For its sixth edition of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s annual horror fest Scary Movies, an amazing collection of first-time NYC screenings of highly anticipated horror films, fan favorites, and classic films is being shown. For me, what is really exciting is that some of the films that are being premiered are films I’ve been posting about here on Lytherus.
Gavin Smith (Co-Curator of Scary Movies) was quoted as saying: “This year’s Scary Movies lineup delivers what we feel have become hallmarks of this series: Must-see new films like American Mary, Stitches, and Maniac, some under-appreciated gems like The Believers and Eden Lake, and the rediscovery of great work by masters of horror – with Vincent Price in The Last Man on Earth and Wes Craven’s Deadly Blessings nicely filling the bill.”
Scary Movies films, descriptions, and schedule can be found here:
AMERICAN MARY (2012) 100m
Directors: Jen & Sylvia Soska
A penniless med student, increasingly disillusioned with the field she’s slaving away to enter, stumbles upon an irresistible opportunity for alternative education—an underground school of sorts where she’s able to utilize and refine her skills, while earning loads of cash. Mary descends into a dark new world of illegal body modification, encountering a variety of sketchy characters, while becoming more and more adept with her scalpel. But how long before all the carnage—professional and otherwise—takes its toll? The spectacle of Mary (fearlessly played by Katharine Isabelle) testing those limits is disquieting and wholly fascinating.
Friday, October 26, 9:15pm
THE BELIEVERS (1987) 114m
Director: John Schlesinger
New York City, 1987: a memorable place and time for cinematic voodoo. Occult-loving audiences were first given Angel Heart and then The Believers, the one and only horror movie made by John Schlesinger, the English director best known for the likes of Midnight Cowboy and Marathon Man, and the second of only two horror movies featuring Martin Sheen. Here, an ultra-likable Sheen plays Cal, a suddenly single father whose path accidentally crosses with a Santeria cult known to sacrifice animals… and children. And to make matters worse, they take an active interest in his boy. A genuinely chilling—and severely underappreciated—film rich with mood and character.
Sunday, October 28, 4:00pm
Director: Ciarán Foy
Welcome to the traumatized, paranoid psyche of Tommy, new father, and soon-to-be widow—his wife lies comatose never to awaken, after a horrific act of violence in their grim tower block just as they were finally moving out. Reduced to an agoraphobic wreck, he now lives in constant fear that the pack of feral hoodie-wearing children responsible for the attack is now after his daughter. Only a cantankerous priest believes him, and together they set out to rid the world of the evil little suckers once and for all. A Cinedigm/ paFlat Iron Film Company release.
Tuesday, October 30, 7:00pm
DEADLY BLESSING (1981) 98m
Director: Wes Craven
Somewhere along the way from The Hills Have Eyes to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Wes Craven made this underseen and underrated oddball gem, still not available on DVD. Set in Amish-like country, it features a couple whose marital bliss is put to an early end when he’s killed by his tractor—yup, such things happen in these parts, especially when there’s a psycho on the loose, and much of the town is made up of loopy religious fanatics (led by Ernest Borgnine). Soon the newly widowed woman’s two best friends (paging Sharon Stone!) arrive on the scene, just to be counted in among the targets. A persistent sense of
lurking fear overrides some silliness, for a movie that is ultimately much more fright than camp.
Sunday, October 28, 6:30pm
Director: James Watkins
Four years before The Woman in Black, this year’s fake-scare fest for Harry Potter–loving tweens, James Watkins delivered a deadly punch to the gut with a directorial debut that was strictly for adults. At first glance a run-of-the-mill horror-in-the-wilds outing, Eden Lake soon blows its competition out of the water thanks to its sheer unflinching grisliness, as a couple who go camping in search of romantic tranquility are instead terrorized by a gang of chillingly sadistic teens. It’s a trip the lovebirds may not live to remember and audiences will not easily forget. (An early screen performance by Michael Fassbender is an added bonus.)
Sunday, October 28, 8:45pm
HERE COMES THE DEVIL (Ahí va el Diablo) (2012) 97m
Director: Adrián García Bogliano
Countries: Mexico/USA, 2012; 97m
Hot from the Toronto Film Festival, this unnerving, refreshingly ultra-lo-fi story of the super-creepy aftermath of a Mexican family outing gone seriously bad has the kind of blunt forcefulness and functional, almost primitive stylistic means of a true low-budget indie. Don’t be fooled: with his sixth feature, unpredictable Argentinian genre specialist Bogliano (Penumbra, Rooms for Tourists) knows what he’s doing and keeps things rough and ready, spinning a tale of possession, revenge, and reason-defying, steadily encroaching supernatural forces that will keep you guessing right up to the WTF? finale. A Magnet release.
