Housecore Horror Film Festival: A Recap of a Bittersweet Weekend

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The second annual Housecore Horror Film Festival was one of the best weekends of my life, but unfortunately it ended with the death of Co-founder and true crime author Corey Mitchell. For those that don’t know, I was a screener for the independent films that got played at the fest and was selected by Corey to do so. While I didn’t know him terribly well, I talked to him with relative frequency throughout the screening process and always enjoyed chatting with him at the Festival whenever our paths crossed. He absolutely loved talking horror and metal and his face would light up if you told him that you discovered something new because of him.

He was also one of the kindest individuals you’re likely to find in the horror or metal scene. That kind of thing gets said after almost everyone’s passing as way to shed a positive light on them, false praise, but I mean every word of it here. He encouraged my writing on more than one occasion, so here I am sharing it with you fine gentlemen. Corey, this one is for you.

While the day following was tragic, everything leading up to that moment was a metal and horror fans paradise. What follows is a day by day recap of said events including shitty cell phone pictures (hey, I’m not media. I’m just a guy with a phone), a Toilet meetup, and a whole lot of Gwar playing “West End Girls” by Pet Shop Boys.

THURSDAY

My friend and I arrive in Austin around 7:30 or so and seeing as how he is an old man who wakes up at 5 every morning and I’m a weirdo who never sleeps, we decide to just grab our badges, get some food and beer and call it a night early. UNTRVE!

FRIDAY

We opt to start our morning with a movie, 1979’s Don’t Go in the House (a film about a man burned by his mother as a child who, upon her death, snaps and starts chaining up women and killing them with a flamethrower after offering them a ride) prefixed by the independent short Familiar (which I absolutely recommend seeking out). Unfortunately due to technical difficulties Familiar has to be rescheduled. Once the insane journey that was Don’t Go in the House started, though, that was all but forgotten.

Afterwards we went to get food thinking we’d be missing Origin, a band whose work I’m not familiar with. Oh how foolish am I. We returned to Midways, the sports bar whose parking lot is hosting all of the day bands (Related: fuck the sun) to discover things started later than scheduled so we wouldn’t actually miss Origin at all. This turned out to be great news because they put on the best show by a band not named Portal all day. When the pit wasn’t to Jason Keyser’s satisfaction, he leapfrogged me into the crowd and started one himself. Despite the heat and early time of their set (a little after 1pm) they kept up that ferocious energy for the entirety of their set.

Brian Posehn offered a nice change of pace cracking wise about Star Wars, getting teabagged by his 5 year old, and the number of skin tags on his testicles. If none of that makes you laugh then I’m telling people that I don’t know you when they ask. Things got a lot more serious as Cattle Decapitation took the stage. They savagely tore their way through a set that relied heavily upon tunes from Monolith of Inhumanity, but can you blame them? Oh, and did I mention they played a new song? It ripped. Everything you’d expect from Cattle Decapitation in this post Monolith world.


Having been thoroughly decimated and hating Unearth, we scope out another film by the name of The Witch Who Came from the Sea. It was easily the weirdest film I witnessed at the fest, and that includes a movie where the protagonists are a fly and a razor blade wielding monkey. We doubled up our movie madness with a Canadian gem known as The Brain. You don’t care about that, though. You care about Portal. Wizards of Gore (AKA Rigor Mortis) ripped everyone a new asshole with a set that featured Travis Ryan doing vocals for “Foaming at the Mouth,” but it would all pale in comparison to the brutality and sheer weirdness that would follow.

Phil Anselmo himself took the stage to introduce the band stating that the atmosphere was about to completely change. He was right. As they took the stage the audience exploded. They proceeded to unleash their own, weird brand of worship music, singing praises to tentacle masses and writhing flesh instead of whatever God you worship. After spending an hour staring into the void we decided to go catch City of the Living Dead, or as you may better recognize it, the film that inspired Death’s “Regurgitated Guts.” What better way to end the night than that? (Sorry Voivod).

