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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.

Highlights include:

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

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