Excess Flesh (2015) Review

EXCESSFLESHEXCTEASERNEWSGRIMMFEST 2015

EXCESS FLESH (Dir- Patrick Kennelly, USA, 2015)

Starring- Bethany Orr, Mary Loveless

UK Release TBC

Sold as a film that will put you off your food in it’s description in the GrimmFest programme, the expectation and title of EXCESS FLESH had me wondering if we were going to enter into gory and graphic body horror here, something that might be a bit brutal and provide a wake me up of unsettling proportions for a Saturday lunch time. Instead, what is on offer is a smart, darkly comic, psychological study of body image, jealousy and perceptions placed on women in modern society and the effects this has on an individual’s mind.

The film’s two central characters are Jennifer (Loveless) and Jill (Orr) both roommates living in Los Angeles. Jill is the more agoraphobic of the two, not leaving her apartment and conscious about herself and also feel’s guilty about eating certain fatty foods. Whilst her roommate Jennifer is the more successful of the two living a life as a socialite, having party s every night and getting laid, and working in the fashion industry. She has a far more plentiful life than Jill despite being very critical of her which brings out a streak of a jealousy within her roommate and this culminates in an argument that leads to Jennifer attacking Jill. Left broken by this act Jill then goes to a more extreme level, by drugging her roommate and chaining her to the walls of Jennifer’s bedroom. What follows is a form of mental torture committed by Jill on Jennifer and in some ways a strange form of bonding though what is progressively going on is the mental breakdown/disintegration of Jill, who starts to torment and force Jennifer to eat the fatty foods they both love talking about but she is prone to resist leading to a climax that is both disorientating and fractured as the films central protagonist.

excessflesh2EXCESS FLESH will surely end up in the category of either like it or hate it and from speaking to many after the screening many seemed to fall into these two camps. For once I feel more inclined to end up in the former camp as the film for me stood out and took me by surprise. Horror doesn’t necessarily have to be about monsters, blood and gore. Horror can achieve its reaction through basing itself in the real world and focusing on a real everyday psychological scenario. If anything one person’s mental breakdown is the focus in EXCESS FLESH and its character of Jill and her slowly disintegrating mentality manifests itself in her forced imprisonment of Jennifer.

Jealousy is the overriding theme in this scenario. Jill’s obsession with becoming slim and resisting food is one of the causes in her characters breakdown. One particular scene that is both disturbing and uncomfortable is when she is eating 3 bowls of microwaved mac and cheese late at night and is slowly chucking spoonful’s of it away into a waste bin but then slowly eating it and punching herself repeatedly, which goes on for some time and is both a testament to the filmmakers slow build approach to the subject matter and a brilliant performance from Orr. Indeed one of the highlights of the film is the two actress’s performances particular Orr’s who is on screen for most of the time. Weak and fragile and conscious about herself at the start of the film she soon develops to become ruthless and disturbed as we progress through the story. Countering that with the bitchiness of Jennifer, again a superb performance from Loveless who starts the film with confidence and attitude that looks down on her pathetic roommate yet her character becomes the victim, degraded by being chained up and at the mercy of Jill.

excessflesh3Both actresses work well and make a believable chemistry particularly in the opening scene where they describe favourite fatty foods they want to eat, and in there slow antagonism between Jennifer towards Jill which as the film progresses and without giving too much away leads to a change of tone towards the end that adds weight to the believability of the tone of these characters and their mental states. Stylistically the film is jarring in both soundtrack and direction. Kennelly peppers his film with close up shots of people’s mouths caked in food all over their teeth, whilst not being off putting still remains pretty grotesque to see and this is where the description of the film putting you off your food might be most appropriate. Either way these shots cleverly play into Jill’s fear and reluctance to eat food. Soundtrack wise the film again achieves a jarring balance of extreme pulsating beats combined with noises and sounds coming from other rooms, or are they coming from the characters minds? The tonal shift’s add toward the films schizophrenic style and makes it stand out as brilliantly uncomfortable and fitting.

Written by a female scriptwriter, Sigrid Gilmer, and directed by a male Director, EXCESS FLESH should be commended as being a genre film that tackles relevant issues. We are surrounded by images in the media every day of the way women are perceived to be looked and idolized, as slim attractive and perfect. Yet this adds a worrying trend for younger women to achieve this look and for men to perceive that that is what classes as the perfect women and the area EXCESS FLESH focuses on is the psychological impact that women can perceive how society thinks they should be.

excessflesh1Maybe the film takes an extreme approach to the questions of body image, yet it still feels completely believable in the real sense and it is credit to the director and screenwriter not to patronize the subject matter and also to create believable characters brought to life by two brilliant performances.

8/10

Links –

Website – http://www.excessfleshmovie.com/

German Angst (2015) Review

GRIMMFEST 2015

germa1GERMAN ANGST (Dirs- Jorg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski, Andreas Marschall, GER, 2015)

UK Release TBC

Combining the talents of 3 of Germany’s notorious filmmakers and allowing them the opportunity to create 3 different stories, GERMAN ANGST is one of those films that I was certainly looking forward to especially with NEKROMANTIK helmer Buttgereit on board.

