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March 17, 2014

Fright Nights: Horrorant Film Festival, 2014 – Part 2: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th of March.

Horrorant International Film Festival, in its 1st year is holding screenings both in Athens (13th to 19th of March) and Thessaloniki (20th to 26th of March). The screenings are superb when it comes to image and sound quality. Each feature is accompanied by a short. We are talking about 19 features and 18 shorts. All of the films are Greek premieres and four of them are European premieres as well. Horrorant is the only European Film Festival happening in two major cities.

I am trying to watch as many films as possible from Horrorant’s program and review them exclusively for Cinema Head Cheese. This is what happened in Greece’s 1st International Horror Film Festival on 15th & 16th of March. Enjoy!

Saturday 15th of March 2014
Do you wanna know what I really love about this festival? The fact that it doesn’t rely on Trash. Don’t get me wrong, I like Trash as much as the next guy, but to make a film festival that focuses on quality horror is rare and you need to have balls to take the risk and pull it off.

The Tale of the Wall Habitants (2012)
Other than A Serbian Film (2010), this is probably the country’s only film that I’ve seen. Director Andrej Boka’s short is about the war between windows and doors. Yes, the weak screenplay is just an excuse for stunning visual effects. If I had to judge only visually it would be a strong contender for the best short subject award. It looks like a (milk) commercial but that’s not a bad thing.

A Little Bit Zombie (2012)
Two zombie hunters - the kick-ass trigger-happy man and the scientist girl - slay the living dead. A mosquito is transferring the zombie virus to a guy who fights strongly against the infection. Now he’s something between dead and living. He’s not living enough but he’s not dead enough either. He is really hungry but he vomits all regular food, so his friends take him to a butcher’s store (who apparently is an illegal gun dealer too) and they buy animal brains. They learn from a zombie book that animal brains are like junk food and he really needs to get his hands on human ones. Director Casey Walker’s feature lengthy Canadian horror/comedy takes its cue from The Return of the Living Dead (1985) and it’s really funny.

28 (2013)
This short film from Italy is about a carpenter who creates and destroys human beings. Oh, and something is going on with the moon. It is based on a real person but luckily he is not a serial killer. Director Johan Florez provided an introduction and a short but enlightening Q&A session.

Pin-Up Girls on Ice (2013)
A bunch of Pin-Up girls, or Burlesque dancers, or strippers, or whatever you wanna call them, are stalked and killed gruesomely one-by-one by a huge, scary guy. This Canadian feature had its European Premiere at Horrorant; it is easily my favorite flick so far and I hope it wins awards. It is sexy as hell and violent as fuck! This is how Slasher films should look like today; filmmakers should watch and take notes.

The night wrapped after the screenings of Fable of a Blood-Drained Girl (2012) and Tombville (2014).

Sunday 16th of March 2014

And I’ll Come Back (2010)
Director Edgar Nito’s short film from Mexico is about revenge and it is an exercise in cruelty. Its disco music on top of the violence reminded me of Gomorra (2008) and that’s a good thing.

Seed 2: The New Breed (2014)
A bunch of girls are travelling through the desert when they will encounter a family of maniacs who will torture them and kill them. The lucky ones die first. This flick kicks off with a sequence in which the lead villain shoots a bullet in a vagina and then licks the gun. It doesn’t get any prettier. It is the kind of film that would never get past BBFC and that’s simply awesome. Writer/Director Marcel Walz’s feature film takes its cue from The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and it is highly recommended. Its only weakness is that the editing goes back and forth which makes things confusing at times, but other than that it is a better flick than the original. It’s also nice to see genre veterans Christa Campbell and Manoush fighting against each other.

Forever Night (2012)
A girl wakes up semi-naked in Central Athens and can’t remember how she got there or who she is. She starts collecting clues but her encounters with junkies will prove crucial. There is talent in Greece and it makes horror shorts about vampires with great screenplays. Director Themis Katsimihas was in attendance and provided the audience with an introduction and a Q&A session.

The Midnight Game (2003)
A bunch of teenagers gather in a house when mom’s away and mess around with a séance until things get really messed up. You see, a demon will entrap them into the last hours of their lives and play with their worst fears. Director A.D. Calvo’s U.S. film had its European premiere at Horrorant and it may be the creepiest feature I’ve seen so far at the festival. You wouldn’t want to miss this when it hits Blu-ray.

Mr. Bear (2012)
I am obsessed with horrors from Spain; they’re just great! And director Andres Rosende’s short horror/comedy is another cool Mediterranean flick in which the gore works as the punch-line.

Chimeres (2013)
This is the first feature I’m seeing from Switzerland and it’s simply awesome. A guy has a blood transfusion and gets infected and slowly turns into a vampire. Director Olivier Beguin’s love story is really a metaphor for diseases and it takes its cue from Martin (1976). Think of Only Lovers Left Alive (2013), but gorier and much better. Another good thing is that I didn’t see the finale coming and neither will you.

Remember kids, if you are in Greece buy tickets and watch some great movies at Horrorant. Stay tuned for Part 3 of Cinema Head Cheese’s coverage that’ll be online in the next days.

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