HOME and Film4 are excited to announce the programme for the fourth annual FilmFear season – the biggest programme yet will comprise six days of horror, extreme cinema, cult favourites and special guests coming to Manchester this October.
Kicking off the season on Tuesday 29 October will be a special preview of The Lighthouse, director Robert Eggers’ much-anticipated follow-up to his folk-horror debut The Witch (2015). Starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe as lighthouse keepers battling the elements, isolation, inner demons and more on a remote and mysterious Maine island in the 1890s, the eerie period tale will be on general release in January 2020 making HOME audiences amongst the first to see the film in the UK. FilmFear and HOME will also tour the film to Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds the following evening.
Following in its wake over the course of six nights through to Sunday 3 November come more previews of highly anticipated films, including: the creepy imaginary-friend horror Daniel Isn’t Real, a SXSW hit from the producers of last year’s FilmFear hit Mandy, starring Patrick Schwarzenegger (Midnight Sun) in the title role alongside Miles Robbins (Halloween) and Mary Stuart Masterson (Some Kind of Wonderful); the twisted noirish thriller Come to Daddy, the directorial debut from The Greasy Strangler producer Ant Timpson, starring Elijah Wood (The Lord of the Rings); and, a Halloween night preview of Doctor Sleep, based on the Stephen King novel and starring Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting) as Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining, alongside Rebecca Ferguson (Mission: Impossible series) and Jacob Tremblay (Room).
With a strong focus on new talent this year, FilmFear includes four directorial debuts from the hottest new voices in horror. In addition to Ant Timpson’s Come to Daddy, the line-up also includes: Tilman Singer’s Luz, a tale of demonic possession that morphs into a brilliant, bewildering puzzlebox; All the Gods in the Sky from French director Quarxx, marking the return of the ‘French Extreme’ and winner of Best Feature at the Dead by Dawn Horror Festival 2019; and, Jagoda Szelc’s hushed yet dread-filled Tower. A Bright Day., an intense family drama from Poland that blurs the boundary between horror and high-art.
And there’s plenty more to haunt and disturb in Denis Côté’s wintry Ghost Town Anthology, about a sparsely populated Quebecois village experiencing unnerving visitations following a young man’s suicide, and Billy Senese’s propulsive The Dead Center, starring Primer director Shane Carruth as a troubled doctor who becomes obsessed with the resurrected corpse of a suicide victim (Jeremy Childs, Preacher).
Screening alongside these hot new titles is a trio of classic horrors for film fans to revisit or discover on the big screen. Masters of horror Vincent Price and Christopher Lee will feature in The Tingler (1959) and The Wicker Man (1973) respectively, with Werner Herzog’s 1979 take on the Transylvanian count, Nosferatu the Vampyre, bringing the season to a chilling finale on 3 November.
Special events accompanying the screening programme include a “Bring the Family” screening of Nicolas Roeg’s The Witches on Sunday 27 October, selected by HOME’s Young Programmers, and a one-man show from filmmaker Daniel Cockburn, How Not to Watch a Movie (or, All the Mistakes I’ve Made, part 2). Starting off as a look at 1990s horror films,Cockburn will take the audience down a cinephilic rabbit hole, resulting in a weird, funny, mind-bending autobiographical journey through two decades of over-interpretation and paranoia.
The FilmFear season also returns to Film4 from Monday 28 October, with a week of screenings including: Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!; The Midnight Man, starring Robert Englund; shark shocker 47 Meters Down; Sabrina star Kiernan Shipka in February; and previous FilmFear favourite Brawl in Cell Block 99, from writer-director S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk). More titles are still to be announced.
FilmFear is curated by David Cox, Film4 Channel Editor, in partnership with HOME.
David Cox commented: “Film4 are thrilled to be returning to HOME for a fourth year of FilmFear. Our line-up feels even more varied, provocative and unpredictable than ever, which is testament to the many strange forms that horror can take. These are films for fans who like to explore the further reaches of the genre, with plenty of first-time and sophomore filmmakers to introduce you to some bold new visions. While HOME is where our dark heart is, we’re excited to be spreading the Fear further for the first time and taking our show on the road to present our opening film The Lighthouse at the Hyde Park Picture House in Leeds.”