Tuesday, October 30, 9:00pm
Director: Hong Ji-young, Im Dae-woong, Jeong Beom-sik, Kim Gok, Kim Sun & Min Gyoo-dong
Country: South Korea
K-horror may have become tepid in recent years, but this one, despite a generic title, gives the genre a spirited boost. Combining the talents of six established horror directors for an anthology film of four parts—plus a wraparound segment—these horror stories each play out in tight, confining places like apartments (with a looming psycho stalking terrified children), airplanes (a dangerous serial killer onboard), ambulances (transporting a nasty virus and potential zombies), and inside a world of vain ambitions (where a man goes to extreme lengths to maintain his youthful appearance). Prepare for an intensely in-your-face experience in terror.
Monday, October 29, 9:00pm
THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (1964) 86m
Directors: Ubaldo Ragona & Sidney Salkow
Atmospherically shot in an eerily deserted Rome, this spare and haunting chronicle of a man who uncovers and exterminates the undead by day, and holes up in his besieged house by night, remains the best version of Richard Matheson’s classic 1954 novel, I Am Legend. A plague has wiped out humanity and transformed the world’s population into vampires, leaving scientist Robert Morgan (Vincent Price) to a lonely and futile one-man war—until one day he finds he’s not alone. Forget 2007’s overproduced Will Smith version and the strained ponderousness of Charlton Heston in The Omega Man: This is the closest in mood and tone to Matheson’s novel, even if the author adopted the pseudonym “Logan Swanson” when he saw the finished film.
Sunday, October 28, 2:00pm
Director: Franck Khalfoun
Finally, a horror remake we can get behind! This new variation on William Lustig’s 1980 grindhouse classic, which maintains the original’s nastiness while adding a touch of style, stars Elijah Wood as the tortured soul who relieves his existential pain by scalping women and draping his bloody trophies on his collection of mannequins. If Wood seems an unlikely choice for a serial killer, think again: he’s scary as hell, yet also has a tragic dimension, even revealing a little vulnerability for a beautiful artist who unluckily comes into his life. And because the film is shot almost completely from the protagonist’s POV, the fleeting glimpses of Wood—randomly reflected in mirrors and windows—are all the more jarring. An IFC Midnight release.
Saturday, October 27, 8:00pm
Wednesday, October 31, 6:15pm
THE NIGHT OF THE DEVILS (La notte dei diavoli) (1972) 91m
Director: Giorgio Ferroni
Countries: Italy/Spain, 1972; 91m
A delirious amnesiac is admitted to the hospital and through flashbacks we learn of the horrific events that brought him there. This unfolding account of a recent encounter with a cursed family—written by Aleksei (brother of Leo) Tolstoy—originally served as the basis for the middle segment in Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath nearly a decade earlier. But this is by far the creepier, fleshier version. Says RaroVideo, who this month is finally giving the film the DVD and Blu-ray release it deserves: “Atmospheric and gory, Night of the Devils is a Eurohorror classic not to be missed.”
Saturday, October 27, 6:00pm
Director: Miguel Martí
Taking a page from the Scream playbook—and, in turn, paying homage to that homage in its first scene—Sexykiller is a film that knows the genre so well that it can poke fun at it while still also staying true to it. Bristling with energy and twisted fun, Sexykiller boasts quite the title character: a medical student with a killer fashion sense who just happens to be a sexy serial killer. It’s also a love story and a zombie flick—a movie as gloriously schizo as its outlandish heroine.
Friday, October 26, 7:00pm
STITCHES (2012) 85m
Director: Conor McMahon
“Stitches” has a very bad day at work—so bad it turns out to be his last one, as an accidental meeting with a carving knife sends him to clown heaven. Six years later, he returns to the scene of the mishap to exact his revenge on the bratty kids who witnessed his “final” act. Realistic, likeable teenage characters offset loads of cartoonish, highly inventive gore, making for horror-comedy at its bloody best. Like every good clown act, Stitches (played by English stand-up superstar Ross Noble) will provoke both laughter and shrieks. An MPI/Dark Sky Films release.
Wednesday, October 31, 9:00pm