Grimmfest 2018: 10 Must-Sees!

Written by Sasha Hornby

GRIMMFEST, Manchester’s Festival of Horror, Cult and Fantastic Film, scheduled to take place from Thursday 4th October to Sunday 7th October at the ODEON Manchester, is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The line-up was announced on Monday 3rd September, and this year promises “the darkest, deadliest line-up yet of wild, weird, witty, thrilling, chilling, blood-spilling movies.” Each film shown is a premiere (of some sort) or cult classic, many with cast and crew in attendance.

To honour 10 years of it being Grimm Up North, we pick our 10 must-sees from the wicked roster:

 

AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS

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Northern Premiere showing Thursday 4th October at 8:45pm
UK / English / 2018 / 91 mins

Director: Johnny Kevorkian 
Cast: Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Grant Masters, Abigail Cruttenden, Kris Saddler, Holly Weston, David Bradley

It’s Christmas day, and one family wakes up to discover they’re sealed in their house by a mysterious black substance. On the television reads a single line of text: “Stay Indoors and Await Further Instructions.” The dysfunctional family, described as “the university-educated son and his Asian girlfriend, the horrible racist Grandad, the control freak father, the simpering doormat of a mother, the chav sister and her meathead boyfriend” are tense and confrontational around each other, not at all prepared for the strangeness of their situation. Shot in Yorkshire, and featuring mostly practical effects, this biting satire promises an unforgettable festive flick.

 

PLEDGE

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European Premiere showing Sunday 7th October at 12:25pm
USA / English / 2018 / 75 mins

Director: Daniel Robbins
Cast: Zack Weiner, Phillip Andre Botello, Zachary Byrd, Cameron Cowperthwaite, Aaron Dalla Villa, Jesse Pimentel, Erica Boozer

American films set in or around University Fraternities and Sororities are hardly new. PLEDGE takes the “geeky social misfits vs. privileged jocks and preppies” set-up and presents a no-holds-barred, cranked-up-to-eleven, savage look at arcane hazing rituals.

 

TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID (VUELVEN)

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Northern Premiere showing Friday 5th October at 9:15pm
Mexico / Spanish with English subtitles / 2017 / 83 mins

Director: Issa López
Cast: Paola Lara, Juan Ramón López, Tenoch Huerta

11-year-old Estrella has one desperate wish: for her missing mother to return home. As she joins a Lost Boys (Peter Pan) style gang of orphaned children in the violent, drug-war-torn, Mexican town where she lives, she learns some ghosts can’t be left behind, and the hardest battle is with bereavement. Brutal reality is given a whimsical twist through a child’s imaginative eye. Guillermo del Toro called Issa López’s haunting, artistic, urban fairy tale one of the finest films of the year – the highest of fantastical endorsements.

 

RE-ANIMATOR

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Cult Classic showing Thursday 4th October at 6:30pm
USA / English / 1985 / 86 mins

Director: Stuart Gordon
Cast: Jeffrey Combs, Bruce Abbott, Barbara Crampton, Robert Sampson, David Gale

With an introduction by Grimmfest 2018’s guest of honour, star Barbara Crampton, this screening of the original unrated version of the cult comedy classic is a ghoulish and gory start to the festival. A re-imagining of H.P. Lovecraft’s weird pulp novella, Stuart Gordon’s blackly comic tale of a medical student and his girlfriend experimenting with reanimating the dead is a masterwork of the macabre.

 

ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE

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Greater Manchester Premiere showing Sunday 7th October at 8:30pm
UK / English / 2017 / 109 mins

Director: John McPhail
Cast: Ella Hunt, Malcolm Cumming, Sarah Swire, Christopher Leveaux, Ben Wiggins, Marli Siu

Described as “Shaun of the Dead meets La La Land”, ANNA AND THE APOCALYPSE is a Scottish Christmas high school zombie musical. Bloody, festive, delightfully charming – watch Anna and her friends slash and sing their way to survival in the zombie apocalypse.

