Filmfest one highlight  of Mad Monster Party

Where do mad monsters go to party?

Mad Monster Party, of course.

The three-day horror convention returns to the Hilton Charlotte University Place Friday through Sunday, and this time it has a Stanly County connection.

“The Blind Eye Looks Within” is one of several film shorts and feature films highlighted during the Mad Monster Party Filmfest.

The movie was filmed in Albemarle in November over two days, with a few added hours to pick up landscapes at different times of day.

“We try to do everything with found locations,” said J.T. McRoberts, director and one-third of Mutantville Productions, presenter of the film festival at Mad Monster Party.

The film, which clocks in at 17 minutes on the director’s cut, is in a way a tribute to George Romero, creator of “Night of the Living Dead,” who died last year.

“I wrote it as a kind of homage to him and his zombie films,” McRoberts said. “I said he just passed away and now is the time to do this film as a tribute to him.”

McRoberts, who formed Mutantville with Brent Bowers of Albemarle and Geo Blalock in 2003, said the company often films in Stanly and Montgomery counties, as well as Charlotte.

The group’s first film was entered into the American Zombie Film Contest in Charlotte. Romero was one of the judges for the contest.

“He viewed all these short films people had made,” McRoberts said. “We were a finalist, but we didn’t win. We kind of made friends with all of them and started admiring each other’s work.”

“The Blind Eye Looks Within” involves two survivors in a post-apocalyptic world which has been overrun by subterranean monsters that come up and attack people at night, McRoberts said.

“It has multiple meanings. People are just going to have to watch it,” he said.

He urges people to not try and copy the work of others, but use their work as inspiration for their own creations.

McRoberts said he has been friends with Bowers and Blalock for a long time and their common interests are what brought them together.

“We all train different martial arts and we’re all musicians and we all love storytelling and film,” McRoberts said. “It’s important to be around other creative people who are positive.”

McRoberts graduated from the visual arts program at N.C. School of the Arts.

“When I went there they didn’t have a film program,” he said. “A thing with filmmaking is it’s a trial and error project. You can only figure those things out by making films and being out there and doing it.”

Six of Mutantville’s short films can be found on the DVD “Tales From Mutantville.” Also available is a feature film about the ghost at Albemarle Opera House, McRoberts said.

As for this weekend’s film festival, there is no entry fee for the films. There are about 30-40 films, including six features and one documentary — the latter one focusing on Tromaville, whom McRoberts considers “the ultimate example of the independent film company.”

“It gives a chance to promote the other filmmakers in the Carolinas as well as independent filmmakers from all across the country,” he said regarding the film festival.

“It’s always been important to me as a filmmaker to always seek inspiration,” he added. “I always enjoy finding films from other guys and girls who are making fun films with a very limited budget.”

In addition to the film festival, Mad Monster Party offers several opportunities to meet with horror legends, professional wrestlers, musicians and others who love these conventions.

Scheduled to appear are Robert Englund (Freddy Krueger from “A Nightmare on Elm Street”), WWE Superstars Kane and Mick Foley, founding member of KISS Peter Criss, Lane Henriksen (“Aliens,” “Terminator), Michael Briehn (“Tombstone,” “Aliens,” “Terminator”), Christine Elise (“Beverly Hills 90210,” “ER,” “Child’s Play 2”) and more, including green-screen photo ops with guests such as Ken Kirzinger, who will appear in full makeup and costume from “Freddy vs. Jason.”

Rounding out the activities are the Miss Scarolina Pageant, the Scares That Care Charity Auction, Scaraoke, celebrity panels and more.

Admission prices vary, as do photos and meet and greets with guests. Children 12 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.

Visit madmonster.com

for more information.

Have a story idea? Call B.J. Drye at (704) 982-2121 ext. 25, email bj@stanlynewspress.com or follow bjdrye1 on Twitter.

B. J. Drye is editor of The Stanly News & Press. Contact him at (704) 982-2121 ext. 25, bj@stanlnewspress.com or PO Box 488, Albemarle, NC 28002.

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B.J. Drye has been employed with The Stanly News & Press since 1999. He has risen through the ranks of being a freelance contributor in 1998 to becoming editor in July 2010. Follow him on Twitter at bjdrye1.