Grimmfest; the horror and cult film festival in Manchester, North England, is fast becoming one of the most prominent genre festivals in the UK attracting premieres, special guests and plenty of media attention.
This year the festival kicked off with what may be two of the most talked about horror films of the year, Scott Derrickson’s unbearably creepy Sinister and American Mary; the ultra stylish sophomore effort from the immeasurably talented Twisted Twins (Dead Hooker In a Trunk) that both scared and impressed audiences in equal measure.
Bloody Disgusting joined in the fun on Saturday for a day full of independent gems, top rate shorts and a couple of pleasant surprises. Head inside for a round up of the best bits!
The day kicked off with Wake Up and Die; an independent Colombian feature that was as bloody as it was bewildering. After being drugged at a club; young, attractive Camilla wakes up in a nightmare as her attacker turns out to be much worse than a perverse rapist. But being murdered is apparently not to be the end for Camilla as she is forced to keep reliving the brutality, continually reawakening until she can find a way to escape her captor. With the two cast members hardly ever wearing clothing throughout the entire 84 minutes and often ending up covered in blood, it can seem like a porn film gone very wrong. An excuse to show the same attractive woman being murdered over and over again with varying degrees of violence- or a taut, tense two hander? The verdict seemed to be mixed.
The Other Side however; an impressively high quality short from the Santoro brothers, seemed to win the audience over entirely. Horror fans will no doubt pick out nods to all kinds of classics packed into this 20 minute gem and its clear that Alex and Oli Santoro know the genre incredibly well- but The Other Side owes the most to the great French shocker Haute Tension. The Q+A revealed that the directors would love to develop The Other Side into a feature, which would certainly be welcomed; we need to see more of DeathFace- the films iconic villain (pictured above). Watch this space…
Grimmfest also screened a showcase of short films with Ryan Haysom’s Giallo inspired Yellow being the cream of the crop; a superbly shot story of a curiously masked killer and the one man trying to hunt him down.
Before Dawn; the directorial debut from UK soap star Dominic Brunt went down a treat, proving that no Horror festival would be complete without a healthy dose of domestic zombies. Produced by Marc Price who famously made the movie Colin for a budget of less than £100, this was touted as being another ‘zombie film with a difference’, but seemed to hit the right marks as audiences were surprised to find themselves moved by the films emotional ending.
The highlight of the day however came in the form of Attack of the Werewolves from writer/director Juan Martinez Moreno; a genius horror comedy that had just has many shocks as it did belly laughs. Tomas; a would-be writer travels back to his old family home in a quiet Spanish village with his adorable dog Vito to hunker down and work on his next novel. Apart from his slightly odd (and sheep-obsessed) childhood friend Callisto, he’s not exactly welcomed back with open arms and its not long before the village folk dig out their pitchforks and have him and his uninvited guest Mario thrown into a cave with a 100 year old werewolf to break a dreaded curse. All manner of absurdity ensues as Callisto, Mario, Tomas and of course the ever faithful Vito, must form an unlikely alliance to escape the cursed place. A sharp script, lovable characters and a brilliant sense of comic timing make this one of the best comedy horrors in a long time.