A screening of the horror film Beneath80 feet into the earth.

Cinema Under the Stalactites

By Daniel Richter
Web Content Contributor

When watching a captivating film, it can often feel like you have been taken out of your seat and have transported into the world in which the movie is taking place. But during the Lost River Film Festival last Friday, they decided to send movie lovers straight to the source of the action.

80 feet beneath the earth on Prospect Street in San Marcos is the Wonder World Cave. This cave, that formed by earthquakes in the late 1800’s early 1900’s, was the perfect destination for two of the film festivals most talked about events: Underground Music Underground and Be Brave in the Cave.

Underground Music Underground screened two music-based films while viewers sat back and enjoyed a keg of Aquabrew’s own Swine Dive IPA, named after Ralph the Swimming Pig who used to perform in Aquarena Springs in the 80’s. 

The First Film, “The Avant-Gardner,” is 10 beautifully blended music vignettes that showcase Lindsey Katt’s record called “The Avant-Gardner.” Katt did more than just provide the music. She starred, wrote and directed the entire film as well.

Katt took immense creative risks blending tons of different film styles and techniques into one piece. She uses stop motion, puppeteering, animation, split screen effects and many more special effects in the 37 minute film. The film also features beautiful ballet dancing and an ever-changing story line about Katt dealing with life’s struggles, including a dead-end relationship and job.

The cave made the sound feel as if it was coming from all around you. At times, it felt like speakers were placed in every corner of the cave. But in actuality, there were only two speakers placed near the screen. 

The film, “The Jeffers Live!” followed. It was a wild change of pace following “The Avant-Gardner.”

“The Jeffers Live!” is a live concert movie that showcased The Jeffers live performance during a wild, costume house party that took place days after the election of President Donald Trump.

The film does a great job giving the audience the feeling of actually being at the house party. You aren’t quite sure when the band was going to start playing, you felt that sense of claustrophobia, being crammed in with wild concert goers and costumes (being in the cave helped with that feel as well), and at one point you get to take a break from the show and hang out in the kitchen. 

Following the film, and a short bathroom break, Be Brave in the Cave began with a screening of “Beneath” and “Carnage Radio.” “Carnage Radio” is a short thriller about a small town Texas radio DJ being led through a wild mind-tingling game of life and death. The dark film keeps you guessing when the madness from the mystery voice will stop.

“Beneath” is a horror film about a group of young cavern tour guides who sneak into Inner Space Cavern (located in Georgetown, TX) on Halloween to see if an ancient satanic myth is true or not. The director JJ Perez was present and let me know that he works at Inner Space Cavern and he was able to receive special access in the cave to film, thanks to his boss.

An audience watching a movie screening inside a cave.
During the showing of “The Jeffers Live!” the audience couldn’t take their eyes off the screen, even though the beauty of the cave was very distracting. Image by Daniel Richter.

He spoke on how viewing the film in a cave maximized the experience, “It makes the film much more eerie, as well as for the acoustics. It’s like watching Jaws while on a lake, you’re trapped.”

The experience of watching a film in an uncommon environment made the event unforgettable for all the attendants. For more events taking place in the Wonder World Cave, check out their Facebook page!

Featured image by Daniel Richter.

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