All I can say is…HOLY FUCK BALLS.
Allow me to insert the standard disclaimer that this fall marks the fifth year I’m serving as one of the cohosts of the Telluride Horror Show, and my second as an associate programmer, but good good almighty, no matter what, this festival is STACKED.
Today’s first wave of films includes the US Premiere of CREEP 2, alongside area debuts of VICTOR CROWLEY (the fourth film in the fan-favorite slasher series Hatchet), the latest from duo Aaron Morehead and Justin Benson THE ENDLESS (hands down my favorite film of the year), Joe Lynch’s MAYHEM and JUNGLE, starring “the boy who lived” Daniel Radcliffe. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
With the addition of the Palm Theater, resident “crypt keeper” Jon Davidson has a number of “vault selections in glorious 35mm prints, including Mario Bava’s THE WHIP AND THE BODY along with 80 minutes of fun, mayhem fueled TRAILERS FROM HELL. As always, there’s going to be a the fan favorite short film blocks, along with a horror trivia contest and (so I’m told) a karaoke night.
Davidson will serve as one of the festival’s special guests alongside Birth Movies Death editorial director Meredith Borders. Ms. Borders will serve as a host for a number of screenings and moderate discussions with guests and visiting filmmakers.
Here’s your complete list of the first wave:
USA | 2017 | 91 min | Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
The screeching strings, the plunging knife, the slow zoom out from a lifeless eyeball: In 1960, Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho changed film history forever with its taboo-shattering shower scene. With 78 camera set-ups and 52 edits over the course of 3 minutes, Psycho redefined screen violence, set the stage for decades of slasher films to come, and introduced a new element of danger to the movie-going experience. Aided by a roster of filmmakers, critics, and fans – including Guillermo del Toro, Bret Easton Ellis, Jamie Lee Curtis, Eli Roth, and Peter Bogdanovich – director Alexandre O. Philippe pulls back the curtain on the making and influence of this cinematic game changer, breaking it down frame by frame and unpacking Hitchcock’s dense web of allusions and double meanings. The result is an enthralling piece of cinematic detective work that’s nirvana for film and horror buffs.COLD GROUNDFrance | 2017 | 86 min | Director: Fabien Delage
1976: Two young journalists leave for the French-Swiss border to investigate a strange case of cattle mutilations and record testimonies for a TV channel. Yet, once they get there, the scientific team they were supposed to meet has gone missing.
USA | 2017 | 80 min | Director: Patrick Brice
CREEP 2 stars Desiree Akhavan as Sara, a video artist whose primary focus is creating intimacy with lonely men. After finding an ad online for “video work” she thinks she may have found the subject of her dreams. She drives to a remote house in the forest and meets a man claiming to be a serial killer (Mark Duplass). Unable to resist the chance to create a truly shocking piece of art, she agrees to spend the day with him. However, as the day goes on, she discovers she may have dug herself into a hole she can’t escape.
Followed by Q&A with director Ron Carlson.
When the “one-hit-wonder” glam-metal band “Sonic Grave” embarks on a trip to Coachella in hopes of a comeback, their peyote trip pit stop in Joshua Tree incites an “unworldly” viscous attack, and they must “rock” themselves out of harm’s way.
For six college students carpooling cross-country, a seemingly mundane blow-out is the beginning of a grueling fight for survival in this cat-and-mouse gore-packed thriller from Ryuhei Kitamura, the director behind such cult hits as Versus and The Midnight Meat Train.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
An unwitting Essex boy’s promise of a night of passion with a ravishing cougar goes awry when he finds himself caught in the crossfire between a coven of bloodthirsty vampires and a heavily armed band of mercenaries at a remote farmhouse.
Followed by Q&A with director Tyler Schnabel.
Two aspiring filmmakers document the mishaps of their first feature film with the guidance of their eccentric lead actor.
Turkey | 2017 | 82 min | Director: Can Evrenol
On a snowy night, a young Holly watches in horror as her mother murders her sister and father. 20 years later, Holly is slowly losing her grip on reality, the nightmares of her past invading her waking moments. When a renowned psychic takes interest in Holly, the line between her reality and her nightmares grows even thinner.
USA | 2016 | 115 min | Director: Greg McLean
An enthusiastic young adventurer follows his dreams into the Amazon jungle with two friends and a guide with a mysterious past. Their journey quickly turns into a terrifying ordeal as the darkest elements of human nature and the deadliest threats of the wilderness lead to an all-out fight for survival.
A dangerous virus, one that prevents the infected from controlling their inhibitions, is discovered in a corporate law building, the very same firm that recently cleared an infected man on murder charges. When a quarantine is issued and the building goes on lockdown, all hell breaks loose inside, while a disgruntled employee (Steven Yeun) and an irate client (Samara Weaving) must fight, and even kill, their way to the top to “have a word” with the corrupt executives who wronged them.
Following their acclaimed debut RESOLUTION and their follow-up, the Lovecraftian modern cult classic SPRING, writer/directors Moorhead and Benson star as brothers who receive a mysterious message inspiring them to pay a visit to the cult they escaped as children. As unsettling events and phenomena begin to occur, the brothers are forced to question whether the cult’s supernatural beliefs might not be entirely made up – and if, now that they’ve returned, they’ll be allowed to leave again.
