Woodstock starts Halloween early with double bill of horror films

Local News

The Vermont Folklife Center, the Vermont International Film Festival and Pentangle Arts of Woodstock teamed up to screen the Vermont Folk Horror Roadshow at the Woodstock Town Hall Theater on the night before Halloween.

The roadshow is a double bill of a black-and-white film named “Transformations” and a color film named “Animal”, both of which have Vermont roots.

“‘Transformations’ was shot in the Norwich, Vermont area around 1972. It’s an eight-minute short,” roadshow co-organizer Stephen Bissette said. “And the second film, ‘The Animal’, is a feature that was shot in and around East Calais; Montpelier; Goddard, Vermont; around 1975.”

“I mean, I don’t know that people think of Vermont as a place for horror films, yet here we are,” Pentangle Arts marketing director Angela Moore said. “It’s something else that shows our state and a lot of diversity.”

“Part of our mission is to not only do feature films, but also give our local filmmakers a platform,” Pentagle Arts executive director Alita Wilson said.

“Transformations” is a visual celebration of a coven of witches. In “The Animal”, a couple rents a backwoods house, and in their isolation, one of them disappears. Both films have been digitally preserved within the last several years by the Vermont Archive Movie Project.

“They’re working with the last known print or prints of a given movie, so, fun as this is to come out in Halloween season and see a double bill like this, it’s also about rescuing our heritage, our arts heritage here in Vermont,” Bissette said.

You can watch “Transformations” online for free. “The Animal” is for sale on DVD. We’re told that if you buy a copy, Walter Ungerer — the writer and director of the film — will personally fulfill your order himself.

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