SATURDAY

Saturday morning kicked off with a resident cheesy favorite in Trick or Treat. I bailed a little early to see Archspire and they did not disappoint. Unless dudes in Wu-Tang shirts and basketball shorts disappoint you, in which case you should probably just stay really far away. Up next was the movie Creepers featuring the aforementioned razor wielding monkey (I’m sorry guys, there were a fuckton of movies I wanted to see. Where is Toilet ov Horror?) From this point forward though, it was all music save for a badass 1am parking lot screening of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

We moved back over to Midways for a brief set by the delightfully eccentric fellows in Macabre, and I must say, I feel like a learned a lot about serial killers in their short time on stage. Death metal: fountain of knowledge! At this point in the day we were both pretty ready for a ton of beer, just like any devout heavy metal fest goer. Luckily, one of my friends happened to be in town working a beer festival so we headed out to drink a dozen tiny samplers of beer. The smell of beer was a welcome change from the aroma of sweat and pot that had been the prevailing scent so far. Oh, and shout out to the dude who didn’t mark my card because he liked my Archspire shirt. I’ll love you forever.

Once we finished our brief detour into a world of beer-y goodness it was time for King Parrot. Whatever crazy stories you’ve heard about these dudes is probably true. Lead singer Matthew Young (or Youngy if you want to be a cool kid) spent entire songs in the pit or crowd surfing. You’d be hard pressed to find a better time being had outside of Gwar.

It was at this point that things got very cool as we managed to get a little ToH gathering going. You dudes are far more handsome and clean smelling in person. Author and Punisher came on next and I can’t say I was terribly won over. It probably didn’t help that I was eagerly anticipating a set by the legendary Neurosis next. That set, by the way, totally delivered. When you hear countless people refer to a Neurosis show as a religious experience, it’s easy to discount them. The thing is, every person who has ever told you that is absolutely right. Their songs are so layered and atmospheric that it’s a small miracle they can recreate them live, much less make them this impactful.

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This brings us to Gwar. Now, the last time I saw Gwar this happened to my skull:

So between that and the fact that they’re performing without Oderus Urungus, I was a weird combination of excited and terrified. Luckily they put on exactly the kind of show you would expect and my wig remained unsplit. The framing of Dave Brockie’s death as Oderus going missing and the band questing to find him sounds really tacky, but seeing it in practice makes one realize it’s a fitting tribute that Brockie would want and deserves. A whole array of characters got a shot at vocals, ranging from Sawborg Destructo to Bonessnapper to newcomers Vulvatron and Blothar. All did an admirable job both singing and delivering laughs, but there was undeniably something missing without Brockie’s presence. I’m interested to see where they go from here after their current tour story line draws to a close. [Joe Note: Their closing song, a cover of Jim Carroll’s “People Who Died”, was a really emotional moment for this lamer.]

SUNDAY

The final day of the fest, and I definitely took it a little easy. 5 hours of sleep will do that to a man. We set off for a screening of Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 with a cast Q&A afterwards. All this did was further my bro crush on Bill Moseley who I am determined to make my best friend and go on adventures with. TMI? This was followed by a trip to get some barbecue and then some waiting for what was surely everyone’s most anticipated band of the day: Superjoint Ritual.

As soon as they took the stage you could tell you were in for a beating, and they gave it to the audience like they had never stopped. The whole band was tight and energetic with Phil Anselmo channeling himself circa 2002 to belt out jams such as “The Introvert” and “Fuck Your Enemy.” This was classic Superjoint and when it was all said and done, it was depressing knowing it was over.

084

I took an extended break at this point because I’m an old fart who was just too damn tired to function properly. After a little rest and a lot of caffeine it was time for Eyehategod. Jimmy Bower had already played with Superjoint, but he looked every bit as energetic as he had several hours ago. Mike Williams made a few terrible ebola jokes (not offensive, just really unfunny), but even that couldn’t undercut the power of “Sisterfucker (parts 1 and 2)” or “Methamphetamine.”