His story that kicks off the proceedings, FINAL GIRL, which opens on a teenage girl looking after her guinea pigs and combining it with voice over narration which explains how to look after the said animal. At the same time there is a man who is tied up in her bedroom, blindfolded and gagged, and who the girl has some not so caring intentions for. The second story, MAKE A WISH focuses on a young couple who are terrorized and violently assaulted by a group of neo-Nazis, though one of the couple has an amulet that possess a spiritual power that may or may not be able to help them. Third and final story ALRAUNE follows a photographer who meets up with a girl online and ends up joining a secret underground club that holds some disturbing erotic pleasures for its members.

Its best to look at each films individually as both have differing styles and subject matters, though the one thing that’s in common with them is the sense of shock and nastiness, emphasised in particular by the second story.

germa2Though surprisingly Buttgereit’s section is probably the least graphic of the three. Aside from some genital mutilation which is shown off screen, this part has a more psychological aspect to it. Is the girl in question torturing the man for something hes done in the past? Is this a vengeance element that’s occurring caused by some past trauma or abuse or is the girl simply enjoying torturing men and keeping them as guinea pigs? The broken narrative works in its advantage as Buttgereit conjures up an uneasy and stylistic atmosphere with its one apartment setting, plus the use of 16mm shots combined with DV was a nice little touch as well recalling a throwback to his NEKROMANTIK days. Uneven but a strong start.

Kosakowski’s part is certainly a darker and nastier set up, with its focus on a couple being brutalised by some neo Nazi thugs, yet what makes the film more troubling and maybe interesting is the introduction of the amulet that can somehow switch a persons body and make them carry out violent revenge, as shown in a past flashback to a Nazi attack on a village which is related to the male deaf character. However once this is in use there is the possibility that even if there is a body switch then the deaf characters a just as likely to commit atrocities as much as their perpetrators. However this possibility is the films strong talking point as it might be the amulet has no power after all and that the grim truth is Nazism and racism is still alive and still capable of rearing its ugly head and committing its vile acts and the magic amulet and its story is sham compared to the brutal truth.

germa3The only let down in this part is the actress who plays the female member of the group of thugs, who becomes so annoyingly loud and over acted that its begins to grate and test the nerves. Yet one scene I did like in this part that adds a powerful moment is a speech given almost direct to camera by the leader of the thugs, who seems to try and make light of there victims being the martyrs and him being the accused and guilty and that somehow this inevitable role is justification for what has been carried out. Its one of the more powerful and darker sections of the anthology and when you realise that the director has mentioned in interviews that he himself has been victim of racist abuse and beatings and that his characters are Polish also adds weight to the subject matter and with the presence of far right wing groups still in Europe, this is a timely reminder of the dangers of racism and fascism and that true horror can emerge not from monsters but humans.

With that heavy stuff Marschall’s segment remains to be the more straight forward of the 3 story’s, with its heavy emphasis on body horror, eroticism, and slight giallo elements yet it also remains one of the better sections of the film, with a great visual style throughout and some strong scenes of gore aided by some excellent effects work. It reminded me in parts of POSSESSION, directed by Andrzej Zulawski, with its use of a deranged story of a twisted underground group crossed with some excellent trippy visuals and on the edge borderline psychotic characters combined with an air of sex and death throughout. If you have seen Marschall’s previous film MASKS (a decent giallo throwback worth checking out) then you can certainly see the visual and production style used in that previous movie as this part has a strong and distinct use of red colours that strike out and lend the aforementioned giallo edge to the film. Though it stands up on its own as a decent mad mash up of horror and eroticism and strange secretive goings on in Berlin’s underworld.

germa4Overall GERMAN ANGST is an effective collection of stories and if anything makes a great calling card for these directors to branch out into further feature films. The first two story’s are both strong, uneven, troubling and despite a few flaws leave a lasting impression and might prove a bit of a test of nerve and stamina to get you through to the final part which provides a much needed return to straight forward horror, with a beautiful visual and stylistic sense and engaging if slightly bonkers story, yet still retaining some nastiness seen in the previous sections. Unique, horrific, nasty and beautiful in equal measure that will leave you battered and beaten by the end this is a strong and smart horror anthology.

7/10

Grimmfest Thursday 1st October 2015 – A Review

Grimmfest Thursday 1st October 2015

gf2015Well it is that time of the year when us Northern UK horror fans descend on Manchester for the annual genre film festival Grimmfest. For the past 5 years (I think) Grimmfest has been based at The Dancehouse theatre in Manchester, which is a beautiful old art deco building that is full of character BUT it is not designed for a modern , professional film festival. So I was very excited when the guys from Grimmfest announced that the entire 4 days would be held at The Odeon cinema at The Printworks in central Manchester.

The Odeon is a huge state-of-the-art multiplex and whilst it may feel a little soulless and sterile , it is such a professional set-up both for the viewer and indeed the Grimmfest team.

