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Though this is the first year for Night Risers Film Festival & Expo, a horror-themed event held tonight, Saturday and Sunday in Elizabethtown, the organizers are not new to scaring people.
Held at Pritchard Community Center, the event includes everything from a hearse auto show to dancing zombies.
John Thompsett, owner Izzie’s Little Creepers Haunted Attractions and Events, and Terri Pfeiffer, co-founder of its sister company Hataritaville Hats, specialize in the macabre. In addition to creating The Stitch Factory haunted house, they are the organizers behind last year’s Elizabethtown Zombie Fest, which Thompsett estimated attracted hundreds of participants.
“We wanted to add something this year,” Thompsett said.
And they did.
Zombie Fest became just one of the attractions under Night Risers Film Festival & Expo. Thirteen independent films, ranging from short-shorts to feature length, will be presented tonight through Sunday.
“Hopefully we got some good quality films,” Thompsett said.
Live music, paranormal investigations, belly dancing, a make-up contest, zombie walk, brain eating contest, “Thriller” dance off, Viva! Dead Vegas wedding ceremony, magic show, silent auction and a haunted Harley motorcycle ride are among the additions.
The various events will benefit five charities as well as help cover operational costs, Thompsett said. The charities are Feeding America, Kentucky’s Heartland; Girl Scouts; Warm Blessings Soup Kitchen; Operation Resilient Warrior and Parents Left Behind.
Festivities begin today at 5 p.m. At 8:30 p.m. Jane Rose and the Dead End Boys, fronted by a former Elizabethtown resident, takes the stage for a homecoming gig of sorts.
Jessica Jane Rose Cornett, who goes by Jane Rose, performed in Elizabethtown with other musicians as The Jane Rose Band beginning about 2007. Her last Elizabethtown performance was at the Heartland Festival in 2009.
“It has been way too long,” Cornett said.
Now living in Nashville, Cornett noted the band has not only changed in name but in musical style.
“My band then had a folk- rock sound,” she said. “Now I do rockabilly-hillbilly-rhythm and blues.”
Cornett took the gig, she said, because she loves anything horror and because it’s in Elizabethtown. She said the band will fit right in with the horror theme.
“Me and the guys are all horror fans,” Cornett said. “One of our T-shirts we sell is us as zombies on a pile of dead rubber chickens.”
The band plays “a wide variety that appeals to everyone, everything from traditional rockabilly to blues to psychobilly,” she said. Psychobilly blends punk rock and rockabilly.
Music also figures into the “Thriller” Dance Off Saturday where contestants vie for prizes dancing to the song by Michael Jackson. A maximum of 100 contestants will be whittled down to 10 who will vie for prizes, Thompsett said.
Activities such as the MakeOff! contest provide opportunities to win prizes. The contest was inspired by the SyFy Channel’s Face Off, a horror make-up competition.
“I hope to learn a lot more about doing makeup,” Pfeiffer said.
The theme for the competition is “21st Century Legends,” and contestants must re-imagine a classic horror film monster, such as a mummy or wolfman.
“You have to bring them into the 21st century,” Thompsett said.
The brain-eating contest, which features Jell-O mold brains, is limited to the first 20 zombie contestants who compete in four heats of five people each, Thompsett said.
“That’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said.
Like last year, Thompsett, Pfeiffer and volunteers will offer The Stitch Factory haunted house set in an old sewing factory at 226 College St. in Elizabethtown. The PG-13 haunted house, which Thompsett refers to as the A-”Maze”-ing haunted house, because of its labyrinthine quality, will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. every Thursday through Saturday in October.
This weekend’s events, Thompsett said, tie in to next month’s attraction.
“The festival is a pre-cursor to the haunt season,” Thompsett said.
Despite the hard work, organizers said they enjoy producing such events.
“I don’t want to go back to work in an office,” Pfeiffer said.
Robert Villanueva can be reached at 270-505-1743 or email@example.com.
IF YOU GO: The Night Risers Film Festival & Expo is 5-10 p.m. today, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Pritchard Community Center in Elizabethtown. Admission each day is $10, $25 for a three-day pass or $40 for a VIP pass, which grants priority seating for the film showings, early admission and a T-shirt. Visitors can attend the Zombie Fest only for $5. For information or a schedule of festival events, visit www.izzyslittlecreepers.com or call 270-735-2057.