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Larry Cohen, Jessica Harper and more new movies at Chicago’s Cinepocalypse fest

Friday, October 6, 2017 | Events, News

By MICHAEL GINGOLD

The first year of the Cinepocalypse fest in Chicago (which grew out of Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival) is shaping up to be a hot one, with a second round of premiering features and cult classics (with special guests) now announced.

Following up on the first wave (which we reported on here), Cinepocalypse has revealed further features and film folks for the event, which takes place November 2-9 at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre (3733 North Southport Avenue). According Cinepocalypse founder Josh Goldbloom, “This lineup represents the most twisted, hilarious, intelligent, horrifying and no-holds-barred bad-ass cinema on this planet. It’s a pummeling collection of international genre films from the world’s most creative and audacious artists. It was a pleasure for us to curate and discover these films and we’re thrilled to unleash it all in a fury of festivities unlike Chicago has ever seen!”

Among the festivities will be Lifetime Achievement Awards for Larry Cohen, with screenings of THE AMBULANCE (whose star Eric Roberts will also attend) and Steve Mitchell’s documentary KING COHEN, and actor Antonio Fargas, who will host showings of Jack Hill’s FOXY BROWN and I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA. Actress Jessica Harper will also be on hand for a screening of the recently discovered Italian-language 35mm print of Dario Argento’s SUSPIRIA (pictured), and Joe Carnahan will host his debut feature BLOOD, GUTS, BULLETS & OCTANE on 35mm, along with a curated presentation of Kathryn Bigelow’s NEAR DARK, Walter Hill’s HARD TIMES, John Woo’s BULLET IN THE HEAD and Stephen King’s MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE.

As for the new flicks, the latest additions to the schedule are:

SWEET VIRGINIA—Opening Night Film (Midwest Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Talent in attendance!
A former rodeo champ with a dark past unknowingly starts a rapport with a young man who has a propensity for disturbing sociopathic violence that has suddenly gripped a small town. Jon Bernthal (Netflix’s THE PUNISHER), Christopher Abbott (IT COMES AT NIGHT), Rosemarie DeWitt (MAD MEN), and Imogen Poots (GREEN ROOM) star in this twisted, moody, modern day neo-noir masterpiece.

BEYOND SKYLINE—Closing Night Film (U.S. Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Liam O’Donnell
Talent in attendance!
The stars of THE PURGE: ANARCHY (Frank Grillo) and THE RAID: REDEMPTION (Iko Uwais) team up to battle the alien apocalypse in this pulpy, colorful, and wildly over-the-top action/sci-fi/horror mashup that has to be seen to be believed. The sequel to 2010’s SKYLINE, this mind-bending lunacy somehow manages to be even more insane (like, way more insane) than its infamous predecessor!

PRIMAL RAGE (World Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Patrick Magee
Talent in attendance!
You may have seen a few Bigfoot-related horror films over the years, but it’s safe to say you’ve never seen a Sasquatch rampage like this. PRIMAL RAGE is a tale of a young couple, a bunch of hunters, a witch and some Native American cops who butt heads with a wildly violent forest monster, causing all hell to break loose! From practical special effects guru Patrick Magee (SPIDER-MAN, JURASSIC PARK III), this may be the goriest film you’ll see all year!

SNOWFLAKE (North American Premiere)
Germany, 2017
Dirs: Adolfo Kolmerer and William James
Talent in attendance!
Take a dash of Tarantino, a splash of Coen brothers, a metric ton of metatextual self-awareness and a fast-paced series of humorously violent misadventures and you’re halfway to grasping the magnificent madness of this bizarre German import. A gang of lowlife characters all want revenge on the others, but along the way they must contend with assassins, madmen, a blood-covered angel and an electricity-powered superhero.

THE TERROR OF HALLOW’S EVE (North American Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Todd Tucker
Talent in attendance!
Timmy Stevens is socially awkward kid, obsessed with horror movies and frequently bullied. But Timmy’s about to get his revenge in full-bore fashion when he unwittingly unleashes an evil creature known as The Trickster on Halloween Night. Genre veteran Doug Jones (PAN’S LABYRINTH, HELLBOY) provides an amazing creature performance, but the real stars here are the wide array of surprisingly effective creature FX and affection for old-school ’80s mayhem.

DOWNRANGE (U.S. Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Ryuhei Kitamura
Talent in attendance!
A merciless sniper takes aim at a car full of college kids, disabling their vehicle on a lonely country road and methodically picking them off, one by one. This latest, nail-biting offering from genre veteran Ryuhei Kitamura (THE MIDNIGHT MEAT TRAIN, VERSUS) contains the filmmaker’s trademark creeping tension, sudden violence and extreme nihilism. In other words, things get pretty dark.

