Around Town: The Montford Moppets bring screams, thrills and laughs with horror film series

SCARY MOVIES: Phoenix Skinner, left, and Aidan Short work on a short film based on the 1910 horror story “August Heat” by W.F. Harvey. The film will be part of the Horror Anthology film series presented by The Montford Moppets Shakespeare Youth Theater Company. Photo courtesy of The Montford Moppets Shakespeare Youth Theater Company

Ashleigh Goff doesn’t want to give away too much about the second Horror Anthology film series, but she promises there will be blood.

“We have one [film] with a bloody babysitter, one with bloody body parts in the mail and one with a bloody housewife,” says Goff, artistic director of The Montford Moppets Shakespeare Youth Theater Company, which will present the series on Friday, Oct. 29, and Saturday, Oct. 30, 5:30 p.m., at Attic Salt Theatre.

The Horror Anthology features six short films written, directed, filmed by and starring students in the company, which started in 2009 as a theater class for home-schooled students. It now offers year-round classes, shows and workshops for students. The age range for participants varies depending on the course.

In addition to the aforementioned blood, this year’s films include a warehouse that may be haunted, a jealous lover and a group of kids who encounter a horrifying beast in the woods.

The horror film series was born last year when the group had to cancel its live fall performance due to COVID-19. This year, the group explored how horror and comedy blend together by studying such films as Shaun of the Dead, Beetlejuice and The Cabin in the Woods.

“My hope is that each student who tackles even a small part of the process takes away a feeling of ownership and pride,” Goff says. “Each student director is taking on writing/adapting, casting, directing and editing their film. It’s a lot of work.”

Attic Salt Theatre Co. is at 2002 Riverside Drive, Studio 42-O. For more information or to buy tickets, go to avl.mx/an5.

Dark Corners

For three years, David Allen Voyles transported folks to Asheville’s spookiest sites in a 1972 Cadillac hearse. Dark Ride Tours is no more, but the retired Buncombe County teacher still finds ways to share spine-tingling tales through his podcast, “Dark Corners.”

The podcast just wrapped up its 13-part third season, “Wraiths of the Appalachian,” which tells the story of a young man who encounters various supernatural creatures and characters from Appalachian lore as he travels aimlessly in a 1966 Volkswagen bus.

“Many people will be familiar with some of the stories, like the legend of the Brown Mountain lights of Western North Carolina, the Kentucky goblins and maybe the moon-eyed people, whose existence is referenced in old Cherokee lore,” Voyles says.

The stories also reference lesser-known creatures, including the Flatwoods monster, the Bell Witch of Tennessee and Sheepsquatch, who terrorized people in West Virginia in the 1990s.

“Dark Corners” is available on all the major podcast apps. For more information, go to avl.mx/an7.

Mountain ghosts

Author Alan Brown includes two spooky local stories in his new book for young readers, The Ghostly Tales of the Haunted South. In his North Carolina chapter, Brown recounts the legends of “The Flying Spirits of Chimney Rock” and “The Wealthy Spirits of the Biltmore Estate.”

Brown, an English professor at the University of West Alabama, chose the Chimney Rock story because of its visual appeal to young readers who have to use their imagination to “see” the humanlike figures in white gowns flying to the top of the rock formation.
As for the Biltmore, Brown calls it a “classic haunted house” that’s in the book because the home’s spirits made their their presence known through sound instead of sight. “Guests and staff members have heard disembodied voices around the swimming pool and the clopping of horses’ hooves in the gift shops, which originally housed the stables,” he says.

For more details or to buy the book, visit avl.mx/aig

A time for remembering

In a period of increased racial violence in the decades after the Civil War, three African American men were lynched in Buncombe County: John Humphreys (1888),  Hezekiah Rankin (1891) and Bob Brachett (1897).

The Buncombe Community Remembrance Project will hold an installation ceremony for a marker recognizing and remembering the three on Saturday, Oct. 30, at 10 a.m. at Pack Square Park.

“Before we can move to reconciliation and transformation, we must first have truth telling and acknowledgment of our history, as well as the trauma that our violent racial past has caused,” says Joseph Fox, vice president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County and chairman of the Remembrance Project steering committee.

The project originated in 2018 when the Martin Luther King Jr. Association and other groups reached out to the Equal Justice Initiative, a Montgomery, Ala.-based nonprofit that uses newspaper archives, court records and other historical records to document known lynching in the United States from 1877 to 1950.

Organizers hope the monument will provide opportunities for healing from the trauma surrounding racial violence and foster local conversations and reflections concerning community healing, Fox says.

For more information, go to avl.mx/8cl.

Heading toward the summit

The Asheville Area Arts Council’s annual Creative Sector Summit will be held Wednesday, Nov. 3, at the Wortham Center for the Performing Arts and online. Check-in for those attending the conference is 9 a.m., and the first of four panel discussions begins at 10 a.m.

The summit seeks to address major issues affecting the local creative arts community through panels on arts equity, sustainable tourism, pandemic impacts and creative wages.

Tickets are $50. For more information or to buy tickets, visit avl.mx/anj

Closing the funding gap

Pisgah Legal Services, in partnership with ceramic studio East Fork, is having a raffle through Sunday, Oct. 31, to support its free legal aid services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

“Pisgah Legal staff and volunteers are taking more than a thousand phone calls each week for help,” Ally Wilson, director of development, says in a press release. “To make matters more challenging, we recently lost more than $1 million for two years of federal grant funding for our domestic violence and child abuse prevention program. All proceeds from this raffle will help replace this funding gap.”

People can buy an unlimited number of $5 tickets to enter a drawing to win one of three hand-thrown vases featuring stoneware clays dug from the Southeast. The pieces are adorned with glazes no longer available from East Fork. Winners will be announced Monday, Nov. 1.

For more information or to enter the raffle, go to avl.mx/ano

 

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