Time to kick off Shocktober by taking a look at some films I’ll be watching over the next month:
Grimmfest 2016 will soon be taking over a hefty chunk of the Manchester Printworks for 4 days of films and frights. As I’ll be fortunate enough to be in attendance, I’ve had to start making the difficult decision of what to see and what not to see. In an ideal world I’d watch it all, taking in every frame of crimson soaked celluloid with gusto and emerging 4 days later a changed man. However I am now also an older man, and someone who prefers to pace themselves. So having gone through the program, watched as many trailers as possible and attempted to gauge some (spoiler-free) opinions, below are my must see films of the weekend.
Whilst the event starts with LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR (a gritty revenge drama featuring a notable acting turn from MARILYN MANSON) it is the final film of the night, ANOTHER EVIL that has caught me eye. With it’s micro-budget sensibilities and dry humour the clips available for this have left the impression of KEVIN SMITH directing THE EXORCIST, wherein the priests would be as likely to expand upon life over communion wine as they would expel a demon. Whilst I do have mild concern about this premise stretching to fit a feature length I’m reliably informed that there is a mid film change of direction that could help drive focus and carry the film through to its conclusion.
One of the joys of horror film festivals is seeing films from overseas that would have otherwise passed you by. My first must-see film of the day for Friday definitely looks to be one of those: WHAT WE BECOME, a Danish horror movie, here having its Northwest premiere. The premise of the fall of civilisation from the perspective of a fractured family is one we’ve seen before, especially with the backdrop of a plague of the undead. I’m hoping that a different cultural background and a production environment far from the cloying cookie cutter realm of Hollywood will help this film stand out.
DIRECTORS CUT is a film I’ve been waiting to see, having missed my chance at FRIGHTFEST earlier this year. I’ve been a fan of Penn Jillette for… well, more years than I care to admit. Replicating one of his tricks was almost responsible for being expelled from school, so I owe him a lot. This film, which was originally slated for a 2014 release, is very much a film within a film within a reality not quite our own. It is, as the kids say: ‘Meta’. I’ve seen reviews that go to both extremes, so this looks like it could be a bit of a marmite film.
Lastly for Friday we have TRAIN TO BUSAN, a film which I’ve had chance to see before, and which my co-hort Mr Paul has already seen and succinctly described as ‘insane’. Whether he’s accurate in his summary remains to be seen, but it has picked up positive notes from both ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as grossing over $100 Million dollars worldwide, which for a foreign language film with limited release in the western world is not bad at all.
By this point I’m expecting to be fuelled entirely by coffee and scotch. However there’s no time for rest as my day will kick off with a Pre-release screening of Arrows 4K Remastering of THE BURNING. We’ve covered this one before, but to summarise: I love THE BURNING. It’s one of the best slasher movies of its era and a defining member of the VIDEO NASTIES club. Arrows release will doubtless be superb and a chance to see it on the big screen is not one I can miss.
Whilst there are a number of films on Saturday that interest me, the only other one to get my full ‘cannot miss’ attention is end of the night film THE TAG-ALONG. Now, there was a time in the early to mid 2000s where Asian horror cinema was dominated by creepy girls/children. Literally, there have been more films which use variations on that theme than there have episodes of Hammered Horror. Actually that’s not that difficult.
Moving more to the here and now, this film from Taiwan has gone one better and based its story on an actual urban myth, that of a small child who follows visitors to its forest and steals their souls. This is an easy sell to me as I love Asian horror, and I can see it leaving me happy, albeit trepidatious, in my late night walk towards a waiting bed.
No matter how tired I am at this point I need to be up and at them for the midday screening of BEYOND THE GATES. With every horror film festival I go to there is one film I know will lodge itself in my brain and not let go. In 2014 it was WOLFCOP, in 2015 it was TURBO KID, I suspect this year it will be BEYOND THE GATES. Something about the sensibility of this film from the trailer gives me a familiar warm fuzzy feeling. So if I’m as insufferable about this film as I have been about the other two… I’m sorry.
Elsewhere on the schedule we have THE REZORT, which has been summarised as JURASSIC PARK with zombies. Now for those paying attention at home we’ve already had one of those this year with Asylum Pictures ZOOMBIES. However I’m hoping that this one will be good.
Lastly for the event we have THE RIFT, a Serbian film (no, not that Serbian film) which stars noted killer of the undead and king of cult movies KEN FOREE, who will also be doing a Q&A after the screening. Now, Serbia is not known for its Sci-Fi or Horror output, and the producers of this film have claimed it to be a first. The plot to me feels a bit QUATERMASS/X THE UNKNOWN, but I think I’m ok with that, especially if it turns out to be good.