I’d be waiting all weekend for the first film to play on Sunday. Brought to us by the H.P Lovecraft Historical Society, who created the fantastic silent movie ‘Call of Cthulhu’, ‘THE WHISPERER IN DARKNESS’ promised to tell the horrific tale as created by H.P Lovecraft all those years ago. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. Once again using mythoscope, a blend of modern and old techniques, the team created a jaw dropping film that I’m sure the author would be more than pleased with. The story was strong and well adapted and the performances captivated the audience. These guys are the only people who can successfully adapt and portray Lovecraft’s work onto screen and I hope to see many more adaptations from them. Rating:
Next up was the Ford Brothers’ zombie film THE DEAD set in Africa, where the cast and crew had nothing but trouble after coming down with malaria, typhoid and even being held at gunpoint. However, the Ford Brothers pushed on and as a result have created a unique zombie film with some stunning locations, after filming in Ghana and the Sahara Desert. The two leads work perfectly with one another and the film keeps you interested, despite running over familiar territory. Rating:
Read Matt’s review of The Dead
After munching on a sausage roll, I headed in for the screening of THE DIVIDE.
Directed by Xavier Gens (Hitman and Frontiers) and starring Milo Ventimiglia (Peter Petrelli from Heroes), Michael Biehn (The Terminator) and Rosanna Arquette (Pulp Fiction), The Divide follows residents of an apartment block who take refuge in their building’s basement when a catastrophic nuclear explosion destroys New York. Survival instincts soon kick in but not only do they have to survive the explosion but survive each other.
The film started reasonably well, with the brilliant Michael Biehn as the caretaker. Unfortunately, the film quickly descended into a messy survival horror where the remaining residents turn on one another and revert to primitive beasts. I know some people enjoyed this but I’d seen this sort of thing before and I don’t think it played out as well as it could. Rating:
The following film I had heard whispers of but I didn’t really have a clue what it was about. The film in question is THE THEATRE BIZARRE and it lived up to it’s name. A collection of 6 short films told by a human puppet man in an abandoned, eerie theatre. The short films included The Mother of Toads, I Love You, Wet Dreams, The Accident, Vision Stains and Sweets, each telling a different tale of horror. The standout ones for me where The Mother of Toads, where a young couple fall victim to a lusty French witch in possession of the Necronomicon; I Love You, where a possessive husband must suffer the consequences of his selfishness; The Accident, where a mother must answer her young daughter’s questions about death. The latter is such a simple yet powerful story, very touching piece of cinema. The short entitled Wet Dreams was directed by Tom Savini and also starred him as a psychiatrist to an unfaithful husband who can no longer differentiate reality from fantasy. The Theatre Bizarre is an oddball piece of cinema, enjoyable in parts and downright freaky in others. Worth a watch Rating:
Read Ross’ review of The Theatre Bizarre
To end the night and the Grimm Up North 3 festival was a screening of a film that is classed as the second segment of a pagan trilogy. THE WICKER TREE.
It’s been almost 40 years since the first, standalone film THE WICKER MAN was made and I believe it to be the finest horror and film ever to be made. So I was very dubious about a ‘spiritual sequel’, especially being written by the director of The Wicker Man rather than the author, the late Anthony Shaffer. And my concerns were valid. The film treads over similar territory that The Wicker Man did except it’s poorly executed and we don’t actually grow a liking to any character as we did with Howie in the original. The plot was predictable and the pace was far too quick. Rating:
This didn’t bother me as I knew it wouldn’t amount to an inch of what The Wicker Man was, but I did enjoy the Q+A session with Robin Hardy afterwards. You can see the Q+A in the videos below.
So there we have it, the final night of the Grimm Up North 3 festival in Manchester came to an end and what a success it had been. Stay tuned for my Grimm summary.