MOTORRAD (U.S. Premiere)
Brazil, 2017
Director: Vicente Amorim
Talent in attendance!
A slasher by way of George Miller’s MAD MAX meets Wes Craven’s THE HILLS HAVE EYES, this violence-fueled adrenaline ride will leave you absolutely breathless. In this visually stunning Brazilian import, a gang of dirt-bikers on a ride across an isolated region find themselves being hunted by a machete-wielding band of motorcyclists intent on killing them all. Based on characters created by Marvel comic book author Danilo Beyruth, this atmospheric and suspenseful-genre film also functions as an allegory to our battles within. It’s as smart as it is downright frightening, and we’re damn excited to unleash this beast in the U.S. for the very first time!

APPLECART—All-New Cut (Midwest Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Brad Baruh
Talent in attendance!
A gaggle of powerhouse horror veterans—including Barbara Crampton (RE-ANIMATOR), Brea Grant (BEYOND THE GATES), AJ Bowen (THE SIGNAL), Daniel Roebuck (AT THE DEVIL’S DOOR), and Chase Williamson (JOHN DIES AT THE END)—get together for what seems like a fairly standard “cabin in the woods” tale and then it gets weird…and weirder…and super-gory. Let’s just leave it at that.

CHARISMATA (Midwest Premiere)
UK, 2017
Director: Tor Mian and Andy Collier
Talent in attendance!
A rookie female detective, struggling to find acceptance in a police department defined by a culture of bullying and intolerance, watches as things go from bad to worse as her chief suspect in a series of brutal ritualistic murders takes a personal interest in her. A game of cat and mouse degrades the detective’s grasp on reality and, as she spirals out of control, this young woman must suddenly fight for her sanity, life…and maybe even her soul.

THE CRESCENT (Midwest Premiere)
Canada, 2017
Director: Seth A. Smith
A young widow and her 2-year-old son take shelter in a massive, creepy seaside house after the sudden death of her husband. But rather than follow the tropes of standard jump-scare storytelling, THE CRESCENT places a unique focus its child star, some truly impressive visual touches and a consistently ominous sound design. This creepy Canadian import, which premiered in TIFF’s Midnight Madness program, is guaranteed to get under your skin.

GET MY GUN (Midwest Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Brian Darwas
Talent in attendance!
This wonderfully executed homage to beloved and controversial exploitation classics of the past (namely Abel Ferrera’s MS. 45 and Meir Zarchi’s I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE) proves itself to be not just as an imitator, but in a league of its own. After a horrible attack leaves Amanda pregnant and out of a job, she finds herself on the verge of motherhood and the target of a psychotic stalker who will stop at nothing to get her hands on the unborn child.

THE LODGERS (Midwest Premiere)
Ireland, 2017
Director: Brian O’Malley
There’s been a great flood of Irish horror films over the past several years, and their latest offering is just another example of how to combine classy scares and intermittent nastiness into one good thriller. Director Brian O’Malley (LET US PREY) brings us the tale of two young twins in the 1920s, the strange rules that govern their existence and what happens when a handsome newcomer threatens to upset their order of things.

PSYCHOPATHS (Midwest Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Mickey Keating
Prolific indie genre machine Mickey Keating (POD, DARLING, CARNAGE PARK) returns with a tale of psychos run amok… Yes, multiple disparate psychos. The execution of an infamous serial killer somehow inspires a half-dozen maniacs to lose their collective minds and commit all sorts of nasty acts, but this is not your standard body-count movie. Loaded with odd digressions, fractured narratives and some enjoyably abstract weirdness, this is may be Keating’s strangest, creepiest movie yet.

SEQUENCE BREAK (Midwest Premiere)
U.S., 2017
Director: Graham Skipper
To call this freaky dark romance a love letter to David Cronenberg’s classic VIDEODROME would be an understatement, but at least writer/director Graham Skipper has awfully good taste in influences. SEQUENCE BREAK is a story of a lonely guy, a sweet girl, a deserted arcade and a video game with insidiously biological tendencies—all of which become intertwined in a perverse, melancholic string of events that will leave all of them forever changed.

For info on all of Cinepocalypse’s attractions and to order advance tickets and badges, check out the fest’s webpage.

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and spent 28 years as a writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. In addition to RUE MORGUE, he currently writes for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM, IndieWire.com, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM and others. His book THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press) is out this fall, and he has contributed liner notes and featurettes to a number of Blu-ray and DVD releases. Among his screenplay credits are SHADOW: DEAD RIOT and LEECHES!, and he is currently working on THE DOLL with director Dante Tomaselli.
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