Opening Night Special Preview/ The Lighthouse
Tuesday 29 October, 18:00
Dir Robert Eggers/US 2019/110 mins
Robert Pattinson, Willem Dafoe
Director Robert Eggers’ follows up his 2015 folk-horror debut The Witch with another eerie period tale. Set in the 1890s, the film stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers battling the elements, isolation, inner demons and possibly some form of mythical supernatural force during a four-week posting on a rocky Maine island. Atmospherically shot in black-and-white, this is strange, scary, funny and very much a perfectly-formed world unto itself, making for a unique horror experience.
Tuesday 29 October, 20:40
Dir Tilman Singer/DE 2018/70 mins/German and Spanish with partial EngST
Luana Velis, Jan Bluthardt
What seems to be a tale of demonic possession morphs into something unclassifiable in director Tilman Singer’s debut feature. A female taxi driver wanders dazed into a police station, setting in motion a chain of events where stories, lives and seemingly souls become entangled in a diabolical temporal fugue. There’s no making sense of it all but the experience is creepy and full-on, with many of the scares haunting the film’s immersive soundscape. A brilliant, bewildering puzzle that comes fully alive in the cinema.[our review]
The Dead Center
Wednesday 30 October, 18:30
Dir Billy Senese/US 2018/93 mins
Shane Carruth, Poona Jagannathan, Jeremy Childs
A fantastically dark and scary mystery with the pace and propulsion of a low-budget action-thriller from writer/director Billy Senese. The corpse of an unidentified suicide victim walks out of a morgue and into a psychiatric hospital, becoming the object of obsession for a troubled doctor (played by Primer director Shane Carruth). The reanimated John Doe is creepy enough in his own right, and that’s before he reveals the nature of the power that brought him back.
Ghost Town Anthology (Répertoire des villes disparues)
Wednesday 30 October, 20:40
Dir Denis Côté/CA 2019/96 mins/French wEngST
Robert Naylor, Josee Deschenes
This low-key tale of a small Quebecois town haunted by loneliness, departure, death and actual spirits can’t really be classed as a horror film, but it’s a genuinely disquieting addition to the canon of ghost stories all the same. A young man’s suicide leads those left behind in the sparsely populated Irénée-les-Neiges to experience unnerving visitations that accentuate their sense of social and cultural isolation. Director Denis Côté’s study of a barely-surviving community becomes even more fascinating and affecting thanks to the subtle supernatural shading.
Cult Film Slot/ The Tingler
Thursday 31 October, 18:00
Dir William Castle/US 1959/80 mins
Vincent Price, Judith Evelyn
Legendary Hollywood director William Castle gained notoriety for his showmanship when it came to cinema exhibition, with all sorts of gimmicks deployed to enhance his B-movie frighteners. Most famous of all was The Tingler, which was shown with buzzers under selected seats to give viewers a shock whenever the title creature attacked. We can’t promise such an electrifying experience at our 60th anniversary screening, but this fun cult film has aged well – and the appeal of star Vincent Price never grows old!
Thursday 31 October, 19:55
Dir Mike Flanagan/US 2019/TBC mins
Ewan McGregor, Rebecca Ferguson, Jacob Tremblay
Doctor Sleep continues the story of Danny Torrance, 40 years after his terrifying stay at the Overlook Hotel in The Shining. Based on the acclaimed novel by Stephen King, the film certainly has a lot to live up to but manages to continue the Torrance story with integrity and aplomb.
Come to Daddy
Friday 1 November, 18:40
Dir Ant Timpson/US 2019/93 mins
Elijah Wood, Stephen McHattie, Michael Smiley
An absolute riot of smart and nasty dialogue, toxic family ties and gory violence, this shocking black comedy gives Elijah Wood another great genre role as a young man misguidedly seeking a reunion with his estranged father. As you’d expect, things don’t go according to plan and things escalates into extreme territory with alarming speed (thankfully for the audience!). Ant Timpson, producer of ABCs of Death, Turbo Kid and The Greasy Strangler, brings the twisted spirit of those films to his directorial debut.[Our Review]
All the Gods in the Sky (Tous les dieux du ciel)
Friday 1 November, 20:40
Dir Quarxx/FR 2018/98 mins/French wEngST
Jean-Luc Couchard, Melanie Gaydos
A harrowing story, some remarkable images with surreal flourishes and an unsettling combination of dread and tenderness makes this debut film from French director Quarxx (adapted from his acclaimed short film A Nearly Perfect Blue Sky) a heady experience. A young man lives on a rundown farm looking after his severely disabled sister. Although he does his best to improve her quality of life, he still believes in a transcendent event that will rescue them both. However, darker times lie ahead while he waits…[Our Review]
Special Event/ How Not to Watch a Movie (or, All the Mistakes I’ve Made, part 2)
Saturday 2 November, 17:00
A lecture-performance by Daniel Cockburn.