FROM THE VAULT
Presented in 35MM by Telluride Horror Show “Vault Keeper” Jon Davison.
A sadistic nobleman terrorizes his family, but the relief that the family members feel upon his death is short-lived when his ghost continues the reign of terror. Bava’s legendary gothic horror film will be presented in beautiful 35MM Technicolor. Print courtesy of the Jon Davison Collection at the Academy Film Archive.
80 min | FROM THE VAULT
Presented in 35MM by Telluride Horror Show “Vault Keeper” Jon Davison.
Relive the glory days of the Saturday Matinee with “Trailers From Hell”, a vintage collection of outrageous horror movie trailers! Back when creature features, B movies, low budget Sci-Fi, and schlock terrorized audiences at main street movie theaters, there was one rule of thumb: The worse the movie, the more ridiculous the trailer. From vampire lovers to orgies of the living dead, giant claws to tinglers, slime people, spider islands, sun demons, horror chambers and houses, incredibly strange creatures and critters, monsters from mars, brides of beasts, screams, fears, terrors, and a curse or two, this special edition of “Trailers From Hell” promises to take you back in time for a hilarious celebration of horror’s crazy cinematic past. All in glorious 35MM! Print courtesy of the Joe Dante & Jon Davison Collection at the Academy Film Archive. www.trailersfromhell.com
In the final days of the First World War a shell-shocked soldier must lead a mission deep beneath the trenches to stop a German plot that could turn the tide of the war.
Set a decade after the events of the series’ first three films, VICTOR CROWLEY reunites Hatchet mainstays Kane Hodder (Friday the 13th 7 – X’s Jason Voorhees) and Parry Shen (Better Luck Tomorrow) for an all-new, horrifying journey into the haunted, blood-drenched bayou. In 2007, forty-nine people were brutally torn to pieces in Louisiana’s Honey Island Swamp. Over the past decade, lone survivor Andrew Yong’s claims that local legend Victor Crowley was responsible for the horrific massacre have been met with great controversy, but when a twist of fate puts him back at the scene of the tragedy, Crowley is mistakenly resurrected and Yong must face the bloodthirsty ghost from his past. VICTOR CROWLEY’s ensemble cast also features Laura Ortiz (2006’s The Hills Have Eyes), Dave Sheridan (Scary Movie), and Brian Quinn (truTV’s “Impractical Jokers”). Writer/director Adam Green proudly returns to the director’s chair of his series that, upon debuting in 2007, was energetically touted as a return to “old school American horror,” and whose maniacal fan-favorite villain quickly secured a place among slasher royalty.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Epecuén was one of the most popular tourist towns in Argentina. In 1985, the sea broke through the protecting embankment and the town was completely submerged under salt water. Epecuén disappeared. Thirty years later, the waters receded and the ruins of Epecuén emerged, exposing a bleak and deserted landscape. The residents never returned. A group of young people journey to the ruins to film a documentary about Epecuén. Ignoring the warnings, they find themselves stranded in the abandoned town, and soon realize they’re not alone…
Young Sophie has been hired to bring food every night to a mysterious old woman who is locked in an attic. Is the old woman a prisoner? Is she dangerous? Each night, as Sophie completes her task, her curiosity draws her closer and closer to what might be her last meal.
USA | 2017 | 7 min | Director: L. Gustavo Cooper
Set against the backdrop of the deadliest heatwave in recorded history and inspired by America’s most prolific female serial killer, L. Gustavo Cooper’s AMY provides a surreal and distorted glimpse into a killing spree that captivated a nation in the early 1900s.
IN PERSON: Natalie Erika James
While a young woman helps her father pack up his house, they are both increasingly aware of the presence that they always knew was there.
The reunion between a woman and her estranged daughter is interrupted by a man with an unusual request.
USA | 2017 | 13 min | Director: Christopher West
A young woman moves into a new apartment and begins to discover signs that she isn’t alone.
In the middle of the night, a man is haunted by a manifestation of his fears.
UK | 2017 | 10 min | Director: Chris Keller
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
A young boy lives with his mother who is not terribly interested in giving him the attention he needs. There is also a father figure, but unfortunately for the boy, he is much worse.
Raimo’s comfy middle class bubble is burst when a satan-worshipping sex cult moves in next door.
A woman gets stuck in a Red Lobster commercial.
A mugger meets his match in a mysterious woman who offers him three wishes in exchange for his soul.
IN PERSON: Matthew Lawrence
In the final act of a slasher film, Bruce attempts to reclaim his manliness and impress the final girl by finishing off the killer.
USA | 2017 | 12 min | Director: Samuel Goodwin
IN PERSON: Samuel Goodwin
A young boy, left alone as an unnatural threat ravages the world, clings to his daily routine as he waits for his mother to come back for him.
A senseless wandering ghoul roaming through a world of the hunger-less undead and accepting yet resentful humans will soon discover a craving that leaves him completely and utterly without hope.