I arrived to see a healthy cue of people collecting their tickets so joined and collected my pass. I was then told to go to the 5th floor gallery . This was my first time in the gallery and was amazed to find that press were able to use the gallery seats to view the films and the bar area to interview the guests. When spending 4 full days watching films and interviewing people (I know poor old me) this is such a bonus and really allows you to relax and enjoy the films rather than worrying about timings and getting from floor to floor. So for this again a much more professional set-up and very much appreciated.

But you don’t want to read about my adventures with nachos and Newcastle Brown Ale in the gallery bar do you? No you want to know about the films right?

hallowposterThe Hallow (2015)
Dir – Corin Hardy
Starring – Joseph Mawle & Bojana Novakovic

So the opening film for Grimmfest 2015 was Corin Hardy’s The Hallow. An Irish feature about a couple Adam & Clare (Joseph Mawle & Bojana Novakovic) who move in to an old millhouse with their baby son. Adam (Mawle) is employed to to survey the local forest for land clearance, this is something both he is at odds with and also the very local locals . So after he ignores the warnings from his aggressive and unfriendly neighbour , the family are drawn into a nightmare as the forest goes into survival mode and the family become the focus of it’s aggression.

Mixing Irish folklore and fantasy the story and setting lends itself perfectly to a horror film BUT it just didn’t work. I didn’t relate or empathise with Adam’s character and felt Clare (Novakovic) was woefully underused. This is a nature revenge film that to be honest just got silly and totally over the top by the end. The FX were superb, the cinematography was wonderful and the forests look amazing, but the story just didn’t grip me and by the end I just didn’t care.

Speaking to people afterwards it appeared to be met with a lot of indifference , no-one seemed to love it yet no-one seemed to hate it? And that is exactly how I felt really, just I suppose underwhelmed . 4/10

Northern Showcase

Next was what was billed as the Northern Showcase. This was a selection of short films from Northern English & Welsh filmmakers.

boxThe Box
First up was the World Première of Shaune Harrison’s The Box. Shaune is better known as a leading make-up & FX master (Harry Potter, Star Wars, Avengers) who is a Grimmfest regular . The Box stars Dominic Brunt (Paddy from Emmerdale) as a man who buys a ghost in a box from the internet. I will not say anything else to keep spoiler free. A funny and quirky short that while it doesn’t break any new ground is a fun watch and kept me interested until the very end. And the star of the film is definitely the cat 🙂 6/10

SNATCHERS-still-1024x433Snatchers
Next was Drew Lovett’s Snatchers. A couple (Rupert Hill & Erin Shanagher) arrive home after a night out to find a young man has broken into their flat. They lock him in the bedroom and call the police but as they wait things take a strange turn. Well shot and great acting takes Snatcher above many short films however I did feel a little let down by the film’s conclusion and felt it could have gone to much darker places. 6/10

DRIVEN-still-2-1024x433Driven
Made by an array of talented 16-19 year-olds, Driven is the story of a man driving when his sat-nav seems to be developing a mind of it’s own. From director Stephanie Bryant, and with help from the BFI’s amazing Film Academy , Driven works really well and looks fantastic. And when you think of the ages and experience of the people involved then it makes it all the more special. 7/10

Process-still-1024x356Process
Last up was the World Première of Scott Feast’s Process. Starring Bruce Jones (Corries Les Battersby) it tells the tale of an ageing space traveller (Jones) who is accompanied by a younger female . Process is a beautiful story of dementia and is dealt with in such a caring and subtle way. I again won’t go into details as this is definitely a film to be discovered and enjoyed , but Bruce Jones is stunning and it almost had me in tears. The star of the show Process is a must-see and Scott Feast is a huge talent. Just amazing – 8/10.

bloodsucking-bastardsBloodsucking Bastards (2015)
Dir – Brian James O’Connell
Starring – Fran Kranz, Emma Fitzpatrick, Pedro Pascal, Joey Kern.

Last of the night was Bloodsucking Bastards a film I knew absolutely nothing about. When I am going to film festivals I try to keep a couple of films as ‘unknowns’, which basically means I steer clear of all reviews and the IMDB page. And Bloodsucking Bastards was on my ‘unknown’ list.

BB is from acclaimed writing team Dr God (An Los Angeles based comedy group consisting of five members: Sean Cowhig, Neil Garguilo, Brian James O’Connell, David Park, and Justin Ware) and is about a group of slacker office workers who are being temporarily managed by Evan (Kranz) . Evan has his hands full trying to get the workers to well erm work and on top of this he has just split from his girlfriend and co-worker Amanda (Fitzpatrick) . Then add to this a new manager arrives to take the job Evan has been covering, plus the said new manager is a college nemesis of Evan’s. Finally a few of the office staff start to go through some odd changes that lead to Evan having to make some serious (or not) decisions about not just his career but his personal life too!

Billed before the screening as The Office with vampires then BB had a lot to live up to . AND IT DID! I found it hilarious , the comedy was spot on and full of cracking one liners and huge visual gags. The actors just obviously bounced off each other and it really did have a feeling of workers and friends. Then the blood and gore is superb and the death of each vampire is greeted with something special!

