Jan's top 5 Must See Films for Grimmfest 2019

Grimmfest is almost upon us again, and just like last year our very own Jan Siery will be covering the whole four days. Ever since the full lineup was announced Jan has been telling anyone who would listen about his Top 5 films he wants to see, so we are unleashing it on you! Please note, he is excited about all of the films but likes to make lists!

1) Rabid

rabid.jpg

Rose dreams of becoming a famous fashion designer, but a terrible accident leaves her scarred beyond recognition. Undergoing a radical untested stem cell treatment, wallflower Rose turns into the belle of the ball and starts to realise her ambitions. But everything in life comes at a price and Rose’s new found perfection is no exception as she unwittingly sets off a bloody spiral of contagion.

Grimmfest says: The Soska Sisters’ much anticipated reimagining of the Cronenberg classic dials down the bleak psychosexual despair and nihilism of the original in favour of something rather more mischievous. Walking a graceful line between uncomfortably creepy and oddly comic, and filled with in-jokes and sly nods to the entire Cronenberg oeuvre, the film engages with the themes and spirit of the original, but stirs some sly satire into the mix, too. Vandervoort makes for a strong and sympathetic lead, MacKenzie Gray delivers a show stealing turn as the fashion industry guru, Gunther (imagine David Johansen channelling Udo Kier), plus there’s a typically eccentric turn from the great Stephen McHattie, as the world’s most insensitive doctor, and the Soskas themselves cameo as spiteful twin models Bev and Ellie. In short, it’s a whole lot of unwholesome fun. But be careful: it’s got sharp teeth, too – and it bites.

Jan Says: The Soska Sisters are two of my favourite Directors in the Horror genre at the moment and I love their work so far, but what really interests me is how they take on a Cronenburg classic in Rabid. I always shudder when I hear the term remake, but the sisters are fans as well as directors and I am confident that they will not only do the film justice but add their own style to it.

2) Satanic Panic

SAT-PAN-Festival-Still-2-Arden-Myrin-as-GYPSY-1.jpg

When a pizza delivery girl’s final order of the night turns out to be for a blood-hungry group of Satanists thirsting for a sacrifice, all hell breaks loose… literally.

Grimmfest says: Fast-paced and flamboyantly twisted, Chelsea Stardust’s debut feature, and the latest merciless release from the Fangoria stable, proves to be just as much nasty fun as last year’s PUPPET MASTER: THE LITTLEST REICH, though perhaps (a little) less confrontational in its relentless outrageousness. Taking as its jumping off point that most 80s of phenomena, the “Satanic Panic” of the title, the film spins a retro-styled shout-out to the surreal splatter-satire of SOCIETY, doubling down on the notion that the upper classes are Not Like Us – a notion that seems to gather increasing currency with every passing year. Boasting a razor-sharp script from top horror scribes Grady Hendrix and Ted Geoghegan (writer-director of Grimmfest favourites WE ARE STILL HERE and MOHAWK), and featuring an all star cult cast, this is one high society gathering you’ll want to attend. Just be careful who you get talking to…

Jan Says: This is the type of horror film I love, it delivers the frights and also a few laughs. It draws on the 80’s genre which I grew up on and will be an awesome way to sign off the first night of the festival. I am a big fan of Grady and Ted and can’t wait to see how Chelsea brings their crazy vision to life.

3) Darlin’

darlin.jpg

Emerging from the woods filthy and ferocious, a feral teenager is indoctrinated into strict religious care, unleashing hell from the wild woman who raised her.

Grimmfest says: This elegant addition to the ongoing saga of Jack Ketchum’s brutal backwoods cannibal family marks an impressive debut as both screenwriter and director for Pollyanna McIntosh, who also reprises her iconic role as the nameless “Woman”. Building on the themes of Ketchum’s original novels, and Lucky McKee’s film THE WOMAN, but with a slyly satiric edge and strongly feminist message all its own, DARLIN’ sees the implacable feral Woman confronted once again with the hypocrisies and cruelties of the supposedly civilised world as she strives to rescue her child from those who would claim to offer salvation. As much satire and social drama as horror, the film boasts an extraordinary lead turn from Lauryn Canny as the eponymous Darlin’; Bryan Batt is impressively hateful as the corrupt bishop, and McIntosh’s Woman is a force of nature, more terrifying than ever before. Truly one bad mother.

Jan says: What can I say apart from this film has it all, Cannibal Family, Feral Woman seeking her child, social satire and the directorial debut of Pollyanna Mcintosh. When this was announced i got instantly excited as I am a fan of Ketchum’s novels, so to see this one on the big screen will be a awesome experience.

4) The Wretched

the-wretched-2019-review.jpg

A defiant teenage boy, struggling with his parents’ imminent divorce, faces off with a thousand year-old witch, who is living beneath the skin of and posing as the woman next door.

Grimmfest says: The Pierce Brothers’ previous feature, the dudebro zombie stoner comedy DEADHEADS, was a big hit at Grimmfest a few years back. This is something rather different – an old school coming-of-age horror, set in the present day, but with a mid-80s prologue which very much sets the tone of the whole. The careful pace, the character detail, the ways in which the horror at the film’s heart seems to reflect the protagonist’s own fears and desires, all seem to belong to an earlier era. Imagine what Stephen King might have done with the set up of William Friedkin’s oddball cult classic THE GUARDIAN, and you might have some idea of what to expect. But don’t come along simply expecting to wallow in comforting horror nostalgia – the film has some sharp teeth of its own.

Jan says: Just reading the synopsis of this film gets my Horror bone tingling, it reminds me of something I would read on the back of a box in a Video Store and rent straight away. I am really looking forward to seeing this film and have high hopes for it.

5) The Shed

shed.jpg

As an orphan living with his abusive grandfather, life sucks for Stan. But he’s got it better than his best friend Donmer who regularly needs defending against the school bullies. When Stan discovers a murderous creature has taken refuge inside his tool shed, he tries to battle the demon alone until Donmer comes up with a far more sinister plan.

Grimmfest says: This first film in our Saturday night double bill of retro-styled horror is one that we’ve taken to calling “Salem’s Shed” around the office. Which should give you some idea of what to expect. Writer-Director Frank Sabatella takes the bare bones of Stephen King’s classic tale of vampire infestation in smalltown America, and confines the action to in and around a toolshed. The premise sounds altogether ridiculous, but Sabatella’s mischievous, genre-savvy movie uses it almost as a McGuffin, a very concrete metaphor – something nasty in the woodshed. The focus is less on the trapped vampire than on what is to be done about it and the various dark possibilities it presents. The end result is a droll and sympathetic study of an alienated teenager, coping with all of the usual petty high school peer pressures, who suddenly finds he has something rather more serious to deal with. Which might at the same time be the answer to all of his problems….

Jan says: This just sounds interesting, I mean how would you deal with a Vampire trapped in a shed? I have wracked my brain with friends and have come up with 36 possible ways, each more cunning than the last. But to be honest this film sounds like its going to entertain, scare and make me smile which is what I look for in a film. I am just waiting to see if any of my ways to deal with the vampire are in the film!

You can find the whole lineup for Grimmfest 2019 here and help support Film Daddy by buying your tickets here. Grimmfest, one of the UK’s leading cult and genre film festivals, is in its 11th year. The festival will take place at the Odeon Great Northern cinema in Manchester, UK, from 3 - 6 October 2019. 

In total the festival will host 21 feature films and 19 short films, which includes 6 European premieres, 17 UK premieres, 2 English premieres and 15 Northern UK premieres. So join Jan and indulge in some horror goodness!