“The time has come,” the Walrus said. And all the little Oysters stood and waited in a row. From Couper Samuelson, Executive Producer of GET OUT, and Co-Producer Efren Ramirez. Fantasia International Film Festival 2017: Silver Prize Audience Award for Best International Short.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
IN PERSON: Gustavo Sanchez, Carlos Pierucci
Sebastian is a 7-year-old kid with macabre intentions. He manages to get his hands on something that could help him get through an evil plan to destroy happiness.
Three brave, intergalactic explorers find themselves in uncharted celestial territory when their ship runs critically low on their much needed fuel source – plutonium. Fatefully, they discover a nearby planet that hosts a wealth of plutonium reserves. Follow the crew on their descent into the unknown as they venture onto the mysterious landscape inhabited by… Killer Spacemen From Outer Planet X!
IN PERSON: Sean U’Ren, Amy Slocum
Walking home from school, two boys discuss their problems with girls.
Canada | 2017 | 17 min | Directors: Justin Harding & Rob Brunner
A choreographer pursues creative inspiration at a cottage retreat while attempting to wean her demanding toddler – and unknowingly awakens a vile fairy corpse in the process. When she discovers the creature’s terrifying intentions, she will have to put her creativity to good use to lure the repugnant beast.
IN PERSON: Will Goss
A young woman must come to terms with her boyfriend’s odd personality trait.
USA | 2017 | 19 min | Director: Andrew Hunt
Trapped in a never ending nightmare, a cat and mouse game plays out between a man and a hellish beast lurking in the shadows.
During the winter months in their cabin, Alex and Vera experience strange occurrences that are seemingly nonsensical. Nevertheless, the veil of surreality becomes lifted through a visceral and sobering revelation.
A lonely woman fights daily for survival in a post apocalyptic world.
USA | 2017 | 11 min | Directors: Celine Held & Logan George
Fueled by coke, Vanessa and Danny attempt to capitalize on an unlikely opportunity.
IN PERSON: David Ferino
A man dies on the night of his engagement and returns as a ghost, only to discover that wooing his estranged lover will require the help of a dating app.
A kid and his dad have fun playing soccer under an arch, unaware that something’s not quite right on the other side.
When a volcanic ash cloud engulfs the city 12 year old Zoran finds himself trapped at home with his elderly neighbor. But this ash cloud is like no other – it carries a virulent contagion which transforms those exposed into feral, black-oozing monstrosities. With the outside world fast descending into chaos and his neighbor beginning to succumb to the virus, Zoran will soon discover that when the ash descends there are no safe havens.
A cult of women summon a demon.
Elin’s upstairs neighbors are getting on her nerves.
Canada/USA | 2017 | 15 min | Director: Evan Cooper
IN PERSON: Evan Cooper, Brodie Cooper
A struggling actress moves to Hollywood only to discover that a piece of furniture in her apartment is haunted by a malicious ghost.
After months of squatting in abandoned homes, a young man finds something horrific living in the walls of a certain residence. He decides he must confront it if he ever wants to get out of homelessness.
A little girl goes wandering in the woods. But some who wander might end up lost in darker places.
Elliott discovers the Tickle Monster.
IN PERSON: Chris McInroy
They just wanted to be cool. Instead, they got a demon.
Mark Shapiro from LAIKA, the Portland-based animation studio behind Coraline, ParaNorman, The Boxtrolls, and Kubo and the Two Strings, curates a special animated shorts block gleaned from major film festivals across the globe. The creative, visual program includes drawn, computer-generated and stop-motion animation, featuring new short films and undeniable classics. But you heard it here first: Do NOT bring the kiddies…CERULIA
Mexico | 2017 | 13 min | Director: Sofía Carrillo
Cerulia comes back home to bid her final farewell, but her childhood memories won’t let her go.
A young corporate executive is kidnapped from his apartment. He wakes up in the middle of a forest only to be stalked by a mysterious hunter.
A taxi driver picks up an unwelcome fare in the jungle. He does as he’s told and takes his customer to fetch a man close to death on the beach.
In the aftermath of a zombie outbreak, the zombies have been cured and exiled to secluded camps. There has been talk about rehabilitating post-zombies back into society. Steve, the journalist reporting on the case, thinks the zombies still pose a threat to society. He ventures into one of these camps to prove to the world that rehabilitation is out the question.
NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE
Midday sun is scorching a wooded wasteland. Little Red Riding Hood is on her way to her grandmother’s cottage. Hidden by the darkness, the Wolf is following his prey. So is The Hunter. A bloody fight ensues. Victims are devoured, then freed, left alone at the edge of the woods.
Mexico | 2016 | 11 min | Director: Leon Fernandez
A tribe survives in the middle of the desert on the meager pickings of a barren landscape. Soo´goh, the weakest member of the clan, seeks to overcome all obstacles and to reach the green pastures of the paradise for which they all yearn.
A comically cynical vision of a future where the water is gone and all that’s left is dust and desperation.
The Sandman is a 1991 stop-motion animation film, animated and directed by Paul Berry and nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 1993. A beautifully crafted, but ultimately frightening, interpretation of an old European folktale that preys on childhood fears and nightmares.