It warms the blood to know that all around the World that there is no shortage of genre fare heading in to the Halloween season. Across Europe the number of genre festivals is staggering as all peoples in all regions are tripping over options this Fall.
Consider the Razor Reel Flanders Film Festival in Bruges, Belgium. Now in its tenth year the genre festival has a bevy of cinematic delights right at the end of the month, concluding on Halloween night.
The festival is packed – PACKED I TELL YOU – of gems from the genre festival circuit. Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer opens the festival. The Psycho shower scene doc 78/52 and the Friday the 13th doc To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story play it real at the fest. Current faves like Mayhem, Jailbreak, Hounds of Love, Dave Made a Maze, Housewife and Lowlife are also coming to the quaint Flemish city.
We would be remiss to forget ot note that one of the short film programs is also part of the The Méliès d’Argent competition, focusing on and rewarding the best of European genre cinema from the past year. Good luck to the participating films.
The full press release follows.
Razor Reel 2017 is all but ready to gear up. With three more weeks to go until the kick off of the Flemish genre festival’s tenth edition the full lineup has been revealed.
From October 26 till October 31 Bruges will once more play host to an international selection of fantastic films worth your time. The 2017 program opens on a highly idiosyncratic note with Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Killing of a Sacred Deer, a pitch-black tragicomedy that merges myth with psychological revenge. Closing the festivities on Halloween is Joachim Trier’s Thelma, a classy riff on the horror of repressed lust. In between these two showstoppers there’s no shortage of gems to discover. Read on for the full announcement below.
Leading into the weekend, Friday’s programming starts with Nathaniel Atcheson’s close- quarters sci-fi mystery Domain, which is followed by Hounds of Love, Ben Young’s buzzworthy debut that may well go down as one of the most emotionally gripping survival thrillers of the decade. Also on Friday, Simon Rumley swings by to introduce Belgian audiences to the head-trip that is Fashionista before creatures come knocking to claim the night in B-movie romp It Came from the Desert.
Saturday opens with 78/52, Alexandre Philippe’s expertly researched documentary exploring all facets of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous shower scene from Psycho. From an international master of horror, Razor Reel’s focus hones in on homegrown terror with Steve De Roover’s Forgotten Scares. The documentary sets the record straight on the little known history of Flemish horror cinema. It is accompanied by retro screenings of Malpertuis and The Antwerp Killer.
For those favoring more international genre offerings, Bill Watterson’s much-hyped Dave Made a Maze stops by for a visit while Benjamin Diouris’ Merrick, a post-outbreak narrative that strikes up friendship between a former boxer and a teenager, could be a discovery of sorts. The evening promises thrills in spades with the action-packed combo of 68 Kill and Mayhem. Capping things of in perverted fashion is Dominic Brunt’s Attack of the Adult Babies, a midnight nasty if ever there was one.
The home country focus spills over onto Sunday, which opens breezily enough with a family- friendly screening of Zombillenium. The animated film, a Franco-Belgian co-production, is followed by a lecture on the works of the much-missed George Romero, whose legacy is honored throughout the day with screenings of Day of the Dead and The Crazies.
Also on Sunday, the Young Blood competition starts its search for the best directorial debut or sopho-more genre film of 2017. Thailand, Brazil and South-Korea all weigh in. While Nattawut Poonpiriya’s Bad Genius transplants a crime caper to a high school setting and filters its nail-biting suspense through an academic lens, Gabriela Amaral Almeida’s Friendly Beast (O Animal Cordial) sees the veneer of civility crumble away as a few too many people are ensnared in a huis-clos set-up. Cho Sun-Ho’s A Day (Ha-roo), meanwhile finds a troubled father stuck in a time-loop mystery as he desperately tries to save his daughter’s life.
Ryan Prows’ Lowlife, a genre hybrid primed for cult status, and Finish action flick Rendel close out an evening sure to satiate thrill-seekers.
The Young Blood competition continues on Monday with screenings of Sadrac Gonzalez’s Black Hollow Cage and Attila Gigor’s Kút (Well). The former thrives on the uncanniness of its sci-fi mystery and setting while the latter builds up to a tense confrontation at a gas station where different walks of life are forced to intersect as puzzle pieces slowly fall into place.
On Monday, Mariana Palka’s Bitch rattles the foundations of patriarchy with a feminist satire that is sure to leave an impression while Jailbreak provides the bone-crunching action in a prison brawl from Cambodia. Haylar Garcia’s Gnaw sinks its claws into viewers with a unique take on relationship abuse and Simeon Halligan’s Habit proves that all is not well in a massage parlor with debauched appetites.
Before wrapping things up with the paranormal prowess of Thelma, Tuesday finds the final Young Blood film making his way to the big screen. In Housewife Can Evrenol delivers the unholy offspring of Giallo and H.P. Lovecraft. One last documentary puts a legendary stuntman in a well-deserved spotlight: To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story. Also screening on the final day is Elisabeth Schuch’s The Book of Birdie, a debut that marries piety and sacrilege to offer a singular take – both dark and dramatic – on coming-of-age conventions.
On the short film front Razor Reel pulls out all the stops to help bring no less than 37 works from 12 countries to Belgian audiences. A Lovecraftian shorts program on Saturday beckons with both The Call of Charlie (Nick Spooner) and Sound from the Deep (Joonas Allonen and Antti Laakso).
Horror-comedies take center stage on Sunday with screenings of RIP (Alberto Pintó and Caye Casas), Waste (Justine Raczkiewics), Great Choice (Robin Comisar), Meow (Chris Jopp) and Grandma’s House (Joshua Giuliano).
Monday packs thrills: Creeper (Drew Macdonald), Rewind (Rubén Pérez Barrena), Void Chair (Xavier Miralles), There Is No Door (Ward Crockett), Imbroglio (Christopher Zatta), Amy (L. Gustavo Cooper).
Halloween is jam-packed with witchcraft and possession: The Hour of Darkness (Domenico De Feudis), Dryad (Thomas Vernay), Birthday (Alberto Viavattene), The Cleansing Hour (Damien LeVeck).
A talented young film collective hailing from France, Les Films de la Mouche, takes a special spotlight with screenings of Margaux (Rémy Barbe, Josephine Hopkins and Joseph Bouquin) and And the Devil Laughs With Me (Rémy Barbe).
The Méliès d’Argent competition shines a light on Europe, scanning the continent for the best fantastic short film of 2017. Set to compete against one another are Charles Cheval’s Petul, Pablo S. Pastor’s Bye Bye Baby, Josephine Hopkins’ The Day Mum Became a Monster, Marie Dvorakova’s Who’s Who In Mycology, Lieven Vanhove’s Nimmer, Angel Gómez Hernández’s Behind and Waste, co-directed by Alejo Levis and Laura Sisteró.
Finally, eleven more shorts are paired with feature films on the big screen: Oliver Park’s Still, Kim Geon’s Keep Going, Jason Tostevin’s Born Again, David Jeffery’s Girl #2, Remi Weekes’ Tickle Monster, Vanessa Gazy’s Highway, Alex Clark’s Thresher, Charlie Mayforth’s Mister Popular, Spooked (co-directed by Gil Gloom and Emma Gloom), Charlotte Dewulf’s Ampersand, and Darrel (co-directed by Marc Briones Piulachs and Alan Carabantes).