Rising once again from New York’s subways and sewers, the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival is nearly upon us. For eight days commencing Thursday 13th October, the festival will present an eclectic melting pot of grue, gore, goo and guffaws, as genre takes over the borough.
This year opens with the world première of cross-cultural folk horror Nocebo, from the same director (Lorcan Finnegan) and writer (Garret Shanley) who brought us Without Name (2016) and Vivarium (2019). Also focusing on illness is Mexican maestro of sc-fi Isaac Ezban’s first foray into pure horror, Evil Eye. Other highlights include Andy Mitton’s parable of pandemic oblivion The Harbinger, Corey Deshon’s prison-house of patriarchy Daughter, Michelle Garza Cervera’s timely tale of a woman’s choice Huesera, Mali Elfman’s eschatological road movie Next Exit, Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s conspiratorial LA noir Something in the Dirt, Carter Smith’s queer mule thriller Swallowed, Karim Ouelhaj’s very strong post-traumatic head trip Megalomaniac, and Alex Phillips’ hallucinatory, hypnotherapeutic reversion All Jacked Up And Full of Worms.
These are just the titles that I’ve already seen and so can recommend, but the joy of festivals lies in discovering the new, whether you are drawn to Joko Anwar’s occult remake sequel Satan’s Slaves 2: Communion, or Joe Begos’ retro take on Yuletide horror Christmas Bloody Christmas, or the world première of Terence Krey’s witchily nostalgic Summoners, or Pete Oh’s stalker comedy Jethica, or Marie Alice Wolfzahn’s Volk gothic Mother Superior, or Zach Passero’s animated horror comedy The Weird Kidz, or documentaries like Daphné Baiwir’s King on Screen and Kyra Elise Gardner’s Living With Chucky, or a relatively rare example of Czech genre cinema, Emil Křižka’s intriguing sounding Repulse – or indeed many others.
Alongside the extensive cutting-edge programmes of short films, there are also several anthology features, like Give Me An A, Sinphony and V/H/S 99 (pictured). There is, too, an impressive of array of retrospective titles getting a big screen outing: not just Brian Yuzna’s Society (1989), Virginie Despentes and Coralie’s Baise-moi (2000), Catherine Breillat’s Fat Girl (À ma soeur!, 2001), Fabrice du Welz’s Calvaire (2004), but also a respective of titles – Don’t Torture A Duckling (1972), Zombie (1979), City of the Living Dead (1980), The Beyond (1981; here with an all-new score from Fabio Frizzo), The House By the Cemetery (1981), Manhattan Baby (1982), The New York Ripper (1982), A Cat In The Brain (1990) – from Italy’s master of sleazy irrationality and eerie atmosphere, Lucio Fulci, who was himself not averse to setting films in New York City.
So peruse the full programme, and get ready to party like it’s 1999…
© Anton Bitel