It’s not even September, but with a certain chill in the air, it’s clearly almost time for the leaves to start changing colors and for everyone to stay indoors and watch horror movies all day long. For my fellow Brooklyn horror fiends, we’re in luck with the second annual Brooklyn Horror Film Festival! I missed the inaugural year, but don’t plan on making that mistake again. The festival is expanding, as per fest director Justin Timms, who says:
“This year we’ve grown to a four-day festival and are very excited to be extending our reach to audiences beyond North Brooklyn, into Downtown Brooklyn and Crown Heights. Starting with our opening night at the new Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Brooklyn we’ve also added Nitehawk Cinema, LIU Kumble Theater, Film Noir Cinema & Video Revival this year to go along with our key theaters from last year Wythe Hotel Cinema, Videology Bar & Cinema and Spectacle Theater.”
The impressive first wave of programming is as followed:
HOUSEWIFE (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Turkey / Dir. Can Evrenol
Sponsored by Birth.Movies.Death
Haunted by the bloodstained memories of a horrific childhood incident, Holly’s struggles with separating her nightmares from reality derail after she meets charismatic psychic with a secret agenda. Capitalizing on the immense promise shown by his brutal 2015 breakthrough BASKIN, writer-director Can Evrenol solidifies himself as horror’s future with this hypnotic and gruesome ode to Bava-esque Italian horror.
1974 (EAST COAST PREMIERE)
Mexico / Dir. Victor Dryere
Sponsored by El Buho Mezcal
Shortly after getting married in 1974, the young couple Altair and Manuel disappeared without a trace in Mexico. Through a collection of 8 mm tapes and home movies, the newlyweds’ fates are revealed in all of their bizarre and terrifying glory. A much-needed shot in the arm for a tired horror style, Mexican filmmaker Victor Dryere’s genuinely unnerving 1974 deserves mention alongside found-footage gems like [REC] and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY.
MEXICO BARBARO II (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Mexico / Dir. Lex Ortega, Sergio Tello, Diego Cohen, Fernando Urdapilleta, Michel Garza, Carlos Melendez, Ricardo Farías, Christian Cueva, Abraham Sanchez
Sponsored by El Buho Mezcal
In 2014, the truly demented Mexican filmmaker Lex Ortega assembled his country’s best horror filmmakers for the shocking anthology MEXICO BARBARO. But if you thought that film was gnarly, wait until you get a load of this crazier and wonderfully unhinged follow-up, helmed by an all-new lineup of on-the-rise Mexican horror voices and touching on cannibalism, porn, and historical demons.
VERONICA (US PREMIERE)
Mexico / Dir. Carlos Algara & Alejandro Martinez Beltran
Sponsored by El Buho Mezcal
A retired psychologist agrees to take on one more patient under the condition that the young lady move into her isolated home in the woods. A game of secrets and lies ensues as the two women battle for psychological dominance. Mexican co-directors Carlos Algara and Alejandro Martinez-Beltran’s feature debut is an erotically charged mystery with echoes of early Polanski.
CLEMENTINA (NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE)
Argentina / Dir. Jimena Monteoliva
A young woman traumatized by a savage attack from her husband begins to hear voices in her apartment. Jimena Monteoliva’s solo directorial debut expertly builds tension, maintaining a sense of unease from the start that creeps higher until the frightening and suffocating shocker of a third act. Cecilia Cartasegna delivers with a classically terrifying portrait of a woman on the edge.
THE FOREST OF LOST SOULS (EAST COAST PREMIERE)
Portugal / Dir. José Pedro Lopes
Two suicidal strangers explore the Forest of Lost Souls together, looking for the best spot to commit suicide all the while debating, what’s the best way to kill yourself? It soon becomes clear that one person isn’t who they say they are. This black-and-white-shot nightmare is a unique and disturbing modern take on the slasher film.
HAGAZUSSA – A HEATHEN’S CURSE (EAST COAST PREMIERE)
Germany / Dir. Lukas Fiegelfeld
Surrounded by heightened paranoia and superstition, an evil presence threatens a mother and her infant child in the Alps of 15th century Austria. But is this ancient malevolence an outside force or a product of her psychosis? With stunningly gorgeous photography and atmosphere for days, Lukas Fiegelfeld’s gothic horror fever dream illustrates the dangers associated with dark beliefs and the infestation of fear.
SEQUENCE BREAK (NY PREMIERE)
USA / Dir. Graham Skipper
Sponsored by Brooklyn Fireproof Stages
Busy genre actor Graham Skipper (RE-ANIMATOR: THE MUSICAL, BEYOND THE GATES, THE MIND’S EYE) makes his feature writing/directing debut with a surreal, absorbing homage to the body-horror cinema and video games of the ’80s. Chase Williamson plays an arcade-game repairman who finds love with a customer (Fabienne Theresa) and terror from a mysterious game with a lot more powering it than pixels.
TRAGEDY GIRLS (NY PREMIERE)
USA / Dir. Tyler Macintyre
Co-Presented by Nitehawk Cinema
Status obsession has a body count when BFFs Sadie (Brianna Hildebrand, DEADPOOL’s Negasonic Teenage Warhead) and McKayla (Alexandra Shipp) capture a serial murderer whose exploits they’ve been chronicling on their blog. How do they keep the slaughter spree going so they have more to report on? The answers are both giggly and grisly in a film also featuring a fun supporting turn by Craig Robinson (also a producer).
THE SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES (1971)
France / Dir. Jean Rollin
In conjunction with the launch of Spectacular Optical’s LOST GIRLS: THE PHANTASMAGORICAL CINEMA OF JEAN ROLLIN, book editor Samm Deighan will host a special screening of Rollin’s SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES. Originally released in 1971, the French auteur’s psycho-sexual masterwork demonstrates all of Rollin’s cinematic touchstones: erotic scares, drop-dead-gorgeous bloodsuckers, and ornately shot kink. It’ll turn you into a Rollin disciple if you aren’t one already.
To learn more, plus info on the live events and to purchase badges, head over to brooklynhorrorfest.com.