Horror comedies are so hard to achieve and is a double-edged sword but both work perfectly. I loved the horror aspects and the comedy had me (and most of the audience) laughing out loud all the way through. Star of the film for me was Marshall Givens who plays the red-bull chugging security guard Frank and he had me in stitches.
If you love Vampires and want a real good laugh then check out Bloodsucking Bastards it is bloody brilliant! Bam-Snap 8.5/10

And what a way to finish the first night,I drove home with a smile on my face and looking forward to another 3 days of horror and genre films.

Grimmfest 1st-4th October 2015 Full Line-Up Here

gf2015GRIMMFEST 2015. 1-4 Oct, ODEON PRINTWORKS, MANCHESTER, UK.

Grimmfest is Manchester’s premier genre film festival and here we have their FULL 2015 line-up. Some absolute crackers over the 4 days along with special guests, Q&As, classics and much more. It will be (as always) a total blast. SO get a ticket either for the full festival or for individual screenings and ‘See you at the bar’.

Full and Day Tickets available here – http://grimmfest.com/grimmupnorth/ticket/

Individual Tickets available here and search for each film – http://www.odeon.co.uk/

Thursday October 1st

HALLOW-THUMBNAILTHE HALLOW – Gala opening night film 7pm

Introduced by the director Corin Hardy and lead actor Joseph Mawle (Game of Thrones, Ripper Street, Sense8).

Tree surgeon Adam Hitchens, his wife Claire and infant son Finn think they have found their dream home – a picturesque millhouse in the Irish countryside. But the dream rapidly becomes a nightmare, as the forest-dwelling creatures of local legend prove all-too-terrifyingly real…

“You’re not from around here, are you?” Ringing some wild new changes on those ever-reliable horror tropes the cabin in the woods and the hapless city folks who come a cropper in the countryside, this savvy splicing of freaky folklore, rural weirdness, and full-on, ferocious mayhem is the latest film to shake up Sundance, and secured Corin Hardy the director’s chair on the upcoming CROW reboot.

NORTHRER-SHOWCASE-THUMBNAIL-2Northern Showcase 9pm

A celebration of northern talent with a selection of short film premieres and special guests discussing the pros and cons of making films ‘Up north’!

Movies include THE BOX, SNATCHERS, DRIVEN and PROCESS. Guest speakers include: Dominic Brunt, Shaune Harrison, Simeon Halligan, Joanne Mitchell, Drew Lovett Scott Feast and Stephanie Bryant.

BLOODSUCKING-BASTARDS-THUNMBNAILBLOOD SUCKING BASTARDS – Northern première 10.30pm

Director: Brian James O’Connell. Cast: Fran Kranz, Emma Fitzpatrick, Joey Kern, Jacquelyn Palmquist, Pedro Pascal. USA 2015. 86 mins.

The aggressively go-getting new manager of an office call centre has a fairly extreme solution to increasing productivity.

A truly biting satire from the acclaimed comedy team Dr God, this droll and deadly depiction of the horrors of the nine-to-five grind in an airless, anonymous, fluorescently-lighted call centre plays like a Kevin Smith take on THE OFFICE with added vampires and a whole lot more blood and dismemberment.

Screening with EL GIGANTE (14 mins)

Friday 2nd October

GERMAN-ANGST-THUMBNAILGERMAN ANGST – UK première 12PM

Directors: Jörg Buttgereit, Michal Kosakowski, Andreas Marschall. Cast: …

German 2014. 1H 52 Mins

Tales of love, sex and death in Berlin from Germany’s most shocking directors.
Angst is a German word originally, which may account for this portmanteau of three very different short films from very different directors, linked by their sheer, well… Germanness. Jorg Buttgereit, infamous boundary-pushing director of NEKROMANTIK and DER TODESKING offers a stark and ambiguous exploration of a real-life ritualistic, sexualised murder which may or may not be an act of revenge; Michal Kosakowski weighs in with a brutal meditation on victims and aggressors and the horrible legacy of Nazism; and finally Andreas Marschall presents a truly outrageous psychedelic, psychosexual reworking of the decadent Alraune legend which fans of Andrej Zulawski’s infamous cult arthouse horror POSSESSION will not want to miss.

SCREAM-THUMBNAILSCREAM – Tribute screening 2PM

Director: Wes Craven. Cast: Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell, David Arquette. USA 1996 111 mins.

Attempting to cope with her mother’s murder, Sydney and her horror movie-obsessed friends are stalked by a murderer who seems to have a hard time letting the past go.

In celebration of the work of horror maestro Wes Craven. A percentage of the ticket sales will be donated to a cancer charity.

LANDMINE-THUMBNAILLANDMINE GOES CLICK – Northern première 4PM

Director: Levan Bakhia. Cast: Sterling Knight, Spencer Locke, Kote Tolordava, Dean Geyer, Nana Kiknadze. Georgia 2015. 100 mins.