This all brings us to the climax: Danzig. I will fully admit I was not even remotely stoked to see Danzig. The only songs I know by his solo band are “Twist of Cain” and “Mother” and even those 2 I only moderately enjoy (okay, I dig the shit out of Twist of Cain). I expected rockstar drama. I expected terrible singing. I expected all of those horror stories you’ve heard about Glenn Danzig to come true on stage that night. But then something weird happened: Danzig took the stage…and he fucking rocked. After a set of Danzig songs he disappeared from the stage for a few moments, eventually emerging with a whole new band all covered in blood so they could bang out some Samhain tunes, which I am again unfamiliar with (but ruled). As the night wound down he switched back into his standard Danzig attire for another song before eventually closing out with “Mother,” but with the assistance of Mr. Phil Anselmo on vocals. The only thing cooler than that was looking over and seeing that Bill Moseley (still not my BFF at this point) was in the pit.

As we walked back to the car, my body so tired from 3 straight days of greatness, I found myself wishing it wasn’t quite over yet. Just one more day. Just a few more bands. Just a handful of movies. I think it’s incredible, to say the least, a festival featuring that much content can leave a person craving more. I have no idea what the future will hold for this festival with the loss of Corey Mitchell. It’s way too soon to even speculate. Right here, right now though, it has been one of my favorite experiences the past 2 years. All I can do is hope it will continue to do so for several years more.

  • It’s not your fault, but I had trouble comprehending the rest of the article after reading Cattle Decapitation played a new song. I will have to read it again after I calm down a bit.

    • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

      It was good bro. It was good.

    • I can confirm the new Cattle Decap jam rocked!

    • crazytaco_12

      Think he said the song was called “Plague Born”, if that gets your pants any tighter.

  • Tyree

    This was a fun read Polar Bear, it seems like you had a blast! Jimmy Bower is a fucking animal, two sets in a row in that heat! That’s a very impressive accomplishment especially for an old man 😉

  • W.

    Great write-up, Bearikson. I wish I could have joined you other Texas boys.

    • Edward

      I agree, I just finished reading this. Great write up, sounds like an excellent time.

      Too bad about Corey Mitchell.

  • This was a fantastic write-up Mr. Bear. Also, it was great to meet you! Thanks for not eating me.

  • This was rad and you’re the man.

  • Tyree

    Now get your fine asses over to Baltimore for some MDF satisfaction.

    • Stockhausen

      One day, when I’m not posing so hard.

      • Tyree

    • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

      I so totally want to go but plane tix are expensive and my car barely survived the drive from Ft. Worth to Austin, so a road trip is a no go till I get a newer vehicle. But ONE DAY Tyree, we will party, we will drink, and we will GRIND!! I’m damn sure of it. Also, love the SCAB bro. m/

      • Tyree

        Cheers Brotha and thanks! I look forward to meeting all ov you splendid fucks!

    • Cock ov Steele

      I want too but I’m gonna be in basic at that time haha.

      • W.

        You’re going into the Navy, right?

        • Cock ov Steele

          Yep.

          • W.

            Seaman Steele!

          • Death
          • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

            Props bro. Srs. m/
            Hope you’ll still find time for the Toilet when you’re out there!

          • Cock ov Steele

            I’ll try. I got about 9 months-a year’s worth of training afterwards that I have to concentrate very hard on, but I’ll find time to chat and discover some more tunes, mores when I’m in my actual job.

    • HAIL, WARRIOR

  • Stockhausen

    Killer writeup, this sounded like a friggin’ blasty mcblasterson.

    • Blasty Friggin’ McBlasterson

      Oh shucks, you flatter me sir.

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    Great write up Leif!! It was really cool getting to meet you guys at the show. We definitely need to do it again sometime. m/

    • W.

      If I see you in December, I expect you to be wearing an oversize shirt.

      • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

        Haha maybe, we’ll see. I got that shirt for a friend who wanted to go but couldn’t cause of work, so I told him I’d get him a GWAR shirt and that I’d wear it in the pit to make it as authentic as possible lol. My friend happens to be a large guy who wears 3X size shirts. I wear medium, so I looked like a goofball in a tent, but idc it was fun haha.

    • Leif Bearikson

      KING DIAMOND

    • crazytaco_12

      It was great to meet you too! Thanks again for that Strongbow dude, I really appreciate it.

  • I wonder how many Cummins Rams were in the parking lot for this one

    • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

      Not that many actually, but Danzig’s yellow Lambo was there. I wouldn’t have pictured Danzig driving anything yellow…

      • Leif Bearikson

        That motherfucker was Danzig’s!?

      • Óðhinn

        Lambos are the car of choice for douchebags. I like Danzig’s first 3 albums and the stuff he did with Misfits, but he is a douchebag.

        I saw a gross dayglo green Lambo the other day….right in front of flat black Lambo. 2 very expensive cars, both with ugly paint. Those ugly cars are everywhere. “Look at me in my dayglo green fuel waster.”

      • Óðhinn
    • Óðhinn

      Hopefully zero.

  • Cock ov Steele

    superjointritualsuperjointritualsuperjointritualsuperjointritual

    • The Superjoint set was fucking insane! They were so tight and it was like no time has passed between then and now. They were my personal band from the weekend.

    • crazytaco_12

      Dude, Phil fucking killed it. That was the best I’ve heard him scream for a band in a long ass time, was not disappointed. I think there’s already video posted to if you need proof.

  • TrickleDownTacoRiff

    Sounds awesome! And Ive been saying it for years: DANZIG ROCKS!!!

    “But then something weird happened: Danzig took the stage…and he fucking rocked.”

    • Virgil the Ghost Poet

      I just thought that was understood. Danzig Rocks!

      • TrickleDownTacoRiff

        Right on Virgil! M/

    • crazytaco_12

      Danzig was great live, but dude, that guy is such a fucking drama queen. Dude instructed staff to not let anyone with a camera, chain, sharpie, water, etc into the building and me and my gf had a camera (and we’re from Washington). We had to pull every favor we could to get that camera stored somewhere just so we could see Eyehategod playing before him. Every other band before him didn’t pull any of that crazy shit.

      • TrickleDownTacoRiff

        Agreed, hes a dick and always has been and I kind of dig that in him truth be told. But people always say he sucks musically and that’s were Idraw the line…he still brings it!

  • Gobshite

    Great, more shit that I’ll never get to go to! By that, I mean the travel more than anything. Being angry at a dude for dying is a bit harsh.

  • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

    I would like to point out that Ken Mode, whom I was relatively unfamiliar with prior to their set, played an amazing show and won me over as a fan. The bassist is just next-level amazing and the drummer was a beast behind the kit. Truly a great band that is ridiculously tight live. The singer/guitarist even got in the pit during the last song, guitar and all, screaming the lyrics at the faces that surrounded him, screaming along with him. I was impressed to say the least. Don’t miss this band live if you get the chance, they WILL melt your face off.

  • This weekend was also one of my all-time favorite concert-going experiences and it was great meeting you other toileteers who attended. I can only hope it continues in the future. Great writeup Leif!

    • crazytaco_12

      I know I’m posting this to all the guys and maybe people are sick of it, but just wanted to say it was great to meet you man!

      • I very much enjoyed meeting you too. I hope we can meet again next year, if there is a next year.

  • FeelTheDarkness

    NEUROSIS! NEUROSIS! NEUROSIS!
    That is all.

    • This was my first time seeing Neurosis since they opened for Pantera in like 1996 or so. They were amazingly awesome. No flushes.

      • FeelTheDarkness

        Did you catch VoiVod? Another unflushable band.

