The London Film Festival is separated into several thematically different strands. The cult strand promises the more extreme and bizarre offerings of the festival (though not quite abstract enough to be included in the “Experimentia strand”). Many of the more straightforwardly genre films are to be found here, films set in the fringes of society, made by film makers able to find creative freedom in the quirkiness of horror and sci-fi. Here’s the line-up:
Find full details of the entire London Film Festival programme on: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/Online/
Cult Gala: Assassination Nation dir. Sam Levinson
The private lives of a small town are exposed by an online hacker, resulting in absolute chaos. A group of high-school girls must survive the murderous mob whilst dealing with the fallout of the privacy leak in their own lives. There’s something of The Purge about this very modern thriller. There’s a thrill to seeing a small community drop all pretense of civility and pursue personal vendettas with violent abandon. The film promises to be intense, provocative and a lot of fun.
All The Gods In The Sky (Tous Les Dieux Du Ciel) dir. Quarxx
A brother and sister live a lonely existence in the French countryside. The Brother, Simon, decides to take desperate and bizarre measures to liberate them both from their domestic prison. Festival organisers promise that this shall be an utterly surreal horror film reminiscent of the New French Extremity movement of the early 00s. There’s a very claustrophobic feel to the scenario that suggests Lynchian madness.
Cam dir. Daniel Goldhaber
A camgirl will do anything to be the most viewed girl on her site, but one day discovers that her erotic online alter-ego may have a mind of its own. Promising to be more than a lesson on the dangers of sex work (see Girl House) this film is penned by former sex worker Iza Mazzei and takes a more progressive and sympathetic look at online erotic performance and its impact on the performer.
The Cannibal Club dir. Guto Parente
A rich couple enjoy occasionally murdering and eating their hired help. They are in fact part of an elite club that shares their cannibalistic tendencies. However soon the tables shall turn on the couple. Seemingly paced as a very dry dark comedy, this Brazilian horror film will hopefully be as delicious as its premise suggests.
Dragged Across Concrete dir. S. Craig Zahler
Craig Zahler’s third film does not look like a change of pace for the notorious director. Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn play police partners who team up with an ex-con to explore the criminal underworld. Much like his previous films, Zahler is blending extreme violence with genuine pathos and more than a little dark humour.
Duplicate dir Bill Oliver
Angel Elgort plays two very different men who leave video messages for each other, detailing their very different lifestyles. As the film progresses, the nature of their relationship is revealed. An intriguing sci-fi premise, this film will hopefully deliver interesting ideas and a strong dual performance from the versatile Elgort.
Knife + Heart (Un Couteau Dans Le Coeur) dir. Yann Gonzalez
A 70s gay porn producer finds that the cast of her most daring project yet are being killed one by one. With a premise that recalls the Giallo works of Dario Argento and Mario Bava, this film looks to be every bit the campy, visually stunning slasher its premise demands.
Lords of Chaos dir. Jonas Åkerlund
A Norwegian Black Metal group find themselves pushed to their conceptual and moral limits by a new member. Audaciously described as a biopic, this looks to be a challenging but hugely entertaining journey into one of music’s most aggressive and strange genres.
Mandy dir. Panos Cosmatos
The Beyond The Black Rainbow director returns with a psychedelic revenge story starring Nicholas Cage. Cage plays a man who must rescue his wife from satanic cultists. Cosmatos’ previous work was a genuinely interesting and visually stunning science fiction gem, even if it did get a little too conventional in its climax. With Cage delivering career best lunacy, this promises to be one of the highlights of the cult strand.
May the Devil Take You dir. Timo Tjahjanto
An Indonesian horror film about a daughter who ventures to her father’s isolated villa to try and discover the nature of his inexplicable illness. Once there, she and her step-siblings unearth some very dark secrets. The marketing around this film implies a playful and spooky horror film, with plenty of innovative scares and an intriguing mystery at it’s heart.
The Night shifter dir. Dennison Ramalho
A mortician’s assistant unwitting earns the ire of the dead and must fight for his life . It’s hard to know what to expect from this Brazilian thriller, but with an intriguing premise and grizzly trailer, the film seems to be a very frightening ghost story.
School’s Out dir. Sébastien Marnier
A teacher throws himself out of the classroom window during an exam. His replacement soon learns there’s something sinister going on in this class. A very creepy thriller that sets generations against each other. Read our full review here: https://wp.me/p8FNZO-1sF
Tumbbad dir. Rahi Anil Barve, Adesh Prasad
A young man decides to rob his grandmothers grave. But the cursed witch won’t let him go that easily. Delving into the Indian folklore to deliver a different kind of evil, the film is reminiscent of The Wailing (LFF 2016), and will hopefully be just as thrilling and upsetting.
The short film festival for this year promises to be varied, provocative and very scary. Frightfest favourites Catcalls, Corvidae and Salt are joined by some very intriguing entries to make this a short film showcase that’s definitely worth delving into. Read out interview with Salt writer Jed Shepherd here: https://wp.me/p8FNZO-1rO
The BFI London Film Festival begins on the 10th of October. Find full details of all the films in the Cult Strand here: https://whatson.bfi.org.uk/lff/online/default.asp?BOparam::WScontent::loadArticle::permalink=cult&menu_id=DCD33084-639D-47AB-874F-1294C141BC2C