Prior to attending a Haunters Convention in June, I didn't know that pro and amateur haunted houses were such a thriving industry. Now I know, now I know. The new documentary The American Scream provides a pretty great look at three home-haunter families in small town Fairhaven, Massachusetts, who live and breathe Halloween all year long. Their neighborhood haunted houses range between painstakingly detailed to just rubberbanding some screaming baby figurines onto a rickety seesaw three hours before the hordes show up. It's playing for one night only tomorrow at the Hollywood with a Q&A with the director (that kid from Troll 2!). Plus, it's showing early enough that you can make it over to cortandfatboy's screening of Poltergeist at the Bagdad when you're done. (And sigh. I know I flubbed up in this week's Busy Week about the tequila worm making an appearance in the first Poltergeist. That beast was in the second one, which incidentally is a kinda crappy flick, except for the creepy old preacher and the aforementioned tequila worm. In fact, I tried to rewatch it on Netflix Instant a couple months ago and couldn't get much past all the sad Native American business in the beginning.)

Here's my film short for The American Scream:

That little freckled bologna-sandwich-wielding lad from the worst movie ever, Troll 2, is back to spread a little Halloween cheer. Michael Stephenson has turned documentarian since his 1990 turn as a goblin fighter, first as the chronicler of Troll 2’s bighearted crimes against cinema in Best Worst Movie, and now in The American Scream, a funny and touching documentary about amateur haunted-house creators. Stephenson follows three families in a small Massachusetts town as they prepare their annual haunted attractions for the neighborhood. Running the gamut from professional-grade perfectionist Victor Bariteau, who buys previously used caskets and gets his formula for blood just right, to a slapdash goofball father-and-son team who split their time between kabitzing at each other to literally clowning around at a children’s hospital. As is the case for all great and generous documentaries, The American Scream isn’t so much about its subject matter as it is about great characters.

The American Scream, Fri Oct 5, Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy
7:30 pm, $7-8, Q&A with director afterward