        • I actually did not catch Voivod. I’ve never been much of a fan of them but I probably should have at least checked them out…

        • crazytaco_12

          DUDE!!!! Voivod fucking killed it beyond belief. I was right up front, they played such a great set, definitely pleased this ultra-fanboy. I was also able to snag their setlist and get it signed; shit, just talking about it is giving me a partial.

          • FeelTheDarkness

            That is awesome!!!! The VoiVod gang are good guys. I got to hang with them courtesy of Neurosis when they played MDF a few years back.

          • crazytaco_12

            No question about it, every one of them were super cool, especially Away and Chewy. Anytime they saw me walking around they always said “Hi” and “How is your day going?” and whatnot. It’s a great feeling knowing that your favorite band is also just made up of nice people.

  • Great review. That sounded like an incredible evening. I would’ve loved to have seen Travis Ryan sing Foaming at the Mouth. (I remember that song from the eighties! …also Hobb’s Angel of Death.)

    It really is a damned shame about Corey Mitchell. Hopefully this will continue in his honor.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    I’m still not sure whether I fully dig Portal or not but I’d love to see them live. Really, who doesn’t a bit hard at the thought of being menaced by a man with a clock instead of a head?

    • Gurp

      Does he still wear the clock? I thought that got changed out for another gimmick.

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        If he’s changed it, I hope it’s to a door.

        • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

          He changed it–>

    • Matt Pike’s Sweaty Left Nipple

      This year was the cast of the actual original Texas Chain Saw Massacre. During the panel discussion they emphasized the fact that none of the sequels have anything to do with their film other than borrowing the general narrative and villain Leatherface, and they don’t consider any of the sequels or remakes to be legitimate or any good.

    • crazytaco_12

      Yeah dude, I know there were a ton of people who didn’t really know them or love them there (and also, a ton of people POSING so fucking hard), but anyhow, I think anybody can really enjoy their stage show and the ambiance.

  • No shaky camera phone video of the new Cattle Decapitation song . Smh

  • Gurp

    Sounds RAD, brah. I have a question though, how is your hearing after 3 days of beer and metal bands? I’m assuming you used some kind of protection.

    • Can confirm he did not because he was making fun of me for wearing plugs.

    • Leif Bearikson

      Hearing is fine after 3 days. It’s actually a lot better than going to a lot of regular shows. Opting to go see movies and skip some bands really helps so it isn’t a constant assault on your ears. The outdoor stage this year also helped a bit

      • Gurp

        Ah, okay, that makes sense. I’m debating going to Maryland Death Fest next year because I really wanna see like 20 of the bands on the bill but I’m not sure I could handle 3-4 days of constant assault.

      • crazytaco_12

        Hey man, did you ever catch the short “Infringe” there? I thought it was pretty dope, probably the best newbie I saw at the fest.

        • Leif Bearikson

          Oh yea, that’s one me and the other screeners were super jazzed on. Check out the director’s other mid length Hennes Svarta Vengar. It was shown last year and killed.

          • crazytaco_12

            Nice man, I’ll have to check it out

  • Scrimm

    Origin is so bad ass. Creepers too, classic Argento. Say what you will, I’ve always loved Danzig live. Great write up.

  • Steve Smithwick

    This is a phenomenal piece, Leif. Corey passing is legitimately really sad (Anselmo has said it was a surprise heart attack in interviews, happened hours after it ended!) and I think you offer a fitting tribute.

    I’m really glad you wrote this, man. I really liked it.

  • crazytaco_12

    Hey man, finally checking the toilet just today, I’ve had a busy last 2 weeks (day after I got home from the festival I saw King Diamond), so glad to see this posted! I’m not sure if I’ll have much more time to spend on here today, but I just wanted to say it was great getting to meet you Leif (though I clearly am not great at making conversation), as well as Matt Pike’s Sweaty Nipple, Halbie, and Joe! You guys were all very cool and I hope to see you again if this happens next year!