In the year 1994, two reigning horror-movie directors each released a film: John Carpenter’s In the Mouth of Madness and Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. A preliminary comparison between these two films reveals… well, let’s be honest: if Daniel Cockburn had never made a preliminary comparison between these two films, he’d probably be a lot happier right now. But here we are.
This autobiographical lecture-performance tells the tale of a child who “discovered he could turn any film into a horror film simply by watching it” and asks what happens when such a child grows up and turns his superpowers on the real world. Along the way, we will encounter: a film-projection mishap, French filmmaking dogma, the Y2K crisis, a correspondence with a famous American filmmaker, and some seriously detailed grammatical analysis of classic power-ballad lyrics.
(Note: it is absolutely not necessary to have seen All the Mistakes part 1! This is an independent, stand-alone work.)
The Wicker Man
Saturday 2 November, 18:40
Dir Robin Hardy/GB 1973/95 mins
Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland
When a young girl mysteriously disappears, Edward Woodward’s Police Sergeant travels to a remote Scottish island to investigate. But this pastoral community, led by the strange Lord Summerisle (Christopher Lee), is not what it seems as the conservative Sergeant uncovers the locals’ strange pagan activity.
Selected by HOME Young Programmers.
Saturday 2 November, 20:40
Dir Adam Egypt Mortimer/US 2019/96 mins
Miles Robbins, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Mary Stuart Masterson
A very stylish trip to the dark side from the SpectreVision production outfit that brought us last year’s similarly wild audience favourite Mandy. Miles Robbins, so memorable in a small role from last year’s Halloween, plays a troubled youngster whose imaginary friend from childhood – Daniel, played by Patrick Schwarzenegger – returns to raise Hell when he reaches college. The simple scenario opens out into a whole underworld of surprises, complete with ingeniously-staged shocks and some clever special-effects.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht)
Sunday 3 November, 13:00
Dir Werner Herzog/DE FR 1979/107 mins/English, Romany and German with partial EngST
Klaus Kinski, Isabelle Adjani, Bruno Ganz
While echoing both Stoker’s Dracula and Murnau’s Nosferatu, Herzog’s account of the Harkers’ fateful encounter with the Transylvanian count is considerably more than just another horror movie, in part thanks to the melancholy of Kinski’s remarkable performance.
Tower. A Bright Day (Wieza. Jasny dzien)
Sunday 3 November, 15:30
Dir Jagoda Szelc/PL 2018/106 mins/Polish wEngST
Anna Krotoska, Malgorzata Szczerbowska
Director Jagoda Szelc’s striking debut was rapturously received in Poland upon release – it’s an intense family drama with eerie overtones that blurs the boundary between horror and high-art. Two sisters, Kaja and Mula, are reunited after six years for the First Communion of Mula’s young daughter. However, the family set-up isn’t as straightforward as it seems, with a promised summer idyll darkened by paranoia, hallucinations and apocalyptic portents. Sound designer Kacper Habisiak sets the ominous tone from the start, while Szelc’s symbolic approach enriches the mystery.
Bring the Family/ The Witches
Sunday 27 October, 11:00
Dir Nicolas Roeg/GB 1990/88 mins
Anjelica Huston, Mai Zetterling, Jason Fisher
Whilst holidaying in England with his grandmother, a young boy stumbles across a convention for witches where they reveal plans to turn children into mice! When Luke is caught and turned into a mouse, it’s up to him and his friends to defeat the witches and their evil plot!
Selected by HOME Young Programmers.