By Lee Gardner (Baltimore City Paper, 10/12/2011)
A party’s getting out of hand in a paneled basement as assorted twentysomethings guzzle beer, and down the hall a buzzed dude gets ready to get busy with a buxom babe. She takes her top off, and before you know it, he’s got her guts out and starts gnawing on them, under the influence of an evil curse. And as low-budget horror film Witch’s Brew unspools, even more comically grotesque visions unfold, all courtesy local writer/director Chris LaMartina—that’s him with the glasses in the background of the party scenes, whooping it up.
If it sounds a bit silly, it is. That’s part of the point. LaMartina, 26, grew up on ’80s horror and its mix of spurting gore, rigid formula, and tongue-in-cheek humor, and he pays loving homage to the era and its style in his own movies. But at the same time, LaMartina takes what he does seriously. Witch’s Brew, which premieres Oct. 19 at the Charles Theatre, is his fourth feature, each film shot in and around Baltimore on whatever money he and his best friend/collaborator Jimmy George could scrape together, each film requiring more work and displaying more ambition, each film earning more accolades from horror fans across the country and wider exposure. And yet, LaMartina says this could be his last film as a director. In fact, he almost didn’t make Witch’s Brew.
Sitting in a booth in a Hampden eatery, LaMartina rewinds to early 2010, right after the premiere of his previous feature, President’s Day, a classic ’80s-style slasher featuring a killer who dresses up like Abraham Lincoln…