 

NIGHTMARE CINEMA

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UK Premiere showing Saturday 6th October at 4:30pm
USA / English / 2018 / 119 mins

Directors: Alejandro Brugués, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Ryuhei Kitamura, David Slade
Cast: Mickey Rourke, Elizabeth Reaser, Richard Chamberlain, Annabeth Gish

In this twisted horror anthology, five strangers are drawn into an abandoned theatre and forced watch their deepest and darkest fears play out before them. Each film introduced by creepy projectionist, Mickey Rourke, all 5 grim moral tales represent the style of their director. From Joe Dante’s ‘plastic surgery gone sideways’ fable to Alejandro Brugués’ sly take on the cabin-in-the-woods trope, there’s something horrifying for everyone.

 

THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW

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Northern Premiere showing Saturday 6th October at 7:00pm
USA / English / 2018 / 77 mins

Director: Andy Mitton
Cast: Alex Draper, Charlie Tacker, Greg Naughton, Arija Bareikis, Carol Stanzione

An estranged father and son visit a rural gothic farmhouse in Vermont that has been purchased to flip. As renovations begin, the malicious spirit of the deceased previous owner makes it clear she doesn’t want them there, but also never wants them to leave. Part subtle ghost story, part emotional family drama, THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW plays on the hardships and fears of raising a child in 2018, and includes the supernatural to stress the situation to a “nightmarish and genuinely heart-breaking” conclusion.

 

PIERCING

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Greater Manchester Premiere showing Saturday 6th October at 12:30pm
USA / English / 2018 / 81 mins

Director: Nicolas Pesce
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Wendell Piece, Laia Costa, Christopher Abbott, Olivia Bond

Adapted from the cult novel by Ryū Murakami, PIERCING spins the source material into a satirical, body-horror, rom-com. Deriving it’s aesthetic and aural influences from Italian giallo films of the 1970s, a man with a sinister plan, to commit the perfect murder, checks in to a hotel to meet a call girl. He meticulously rehearses every detail, but is unprepared for the disturbed blonde who walks through the door.

 

SUMMER OF ‘84

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Northern Premiere showing Friday 5th October at 11:00pm
USA, Canada / English / 2017 / 105 mins

Directors: Fran­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­çois Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Cast: Graham Vercher, Judah Lewis, Caleb Emery, Cory Grüter-Andrew, Tiera Skovbye, Rich Sommer

From the directors or TURBO KID comes this 80s-set teen adventure with slasher-movie instincts. Echoing the structure of IT and STRANGER THINGS, four 15-year-old boys spend their summer investigating the policeman next door, who they suspect is a serial killer – because all serial killers have to be somebody’s neighbour, right? Featuring a synth score to ramp up the pastiche, SUMMER OF ’84 is more than just a re-tread of familiar themes, it’s actually scary.

 

GIRLS WITH BALLS

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European Premiere showing Thursday 4th October at 11:00pm
France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain / French with English subtitles / 2018 / 77 mins

 

Director: Olivier Afonso
Cast: Denis Lavant, Manon Azem, Dany Verissimo-Petit, Anne-Solenne Hatte, Camille Razat, Louise Blachére, Victor Artus Solaro, Tiphaine Daviot, Margot Dufrene

The Falcons, an all-girls volleyball team, find themselves stranded in the middle of cannibal hillbilly territory when their mini-van breaks down. Described as a “slyly feminist reinvention of the “Cheerleaders in Peril” scenario”, GIRLS WITH BALLS is a blood-soaked black comedy about the hunted becoming the hunters.

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Robert Pattinson & Mia Wasikowska Star In First Trailer For ‘Damsel’

“It’s the age of The Wild West, circa 1870. An affluent pioneer, Samuel Alabaster ventures deep into the American wilderness to reunite with and marry the love of his life, Penelope. For his journey he brings Butterscotch, a miniature horse intended as a wedding present for his bride, and enlists drunkard Parson Henry to conduct the ceremony. As they traverse the lawless frontier their once simple journey grows treacherous, and the lines between hero, villain, and damsel are blurred.”

Directed by: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, David Zellner, Nathan Zellner, Robert Forster

Release Date: June 22nd, 2018 (US, no UK release date yet)

 

Watch This Space: October 12 – 18 [ladies week]

Welcome to a special edition of your weekly go-to film guide. This week, WatchThisSpace is celebrating women in film, so read on and enjoy Molly’s recommendations of some great female performances in the cinema, on the TV and a few of her all time favourites.

