feature: Horrorthon 2010 (IFI Dublin)

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Horrothon Dublin 2010 - Irish Film InstituteI have to admit, I’d never actually heard of the Horrorthon before this year.

Considering it’s now in it’s 13th year, I really don’t know how that happened. The only explanation I can come up with for my ignorance is that, they don’t seem to promote themselves very much (apparently they don’t have to) and up until this year I was very rarely in the IFI… because they kind of scared me a bit… it’s not really a stronghold for “average films”.

For those of you who haven’t heard of the Horrorthon either, the concept is simple, 4 days of horror films, both new and old. This year’s programme includes the first Irish showings of Paranormal Activity 2, Monsters and the controversial remake, I Spit On Your Grave as well as some well-loved classics. The festival runs from 21st – 25th October 2010 in the Irish Film Institute and you can have book tickets through their website

The full programme was announced there the other week and there’s a good few there that seem to be worth a look. Here’s my pick of what’s on…

Birdemic Shock and Terror James NguyenBirdemic: Shock and Terror (2008)

Normally I do a whole “save the best till last” thing, but I can’t this time. I’m too excited!

This film has been on my list for a good while. Earlier in the year I made brief contact with the distributors to try and convince them to sort out an Irish general release but unfortunately nothing ever came of it. Needless to say I am delighted that it’s finally coming to an Irish cinema. I have my ticket booked and I swear, if it gets cancelled or something I will cry.

Course, you’re probably wondering what the hell is Birdemic? Well! The writer / director James Nguyen calls it as a “romantic thriller” but everyone else is calls it one of the best worst films ever made. It follows the story of a small town which comes under attack by a platoon of eagles and vultures. Why? I have no idea.

Unfortunately I can’t embed this video but have a look over at this video report about it on BBC.com to find out what all the fuss is about.

Birdemic: Shock and Terror is screening on Saturday 23rd October at 11pm. You can book tickets here.

Plan 9 from Outer Space Ed Wood Jr.Plan 9 from Outer Space (1958)

Quite simply, I love Plan 9 from Outer Space, it’s a perfect example of how it takes more than passion to make a film.

Poor ol’ Ed Wood, he just wanted so badly to have his vision of an alien invasion by zombie seen by all that… folklore has it, he actually got some of the cast baptised in the Southern Baptist Convention faith. The church apparently insisted on it before they would invest in the film.

Make no mistake. Plan 9 from Outer Space is not a good film. Ok, you have to give Ed Wood a bit of credit for persevering even after his lead actor died in the middle of production… but that unfortunately situation only explains one of the myriad problems. It is a terrible film. The plot’s ridiculous, the script is laughable and the continuity errors know no bounds. Seriously, it has to be seen to be believed.

Still… if you don’t leave this film with a smile on your face then I’m sorry but you have no heart. To me this film ecapsulates how in love with film a person can be, but yet not have a clue about it.

Plan 9 from Outer Space is screening on Sunday 24th October at 11pm. You can book tickets for it here.

Monsters 2010 posterMonsters (2010)

It occurs to me that perhaps I should highlight a film that might actually be good…

Monsters is a new, very low-budget British sci-fi film. Six years after Earth has suffered an alien invasion the aliens have taken hold of part of Mexico and it has effectively become a quarantine area. While US troops battle to keep the aliens out of the North America, an American photojournalist agrees to try to escort his wealthy employers daughter through Central America and the “Infected Zone” and back on to US soil.

This film generated great buzz when it was screened at South By Southwest and the Los Angeles Film Festival over the summer. One critic said that, given it’s budget of $15,000 (yes, you read that right, $15,000), it’s “One of the top cinematic achievements so far this century”

You can see a bit more about Monsters, including the trailer, on it’s official website

Monsters is the closing film of this year’s Horrorthon and will be screening on Monday 25th October at 9.10pm. You can book tickets for it here.

Spiderhole poster Daniel SimpsonSpiderhole (2009)

I don’t actually know that much about Spiderhole, I’m highlighting it because I like the title.

It’s the feature film debut of the writer / director, one Daniel Simpson. Four art students go in search of the perfect squat where they can live rent free and without the tyranny of a landlord stifling their artistic natures. Having found a suitable abode, they move in and begin to take over. Unfortunately for them (this being a horror film and all) it appears they are not alone…

Who knows, could be good. I do know that it’s mostly filmed in Ireland though so that’s good enough reason for me to support it.

Spiderhole is screening on Saturday 23rd October at 19.30pm. You can book tickets for it here.

Phenomena poster Jennifer ConnellyPhenomena (1985)

You can’t really have a horror film festival without a film from the legendary Dario Argento. Sure, his output might be patchy at times but if there’s no space for at least an oldie then it’s a sad day for horror.

Phenomena stars a 15 year old Jennifer Connelly as the young daughter of movie star, sent to study in a Swiss Academy for girls. Turns out there’s a serial killer on the loose. So far so normal for a horror film. Then it turns out that our young protaganist can control insects. Excellent.

Also there’s an entomologist with a chimpanzee assistant… and the soundtrack features songs by Iron Maiden and Motörhead. Do you need another reason?

Horrorthon will be screening the original 110 minute cut of this film, as opposed to the 82 minute US edited version.

Phenomena is screening on Saturday 23rd October at 4.50pm. You can book tickets for it here

Surprise film

It’s always nice to have a surprise film in a festival and Horrorthon does not disappoint. There it is, on Sunday 24th at 7.15pm.

I have no idea what it will be this year but in the past (which you will already know if you clicked the link) they have screened the Irish premieres of The Others, The Machinist (great film, see it if you haven’t already) and Paranormal Activity.

Obviously I’ve never been to the surprise film at this festival, since I’d never heard of it before this year, but I have been to the one at the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival a few times. There’s something very exciting about sitting down in a packed theatre to watch a film that you know absolutely nothing about. The shared anticipation is an unusual but great feeling..

So that’s it for the films I’m highlighting. Hope you get to go along to a few and you can download the pdf of the full programme at this link.

Or, if you want a taste of the opening night film then have a look at this clip. Paranormal Activity 2 will also be going on general release in cinemas that Friday 22nd October 2010.

Horrorthon 2010 is running in the Irish Film Institute on Eustace Street in Temple Bar from the 21st to 25th October 2010.

1 Comment

  1. comment-avatar
    ElgartNovember 6, 2010 - 2:15 am

    Great list! I will try to check out all of them. I am absolutely fascinated in ‘Monsters’ and ‘SpiderHole’.

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