Hot off the presses! Extra! Extra! Read all about it! I’m in Nottingham right now attending Mayhem Film Festival, a cinematic celebration of horror, sci-fi and all things cult and bizarre.
Each October creeps and ghouls take over the Broadway Cinema in the City Centre for a full-on, balls to the wall celebration of genre cinema. From the latest offerings spanning the globe to some all-time genre classics, Mayhem has something for all… But preferably that something will be drenched in blood.
Here’s a brief roundup of Friday’s shenanigans at Nottingham’s Mayhem Film Festival. Full reviews for all films viewed to come next week.
The White Reindeer (1952)
What better way to kick off a Friday afternoon than a 60 years old Finnish fairy-tale horror film. By Mayhem’s standards, this was actually rather a tame opening, but a very welcome change of pace. The White Reindeer is a vastly interesting, incredibly beautiful classic film that could sit alongside any of the Universal Monster Movies, except with subtitles. It was a much more “arty” opening to the day than I had anticipated, but a real treat to see as I highly doubt it gets much time on the big screen. Also, you don’t often get to see a vampire reindeer, so that’s a plus. Look out for a Blu Ray release from Eureka! Entertainment later this year.
Next up we had Piercing, a film that we were warned had an extremely dark comic edge. No kidding! The opening scene involves a baby and an ice pick. It’s a gorgeously perverse film, full of love for the Giallo genre (as well as an incredible soundtrack). Shocking violence that’s used briefly but effectively, as well as two great performances by Christopher Abbott and Mia Wasikowska. Based on a novel by Ryu Murakami (who wrote Audition), you can probably imagine some of the sick stuff inside.
After a quick break and a stroll around the city centre, it was time for Nightshooters: A British Martial Arts, Comedy, Drama. Phew; you don’t get too many of those made! Sounds bizarre I know, but it actually played with much more sense than you’d expect. It’s still ludicrous fun to be sure, but it’s remarkable the film feels somewhat grounded. An extremely funny romp, we were treated with a Q&A with director Marc Price after the screening. Thoroughly down to earth, Price revealed the shooting schedule was a ridiculously impressive 17 days, leaving some of the best fight scenes in the film left without rehearsals.
Sadly I had to skip the next film (Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich) in favour of preserving my life with food. But it was worth staying alive for the final screening of the night. A 10:30 pm showing of the eagerly anticipated Nic Cage revenge thriller Mandy – it didn’t disappoint. It’s a film mere words cannot do justice, because it’s so cosmically bonkers it’s hard to comprehend. It’s a cinema experience I’ll never forget. With a fully packed out crowd, the atmosphere was as electric and erratic as Cage’s on-screen antics. At this point too, the tiredness had truly kicked in, but that only seemed to add to the hallucinogenic trip of the film.