Mayhem Film Festival 2022: A Full (Fe)Line-up

Image courtesy of Broadway Cinema

Have I mentioned before that I love Mayhem Film Festival? Of course I have. This was where I first saw Mandy, One Cut of the Dead, Daniel Isn’t Real, Why Don’t You Just Die!, and Color Out of Space: I have no doubt it will remain a favourite event for some time.

It’s not big, but it’s managed and curated extremely well, with a welcoming atmosphere and terrific breadth and care in the programming; which includes horror, sci-fi, cult films, sometimes thrillers, and documentaries that are also a good fit for the audience. There’s often a rarely-seen archive gem to open the Friday segment, a cult favourite from the ’80s to close the Saturday night, at least one animated film, and a short film showcase (which is how the festival started). This year, the ’80s pic is thematically paired with a Japanese classic, making a double bill known as “Night Of The Cat.” This segment of Mayhem is screening as part of In Dreams Are Monsters, a UK-wide film season from the BFI, supported by National Lottery and BFI Film Audience Network… read on for the titles of this double bill, as well as the full four-day programme.

Thursday 13 October

Wolf Manor

  • Wolf Manor (Dominic Brunt, UK), a splatter horror comedy about the shooting of a low-budget vampire movie in an old abandoned house deep in darkest Shropshire. Will this opening get the festival audience lightened and loosened up like Anna and the Apocalypse did…?
  • Dark Glasses (Dario Argento, Italy/France), in which a blind sex worker is left responsible for an orphaned boy as a serial killer attempts to hunt them down. Sean was (possibly) lucky to catch this one at Fantasia.

Friday 14 October

Edward Woodward as Ian in The Appointment

  • The Appointment (Lindsey C. Vickers, UK), the Edward Woodward-starring supernatural shocker from 1982, and recently revived by the BFI.
  • Birdemic 3: Sea Eagle (James Nguyen, USA), his third and final installment in the Birdemic franchise features an ecological message alongside those long, long, walks on the beach. UK premiere
  • Incredible But True (Quentin Dupiex, Mexico), in which a couple looks for the home of their dreams and come across a house with a surprising selling point in its basement. This film put our Sean into a philosophical frame of mind when it played at FrightFest.
  • Huesera (Michelle Garza Cervera, Mexico), the critically acclaimed supernatural body horror in which a mother discovers that the miracle of pregnancy isn’t all that she dreamed of. Sean called it “horror moviemaking at its absolute finest, scaring you with sociological impetus” when it screened at Fantasia.

Saturday 15 October

Unicorn Wars

  • Unicorn Wars (Alberto Vázquez, Spain/France), an ultra-violent, bloody clash between teddy bears and unicorns in animated fantasy. Something tells me this is the one I’ll be writing home about this year!
  • Vesper (Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper, Belgium/France), a sci-fi eco-fable in which a teenage girl strives to protect her invalid father from a callous ruling class, and the mercenary instincts of his brother, as she works on an experiment that might just save humanity. Sean loved the cinematography and world-building when it played at Fantasia.
  • Mayhem Short Film Showcase: details have not been released yet, but this segment is generally considered to be the heart of the festival.
  • Kuroneko (Kaneto Shindô, Japan, 1968), an eerie tale of samurai, ghosts, and revenge, accompanied by a kaleidoscopic live original score from Nottingham-based artist Yumah (aka Lucy Morrow)
  • Sleepwalkers (Mick Garris, USA), a 30th-anniversary screening of the Stephen King adaptation. (So it turns out I’ve had a crush on Alice Krige for 30 years. Well I never.)

Sunday 16 October

Claudio Santamaria, Giancarlo Martini, and Pietro Castellitto in Freaks Out

  • Freaks Out (Gabriele Mainetti, Italy/Belgium), a genre-defying take on the superhero film, which  pits a group of bizarre circus performers against the Nazis that have captured their mentor.
  • Jethica (Pete Ohs, USA), a smart, deadpan ghost story that twists the crazed stalker genre on its head. UK premiere
  • The Harbinger (Andy Mitton, Canada), the recent pandemic paranoia recast as a battle for existence itself, when a frightened young woman is infected by an inescapable waking nightmare and finds herself stalked by a predatory dream demon. JP was happy to have taken a chance on it when it played FrightFest.
  • No Looking Back (Kirill Sokolov, Russia), another violent, action-packed, and whiplash-fast film from the makers of huge Mayhem hit Why Don’t You Just Die!, which I’ll happily watch again and again
  • Watcher (Chloe Okuno, United Arab Emirates), a scary and stylish film about a young American woman who suspects the man watching her from across the building is a serial killer, decapitating local women. Hal called it “An Intense, Cerebral Stalker Movie”.
Mayhem Film Festival 2022
Image courtesy of Broadway Cinema

I encourage any film lover within an easy (or not easy) distance of Nottingham to make this event a priority. A limited number of full festival passes are still on sale for £85, and individual tickets have just been released too. Frankenstein ticket packages (exclusively available from the Broadway box office) are also available for £35: this allows you to build your own film festival with any five films for £35… but how will you choose?

Visit for full details.

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Written by Alix Turner

Alix discovered both David Lynch and Hardware in 1990, and has been seeking out weird and nasty films ever since (though their tastes have become broader and more cosmopolitan). A few years ago, Alix discovered a fondness for genre festivals and a knack for writing about films, and now cannot seem to stop. They especially appreciate wit and representation on screen, and introducing old favourites to their teenage daughter.

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