feature: Horrorthon 2011 (IFI Dublin)

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Looking for info on Horrorthon 2012? Have a look at my picks for Horrorthon 2012 here.

Horrothon Dublin 2011 - Irish Film InstituteYes yes, it’s that time of year again. Time for the annual IFI Horrorthon Film Festival!

As big a horror fan I am, last year was actually the first time I went along to it. Pretty poor showing from me considering this is its 14th year. For the 2010 festival I did a little post on what I was looking forward and it seemed to go down well so I thought I’d do it again.

Whoops, first I should say, if you haven’t heard of Horrorthon before, it’s a 4.5 day festival in the Irish Film Institute. It starts on this Thursday, 27th October, with the Irish premiere of the much anticipated ghost story The Awakening and closes on Monday 31st with a special screening of a 70mm print of James Cameron’s classic, Aliens, with star Michael Biehn in attendance for a Q+A.

The full programme is up on the IFI website now and it is now open for booking. Pricewise, it’s not particularly cheap to see just the one film – tickets for most individual films are €9. That said, they do a great deal on the festival passes which cover 1, 2, 3, 4 or the full 5 days for a very reasonable price considering what you’re getting. Check out the home page for details. I think you might have to call to book them though, rather than booking through the site.

Anyway, if you’re not sure what you might like to see, here are my picks for each day of the festival.

The Awakening 2011 poster - Rebecca Hall

When I started looking up this film I found something interesting on IMDb… “The Awakening” is an incredibly popular name for a movie. It’s ridiculous. Last year alone there were 6 films called “The Awakening” that made it on to IMDb. Jaysus people, come up with a more original name.

Ok, interesting might have been stretching it there… In any case, at the moment this particular “Awakening” has a 7.8 on IMDb. Now of course, IMDb rating are all over the place, but generally if a horror film has more than a 6, it’s probably reasonably decent. 7 is almost unheard of. That alone, in my book, is a reason to want to see this film.

Beyond that, it looks like it’s a standard issue ghost story. Which is very hard to sell really. I mean, you’ll know if you like ghost stories or not…

This particular one is set in England after the First World War. Rebecca Hall (who’s apparently the step-sister in law of someone called Issy) stars as a hoax exposer who is visiting a boarding house to disprove a haunting by a child ghost and it also features Dominic West (used to be a cattle herder) and Imelda Staunton (who will no doubt be great).

The Awakening opens the festival on Thursday 27th October at 7pm.
You can book tickets for The Awakening here.

Couple of ’80s exploitation classic for ya. You like that kind of thing right?

First up is The Exterminator.

Robert Ginty stars as John Eastland, a Vietnam veteran who, after an attack on his best friend by a group of thugs, turns into a violent vigilante seeking justice (don’t they all?). Armed with a flame-thrower, hungry rats and a meat grinder, Eastland is out to clean up the streets of New York…

… Or make them extremely messy. I’m not sure which. I haven’t seen it, but I like the sound of it.

As if that wasn’t enough though, it’s followed by Maniac Cop!

You Have The Right To Remain Silent… Forever.

What a tag line! How could you not want to see a film with a line like that?

In Maniac Cop, a dangerous serial killer (is there any other kind?) is loose on the streets of (you guessed it) New York, dressed as a police officer. As the bodies stack up, Jack Forrest, a young cop (and more importantly, Bruce Campbell) somehow becomes the chief suspect. Now it’s up to him (and his girlfriend apparently) to catch the real killer and clear his name.

The Exterminator and Maniac Cop double bill starts at 11.10pm on Friday night, 28th October.
You can book tickets for this double bill here.

Troll 2 poster - IFI Horrorthon

This might just be the Best Worst Movie you ever see.

I hear there aren’t actually any trolls in this. Instantly, I love it – a “sequel” to Troll, called Troll 2, with no trolls. Genius. In fact, what it has is murderous vegetarian goblins. What?! I know!

If the idea of murderous vegetarian goblins wasn’t enough, I can also tell you that the script was written in English by the director and his wife. Who apparently didn’t actually speak English at the time. It was also filmed in Utah, with American actors, by an all Italian crew. Who didn’t speak English either. Sounds like the recipe for success to me.

I have to admit, I love the idea of watching really bad movies. Particularly films that appear on the IMDb Bottom 100. Troll 2 is on there at #74, just below Mitchell, which I can assure you is an extremely bad film. Someday, I will work my way through that list. Even if I only manage to see the bottom 10, it’s going to happen.

The fact is, if there’s ever an appropriate environment to watch films of this calibre, then late night at the IFI Horrorthon is it. I saw Birdemic: Shock and Terror in the same slot last year and it was pretty much the most hilarious movie experience I’ve ever had.

Troll 2 is on Saturday night, 29th October at 11.30pm.
You can book tickets for Troll 2 here.

The Dark Crystal poster - IFI Horrorthon 2011

There’s only one film I care about on the Sunday. The absolute childhood classic The Dark Crystal.

I love this movie. It was one of two films* we used to watch over and over again when I was a young girl growing up in Singapore, partly because our neighbour had it on VHS, but mainly because it was brilliant. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen and I hope to see you all there at 11am on Sunday. I don’t care if you have some fancy dress party or whatever the night before. That’s no excuse. You gotta wake up and come and see The Dark Crystal.

If you’ve never seen it, The Dark Crystal is a mystical, magical fantasy adventure. With puppets. It was directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz and at the time the animatronics were considered ground-breaking. I know I was stunned when I first saw them and I hope, if this is the first time you get to see it, you will be too. Considering it was made in the early ’80s of course.

The Dark Crystal is screening on Sunday morning, 30th October at 11am.
You can book tickets for The Dark Crystal here.

Saint 2010 - IFI Horrorthon - horror film

I could recommend that on Monday, you go see the 70mm print of Aliens at 8.30pm. It’s the closing film, it’ll have Michael Biehn doing a Q+A at it and it is probably, objectively, the best film at the festival.

But… it’s already sold out.

So instead, just to get you into the Christmas spirit. I’m recommending Saint.

Not that I’ve seen it or anything, so don’t blame me if it’s crap. I just like the ol’ Christmas horror flicks, you know, like Silent Night, Deadly Night… everyone knows the whole, “He sees you when you’re sleeping” thing, Christmas and horror, they just go together.

This particular Christmas horror is a Dutch film from last year and is set on Sinterklaas, or St. Nicholas’s Eve – that’s 5th December to me and you. Guess what though, this jolly ol’ St. Nick ain’t that interested in whether you’ve been naughty or nice. He’s a crazy bishop and he’s into kidnapping and murder.

Ho, ho, ho.

Saint is showing on Monday evening, 31st October at 6.45pm.
You can book tickets for Saint here.

So those are my picks for IFI Horrorthon 2011. Hope there’s one there that might tickle your fancy and maybe I’ll see you there!

Horrorthon 2011 is in the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar from the 27th to 31st October 2011.

* = The other was The Company of Wolves, go figure…

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