Halloween chills come early with Screamfest LA

With Halloween looming closely, horror-film fanatics will be able to enjoy 10 nights of terror, as this year’s Screamfest LA Horror Film Festival kicks off this Friday. The 10th annual event will offer a wide assortment of horror films from around the world, including over 22 feature films and shorts, and a free screening for the world premiere of “Wrong Turn 4,” on Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m.

The festival will also screen several new 3-D films including the opening night’s “SECTOR 7,” which hopes to popularize the medium in its native Korea.

Rachel Belofsky, the festival’s founder and director, launched Screamfest in August of 2001 to give independent filmmakers a platform to showcase their work to the industry.

Several directors have gained both acclaim and professional representation as a result of their Screamfest participation.

In the vein of “Paranormal Activity,” which was their 2007 discovery and became a 2009 box-office hit, two films are vying for top honors this year: “The Tunnel” from Australia, and “Crawl” from the United Kingdom.

After remembering a tour he had taken through an abandoned rail system beneath the city of Sydney, Australia, producer Enzo Tedeschi started to form the premise for the film “The Tunnel.”

“The Tunnel” begins as an investigation into a government cover-up.

The mystery leads a reporter and her crew into a network of abandoned subway tunnels snaking beneath Sydney.

As the journalists hunt for the story, it becomes apparent that the story is hunting them.

“We really put a lot of thought into giving the film a distinct point of difference, so I think audiences can expect something that's a little different, but still delivers on a scare level,” said Tedeschi. “I still enjoy watching the film with a cinema audience and hearing the squeamish groans from the audience and seeing them jump. That never gets old.”

Benjamin China, from Norfolk, England, is the producer of “Crawl,” which is based on an original screenplay by his twin brother Paul China, who directed the film.

According to the film festival’s web page, “Crawl,” it is a character-driven thriller set in an unidentified rural town.

A seedy bar-owner hires a mysterious Croatian to murder an acquaintance over an unpaid debt.

The crime is carried out, but a planned double-cross backfires and an innocent waitress suddenly becomes involved.

“We wanted to make a film that was as professional and cinematic as possible. I honestly believe we achieved that,” said the producer of "Crawl." “This is a film, and story, that will hopefully linger in the mind of the viewer long after the final credits have come to an end.”

Two films are set to premiere this Saturday. “Crawl” is scheduled for its world premiere at 12 p.m., and “The Tunnel” will have its U.S. premiere at 5 p.m.

Benjamin China, producer of “Crawl,” has agreed to provide free tickets to the first 10 readers who contact The Corsair’s calendar section with their names. Tickets will be held at the box office.

Screamfest will take place from Oct. 14 to Oct. 23 at the historic Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, located at 6801 Hollywood Boulevard.