IN THE CINEMA

The Women’s Rights movement materialises in ‘Suffragette’, the latest offering from British director Sarah Gavron and writer Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady). The female-heavy cast and crew is headed by Carey Mulligan, while the film intertwines wrenching personal and political tales of female solidarity and strength. ‘Suffragette’ is in cinemas from Monday 12th October.

Mia Wasikowska and Jessica Chastain star alongside Tom Hiddleston in this thriller-come-romantic story from Mexican director Guillermo del Toro. Paying homage to gothic romance, ‘Crimson Peak’ is another British must-see, in cinemas from Friday 16th October.

ON THE TV

MONDAY 21:00 GMT: Renée Zellweger stars as the famed awkward, honest and self-conscious titular character in ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’, the first installment of this romantic comedy series. With a third movie currently in the works, now is the time to switch to ITV2 and catch the original.

WEDNESDAY 18:20 GMT: A screen adaptation of the Jane Austen novel set in 18th century rural England, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ sees Keira Knightly lead as Elizabeth Bennet in a typical British romance film on Film4.

SATURDAY 22:45 GMT: Carey Mulligan returns to our recommendations with a star performance in ‘Drive’, that saw her nominated for a BAFTA back in 2012. See this thrilling offering from Nicholas Winding-Refn on BBC2.

SUNDAY 18:50 GMT: Feminist campaigner, Angelina Jolie, stars as adventurer Lara Croft in this film adaptation of the video game Tomb Raider. Get into the action with ‘Lara Croft: Tomb Raider’ on Syfy this Sunday evening.

DIG IT OUT

This is our favourite part of the WatchThisSpace section. We delve into our own DVD collection and pick out some amazing films, that may not instantly spring to mind when you’re stuck for inspiration to make your movie night a success. Maybe you’ve never seen a film that we pick – or even heard of them for that matter – but you’re gonna have to trust us on this one, and Dig It Out.

Thelma & Louise: An original girl-power film, ‘Thelma & Louise’ was branded controversial upon release, apparently due to the discomfort felt by many male viewers (un-fucking-believable). Geena Davis and Susan Surandon are cast perfectly as two women with a new found drive, confidence and zest for life that serves as a perfect example for females everywhere. What doesn’t serve as such a good influence are many of their impulsive choices – but they make for great viewing nonetheless! Ridley Scott directs the first screenplay from Academy Award-winning Callie Khouri, which would inspire Tori Amos’ famous and chilling tune ‘Me And A Gun’.

Girl, Interrupted: A challenge to observe; ‘Girl, Interrupted’ offers a chilling insight into mental health amongst various female characters with varying mental disorders. Winona Ryder, Angelina Jolie and Brittany Murphy all offer standout performances in their own, unique way. The roles of strong and submissive women blur, with seemingly powerful sociopathic Jolie unravelling as the movie progresses, meanwhile protagonist Ryder offers a character that you can never quite decipher. Based on Susanna Keysen’s memoir, the idea that this on-screen depiction has some truth at the root of it makes it all the more fascinating.

Bridesmaids: Not only does ‘Bridesmaids’ signify a funny and successful female comedy, it stands against the best comedies regardless of gender. Kristin Wiig is genius as lead character Annie, a woman still trying to find her way and generally refusing to become the responsible woman that she is expected to be. Alongside best friend and bride-to-be Lillian (Maya Rudolph), the duo offer a hilarious take on this major life event, with crude humour catering to both genders and leaving viewers (okay, me) yearning for more.

Erin Brockovich: Where would the list of powerful, shit-hot women in film be without Erin Brockovich? Not only does Julia Roberts provide an inspiring on-screen in character, but we must offer a huge THANK YOU to the real life Erin Brockovich for her phenomenal achievements as a legal clerk and activist, and offering us a woman to aspire to. The true story centres on a legal case against energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company, accused of water contamination in the American town of Hinkley, California. The film covers personal tales, legal struggles and a whole load of stick-it-to-the-man drama.

This week’s special ladies week edition of WatchThisSpace was compiled by Molly Dolan