Grimmfest has announced the full line up for its 2021 event which runs from 7-10 October 2021.
Grimmfest 2021 finds the international festival of horror, cult and fantastic cinema returning to the Odeon Cinema at Manchester’s Great Northern. The festival includes four whole days of movie premieres, Q&As, talks, parties and exclusive events. But whilst the festival will be cinema based, Grimmfest has, like much of the population, gone hybrid! The event will be closely followed by a virtual version to be enjoyed from viewers homes.
The festival will open with the English Premiere of outrageous black comedy The Beta Test, which takes the popular 80s thriller theme of the successful man who torpedoes his comfortable life with an ill-advised liaison, and spins it into a savage satire of toxic masculinity and the hollowness.
French New Extremist masters Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury (Inside, Leatherface) are back with the UK Premiere of claustrophobic underwater haunted house horror, The Deep House, starring Camille Rowe.
Erik and Carson Bloomquist, the creative team behind last year’s Ten Minutes To Midnight, return with the UK premiere of Night At The Eagle Inn, a mischievous mash-up of hotel-based horror and existential nightmare. Brad Baruh and Megan Leon, reteam with AJ Bowen and Sophie Barah, two of the stars of their previous Grimmfest hit, Dead Night, for the slippery sci-fi tinged neo-noir, Night Drive, a Regional Premiere.
And Grimmfest favourite Ricky Bates, Jr. returns with a mix of mayhem and manic black comedy in the Regional Premiere of King Knight, starring Bates regular Matthew Gray Gubler, alongside cult talent, including Ray Wise and Grimmfest Lifetime Achievement winner and genre icon Barbara Crampton.
Barbara Crampton also provides a chilling online cameo in Emily Bennett and Justin Brooks’ emotionally intimate and deeply uncomfortable examination of alienation and personality breakdown, Alone With You, a Grimmfest UK Premiere. Other familiar faces in front of the camera this year include Alex Essoe (Dr Sleep, Starry Eyes), starring alongside Brendan Sexton III in Marcel Sarmiento’s ferocious Faceless, a baroque and bloody blend of Bukowskiesque bar room romance, and Cronenbergian body horror, receiving its European Premiere.
Grimmfest favourite Lora Burke reteams with her For The Sake of Vicious co-stars Nick Smyth and Colin Paradine in Craig David Wallace’s gruelling study of maternal instincts gone bad, Motherly (pictured above), which is receiving its Regional Premiere. Elsewhere, comedy icon Jessica Hynes is in rather more serious mode, in Peter Blach’s sulphurous social (sur)realist study of family dysfunction, teenage alienation and supernatural revenge, Seagull, a Greater Manchester Premiere.
Grimmfest will also feature an array of new talent.
Keene McRae, Kristoffer Thomas and Lane Thomas reinvent the serial killer drama as an elliptical exploration of memory, loss, and small-town inertia, in the lyrical yet bone-chilling Shot In The Dark, a Grimmfest World Premiere.
A real-life conspiracy theory is the inspiration for John Valley’s blackly comic and surprisingly bleak The Pizzagate Massacre, a Grimmfest European Premiere, which combines political satire with a detailed and disturbing study of disenfranchised and disfunctional masculinity. And Ingmar Bergman features in the UK Premiere of Mark O’Brien’s stark meditation on faith, guilt, and retribution, The Righteous.
There’s witchcraft, paranoia, and possession, in the UK Premiere of Pierre Tsigaridis’s dazzling, disorientating, hallucinogenic homage to classic Seventies European horror, Two Witches. Korean director Kwon Oh-seung debuts with a dazzling reworking of a classic suspense film trope, as a young deaf woman and her mother find themselves targeted by a devious and implacable serial killer, in the fast, furious and utterly fiendish Midnight.
Elsewhere, there is the UK Premiere of two smartly subversive reimaginings of classic Hollywood scenarios: Adam Stilwell’s The Free Fall offers a surreal and slippery riff on 1940s noir-Gothic romances, while Aaron Fradkin presents a satanic spin on Sunset Boulevard in high camp Hollywood horror, Val.
Meanwhile in the UK Premiere of Jane Schoenbrun’s low-fi gem We’re All Going To The World’s Fair, teenager Casey (Anna Cobb) grows ever more dissociated from reality after she invokes an online urban legend.
Reality proves equally unreliable in Stefano Ludovico’s The Guest Room, another UK premiere, which starts as a queasily uncomfortable home invasion thriller, only to spin off into a time-twisting metaphysical parable of guilt and redemption. Unwanted guests also prove a problem for reluctant hotelier Dave, in Stefan Lernous’s sour and sweaty fever dream of alienation and repression, Hotel Poseidon, which receives its regional premiere.
And a young boy’s sense of rage and alienation summons a destructive monster in Jeremiah Kipp’s dark fairy tale, Slapface, another Regional Premiere.
Seventies European horror also inspires On The Third Day, which receives its European Premiere at Grimmfest, in Daniel de la Vega’s mash-up of full-blooded Latin American Gothic and classic giallo. The film is part of a special focus this year on Latin American Horror, which also includes the UK premiere of Andres Beltran’s chilling and claustrophobic Tarumam, which combines Colombian supernatural mythology with an exploration of bereavement and family breakdown. A mysterious wild dog provides an alienated young woman with unexpected moral support in a hostile new town, in the World premiere of Sebastian Perillo’s haunting dark fable, The Nights Belong To Monsters. Plus, Sartre meets De Sade in the Regional Premiere of Alex Kahuam’s nightmarish, existential vision of hell, Forgiveness.
Finally,there are two chilling examinations of infection run rampant. A mysterious mutant fungus wreaks havoc among a small MidWestern community in the World Premiere of D.M. Cunningham’s The Spore, and a virus sends the world violently, sexually insane in Rob Jabbaz’s unflinchingly brutal and breakneck shocker, The Sadness, which receives its Regional Premiere.
Grimmfest will also feature a selection of shorts from around the world.
Grimmfest runs 7-10 October 2021 at The Odeon Cinema, Great Northern, Manchester.