The American Scream

Directed by: Michael Paul Stephensen

Release Date: 2012 (limited)

Recently, I attended the DocFest taking place at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco for a screening of The American Scream.

Perfect for the Halloween season, the theater was decked out with fake spiderwebs, red and green lighting, their candy display was lit up, and even the restrooms had plastic insects all around. For the theme of the movie, the setting was perfect.

The film chronicles three Fairhaven, MA families setting up their backyards for Halloween "haunts" in their backyards.

The first family, headed by Victor Bariteau, is our central character. He opens and closes the movie because his connection to Halloween is more than scaring his fellow neighbors and patrons; it's his passion. As his wife mentions in the picture, Victor grew up in a religious household in which they didn't celebrate holidays, including Halloween. She says, "He's trying to make up for lost time." His passion for Halloween is demonstrated with his supreme dedication to props, makeup, and set design - all in his backyard. His haunt is a highlight in the area.

Manny Souza (the Halloween guy) is friends with Victor but unlike Victor, isn't a perfectionist. Manny uses household items, abandoned items on the street, and anything else he can find to make a creepy Halloween haunt. For him, Halloween brings his family together because they all contribute in one way or another. Halloween is a time for bonding not only with his family but with the community.

The last family, Rich and Matt Brodeur, are a father and son team, respectively. They enjoy the holiday and like Manny, do what they can with what they have to create an entertaining Halloween haunt.

With the countdown to Halloween, every family scrounges for last minute details, especially the Bariteau family with Victor's attention to detail. The end result was a success on all accounts. This picture was most inspiring for Victor who had hopes to go into the Halloween haunt business professionally.

This year, he succeeded. Ghoulie Manor opened for business September 28th, 2012 in Taunton, MA.

This movie is a treat for the whole family and like me, will inspire you to go out and support your local haunted house!

Below, dates for upcoming screenings and a trailer for the documentary. Check your local listings for the television premiere on the Chiller network on October 28th (where available).

October 19 – Coolidge Corner Theater (Boston, MA)
October 20 – Nitehawk Cinema (Brooklyn, NY)
November 1 – Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park (Houston, TX)
November 3 – Alamo Drafthouse Winchester (Winchester, VA)
November 6 – Alamo Drafthouse Westlakes (San Antonio, TX)
November 9-14 – Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar (Austin, TX)
November 20 – Alamo Drafthouse Park North (San Antonio, TX)
November 28 – Alamo Drafthouse Stone Oak (San Antonio, TX)

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