Monster Mash 

Shannon Lark and her Chainsaw Mafia horror shorts invade the Parkway.

Networking is important, even for ghouls. Just ask Shannon Lark, organizer of the Chainsaw Mafia Indie Horror Film Festival, a package of shorts playing Tuesday, October 26 at Oakland's Speakeasy Parkway Theater.

The Alameda filmmaker grew up glued to the tube in Alamogordo, New Mexico, devouring such fright flicks as Peter Jackson's Dead Alive, the Evil Dead series, and especially David Lynch's The Elephant Man ("that one scared the hell out of me"). Later, after moving to the Bay Area and getting a job at Reel Video in Berkeley, she received her true education in horror films ("I watched everything they had") and found others who shared her passion. Hence Chainsaw Mafia, begun by Lark as a production company first but a horror film society foremost, a place where indie horror creative types could band together. "I want it to encompass the whole world," she beams, but for now she and a roster of mostly Bay Area writer-directors are content to put their short works on the big screen for the first time.

Lark is showing three of her own videos (she works only in digital these days): Babies for Breakfast, Marburg (a "depressing" virus story), and Whatever Happened to the Zombie Killers?, "a very, very long music video" shot at SF's DNA Lounge standing in as a zombie nightclub, with choreographed fight scenes. Other Chainsaw mafiosi with works on display include Tim Thompson (his KFC Zombies is a commercial parody), Anthony Marchitiello (Ready to Drop Trilogy), Nik Wendelsdorf (Mr. Cleaver), and the late Jesse Kerman, whose tragic real-life demise seems almost farcical: He was killed when he slipped in a pool of fake blood on a set and hit his head. Kerman's Night of the Living Lush takes place in a cemetery, where a drunk accidentally spills liquor into a grave and raises the dead. It's a comedy.

Lark -- who also hosts Meat, a horror-themed club night at the DNA, and who has just begun the Reel Cult Freakout series at the Parkway -- warns fans to arrive early (showtime is 9:15 Tuesday). $5. Go to TheChainsawMafia.com or PicturePubPizza.com for more details.

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