ARTICLES

FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG

Grimmfest 2017: It's (Still) Grim(m) Up North!
By James Whittington, Wednesday 27th September 2017

It was probably intended as an insult; a means of dismissing an entire region of the UK with a few words: "It's Grim Up North". But the Grimmfest team take a perverse pride in that notion. They adopted it as a brand from the start, and still wear it as a badge of honour. Because those overcast skies, and rainy, windswept moors conjured up the doomy Yorkshire Gothic of the Brontes; the harsh post-industrial cities and dour poker-faced black humour shaped the rattling verbal patter and ultra-violent urban wastelands of Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange. It's a landscape to inspire dark dreams and dangerous narratives. Some of the country's finest writers of horror and weird fiction have hailed from the region, from Ramsey Campbell, to Clive Barker.

So it seems strange, with all of that visual and literary inspiration to draw on, that there are not more horror films set and filmed there. Sure, some of the film versions of Bronte novels have used real Yorkshire locations, but more often than not, the region is stunt-doubling for somewhere else - the Lake District standing in for the Swiss Alps, our own fair city of Manchester's Victorian and Edwardian buildings standing in for parts of London or New York. In fact, the last time Manchester appeared onscreen in a horror movie AS Manchester was over forty years ago, in Jorge Grau's The Living Dead At The Manchester Morgue. Which, after the opening five minutes or so, was mostly shot in the Lake District. Beyond that, and a few obscure films by local cult legend Cliff Twemlow, Manchester's cinematic life has mostly been a reflection of its musical history, in films such as 24 Hour Party People and Spike Island.

Grimmfest is an attempt to change that. The festival was born in part out of a desire to put the city firmly on the horror map. In their capacity as a Manchester-based Director-Producer team, festival supremos Simeon Halligan and Rachel Richardson-Jones have always filmed within the North West region, and the festival has always encouraged and showcased locally-produced work, from Simeon and Rachel's first feature, Splintered, which provided the impetus to launch the first ever festival, to Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell's Yorkshire-based domestic zombie drama Before Dawn, to shorts such as NSFW, Radio Silence, and A Father's Day.

So this year they are delighted to be launching the festival with a truly, defiantly Mancunian film at last - Rachel and Simeon's third feature, Habit. Based on the cult novel by Stephen McGeagh, it's an unsettling journey into the seedier, sleazier corners of the city, to discover the sinister and seductive sub-cultures that lurk there and sample the forbidden and addictive pleasures on offer. The film captures perfectly the city's unsettling, uncomfortable ambiance; that nagging sense that behind the bright lights and bustling bars, the fancy restaurants and hipster hang-outs, there is something older and darker. Something dangerous and predatory, that has you right in its sights. Shot on location, with mostly local talent, the film has already been snapped up by numerous high-profile festivals, and will soon be flying a blood-spattered flag for the city as a location and a centre for production, all around the world. But in addition to cast and crew Q&A, this Gala Premiere screening offers something unique. Because much of the film was shot only five minutes walk from the festival venue - so this is a chance for a truly... immersive cinema experience. Always assuming you don't mind getting a few bloodstains on your clothes...

Strangely enough, sub-cultures and substance abuse seem to be a bit of a theme in this year's Northern films. There's an emotionally brutal brace of shorts, Real Gods Require Blood, and Fissure, which offer very different, but equally unsettling slices of Manchester macabre, and then, by way of contrast...

Grimmfest is also delighted to welcome back our old friends Dominic Brunt and Joanne Mitchell, for the Northern Premiere of their utterly outrageous and all-too-timely cinematic shocker, Attack Of The Adult Babies. A scabrous, scatological, splatter-satire, which skewers the British Nation's sexual hang ups and social divisions with puerile glee and savage abandon, it offers a grotesque and gobsmacking grand finale to this year's Northern strand, and brings the festival to a suitably uproarious and frenzied climax.

Featuring such cult faces as Human Centipede's Laurence Harvey, and "Uncle Peter" himself, Charlie Chuck, the film earned Producer, co-writer, and lead actress Mitchell a Screen/Horror Channel Frightfest "Rising Star" nomination. Dominic and Joanne will be joining us to introduce the film and for a Q&A afterwards.

Grimmfest runs 5th-8th October at Odeon Printworks, Manchester and for more info click here.


MORE ARTICLES
Interview with Marko Makilaakso director of It Came From The Desert
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Tuesday 17th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film It Came From The Desert at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Marko Makilaakso shares his admiration for Roger Corman, love of B-Movies, spoofing and overcoming homeland obstacles.

It Came From The Desert is inspired by Cinemaware's cult 1980s video game, which in turn was motivated by the giant creature feature craze infesting 1950s Hollywood. What was the main inspiration for you?

MM: There's so many movies and makers which inspired ICFTD, but the main inspiration was exactly that; creature feature infested 1950s Hollywood films, and the legendary Cinemaware Desert games and creature features and action comedies I grew up with in the 19...

SHARE: READ MORE
Doorways to premiere at Leeds Film Festival 2017
Posted in News, Thursday 12th October 2017

A macabre drama which depicts the psychological paranoia of being homeless will have its world premiere at this year's Leeds Film Festival.

Doorways - written and co-produced by comic-book writer Ed Murphy, follows a newly-evicted young girl who hooks up with a down-and-out veteran who believes his street colleagues are being abducted from the city's sidewalks by a hostile entity. The short film was shot on location in Manchester's Northern Quarter and Murphy wanted to capture the style and feel of renowned British directors Ken Loach and Alan Clarke in his depiction of the homeless community.