Daniel, Alicia and Chris are on a hiking holiday in the mountains of the formerly war-torn republic of Georgia. Daniel has just proposed to Alicia and has asked Chris to be his best man. They stop to take a photograph, but as they get into position, Chris hears a sudden click underfoot. He is standing on a live landmine…

Starting from its “Americans in peril in Eastern Europe” scenario, this dark morality tale sets up a series of familiar genre tropes, only to expose and undermine them, offering instead a harrowing, heartbreaking and deeply disturbing meditation on the poisonous and destructive nature of revenge, and in particular the ways in which men almost invariably take it out on the women around them.

HE-NEVER-DIED-THUMBNAILHE NEVER DIED – UK première 6PM

Director: Jason Krawczyk Cast: Henry Rollins, Booboo Stewart, Jordan Todosey. US 2015. 99 mins.

Jack, an isolated loner and social outcast, is thrust out of his comfort zone when the outside world bangs on his door and he can’t contain his violent past.

If Charles Bukowski had written a biblical vigilante vampire version of DEATH WISH, it might have played a little like this. Boasting a droll, deadpan star turn from former Black Flag frontman, acclaimed author, raconteur and all-round Punk Legend Henry Rollins, this laconic fusion of brooding noir, hardboiled theological parable, grim black comedy and bloody revenge thriller will keep you guessing to the very end.

CERRY-TREE-THUMNAILCHERRY TREE – Northern première 8PM

The director, writer, producer and members of the cast will introduce and do a post screening Q&A.

Director: David Keating. Cast: Anna Walton, Naomi Battrick, Sam Hazeldine, Patrick Gibson, Minnie Phipps. Ireland 2015. 90 mins.

Faith’s world is falling apart, following the discovery of her father’s terminal illness. Looking for a substitute maternal figure, she finds herself drawn to her field hockey coach, Sissy Young, who seems to offer comfort and reassurance. But Sissy is head of an ancient coven of witches, with a very specific interest in the troubled young woman, and soon Faith finds herself agreeing to a terrifying bargain…

Returning to some of the rural themes and magic rituals of their previous film together, the critically acclaimed WAKE WOOD, which helped relaunch the Hammer horror brand, director David Keating and writer Brendan McCarthy, present a grim fairytale of birth, death, dark forces and deadly secrets that will put you off cherries for life.

Plus Q&A with members of the cast and crew

TURBO-KID-THUMBNAILTURBO KID- Northern première 10PM

Directors: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell. Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffery. Canada/New Zealand 2015. 95 mins.

In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, comic-book obsessed teenage scavenger, The Kid, finds that we do need another hero after all, when the girl of his dreams is kidnapped by the evil tyrant Zeus who has begun to tighten his grip over the region’s water supply. Arming himself with an ancient turbo weapon and assuming the role of his favourite comic book character, he hops on his BMX bike and rides to the rescue…

The movie that an entire generation of 80s kids dreamed into being, this artful yet heartfelt mash-up of MAD MAX, BMX BANDITS, and POWER RANGERS, is filled to bursting with 70s and 80s pop culture references and cinematic in-jokes. Surprisingly sweet-natured in its blend of teen romance and heroic wish fulfilment fantasy, yet boasting a suitably grimy and dystopian retro-future, and a good deal of wildly over-the-top, cartoonishly gory and outrageous ultraviolence, this is a nostalgic treat for those old enough to remember, and a guaranteed crowd-pleaser for all.

HIVE-THUMBNAILTHE HIVE – UK première 11.50PM

Director: David Yarovesky Cast: Gabriel Basso, Kathryn Prescott, Jacob Zachar, Stephen Blackehart. US 2014. 93 mins.

A young man suffering from amnesia must dig deep into the far reaches of his mind to remember who he is and save the love of his life before a virus that has infected him takes over.

Combining visceral body horror and an inventive and disturbing new “scientific” take on the “possessed” zombies of Sam Raimi’s EVIL DEAD, with an exploration of fallible memory and slipping identity that calls to mind Christopher Nolan’s MEMENTO, and a powerful and emotional exploration of the extent someone will go to save the person they love, this ambitious and challenging film is both mindbending, stomach-churning, and heartbreaking in equal measure.

Saturday 3rd October

EXCESS-FLESH-THUMBNAILEXCESS FLESH – UK première 12PM

Director: Patrick Kennelly. Cast: Bethany Orr,

US 2015. 103 mins

Jill is a slightly plain girl with low self-esteem and serious body image issues. She is obsessed with her room-mate, Jennifer, a bitchy model, who is everything she wants to be. Finally the obsession boils over into violence…

Featuring a powerhouse performance from the remarkable Bethany Orr, this visceral, harrowing, deeply uncomfortable film offers an unblinking look at the ugly and unrealistic expectations placed on women, both in terms of behaviour and appearance. Not so much Body Horror, as Body Image Horror, filled with surreal and queasy imagery, it will make you question the wisdom of dieting, even as it puts you right off your food – for life!

SHORT FILM SHOWCASE – Various short film premières 2PM

THE-NIGHTMARE-THUMBNAILTHE NIGHTMARE – Northern première 4PM

Steve Paynter, one of the subjects within the film will introduce the screening.

Director: Rodney Ascher. Cast: Yatoya Toy, Siegfried Peters, Steven Yvette, Age Wilson. USA 2015. 82 mins.

