GRIMMFEST, Manchester’s Festival of Horror, Cult and Fantastic Film is back, opening with the Marilyn Manson-starring LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR and special guest Ken Foree.
Odeon Printworks will once again be under siege by bloodsoaked hordes of horror enthusiasts and film freaks, as the Grimm Team unleash their latest and greatest line-up of dark, dangerous, wild, weird, witty, thrilling, chilling, blood-spilling movies, every one of them a premiere of one kind or another.
Pre-Festival Preview Night (September 23rd)
As a suitably bloody taster for this year’s festival, Grimmfest presents a special preview of the sure-to-prove controversial new film from shock-rocker turned horror auteur Rob Zombie, the neo-grindhouse gorefest, 31 – a cornucopia of carnage, chainsaw-wielding clowns, cult movie stars, and Nazi dwarves. There’ll be a suitably startling supporting short, the uproarious splatter-farce THE CORPSE SERIES, and, by way of contrast, a welcome big-screen outing for one of the true classics of the horror genre (not to mention one of Rob Zombie’s biggest sources of inspiration), Wes Craven’s seminal 1977 survivalist shocker, THE HILLS HAVE EYES, just released in a beautiful new 4K remaster from the good people at Arrow films.
And this is just the spicy entree to the main event..
As ever, Grimmfest promises you premieres, guests galore, and all manner of movie mayhem. And, as ever, there is method in the madness. This year, the festival has a number of themes and strands for you to explore:
The American Deep South has always been a fertile breeding-ground for dark and dangerous imaginations. From William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor through to Cormac McCarthy, there’s a whole sub-genre of so-called “Southern Gothic”, a world of God, grits, and moonshine, of twisted family secrets and bloody revenge. Why not take a tour of the terrifying territory courtesy of Grimmfest? Guests will be joined by co-writer and co-director Cory Asraf, for the UK premiere of the metaphysical country noir LET ME MAKE YOU A MARTYR, in which Marilyn Manson stars as an emotionless and implacable hired killer. No doubt he’ll have some interesting stories. Also on the lineup is the regional premiere of Sean Brosnan’s brutal and oddly lyrical tale of Oedipal vengeance, MY FATHER, DIE, while ENTOURAGE’s Adrien Grenier faces down a whole bunch of guilty family secrets in the UK Premiere of TRASH FIRE, the outrageous new film from Richard Bates, Jr., director of previous Grimmfest favourites EXCISION and SUBURBAN GOTHIC.
The Crime genre, in fiction, film and TV, is increasingly dominated by “Nordic Noir”, with its depiction of a dark, disturbing world, in which alienated, damaged, and socially-disfunctional cops in ill-considered knitwear are confronted by the uglier aspects of the human condition. A world very close to that of horror. Stands to reason then, that Nordic Horror is even darker. Grimmfest is teaming up with the fine folk at Nordic Genre Invasion to give you a chance to see for yourselves. They’ll be offering up the Zombie Apocalypse from a domestic suburban perspective in the Regional Premiere of the emotionally-brutal WHAT WE BECOME, and a waste-clearing mission gone toxic in the UK Premiere of the claustrophobic VILLMARK ASYLUM.
Time was, you could always rely on South East Asia when it came to finding a good horror film. But things seem to have been a little quiet of late. Or so we thought. Clearly, however, this was the calm before the storm. This year, the TRAIN TO BUSAN comes roaring out of the East, all pistons pumping. Grimmfest will be hosting the regional premiere of this visceral, no-holds-barred zombies-on-a-train actioner, already getting hysterically-enthusiastic word of mouth across the world. As a change of pace, it will be joined by the UK Premiere of THE TAG-ALONG, an old-school flesh-creeper about a young couple plagued by a “hungry ghost”, feeding on their own feelings of guilt and failures of emotional responsibility.
