Grimmfest – Friday 4th October 2013
I was looking forward to Friday at Grimmfest 2013 as not only was I going to see Hellraiser 2 on the big screen for the first time but I was also going to interview two of the Cenobites (Barbie Wilde & Nicholas Vince) after the screening. Unfortunately I was unable to attend to fringe showings earlier in the day , but I arrived at 6.30pm for the full evenings entertainment.
Director – Tony Randel 97 minutes
Starring – Ashley Laurence, Kenneth Cranham, Doug Bradley, Barbie Wilde, Simon Bamford, Nicholas Vince, Clare Higgins, Imogen Boorman.
“Kirsty is brought to an institution after the death of her family, where the occult-obsessive head resurrects Julia and unleashes the Cenobites once again”.
Hellraiser was one of the most influential films in my youth. The first time I saw it something inside me stirred, I had not seen anything that visually so resonated with me before. I watched it again and again and then when Hellbound came out I was underwhelmed. It was disjointed , lacked the evil and horror of the original and while I still enjoyed it I also never really gave it another chance.
That is until about 8 years ago when I picked up a boxset and revisited Hellbound again. Since then I have watched it maybe five times and each time I now watch Hellbound I enjoy it more and more.
So I sat down to watch it on the big screen at The Dancehouse in Manchester in a pretty packed theatre and was blown away by how great it looked (and sounded).
Over the years I have come to understand the troubles that hit Hellbound during filming and editing , so it never really ended up looking or being the film it should have been. However what you have with Hellbound is a really fun horror film that has great FX , a stellar performance from Ashley Laurence and a story that albeit a little long (with a few too many chases through corridors) is a genuinely good watch.
The audience all seemed to have a really good time and I must admit that I sat through the entire film with a big beaming grin and just loved it. It is nice to sit and watch new genre films but an old classic in between does lighten the load so to speak, and I really thank Grimmfest for this !! 9/10
Director – Bryan Ryan 15 minutes
Starring – Andre Bolourchi, Alyshia Ochse, Brandi Price, Robert Seay.
“A lonely woman and a mysterious intruder get more than they bargained for when a quiet evening proves to be deadlier than either of them could have imagined”.
The Guest starts with Dana (Alyshia Ochse) watching the news which is explaining that a wanted man is loose in the area , he is dangerous and everyone should be vigilant. Next there is an intruder and Dana realises that he may be the man the police want. What happens next is a well constructed if not particularly original idea that plays out really well. The Guest is well acted , paced just right and all in is a very good short film. There is nothing spectacular but for direction, camera work and storyline this is way above the average genre short. Another foray into home invasion territory and The Guest is definitely one for the “to watch” list . 6/10
Director – Chad Crawford Kinkle 90 minutes
Starring – Sean Young, Larry Fessenden, Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Kaitlin Cullum.
“ Jug Face tells the story of a pregnant teen trying to escape a backwoods community when she discovers that she may be sacrificed to a creature in a pit”.
Jug Face , now that’s a name for a film. This was one of my must see films as I not only love “backwoods” type films but I also really need to see anything that executive producer Lucky McKee has his hand in/on!
The story goes that a small backwoods community worship a small pit that is in the forest, every now and again a chosen local produces a clay jug with a face on it. Whomever resembles the image on the pot jug will then be sacrificed to the god of the pit.
Young Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter) finds the jug in the outdoor kiln and realises that it is indeed her face on it, she then hides the jug in the forest causing major uproar in the community as the pit starts to take innocent lives in search of the chosen one.
You still with me? Yes ah good. So Jug Face is a lovely slow burning exploration into this bizarre community that is incestuous and backwards yet fervent in their religious beliefs , so much so that they are willing to slaughter their sons or daughters to appease their god.
Lauren Ashley Carter is superb as the doe-eyed Ada who is terrified at the realisation that she should be the next sacrifice, but yet she seems quite willing and able to stand by and watch innocent members of her community and even family succumb to a most vengeful god.
Jug Face is a film that on initial viewing may seem like a typical backwoods hicksploitation film, yet it is the one film that has really stayed with me since Grimmfest ended. I keep going back to think about the story and the various members of the community. It really was a quite dark, unpleasant and odd little movie. And the more I revisit it (in my head) the more I am liking and appreciating Chad Kinkle’s debut feature.
The dour, non-sensationalist attitude of Jug Face makes it all the more realistic and with wonderful performances throughout especially from Ada’s Mama played by the great Sean Young and of course from the aforementioned Ms Carter then it makes Jug Face stand head and shoulders above most genre films released this year.
This will definitely polarise viewers and is a very “marmite” films , but I liked it a lot and after a week now I love it and I can’t wait to see it again. Jug Face has wormed it’s dirty little way into brain and now won’t leave me be. An 8/10 and still rising !!
So that is how I spent my Friday at Grimmfest 2013. And I still had Saturday and Sunday to follow , so lots more to come soon …….