FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS | BOOTH'S BLOG Grimmfest 2017 - Here's everything you need to know!
By James Whittington, Friday 1st September 2017
GRIMMFEST, Manchester's Festival of Horror, Cult and Fantastic Film is back; bigger, bolder, and bloodier than ever before.
The Festival screening venue might have changed hands in the last twelve months, but the unique spirit of Grimmfest refuses to be exorcised from the building. Before long, the Printworks will once again find itself under siege by blood-soaked hordes of horror enthusiasts and film freaks, as Team Grimmfest unleashes...the Ninth Configuration! The festivals latest and greatest line-up yet of dark, dangerous, wild, weird, witty, thrilling, chilling, blood-spilling movies, every one of them a premiere or cult classic of one kind or another.
Grimmfest is proud to be presenting the world premiere of the remarkable and utterly unique Borley Rectory. Using an elaborate mixture of live action, stills, paintings, and model work, it's an immersive, eerily atmospheric, and elegantly retro-styled exploration of the Most Haunted House in Britain. Over six years in the making, it's a real labor of love for its creator, Ashley Thorpe. Featuring a score by Ex-Banshee Steve Severin, and with a cast including the League of Gentlemen's Reece Shearsmith, Julian Sands and Hellraiser's Nicolas Vince, it's an extraordinary cinematic experience.
Grimmfest are also delighted to be hosting the International Premiere of Fake Blood, the new film from Rob Grant and Mike Kovac, whose previous movie, Mon Ami, was a Grimmfest hit a few years back. A mordant and malevolent mockumentary exploring the difference between movie violence and reality, it's a pitch-black comedy that shifts into increasingly chilling and uncomfortable territory, a real masterclass in audience manipulation, that leads the viewer step by step towards its quietly horrible punchline.
Grimmfest is delighted to be hosting the European premiere of Mohawk, fresh from wowing audiences at top genre festival Fantasia in Montreal. In the wake of last year's brutal and harrowing Bone Tomahawk, the film offers a savage confirmation that the Weird Western is well and truly back with a vengeance. And we do mean vengeance. The much-anticipated follow-up to Writer-Director's Ted Geoghegan's critically-acclaimed festival favorite We Are Still Here, Mohawk juggles elements of such confrontational classics as Ulzana's Raid, Southern Comfort, and even High Plains Drifter, yet possesses an eerie ambience and shifting narrative ambiguity all its own. The end result is brutal, yes, but subtly thought-provoking too.
To kick off this year's festival, Grimmfest co-directors Simeon Halligan and Rachel Richardson-Jones return with the Gala Hometown UK Premiere of their much-anticipated third feature, Habit; a visceral cinematic visualization of Stephen McGeagh's acclaimed cult novel, which captures perfectly the dark heart, and sinister sub-cultures of the fair city of Manchester. 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 an eclectic location for production, all around the world. With much of the film shot only a five-minute walk from the festival venue - this is a chance for a truly immersive cinema experience. Assuming you don't mind getting a few bloodstains on your clothes...
With the Grimmfest team, there's always method in their movie madness; even if it stems from the darkest corners of their subconscious, rather than any purposeful programming plan. And so it is that this year's festival has a fiercely feminine focus. In M.F.A, Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint, demonstrates that the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree with her steely turn as a rape-victim turned vigilante. Adelaide Clemens (Silent Hill: Revelation, The Great Gatsby) goes in search of a missing twin and stumbles into a world of Nazi-inspired experiments and callous clinical cruelty in the quietly unsettling Rabbit. You'll also have a chance to meet sweet, small-town Canadian serial killer Poor Agnes (Lora Burke), whose approach to dating is somewhat... extreme; and there's some old-fashioned Gothic Romance with a uniquely Russian twist in The Bride. All films are receiving their UK Premieres at Grimmfest. There's a chilling exploration of female self-image in the Regional Premiere of the icy, futuristic body-horror, Replace, co-written by cult auteur Richard Stanley, and featuring the legendary Barbara Crampton. Last, but by no means least, the festival be exploring the traumas of post-natal depression in the bone-chilling Still/Born. Written by the multi-talented Colin Minihan (It Stains The Sands Red), and boasting a powerhouse performance from Christie Burke as the increasingly troubled mother, the film will receive its Regional Premiere at Grimmfest.
But just in case some of the festivals nervous male punters are feeling a bit intimidated by all that estrogen, Grimmfest will also have the UK Premiere of the claustrophobic Trench 11; an old-school, no-nonsense men-on-a-mission movie which pitches cynical soldiers against pre-Nazi nastiness in the Trenches of No Man's Land in the final days of the First World War.