Imagine if you were trapped in your worst nightmare, and you couldn’t escape…

Rodney Ascher has an unsettling gift for getting under the skin of his subjects, and exploring the darker reaches of the human psyche. His previous film, ROOM 237 was a mischievous and darkly funny exploration of the cult of Stanley Kubrick various bizarre conspiracy theories that have grown up around his classic film of THE SHINING. Now he tackles the terrors of sleep paralysis, a condition in which the dreamer is locked within his or her own nightmare world and is unable to wake up. Mixing bone-chilling real-life anecdotes with terrifying reconstructions, this is documentary making at its most unsettling and confrontational, and is guaranteed to cause more than a few sleepless nights. Because there are worst things in your subconscious than Freddy Kreuger.

HOWL-THUMBNAILHOWL- Northern première 6PM

Director: Paul Hyett. Cast: Ed Speleers, Shauna Macdonald, Rosie Day, Sean Pertwee, Duncan Preston, Holly Weston. UK 2015. 95 mins.

A red-eye train out of London hits something on the tracks, and the various passengers and crew find themselves trapped on an immobilised train in the middle of a forest full of feral humanoid creatures.

Nothing to do with Allen Ginsberg, the latest film from SFX guru and director of the acclaimed THE SEASONING HOUSE, Paul Hyett, is essentially WEREWOLVES ON A TRAIN. An engagingly old-fashioned monster movie, in which disparate characters, thrown together by circumstance, must learn to work together to survive, this is a taut, tense, tightly scripted exploration of claustrophobia, escalating hysteria, and the unspeakable horrors of the British railway system. And that’s before the monsters arrive.

SYNCHRONICITY-THUMBNAIL-2SYNCHRONICITY – UK première 8PM

Director: Jacob Gentry Cast: Chad McKight, AJ Bowen, Michael Ironside

Canada 2015. 101 mins

A group of scientists invent a machine that can create a wormhole and fold time. It creates a paradox…

A challengingly cerebral cyberpunk noir from the producers of last year’s Grimmfest Sci-Fi mind-bender, THE RECONSTRUCTION OF WILLIAM ZERO and the director and writer of THE SIGNAL, this combines the visual iciness of classic Cronenberg with the slippery temporal paradoxes and confusions of identity and reality that characterise the work of Philip K. Dick, and offers a vision of a future city at night to rival that of ALPHAVILLE or BLADERUNNER.

DEATHGASM-THUMBNAILDEATHGASM – Northern première 10 PM

Director: Jason Lei Howden. Cast: Milo Cawthorne, James Blake, Kimberley Crossman, Sam Berkley, Daniel Cresswell. New Zealand 2015. 90 mins.

Screening with SHUTTERBUG MAN (4 mins 30 secs)

A bunch of metal heads get hold of the sheet music for The Black Hymn, which will create hell on earth. They play it – with predictably unfortunate consequences…

Remember the 1980s, when horror and heavy metal almost became synonymous for a while? Ever feel nostalgic for that time? Then this one’s for you. The latest offering from the producers of last year’s Grimmfest hit HOUSEBOUND, DEATHGASM throws every 80s horror, teen movie and metal cliché into a huge blender, and mixes up a heady cocktail of bloody violence, Black Sabbath and even blacker humour, with characters you care about, outrageous old school practical gore effects, lots of very rude jokes and some terrible guitar solos. It headbanging good fun.

WE-ARE-STILL-HERE-THUMBNAILWE ARE STILL HERE – Northern première 11.50 PM

After their teenage son is killed in a car crash, a grieving couple move to a quiet town in rural New England to start a new life. But their new house is home to a family of vengeful spirits, and the seemingly peaceful town has a dark and deadly secret…

Consciously retro in style and manner, with its oppressive score, old-school jump-shocks, and gory Italian-style practical SFX, and featuring a cast of genre icons headed by Barbara Crampton and Larry Fessenden, this tense and bloody ghost story plays like a love letter to the classic shockers of the late, great Lucio Fulci, and in particular to THE HOUSE BY THE CEMETERY and THE BEYOND. It’s very knowing, of course, but played utterly straight, and all the better for it. And it’s nice to see a horror film where all of the leads are middle-aged adults for a change. Fulci would, we feel, have approved.

Sunday 4th October

HELLIONS-THUMBNAILHELLIONS – Northern première 12PM

Director: Bruce McDonald. Cast: Chloe Rose, Robert Patrick, Rachel Wilson, Rossif Sutherland, Luke Bilyk.

Canada 2015. 82 mins.

Halloween. Surly Goth teen Dora discovers that she is pregnant. Home alone, wondering what her next step is, she is assailed by demonic trick or treaters…

Cult Canadian director Bruce MacDonald made his first ferocious foray into horror a few years back with the smart and unsettling PONTYPOOL, a masterclass in claustrophobia and escalating tension, set largely within a single location. He makes his return to the genre with something very different; a hallucinogenic Halloween shocker, filled with striking imagery, and following an oneiric logic all its own, with dreams within dreams and one waking nightmare after another. Eerie, unpredictable, and cine-literate without being too in-jokey, this is an exploration of the October Country that Ray Bradbury would be proud of.

