, TX’s inaugural Housecore Horror Festival, an ambitious 4-day affair featuring a wide array of horror films and metal bands.
The event is the brainchild of metal vocalist Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down) and writer Corey Mitchell (who's working with Anselmo on his upcoming biography). Earlier this week I had the opportunity to talk with Anselmo about how his passions for extreme music and horror films merged for the Housecore Festival.
When asked where his love of horror began, he didn’t miss a beat:
"I couldn’t have been more than 3 years old when I first saw the original King Kong. I was super fascinated by Kong himself and the stop motion animation and all of that. And really at the end when he died I cried my eyes out like a baby…it showed me the power of film, and what it can do to the emotions when done correctly."
Anselmo would immerse himself in horror films that played on his local TV station in New Orleans. He would expand his tastes when exposed to underground horror movies in the late 80’s. This included ‘At Midnight I’ll Take Your Soul’, by Brazilian filmmaker Coffin Joe, who’ll be appearing at the festival. There will even be even be a gallery showcasing his original artwork.
Another highlight will be a live scoring of 'Suspiria' by the band Goblin, for which Anselmo is especially excited: “ I feel like I hit the lottery. That is a first round knock out…and as a fan I’m looking forward to that as much as anyone else.”
Anselmo dabbled in soundtrack work for 'The Manson Family' which will be playing at the festival, but he seemed unsure of committing to soundtrack work in the near future: ‘As far as taking on a gigantic film and scoring it, honestly right now between Down, the Illegals, the Horror Fest, the book, touring, etc., etc.-- I’d have to clear a lot of time, because you know if you want to do a proper horror soundtrack, first of all I’d want to know what the the movie was about. I’d have to get a feel for it.’
But when pressed if he’d ever like to direct a film one day, he was emphatic:
“No, no and no...That’s one thing I want everybody to be very clear on. Basically I hate to ruin the experience for myself. Horror films are really just my way of escaping these days and I’d like to just leave it at that.”
Anselmo will be performing two sets at the festival, one with Down, and the other with his band The Illegals, featuring his recent solo album ‘Walk Through Exits Only.’ The band will also be releasing an EP especially for the festival, a two song 10-inch vinyl called ‘Housecore Horror Film Fest EP.’ And, if that doesn’t get you excited enough, Anselmo proudly asserts: “The B-side is really one of the most epic songs I've ever written in my life.”
In addition to showing vintage horror movies, he’s accepting new film submissions and was impressed by several new filmmakers: “I think the directors could be tomorrow's go-to guys…they could be the future of horror because they're not following the rules.”
When pressed about his five favorite horror films, Anselmo groaned, “You realize this is an impossible question!”
In the end he narrowed it down to the original ‘Evil Dead’, Italian Horror Film ‘The House Of Laughing Windows,’ Russian film ‘The Vij,’ and ‘The Old Dark House.’ He begrudgingly listed ‘The People That Own The Dark’ saying there were just too many to choose from.
When asked if Housecore would be an annual Austin event, or toured throughout the country, he was hesitant but optimistic:
"I beg everyone please let us get through year one before we even use that horrible word annual" he said with a chuckle. "But my hopes are high and I have a pretty positive outlook on this whole thing...I think we have a monster event on our hands. And it should be a blast."
The Housecore Horror Fest runs Oct 24th-27th at Emo’s, Antone’s and Dirty Dog. The official schedule was recently announced and you can view it by clicking here. I'll be providing coverage over the course of the festival.
And you can read the entire Q-and-A of my interview with Anselmo by clicking here.