Every year the Grimmfest team strive to find films that will push the envelope, that will offer some truly head-spinning visuals, and leave the audience reeling. This year is no exception. Grimmfest are truly thrilled to be presenting the UK Premiere of the utterly jaw-dropping Dave Made A Maze, Bill Watterson's guaranteed-to-gain-a-cult-following directorial debut. If ever a film could be described as "pure Grimmfest", this is probably it. Part slacker comedy, part retro-80s fantasy adventure, and playing like a manic mash-up of Michel Gondry, Charlie Kaufman, and previous Grimmfest favorite John Dies At The End, it brings a whole new meaning to the phrase "cardboard set design". Grimmfest will also be offering a rare opportunity to see Tag, the latest manic masterpiece from cult Japanese auteur Sion Sono on the big screen, prior to its domestic release on DVD and BluRay. The Grimmfest team assures 'you really do want to see this one on as big a screen as possible'. Beginning with the single most mind-blowing sequence the Grimmfest team has seen in years, this is utterly 'off the chain', even by Sono's standards; a high-octane, break-neck, no-holds-barred splatterfest, which also finds time to offer an oddly affecting meditation on identity and belonging. You aren't going to know what hit you.
There are always films every year that the Grimmfest team know their leagues of fans will want to check out. The films that are getting all the love at other festivals around the world, the ones that have the fans buzzing with anticipation. And this year they've secured some cold-blooded corkers. Keeping with their focus on gender politics, they've got leery laddishness confronted by a duo of particularly fatal femmes in British Horror comedy Double Date, fresh from earning its writer-star Danny Moran the "Rising Star" award at Frightfest. There are more lethal ladies to be found in white-trash pulp-noir 68 Kill, the latest from Trent Haaga, writer-director of Grimmfest favorite, Chop. Featuring an all-star cult cast including Matthew Gray Gubler and Anna Lynn McCord, best known for their work with another Grimmfest favorite, Richard Bates, Jr (Excision, Suburban Gothic, Trash Fire), and Sheila Vand (A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, XX), it's a torrid, twisted tale of wild, white trash women and weak-willed, morally-bankrupt men on the road to nowhere good. Elsewhere, Grimmfest has a shocking seasonal spin on the Home Invasion genre in Better Watch Out; while the extraordinary Javier Botet (The Revenant, Crimson Peak, [REC]) stars in Freehold, a queasily comic variation on the classic "hider in the house" scenario, in which a brash estate agent falls victim to a former client's increasingly devious war of attrition carried out right under his nose, in his own home. The festival also boasts old-school Outback Horror in the devious and brutal Australian shocker Killing Ground; two very different explorations of playing for the highest stakes of all in Ruin Me and Game Of Death, and as the horror community mourns the late, great, Tobe Hooper, the long-awaited return of Leatherface, in a rip-roaring rebooted prequel, helmed by ferocious French extremists Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, directors of the infamously visceral A L'interieur/Inside.
Grimmfest runs 5th-8th October at Odeon Printworks, Manchester UK. The full line up in addition to Full Festival Passes, Day Passes and Single Film Tickets can be found here.
MORE NEWS More titles added to the Hammer Film Collection
Posted on Thursday 16th November 2017
In 1957, Hammer's first ever horror film in colour was released: The Curse of Frankenstein. Its huge success spawned many more Hammer Horror films and the studio's domination of the horror genre, which was to last for a decade and a half.
So 60 years on, to commemorate this anniversary, Studiocanal and Park Circus, in conjunction with FrightFest, Scalarama and more tbc, are releasing brand new restorations of eight classic Hammer Horror titles at cinemas and on DVD/Blu-ray doubleplay.
From the gothic horrors Scars of Dracula, Blood From The Mummy's Tomb, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Horror Of Frankenstein and psychological chillers Fear In The Night, Straight On Till Mornin...SHARE: READ MORE Lost Doctor Who story to be released by BBC Books
Posted on Thursday 16th November 2017
Intergalactic war? That's just not cricket... or is it?
Doctor Who And The Kirkkitmen is a novel based on a recently discovered treatment and extensive notes found in the Douglas Adams archive in Cambridge. A truly 'lost' adventure and with legendary status among fans, this is a work by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author that no-one has ever read...
The Doctor promised Romana the end of the universe, so she's less than impressed when what she gets is a cricket match. But when play is interrupted by eleven figures in white uniforms and peaked skull helmets, wielding bat-shaped weapons that fire lethal bolts of light into the screaming crowd. The Krikkitmen are back. Millions of years ago, the pe...SHARE: READ MORE Zombie Spring Breakers (aka Ibiza Undead) gets US release today!
Posted on Thursday 2nd November 2017
Marcia Do Vales, who, as Maria, kick-asses her way through Brit zomcom Ibiza Undead, will represent the film at its LA premiere on Thursday 2 November, which is hosted by US Film Studio and Distributor, The Asylum.
The film will play in 76 Cinemark Theatres on November 2nd.