"I really wanted a cinematic look which was direct, straight-forward, honest and wasn't too contrive...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Can Evrenol director of Housewife
Posted in Frightfest, Interviews, Thursday 12th October 2017

Ahead of the UK premiere of his latest film Housewife at the Horror Channel Frightfest Halloween event, director Can Evrenol tells us why film is a 'pervert's art' shares his feelings for Fulci and reveals his contribution to Horror anthology, The Field Guide To Evil.

Was it important to make your follow-up film to Baskin in the English language?

CE: I wanted to make the film available for a wider audience and to test myself with a different language movie. I thought it was a fun thing to do.

How do you describe Housewife? What would be your perfect pitch line?

CE: Man, I had this crazy f****d-up dream last night! Do you want to see it?

Like Baskin, Housewife shares man...

SHARE: READ MORE
Booth's Blog: We dare you to take another Wrong Turn
Posted in Booth's Blog, Wednesday 11th October 2017

You only need to be in one place on Friday the 13th, and that's here on Horror, where all things unlucky come to life in the most horrifying of ways! This week we're upping the fun quota with the last installment of one of the most popular cannibal franchises of recent years. It started in 2003 with Wrong Turn and the creation of those three memorable brothers; One Eye, Three Finger and Saw Tooth. What a gene pool that family's blessed with! It was the combination of such solid characters, the wild woodland location of the West Virginia Mountains, and an abundance of hot young flesh on offer that led to a lucrative franchise that's now 6 movies strong. Following the original film, it was FrightFest regular and all ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Borley Rectory will open its doors at Grimmfest
Posted in News, Wednesday 4th October 2017

From the House On The Borderlands, to the Witch House, from Hill House to Belasco House, hostile, haunted, or demon-possessed real estate is one of the longest-established tropes in horror fiction, and one which very quickly established itself in cinema, too. Indeed, haunted houses appear in some of the very earliest films. The cynical explanation would be that a single, creepy location is always an effective backdrop for a narrative, and will keep the budget down, too. But it's more than this. Like the Home Invasion Film, the Haunted House movie plays on the darkest human fear of all - that we are not safe in the one place we most expect to be. That our refuge from the world is nothing of the kind. That home is ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Dominic Bridges, director of Freehold
Posted in Interviews, Wednesday 4th October 2017

One of the stand out movies from Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 was the psychological chiller, Freehold. Dark and at times truly unnerving, the film caused quite a stir and will be released onto DVD on October 9th. Here the film's director Dominic Bridges talking about this superb debut.

HC: Where did the idea for Freehold come from?

DB: Based on personal experience my wife and I suffered a miscarriage whilst trying to buy a house in London whilst the Estate Agents had us bidding against ourselves... I reacted badly which was embarrassing to my wife and myself it all felt like too much fighting for a roof over our heads just tainted the whole of London for us and we moved also the realisation...

SHARE: READ MORE
Booth's Blog: Horror celebrates the King in October
Posted in Booth's Blog, Wednesday 4th October 2017

Stephen King fever is everywhere right now, and with the icon turning 70 last month, it doesn't look like he's slowing down anytime soon. This summer's IT reboot caused cinematic shock waves on a global scale, and the recent Gerald's Game is being touted as one of the must-see horrors of the year by the critics.

Let's be honest; the King movie adaptation has always been fraught with controversy, from both fans, critics, and even the man himself. While Stanley Kubrick's The Shining is considered by many to be one of the best King adaptations (and indeed the best horror film of all time!), King himself publicly criticised the film, writing and producing "Stephen King's The Shining"; a TV mini-series in 1997 ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel celebrates Stephen King's 70th year and goes Southbound this October.
Posted in Features, Tuesday 3rd October 2017
Works by Stephen King feature heavily this month on Horror Channel, which celebrates the icon's 70th year of one of horror's most prolific and popular authors. There are network premieres for his fearsome feline anthology Cat's Eye, starring James Woods and Drew Barrymore; his darkly weighty cautionary tale Stephen King's Thinner, directed by Tom Holland in his directorial debut; the science-fiction action horror Maximum Overdrive, starring Emilio Estevez; and the 2009 adaptation of his short story Children Of The Corn.

Horror Channel has eleven film premieres in October, including the UK premieres of Southbound, a chiller compendium from the creators of the V/H/S franchise; Mitch Wilson's gruesome...

SHARE: READ MORE
Horror Channel FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2017 event
Posted in Features, Frightfest, Thursday 28th September 2017

Horror Channel FrightFest Halloween 2017 unleashes seven choice shockers for the 7th annual West End Halloween chillorama - a wits-end wallow in all things gruesome, gory and glorious.

This year, the all-day shocktoberfest is at the Empire Haymarket on Sat Oct 28, 2017 and embraces one world, one European and five UK premieres, spanning three continents.

From the emotional making of a low-budget slasher to zombie nightmares, Gothic horrors, an outrageously strange mind cult, a sci-fi alien action extravaganza, a comic strip creature feature and the last word in Killer Clowns, this year-s line-up is an eclectic mix of the quirky, unusual and extreme.

Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director sai...

SHARE: READ MORE
PICK OF THE WEEK
The Ninth Gate
THE NINTH GATE
Tuesday 24th October
9.00 PM
The Hills Have Eyes 2 (2007)
THE HILLS HAVE EYES 2 (2007)
Friday 27th October
10.50 PM
The Strangers
THE STRANGERS
Wednesday 18th October
9.00 PM