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Horror film festival offers nightmares on Bell Street

Things are definitely going bump in the night as the Rhode Island International Film Festival unleashed its 10th annual Horror Film Festival last night. The festival continues through Sunday night for a hair-raising cinematic experience.

Screenings of the festival's 37 chilling and spine-tingling short films are taking place at the Bell Street Chapel (5 Bell St.), with additional events at the Providence Public Library.

The horror film festival began as an idea of an intern at the RIIFF and has grown into a major Providence event. George Marshall, executive director of RIIFF, said the festival has found "a very receptive audience" in Providence, with 2,000 people attending last year's events.

The festival has "built a reputation on short films," Marshall said. "Short films are very, very popular."

He attributed the popularity of short films to the fact that, even if a viewer does not like one particular movie, he or she will still benefit from the variety of works being presented.
The films were selected from more than 250 submissions from around the world, which started pouring in not long after the last festival ended. "We have already started accepting films for next year," Marshall said.

In addition to horror films, this year's festival includes an H. P. Lovecraft Walking Tour on Saturday. In its second year, the walking tour begins at Brown's Van Wickle Gates and leads visitors through various locations, including the house where the Providence horror writer lived and the places "where Lovecraft had inspiration for his works," Marshall said.

Also on Saturday, local horror author Christopher Rondina will be holding a book signing at the Providence Public Library beginning at noon. Rondina will discuss his newest book, "Ghost Ships of New England: Mysterious Tales of the Sea from Yankee History & Folklore." The signing will also feature a screening of a "wonderful documentary," said Marshall, and shows "who's who in horror films."

Outreach about the event has not been forgotten, with commercials running on Cox Cable 10, an article in the Providence Journal, and partnership with other festivals, as well as the social networking of the filmmakers themselves.

The RIIFF Web site has also received numerous hits, and on this site a full schedule of events in the festival can be found.

Guaranteed to be an eerie-sistable event, tonight's films begin playing in Bell Street Chapel at 7:30 p.m., and are certain to keep you screaming for more.


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