Screens with short THE SUN HAS DIED 18 Mins 45 secs

ANTISOCIAL-THUMBNAILANTISOCIAL 2 – European première 2PM

Director: Cody Calahan Cast: Michelle Mylett, Stepehn Bogert, Josette Halpert, Samuel Faraci, Kassandra Santos. Canada 2015. 90 mins.

Years after having her newborn child stolen from her, a bereft Sam searches a world infested with infected users from the Social Redroom website. Befriending a young girl named Bean, she finds herself lured into a trap, captured and locked in a facility dedicated to finding a cure. As she struggles to escape, she begins to realise that her capture intentions are not quite as they seem. And all the while the virus prepares to update itself…

The original ANTISOCIAL was kind of a VIDEODROME for the social networking generation; a very Cronenbergian idea about a computer virus that becomes a literal virus, causing genetic mutation. This sequel, expanding on the themes of the first film, and offering a chilling glimpse of what a world dominated by the virus is like, is closer in tone to SCANNERS, a gritty actioner with a darkly philosophical undertow. A word of warning, though: having turned off your smartphones for the screening, you may very well feel reluctant to turn them back on again afterwards.

HELLRAISER-THUMBNAILHELLRAISER – Restored version presented by Arrow 4PM

Brand new 2K restoration from Arrow films.

Director: Clive Barker Cast: Clare Higgins, Ashley Laurence, Doug Bradley, Nicholas Vince, Simon Bamford, Andrew Robinson UK 1987

We present a special screening of Clive Barker’s classic followed by a Q and A with some very special guests.

IT WILL TEAR YOUR SOUL APART!

Stephen King was once quoted as saying: “I have seen the future of horror… his name is Clive Barker.” That future became reality when, in 1987, Barker unleashed his directorial début Hellraiser – launching a hit franchise and creating an instant horror icon in the formidable figure of Pinhead.

XmashorrorthumbA CHRISTMAS HORROR STORY – Northern première 6PM

Directors: Grant Harvey Steven Hoban Brett Sullivan

Cast: William Shatner,George Buza, Percy Hynes, Rob Archer Jeff Clarke, Zoé De Grand Maison, Amy Forsyth, Debra McCabe Michelle Nolden, Joe Silvaggio, Noah Staggs

USA 2015. 99 mins.

‘A selection of interwoven stories that take place on Christmas Eve, as told by one festive radio host featuring tales of: a family who brings home more than a Christmas tree, a student documentary that becomes a living nightmare, a Christmas spirit that terrorizes and Santa slaying evil.’

Bringing together some of the cream of contemporary horror cinema, this festive twist on an old-school EC-comics-style anthology offers a selection of yuletide twisted tales of terror! Santa’s big bloodsoaked sack, filled to the brim bursting with gruesome presents. Something, in short for everyone. Happy early Christmas!

DXM-THUMBNAILDXM – World première. Closing Night film. 8PM

Director: Andrew Goth Cast: Sam Neil, Tom Payne, Antonia Cambell-Hughes, Melia Kreiling. Austria 2015. 97 mins.

A group of young bio-engineers discover that quantum theory can be used to transfer motor-skills from one brain to another. They freely spread this technology, believing it to be a first step towards a new intellectual equality. But as the mysterious past of one of their group is revealed, dark forces emerge that threaten to subvert their discovery into a means of mass-control.

Chronicling a sub-atomic struggle for the subconscious, the latest film from Andrew Goth, maverick director of the hallucinogenic vampire Spaghetti Western GALLOWWALKERS, was one of the big talking points of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. A wild and wonderful fusion of religion, quantum physics, cyberpunk psychedelia, and martial arts; exploding with mindboggling ideas and stunning imagery, with fantastic production design and startling locations, it is unlike anything else you will see this year. Strap yourselves in; it’s a wild ride.

First GRIMMFEST 2015 Films Announced & More Tickets Released!

he-never-diedFirst GRIMMFEST 2015 films announced!

Grimmfest are very happy to announce the first three titles for GRIMMFEST 2015 and what a great sneak peek they’ve got in store for you! Three very different UK Premieres that have been making waves on the at festivals around the world such as Sundance, SXSW and Fantasia International Fantastic Film Festival! First up is the new feature SYNCRONICITY from Jacob Gentry (The Signal) which is described as “a mind-bending ‘Sci-fi Noir’ in the tradition of Dark City, Blade Runner, and Alphaville”. Second is the new shocking body horror from writer and director Patrick Kennelly EXCESS FLESH starring Bethany Orr & Mary Loveless. Finally they have HE NEVER DIED, the new brutal vampire horror film starring punk legend Henry Rollins, Stephen Ogg (Grand Theft Auto 5) and Booboo Stewart (X-Men: Days of Future Past).

