24th Sep2015

Grimmfest 2015 Preview

by Stuart Wright

Grimmfest-2015-poster

Grimmfest, the North Of England’s premier horror, cult and fantastic film festival opens its pre-Halloween doors for the 7th time on Thursday 1st October with a gala screening of The Hallow, starring Oxford born Joseph Mawle (Game Of Thrones). It promises to be a packed four days with more than 20 feature length presentations to choose from. The annual GRIMMFEST event was born out of the Grimm Up North monthly film screenings and events that scare, astound and entertain Manchester audiences all year round. So, here’s what the Grimmfest team, told us you can specifically look forward to in 2015:

SIMEON HALLIGAN

LANDMINE GOES CLICK is a real surprise to me. I thought I knew what I was getting from the title and the trailer but this turned out to be a complex and very dark study of the effects of retribution and revenge on the human psyche. The third act blew me away! I’m a sucker for a good monster movie and I don’t think Werewolves have been done well for a long time, Paul Hyett’s HOWL changes all that, it’s an intense ride with some great monster work and a great cast. Jacob Gentry’s SYNCHRONICITY is a brilliantly stylish Sci-fi mind bender that riffs on the complexities of time travel; temporal paradoxes and confusions of identity and reality, very cool!”

GREG WALKER

“I’m a big fan of DEATHGASM, perfect for me, having a love of music and genre films, this Heavy Metal ridiculousness feels like you’ve entered the world of heavy Rock album cover, come to life. It’s awesome. Where else would you see someone killing Zombies with a dildo! TURBO KID is kind of the perfect partner to DEATHGASM… its old school fun, like 90s kids TV with added gore! What a winning combination. Both films wallow in absurd and very funny violence.”

COURTNEY BUTTON

“I loved The Shining documentary Room 237 so was eagerly awaiting Rodney Ascher’s follow up. Gladly THE NIGHTMARE lived up to my hopes. A documentary about sleep paralysis and the horrible visions that can come from it, The Nightmare manages to be both an interesting documentary and a terrifying one. It will have you scared to go to sleep. THE HIVE is a teenage love story, possession and body horror thriller that’s been described as ‘The Evil Dead meets Memento’. It’s grimy, dirty and hugely compelling and entertaining – a very accomplished horror from an emerging talent. BLOODSUCKING BASTARDS takes the daily grind of the 9 to 5 office job and sticks in a bunch of vampires. It’s over the top, drenched in gallons of fake blood and is hugely silly and entertaining and features a wonderfully smarmy performance from Game of Throne’s Pedro Pascal.”

JOHN DAVIDSON

“I’m a big fan of the SHORT FILM SELECTION and was honoured to have been involved with the selection process. There’s a good mix of psychological, supernatural and gory horror along side some clever sci-fi. Hand picked from over 200 submissions, selected titles include:

  • WILLA a Gothic period ghost story based on a Stephen King short;
  • JUDITH a Giallo infused psychological thriller;
  • DARK – NET a very black comedy featuring Johnny Vegas;
  • SHUT-IN deals with the complexities of virtual reality;
  • There’s also the psychological torment of COWBOY BEN, the surreal world of A STRANGER KIND and the poetic intensity WHISPER. What a great selection!”

EMMANUEL CASEY

GERMAN ANGST is a heady anthology cocktail… It’s varied and always interesting. First up is FINAL GIRL, an arty dose of measured claustrophobia from Jörg Buttgereit (of Nekromantic fame). Next is a loud and brutal shot in the arm courtesy of Michal Kosakowski. His MAKE A WISH shines a coruscating light on racism and nationhood. And finally we have the trippy ALRAUNE from Andreas Marschall. It rounds off proceedings in gloriously outlandish and colourful style.”

STEVE BALSHAW

DXM World Premiere. This is the new film from Andrew Goth, who previously made the hallucinogenic vampire Spaghetti Western GALLOWWALKERS, one of those Grimmfest “Films That Got Away” a couple of years back. GALLOWWALKERS was a bit like Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s PREACHER adapted by a tag-team of Richard Stanley and Alejandro Jodorowsky, and DMX is similarly out there – a manic mash up of influences, exploding in every direction with mind-bending ideas and stunning imagery. It looks fantastic in the true sense of the word – amazing production design and use of locations. Plus Goth, and his Cinematographer John Pardue, have an astonishing visual sense. It’s wildly ambitious in the themes it confronts, too; a challengingly cerebral, yet viscerally exciting fusion of religion, quantum physics, cyberpunk, psychedelia, dance, and martial arts that was one of the talking points of Cannes this year. I’ll be very interested to see what Grimmfest-goers make of it.

HE NEVER DIED – If Charles Bukowski had written DEATH WISH; it might have played a little like this. It has the same deadpan humour, the same dead-eyed observation of the world of seedy bars and drinking clubs. But it also throws vampirism and Christian iconography into the mix, playing them off one another in startling and effective fashion Boasting a droll and dynamic star turn from former Black Flag front man, author, raconteur and all-round punk legend HENRY ROLLINS, it’s part lowlife drama, part brooding noir; a hardboiled theological parable, shot through with grim and ghoulish black comedy and bloody violence, all the more effective for its low-key understatement.

EXCESS FLESH – One of the sourest ever variants on the age-old “What Price Hollywood” narrative, this features an astonishing, powerhouse performance from Bethany Orr as a failing actress whose jealous obsession with her spoilt, more conventionally attractive roommate takes her to some very dark places in her own psyche. A harrowing, unflinching exploration of the ugly, abusive, deeply unrealistic expectations placed on women, both in terms of behaviour and appearance, this visceral slice of “body image horror” offers a savage, surreal, sometimes sickening depiction of self-harm in the pursuit of social and sexual success. It’s definitely not one for the squeamish.”

Grimmfest 2015 runs 1st-4th October at the Odeon Printworks, Manchester. The full programme, and details of how to get your festival passes and day tickets are available from www.grimmfest.com

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