Freaky film festival features strange cinema | Arizona Underground Film Festival
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Arizona Underground Film Festival

Freaky film festival features strange cinema

Movie premieres, experimental flicks, stars and directors

If you like strange movies, prefer a darkened theatre to streaming NetFlix, or can never find the blood curdling cult films you’ve heard about, then the state’s one and only Arizona Underground Film Festival is for you.

Starting Friday the 13th, the nine-day (and night) festival surveys a startling array of works in its celebration of genre cult films.

According to the AZUFF website, the categories include horror movies, narrative films, documentaries, experimental works, exploitation cinema and animation. The festival this year is concentrated in downtown Tucson, with all films showing at the Screening Room.

Scream, dammit, scream!

Do horror films get your blood pumping? There’s the directorial debut of scream queen Jessica Cameron’s Truth or Dare. She not only stars in the gorily realistic and emotionally intense drama, she will also be in attendance for this, its world premiere. This year, there’s no shortage of gory, campy exploitation films, like Discopath, zombie comedy Buck Wild, or A Measure of the Sin, shot in 16mm.

Lust for powerful narratives? There’s the Arizona premiers of Zack Clark’s White Reindeer, a South By Southwest Film Festival darling this year, as well as SXSW award-winner Loves Her Gun, with music by our own Howe Gelb.

If documentaries drive you wild, how about Flake and Flames, an essay on Kustom Kulture around the world or personal studies of actor Harry Dean Stanton in Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction and cult-classic Pink Flamingos’ outrageous star, I Am Devine.

Stretching the envelope beyond recognition

For deep cinephiles, there are experimental works like Worm, done in a single, 90-minute shot, the genre-bending Stress Position, plus various short films and videos.

Animation, however, gets little play after last year’s effort to be overtly kid and family friendly (laudable outreach, but a mismatch of demographics from the festival’s core audience) with only UK short Jamon representing. Last year’s festival also featured some screenings at the Crossroads Cinema, an experiment that is gone this year.

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The full schedule, including times, descriptions, cast and trailers, is available at

A limited number of all-access AZUFF passes are available for only $45 and that includes the t-shirt. Individual screenings are $7. There are also late night after show parties scheduled for Thursday and both Fridays and Saturdays.

The Arizona Underground Film Festival, like the All Souls Procession, KXCI radio and sunsets at Gates Pass, is one more reason to celebrate the unique joy of living in Tucson.

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