EXCESS_FLESH_27X40_v7_final_In addition to this tease to the amazing Grimmfest 2015 line up they have also released a second limited batch of Full Festival Passes after the first release sold out in record time. These Passes will gain you access to every screening at their brand new amazing venue of the Odeon in Manchester Printworks. These screenings include at least 20 feature film premières and a plethora of the best new genre shorts from around the globe. We are building an amazing programme of the very best new horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy films that will include World, European and UK premières. It’s going be so awesome.

Grimmfest 2015 will run 1st-4th October at Odeon Printworks, Manchester.
For more info and tickets click HERE

Grimmfest 2015 – FULL Festival Passes On Sale NOW!!

Grimmfest-logo-896x1024GRIMMFEST 2015 FULL FESTIVAL PASSES NOW ON-SALE

And so it begins…

We are incredibly excited to announce that Grimmfest 2015 full festival passes are now on sale.

This years festival will take place at Odeon Printworks, Manchester UK, Thur 1st – Sun 4th Oct.

Full Festival Passes will gain you access to every screening. This includes 20 feature film premières and a plethora of the best new genre shorts from around the globe. Grimmfest are building an amazing programme of the very best new horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy films that will include World, European and UK premières. It’s going be awesome.

This years Grimmfest will be bigger and better than ever before. Films will be presented on an enormous screen with state of the art projection facilities and incredibly comfy seating.

The first batch of full festival passes will reserve you a ‘Premiere’ seat – the best in the house for over 40 hours of genre film madness! There are only 70 Premiere seats available, so snap yours up now, before they all go!

Your pass will also allow access to celebrity guest Q&A’s, exclusive signings (there may be extra charges for guest signatures), the market place (browse the stalls for goodies), exhibitions, a gaming arcade and loads more around the building.

Full festival passes are £65.00. That’s less than £3.30 per feature film, incredible value for money!

Single performance tickets will be priced from £7.00 (no booking fee) and will be on sale with Day Passes (Prices TBC) once the line up is announced on 2nd September.

Festival Structure:

Thursday Opening Gala – 7.00pm until 12.00 Midnight

Friday – 12.00 Midday-12.00 Midnight

Saturday -12.00 Midday-12.00 Midnight

Sunday – 12.00 Midday-12.00 Midnight

Line up announcements coming soon so stay tuned to www.grimmfest.com for all the latest news.

Grimmfest announce 2015 date and new venue

Grimmfest-logo-896x1024Grimm Up North are excited to announce the 2015 festival dates & brand new venue for their annual International Festival of Fantastic Film – GRIMMFEST. The 7th edition of the UK festival, dedicated to screening the best in Cult, Horror, Sci-Fi and Fantasy cinema, will take place 1st -4th of October at Manchester’s Odeon Printworks.

In previous years the festival held screenings in multiple venues around Manchester, but this year Grimmfest are pleased to announce a partnership with Odeon at their northern flagship cinema set within an entertainment complex The Printworks. The impressive cinema plays host to the largest IMAX outside of London, 20 state of the art digital screens.

Working in partnership with Odeon, Grimmfest 2015 will present the most exciting new titles in genre cinema from around the world with exclusive celebrity appearances, add that to the list of exciting content announcements yet to come, 2015 will be the very best edition of the festival.

Festival Director Simeon Halligan is even more excited than usual to unleash Grimmfest this year, “Printworks will make a fantastic home for the festival; we are super excited to be working with the Printworks team who are as determined as we are to put on an amazing show”.

Building on the success of Grimmfest 2014 is important to Halligan “last year’s premières & preview screenings were sell outs, particularly exciting were the screenings of SERENITY, THE BABADOOK & 30th anniversary screening of A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, but this year working with Odeon Printworks we want to not only deliver sell out shows, but grow the audience and introduce even more people to GRIMMFEST”

odeon-logo

In previous years Grimmfest has largely focused on premièring new Horror films with a side serving of other genres, a strategy that has seen it become one of the most popular genre film festivals in the UK. This year’s GRIMMFEST will deliver an even greater diversity, keeping its Horror Core, but bringing to audiences a great number of ‘GENRE GEMS’.

Halligan “We will always spotlight new horror genre material but we wish to embrace the full spectrum of fantastic films with a view to becoming the festival for fantastic film in the UK. Manchester is the UK’s second city and deserves a top class international film festival. Today’s announcement of our new Odeon Printworks home, takes us a couple of steps closer to that goal”.

Steve Gleave General Manchester of the Odeon Printworks is equally excited about their collaboration, “It’s great that we can host GRIMMFEST here at ODEON Manchester. This is the perfect festival of film for fans of brand new and classic horror, cult, fantasy and Sci-fi movies from around the world. It’s fantastic that we can host festivals such as this for dedicated film fans in Manchester!” Adam Jackson, Conference & Events Coordinator of ODEON Manchester says “Having worked with the GRIMMFEST team for some time already I am very excited to help deliver the most anticipated Manchester film festival for horror & sci-fi fans alike!”

FULL FESTIVAL PASSES ON SALE JULY 17TH

STAY TUNED FOR MORE ANNOUNCEMENTS

For more info on Grimmfest and the regular screenings Grimm Up North show in Manchester then please visit their website – http://grimmfest.com/grimmupnorth/