The sex war is very often precisely that: a pitched battle. This year, Grimmfest takes a look at some of the casualties. Care worker Morjana Alaoui (MARTYRS) finds herself increasingly overwhelmed by her embittered new patient in the gruelling psychological thriller BROKEN, and local boy Dominic Monaghan (LORD OF THE RINGS, LOST, etc) bites off rather more than he can chew in the twisted morality tale, PET. Both films are receiving their regional premieres at Grimmfest.
Paranoia Can Annoy Ya…
…But where would cinema be without it as a theme? There’s a brace of troubling psychological thrillers screening at Grimmfest that are guaranteed to get right under your skin. Lauren Ashley Carter struggles to come to terms with her own dark past in a building with an even darker one in DARLING, Mickey Keating’s elegantly retro-styled portrait of psychic collapse, and a grief-stricken private investigator finds himself increasingly losing control of his latest case in the voyeuristic OBSERVANCE. Both are Grimmfest Regional Premieres.
The UK has a long and proud tradition of horror cinema, dating right the way back to the silent era. Grimmfest actually began in part out of a desire to showcase new British Independent Horror and genre work, and this year is no exception. Serving up white-knuckle tension galore, in the claustrophobic THE CHAMBER, and a deft socio-political spin on a popular horror trope in fast-paced zombie actioner THE REZORT.
Independent and Off-beat
Grimmfest has always prided itself in seeking films that push at the edges of the genre; that offer something a little more… left-field. This year there’s home invasion as comedy of manners in ANOTHER EVIL Video Games gone bad in retro-80s shocker, BEYOND THE GATES, and motormouth master-magician Penn Jillette’s savage satire on directorial hubris and the perils of crowdfunding, DIRECTOR’S CUT (all receiving their regional premiere). There’s body horror and social alienation in THE UNSEEN (A UK Premiere), and the World Premiere of the suggestively-titled TONIGHT SHE COMES, which spins such classic genre tropes as a Summer camping trip, a cabin in the woods, creepy inbred hillbillies and rural magic into an increasingly delirious and unpredictable journey into the heart of a very weird darkness.
This year’s Grimmfest classic is a genuine (and very gory) slice of cinema history – THE BURNING! Marking the cinematic debut of Holly Hunter, Fisher Stevens, and Jason Alexander, this infamous Summer Camp slasher was an early outing for the now much-esteemed Miramax Pictures, from an “original story” by Harvey Weinstein, no less. Oft-banned, much-reviled, and almost invariably cut to ribbons, this lurid little shocker has stood the test of time to become a cult classic, now reissued in a beautifully-restored, remastered edition from those fine folk at Arrow. Grimmfest is delighted to be presenting a rare opportunity to see it on the big screen.
Short Sharp Shocks
As ever, the shorts programme has something for everyone, including ugly urban legends and grim(m) fairytales galore, and the world premiere of the disturbing morality tale NSFW from locally-based filmmaker C.A. Wallace.
Horror Icon Ken Foree Come to Grimmfest!
To bring this year’s festival to a suitably dramatic conclusion, the Grimm team are delighted to announce that they will be joined by the inimitable Mr Ken Foree. Probably most famous for his role in Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD, Foree is a bonafide horror movie icon, starring in a plethora of classic horror movies including FROM BEYOND and THE DEVILS REJECTS, while SHAUN OF THE DEAD paid tribute to him with Simon Pegg’s character working at “Foree Electronics” store. Ken has even starred in hit 90s sitcom, KENAN & KEL with Kenan Thompson playing his titular son. Ken will be at the festival to talk about his career, and to introduce his new film, THE RIFT, a heady, head-scratching combination of TWILIGHT-ZONE-style time paradox, haunted house horror, metaphysical parable, and axe-swinging mayhem. If you’re lucky, he might even sign a few autographs!
Grimmfest runs 6th-9th October at Odeon Printworks, Manchester UK.
Full Festival Passes and Day Tickets are now on sale from www.grimmfest.com
Single tickets on sale from next week.