Taking place from the 7th-10th October at VUE Printworks, Manchester’s GRIMMFEST is a horror film festival full of premieres, shorts and exclusive screenings. Now in its ninth year, the festival grows from strength to strength. This years lineup is as stellar as ever, and we have the privilege of attending the event. For now though, we take a look at a few of GRIMMFEST 2017’s feature film highlights. This is by no means a definitive list, and we’re looking forward to everything on offer. The full lineup of screenings can be found here.
HABIT (WORLD PREMIERE)
Screening Thursday 5th October at 7pm
HABIT stars Elliot James Landrige as Michael, who after a chance meeting with the mysterious Lee (Jessica Barden) is offered a job by Lee’s uncle Ian at the seedy massage parlour named Cloud 9. Soon after, Michael finds himself immersed in the murky underworld of Manchester, and suffers an identity crisis like no other. Filmed only a stones throw away from the VUE Printworks in which it will be screened in its world premiere, HABIT will provide viewers with a unique opportunity to visit the sets of the movie mere minutes after watching. The premise has an unmistakable vibe similar to 80s vampire classic The Lost Boys, which is about as high as a compliment you could wish to receive.
For Fans Of: The Lost Boys, We Are What We Are, The Hamiltons
Screening Saturday 7th October at 7pm
Now in its 43rd (!) year, the Texas Chainsaw franchise is still going strong – and the latest instalment is looking to be one of the best yet. LEATHERFACE is an origin story of sorts, following a teenage Leatherface as he escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates. Along the way, they kidnap a young nurse and are pursued by an equally deranged lawman who is out for revenge. I’m unashamed to admit I thoroughly enjoyed the last attempt at a Leatherface origin, and even 2013s Texas Chainsaw 3D had its charms, but with the trailblazing, New French Extremety specialist duo of Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury at the helm, Leatherface could go down as the best entry for decades.
For Fans Of: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Friday the 13th, The Devils Rejects
TRENCH 11 (UK PREMIERE)
Screening Friday 6th October at 2.30pm
War is enough of a horror without a fictional narrative, but there has been some solid additions to this particular subgenre. From the grisly, mud-soaked trenches of Deathwatch to the zombie filled bunkers of Outpost, this particular niche has thrown up some memorable movies – and Trench 11 is on track to join the ranks as one of the best. A group of soldiers venture deep into enemy trenches and discover the Germans have been developing a biological weapon which could turn the tide of war – a weapon which they have lost control of. The film stars acting royalty in the form of Rossif Sutherland, son of the legendary Donald along with Karine Vanesse (Midnight in Paris, X-Men: Days of Future Past) and Shaun Benson (Channel Zero, ARQ) rounding off the solid casting choices. Trench 11 may not have the power of a franchise behind it like the mighty Leatherface does, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this one is the real show stealer.
For fans of: Deathwatch, Outpost, Splinter, The Thing
Screening Friday 6th October at 2.30pm
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be an estate agent” states Hussein (played by Mim Sheik in his first leading role). It’s an obvious comic spin to the classic line uttered in the opening to mob masterpiece Goodfellas, and didn’t fail to make me laugh. Much like the gangsters in Goodfellas, Hussein is dishonest in his job, and eventually karma comes back around when one of his victims,Orlan,(played by the incredibly versatile Javier Bortet) quietly moves into his flat and begins a campaign of revenge. It’s no secret that psycho stalker movies are a guilty pleasure of mine, and Freehold appears to tick all the right boxes. Darkly comic and undeniably unsettling in equal parts, it will no doubt get under your skin and make you paranoid about every creak you hear at night.
For fans Of: Hider in the House, The Pact, Alone with Her
BORLEY RECTORY (FESTIVAL WORLD PREMIERE)
Screening Sunday 8th October at 4pm
Dubbed ‘The Most Haunted House in England’, Borley Rectory was reportedly home to multiple paranormal sightings in the 19th and early 20th century. It was brought to mainstream attention by investigator Harry Price in his books and investigations, but there has always been skepticism surrounding his work. Now, this documentary mixes animation with drama and aims to shed some light on what really happened in the famed building. Filmed in gloomy black and white to capture the essence of the era when the sightings were reported, Borley Rectory promises to be as insightful as it is stylish.
For fans Of: Cropsey, Killer Legends, The Haunting (1963)
BETTER WATCH OUT
Screening Friday 6th October at 9pm
Whilst watching Christmas staple Home Alone, did you ever think Culkin should have cursed more, and that the Wet Bandits didn’t bleed enough? Then Better Watch Out will be the perfect stocking filler. The festive, fright filled flick sees babysitter Ashley (Olivia DeJonge, who thoroughly impressed in 2015s The Visit) taking care of 12-year-old Luke (Levi Miller, most recently seen as Peter in Pan) when intruders invade the home. Ashley defends her charge to the best of her ability only to discover this is no normal home invasion. Dripping with dark comedy and boasting some wince-inducing gore, Better Watch Out is destined to become a yearly Holiday tradition for horror fans around the world.
For Fans Of: Black Xmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, Krampus, The Strangers
DAVE MADE A MAZE (UK PREMIERE)
Screening Sunday 8th October at 12pm
Arguably the most lighthearted of all entries into the festival, Dave Made A Maze melts comedy with horror, gets lost in adventure and throws in buckets full of quirk. Dave (Nick Thune), an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career, builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration, only to wind up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation. Utilizing a variety of film making techniques including puppetry, stop motion and optical illusions, the film is sure to capture the imagination and heart of even the most black-hearted genre buff.
For Fans Of: John Dies At The End, Odd Thomas, Monster House