Grimmfest, Manchester’s International Festival of Fantastic Film, is delighted to announce the first tranche of titles for 2023.
The festival will be returning to its regular venue, the Odeon Great Northern, on 6-8 October, for three high-impact, fear-filled days of the very best in genre cinema.
This is the festival's 15th year, and we are proud that our core leadership team currently includes three female directors: film producer Rachel Richardson-Jones and academics Dr. Linnie Blake and Leonie Rowland.
The full line-up of features, shorts, guests, and associated events still remains a closely guarded secret as the team continue to finalise, finesse, and fine-tune the programme. But, by way of an appetiser, something to get the fans’ mouths watering in anticipation, Grimmfest presents the first sinister salvo of selected features.
This year, we wanted to exploit acting co-director Leonie Rowland’s specialist expertise in J-horror with a focus on Japanese genre cinema, introducing little-seen lost classics alongside the latest cutting-edge shockers.
First up, a real rarity. We are thrilled to announce an exclusive opportunity to catch Banmei Takahashi’s boundary-battering, genre-smashing 1988 classic, DOOR. Never screened outside of Japan and believed lost for nearly 30 years, this mordant, macabre, and magnificently excessive mix of deadpan domestic comedy, chilling stalker thriller, and baroquely bloody home invasion horror will finally have its belated international premiere at BIFAN in South Korea in July, and Grimmfest is delighted to be hosting the first European screening.
Neglected by her workaholic husband, and alone in their sterile modern apartment, a timid Tokyo housewife finds herself under siege by an ever-pushier door-to-door salesman. Nerves frayed by petty building management regulations, busybody neighbours, and the constant tantrums of her spoilt, over-demanding young son, she must contend with the salesman’s escalating obsession, as his actions grow ever more sinister and sexually predatory until events boil over in a conclusion that is both horrific and hilarious. It’s a film you really won't want to miss.
Very much in the same manic maverick tradition, Kenichi Ugana’s jaw-dropping LOVE WILL TEAR US APART offers a riotous roller-coaster ride through genre convention, encompassing dark and deadly romance, satiric slasher movie, bizarro psychological thriller, and even some martial arts mayhem. Eccentric, absurdist, unsettling, and entirely unpredictable, it confirms Ugana as a major voice in contemporary genre cinema, ready to take his place among such wild cards as Sion Sono, Takashi Miike, and Teruo Ishii. Grimmfest is delighted to be hosting the UK premiere here in Manchester, the birthplace of Joy Division, whose music inspired the film’s title.
Stepping outside of the J-Horror strand, we've another film likely to spark controversy, conversation, and some heated debate. Raymond Wood's candy-coloured queercore feminist revenge shocker FACELESS AFTER DARK sees an up-and-coming actress confronting the fall-out of appearing in a successful but critically reviled clown-themed slasher movie. Boasting an extraordinary, emotionally raw, harrowingly honest lead performance by Jenna Kanell, who also co-writes, the film is inspired more than a little by some of her own experiences in the wake of starring in the first TERRIFIER, and deftly balance splatter, satire, vicarious vengeance, and a twist of sly meta cinematic mischief to offer a pointed critique of the more questionable aspects of the horror genre and the ways in which fame in an era of toxic social media can prove a truly Faustian bargain. Grimmfest is thrilled to be hosting the regional premiere of a horror film that refuses to hold its tongue or pull its punches and seems likely to ruffle more than a few feathers among the genre’s gatekeepers.
“The combined force of DOOR, which has me double-checking my own locks at night, and LOVE WILL TEAR US APART, the sheer weirdness of which I am still reeling from months later, reminds us not only that Japanese horror was once at the forefront of the genre, but that it still very much is,” says co-director and expert in Japanese horror cinema Leonie Rowland.
Full festival passes are available now at https://www.grimmfest.com/festival