Now called Zombie Spring Breakers, Brazilian-born Marcia do Vales, who is about to shoot the leading role in supernatural thriller Quail Hollow, says: "I loved being part of this film, so am really pleased to have the opportunity to attend the US premier. With So few independent British films getting a theatrical release in the US it's a real testament to the hard work that we put in to make this film somethi...SHARE: READ MORE Its time to bring in the trash, Street Trash in fact!
Posted on Wednesday 1st November 2017
88 Films has opened the Vaults to unleash a frequently far-too-forgotten gem from the VHS shelves - Street Trash!
Never gaining quite the love-fest that its most comparable colleagues such as Peter Jackson's Bad Taste (1987) and Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead II (1987) achieved; fright-fans of the Fangoria generation have nevertheless continued to argue that Street Trash more than deserves its place at the top of the pantheon of late eighties horror greats. Directed by Hollywood hot-shot Jim Muro, who went on to be one of Tinseltown's most in-demand Steadicam operators (with credits that include Terminator 2: Judgement Day , Titanic , Red Dragon  and X-Men: The Last Stand ) Street Trash focuses on...SHARE: READ MORE Would you dare go 47 Metres Down?
Posted on Tuesday 31st October 2017
It's time to get back into the water... Mandy Moore, Claire Holt and Matthew Modine star in the tense and terrifying 47 Metres Down. Out to download and own on DVD this November.
Sisters Lisa (Moore) and Kate (Holt) become trapped at the bottom of the ocean as a shark diving expedition led by Captain Taylor (Modine) goes horribly wrong. When the cable attaching the cage plummets 47 metres to the seabed, the terrified sisters must figure out a way to get back to the safety of the surface; battling injuries, lack of oxygen, and worst of all - bloodthirsty, great white sharks...
The experience of a lifetime quickly turns into a nightmare for Lisa and Kate as they realise they have become shark-b...SHARE: READ MORE New from Devil's Advocates, The Shining
Posted on Monday 30th October 2017
It's one of Stanley Kubrick's most talked about movies and now its getting the Devil's Advocates treatment, The Shining is the latest in their line of essential titles.
Despite being met with critical bafflement on its release, and some hostility from author Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick's adaption of The Shining (1980) today stands as a landmark in horror cinema. Taking a fresh look at this most analysed of films, Laura Mee situates it within the history of the horror genre and explores how Kubrick's filmmaking style, his use of dark humour and ambiguous approach to supernatural storytelling complements generic conventions, and examines the choices made in adapting King's book for the screen-stripping out ...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video have some Argento treats for 2018
Posted on Monday 30th October 2017
Arrow Video are starting 2018 the way they mean to go on - with a batch of quality new, and classic, releases that you won't want to miss, including a double dose of giallo from Italian maestro Dario Argento, and an outstanding Aussie thriller.
First off, Dario Argento's devilishly good 1971 horror mystery Cat O' Nine Tails gets a superb limited edition 4K restoration. Starring James Franciscus (City On Fire) and Karl Malden (On The Waterfront), this brilliantly byzantine thriller cemented Argento's reputation as a master genre director. The limited edition Blu-ray is packed with extras, and features a new audio commentary, new cover artwork and comes with a poster, lobby cards and a limited edition booklet.<...SHARE: READ MORE Uncut edition of Toolbox Murders coming from 88 Films
Posted on Wednesday 18th October 2017
Originally banned in the UK, 88 Films give new life to Toolbox Murders, the frequently-censored shocker which makes its UK debut uncut for the very first time and from a new 4k scan exclusive to 88 Films!
Unbelievably it has taken until now, almost 40 years since its release, for Toolbox Murders to be considered safe for British viewers. Prior to these groundbreaking times, the film was most famed for driving the BBFC bonkers as they wrestled with its many moments of brutal bludgeoning, driller-killer craziness and hammer-to-the-head horror - resulting in a famed 'ban' during the VHS purges of the early 1980s.
Originally released in 1978 to shocked and speechless cinemagoers who were perhaps lured ...SHARE: READ MORE New from Devil's Advocates, Ju-on: The Grudge
Posted on Wednesday 18th October 2017
Takashi Shimizu's Ju-on franchise was key to the rise of contemporary Japanese horror and its international popularity at the turn of the millennium. The first release of Ju-on/The Grudge in 2002 spawned the decade's thematic interest in supernatural technology and the fear of contagions while skilfully navigating domestic social concerns, such as Japan's growing elderly population and domestic violence.
This Devil's Advocate explores the production of Ju-on/The Grudge and highlights its essential themes and motifs. It considers the work's cultural influences before concluding with the Ju-on franchise's ongoing legacy. The book serves as an excellent primer for readers without prior knowledge of Japane...SHARE: READ MORE Doorways to premiere at Leeds Film Festival 2017
Posted on 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 Borley Rectory will open its doors at Grimmfest
Posted on 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 Grimmfest 2017: It's (Still) Grim(m) Up North!
Posted on 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, fr...SHARE: READ MORE PICK OF THE WEEK
Friday 15th December
Saturday 16th December
Tuesday 19th December