Fears & Beers Recap: An Evening With Brian Yuzna

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This past Saturday, May 6, Screamfest hosted our most recent Fears & Beers screening, a series of events and screenings sponsored by Shock Top where guests can enjoy a movie and a beer included in their ticket, often with special guest Q&As. This week, we enjoyed a double feature of Brian Yuzna’s cult classics Society and Bride of Re-Animator. In case you missed it, here is a rundown of the evening.

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Upon arrival, guests had the opportunity to take a Society themed “Butt-head” photo. If you would like to vote on the best one, you can see the full gallery here. Here’s is my own contribution:

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Director Brian Yuzna and Society star, Devin Devasquez even got in on the fun.

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Yuzna arrived a bit before the movie began, opting to be present for the screening itself. Lending a sometimes-rare opportunity to witness a film, especially a reaction-inducing flick such as Society, alongside its source.

Before the film, he casually socialized with the Screamfest crew and guests alike. I got the opportunity to spend some time with him before the show and can easily say he is one of the most sincere and warm humans I have ever met. After I finished my gushing, he humbly thanked me and told me how much he enjoyed the article I had written about him a couple of weeks prior (yay!). We chatted for quite a while, mostly about his recent road trip across the country and mutual acquaintances (his friend and collaborator, John Penney, writer of Return of the Living Dead III, was a teacher of mine in school).

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Devin Devasquez arrived a short time after, as stunning as ever. The pair caught up briefly before the show.

Before each film, Brian Collins led a brief trivia session, awarding the winners a Screamfest t-shirt and a blu ray (I talked my friend out of his victory copy of Witchboard).

As I was chatting with the guests beforehand, I learned that this would be the first time seeing these films for a good percentage of the audience.
Seeing a film like Society, larger than life interjected with synchronized reactions from the crowd is what I consider an ideal communal viewing experience. It is a film that, although benefits from repeat viewing, can only be an unpleasantly wacky surprise the first time around. With that being said, it was especially fun witnessing Brian Yuzna soaking in every laugh and collective cringe.

After the absurd onslaught of Society, Brian Collins of Birth.Movies.Death hosted an intimate Q&A with Yuzna and Devin Devasquez.

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The pair shared anecdotes and answered Brian Collins’s questions with enthusiasm. Yuzna gave a bit of history about how the film came about (which you can read more about in my article) and Devasquez recalls how she landed the part after another actress left the production.

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Since most of the Q&A was wrought with spoilers, I don’t want to go too far into it, however Brian Yuzna was kind enough to answer a question of my own. I asked him to elaborate on a character that I have long since wondered about in Society: Clarissa’s mother. Devasquez also seemed curious about her mother’s role in the film. (Warning: slight spoiler) Yuzna explained that Mrs. Carlyn was intended to be a shunting addict, which caused her to have some strange mental issues. This answer, although simple, was the piece of the puzzle I was looking for. Yuzna admits that this was not conveyed very well in the film but I was grateful for the answer nonetheless. For the most part, Yuzna’s intention for Society was for it to be a very fun film, using more comedy than horror to highlight the social commentary.

After we wrapped up the Q&A and our next round of trivia, the crowd settled back in with their beers and geared up for Bride of Re-Animator.

Although I had just revisited this film a few weeks previously, I still found myself picking up new things and found it to be even more fun in a theater. Jeffery Combs led a balanced performance, skillfully balancing humor with intensity. Yuzna himself mentioned that this film was much more of a horror film than Society and is quite proud of his work. He describes several sequences in the film as “operatic” and I am inclined to agree.

Even though double features can be a bit tiring, Yuzna stuck around afterwards to hang out with the Screamfest crew and any lingering audience members.

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Don’t miss out on any of our future events by keeping an eye on our website (specifically the blog!) and Facebook page.

All photos were taken by the lovely Angelica Ulloa. More of her work can be found Here.

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