The trailer begins with images of a hedonistic vacations for a collection of attractive twentysomethings: half-naked romps on the Brazilian beaches, free-flowing shots of unidentified spirits at a torch-lit bar.
Then, it changes — in a very scary way.
"It’s really weird. The first half of watching the trailer I’m thinking, ‘Man, Brazil is awesome, I gotta get there.’ The second part you’re like, ‘Nah, it’s too freaky,’" said Greg Godbout, owner of the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, his voice jittery with anticipation. "I was thinking, ‘Man, this is going to be good.’"
The movie is "Turistas," a horror thriller directed by John Stockwell ("Blue Crush") and starring Josh Duhamel (NBC’s "Las Vegas"). It follows a group of young backpackers on vacation in Brazil, who suddenly find themselves with no money and stranded in a mysterious house in the middle of the jungle.
How mysterious? The kind that’s filled with the passports of other young vacationers and a menagerie of surgical tools.
It’s the first film scheduled to be released by Fox Atomic, a young-adult division of 20th Century Fox.
It’s also the main attraction for the Cinema 'N' Drafthouse’s Halloween night celebration. Godbout said his theater will have a free advance "screaming" of the film which is scheduled to be released on Dec. 1.
He said horror films are good business for the industry. "I’m more of like a comedy fan. But I’m up for a good old gross, classic horror movie thing."
ON OCT. 31, the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse will open its doors at 7 p.m., with the screening to follow at 8 p.m. and plenty of Halloween festivities during the evening.
Godbout said when he and his team took over the theater last year, Halloween had been somewhat neglected. "The previous owner would just run regular movies, feeling that it was their slowest night," he said.
Godbout said the Drafthouse had a $1-a-ticket showing of Mel Brooks’s "Young Frankenstein" last year, incorporating other themed events.
This year, the theater has hosted a series of Halloween events over the last two weeks. There was a special magic show with George Bradley, family showings of the animated "Monster House," and a screening of the classic 1922 silent film "Nosferatu" accompanied by a live quartet playing a soundtrack scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 24.
On Halloween night, presented by Lindy Promotions, anyone who comes to the "Turistas" screening in costume will receive a free ticket for a movie at the Drafthouse. There will also be costume contests, with prizes from both the movie studio and from the Drafthouse.
There will also be 80s-style DJ show by Video Killers, who not only mix music but also music videos, which will be projected on the theater’s big screen.
Godbout expects the Drafthouse to host more special screenings in the future.
"I think studios have started to recognize us as a place for advance screenings because of our unique atmosphere," he said. "It’s a pre-screening, but it’s also a party."
CANNIBALS, ZOMBIES, vampires and gore are expected at the 2006 Spooky Movie Film Festival, but Count Gore De Vol said the inaugural festival is about more than just Halloween screams and terror.
The weekend before Halloween is now a time for filmmakers to showcase their work to local horror fans. About 30 feature and short films are set to play at the Cinema Arts Theatre at the Fair City Mall, 9650 Main St., in Fairfax, over the course of the three-day film festival. Count Gore De Vol, a popular vampire character and local television personality in the 1970s and 1980s, will make an appearance on opening night. He said film festivals allow filmmakers to gauge the success of their work by seeing and hearing live audience reactions.
"These people put a lot of effort into making these films," said Count Gore De Vol, whose real name is Dick Dyszel, but he stayed in character as the Count for the purpose of this interview. "They need a place to show it."
Hollywood films follow a formula which is why film festivals have an upper hand, he said with a scary, vampire-like accent. The festival films have originality and creativity that is often lost in the Hollywood process, said the Count. At this film festival, the purpose of that creativity is to draw fear and laughter.
"Ours is a comedy," said Angela Lee, from the production team of "The Slaughter," a feature scheduled to show on opening night. "We don’t take ourselves too seriously."
Curtis Prather, the founder and organizer of the festival and Movie Madness Productions, said many of the films, while gory and bleak, are still funny. Prather is a big fan of the horror film genre, but said he loves all genres of film. The horror films were a perfect fit though when he was deciding on what to feature in the fall season festival.
"There is really nothing I enjoy more than the shared collective experience of being in a movie theater," he said.
For more information or to see the official Spooky Movie Film Festival schedule, visit www.thespookymovie.com, or www.myspace.com/spookymovie. For information about tickets, visit www.cinemaartstheatre.com.