One of the UK festivals that I’ve been following and supporting longer than I have FrightFest is the marvellous Grimmfest, which takes place every October with some smaller events scattered throughout the year. This year, after a good twelve months of virtual events, they are excited to return to Odeon Great Northern in Manchester from 7 to 10 October, and I’m excited to present to you news of their line-up, full of premieres and nasty thrills.
Two of the films that caught my attention in the Fantasia program are now on their way to their UK premieres: Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury’s supernatural The Deep House and Jane Schoenbrun’s subtly disquieting low-fi gem, We’re All Going To The World’s Fair. Read on for a summary of the rest of the program.
- Shot in the Dark AKA Moon Lane (Keene McRae, USA), serial killer drama reinvented as an elliptical exploration of memory, loss, and small-town inertia.
- Las noches son de los monstrous AKA The Nights Belong To Monsters (Sebastian Perillo, Argentina) a subtly haunting dark fable.
- The Spore (D.M. Cunningham, USA) in which a mutant fungus wreaks havoc among a small MidWestern community.
- Faceless (Marcel Sarmiento, USA) in which barroom romance meets body horror.
- The Pizzagate Massacre AKA Duncan (John Valley, USA), inspired by a real-life conspiracy theory.
- On the Third Day (Daniel de la Vega, Argentina) about the terror of losing a child.
- Night At The Eagle Inn (Erik and Carson Bloomquist, USA), a mischievous mash-up of hotel-based horror and existential nightmare.
- Alone with You (Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks, USA), an intimate and uncomfortable examination of alienation and personality breakdown.
- The Righteous (Mark O’Brien, Canada), a black and white film that combines occult chills with domestic angst.
- Two Witches (Pierre Tsigaridis, USA), a dazzling, disorientating, hallucinogenic homage to classic Seventies European horror.
- Midnight (Kwon Oh-seung, South Korea ), a dazzling serial killer film.
- The Free Fall (Adam Stilwell, USA), a surreal and slippery riff on 1940s noir-Gothic romances.
- Val (Aaron Fradkin, USA), a high camp Hollywood horror.
- The Guest Room (Stefano Lodovichi, Italy), a metaphysical parable of guilt and redemption.
- Tarumama AKA Llanto Maldito (Andres Beltran, Colombia) in which supernatural mythology is combined with brutal domestic drama.
- Night Drive (Brad Baruh and Megan Leon, USA), a deliciously mischievous thriller.
- King Knight (Ricky Bates, Jr., USA) starring Barbara Crampton and Ray Wise; what more do you need?
- Motherly (Craig David Wallace, Canada), presenting home invasion and the parental bond.
- Seagull (Peter Blach, UK), a study of family dysfunction, teenage alienation, and supernatural revenge.
- Hotel Poseidon (Stefan Lernous, Belgium) ), a fever dream of alienation and repression.
- Slapface (Jeremiah Kipp, USA), about monsters and bullies.
- Forgiveness (Alex Kahuam, Mexico), a nightmarish, existential vision of hell.
- The Sadness (Rob Jabbaz, Taiwan), one of the goriest films I’ve ever seen.
The opening film will be Jim Cummings’ and PJ McCabe’s The Beta Test, a thriller/satire about toxic masculinity, but the closing film is yet to be announced. Grimmfest will also cover a selection of short films, including Mask of the Evil Apparition from Alex Proyas, part of his Dark City cinematic universe. And of course, there will be a guest of honour again, this time Dee Wallace, recipient of this year’s Grimmfest Lifetime Achievement Award.
There will be a virtual equivalent to this October’s Grimmfest shortly after. If you can attend in person, though, Grimmfest 2021 full festival passes are available now, from the festival website. I might just see you there.