It’s grim up north, as the saying goes, but since last year every Halloween in Manchester it gets a whole lot grimmer as the North’s premier horror film festival Grimm Up North brings four days of frightening films taking place from the 28th of October to Halloween itself on the 31st.
Launched last year the inaugural festival screened 25 features, including 15 premieres from Japan, Finland, Germany, Romania, Canada and Australia and this year promises a whole host of films all screened at the fabulous 420 seater art deco Dancehouse cinema situated in the heart of Manchester city centre.
Much more than just a film festival Grimm Up North features special guests, Q & A’s, seminars and an exhibition of props and prosthetics from famous movies as well as this year an exclusive sneak peek of the eagerly awaited horror video game Splatterhouse.
An arcade classic from 1988 Splatterhouse caused controversy due to its content and spawned two sick sequels. Now Namco Bandai bring the brutal blood and guts beat-em-up kicking and screaming into the hi-def console age and Grimm Up North goers get to see and play it first, ahead of its release on PlayStation 3 and Xbox360.
For fright film fans the schedule is equally exciting with the Gala opening night, taking place on Thursday October 28th, bringing the Vincent Price classic The Last Man on Earth to the screen again with a live soundtrack provided by electronica collective Animat.
This will be followed by stylish psychological horror Outcast where the members of the cast and crew including screenwriter Tom McCarthy and star Hanna Stanbridge will be attending and answering questions afterwards and then heading to the Odder Bar for the opening night after party.
Day two begins with Canadian Zom-Com Reel Zombies which receives its English premiere at the festival followed by a surprise film and then another premiere with The Reeds. A UK horror where a bunch of 20-somethings head out for a weekend boating trip but soon find themselves part of a deadly game at the hands of some locals, the members of the cast and crew will be joining the screening for a Q&A after.
Dario Argento’s 1975 classic Deep Red is up next in the form of a new High Definition transfer and we head to the far east for the final two films of the day with Hong Kong’s Dream Home and Japan’s kick ass crazy kinetic Alien Vs Ninja.
The wicked weekend whips us up in a frenzy with Fragment about a man with a piece of shrapnel embedded in his head who discovers he can take photographs of dead people and bring them back to life.
With Billy Zane playing a mysterious undead slaying prophet Evil: In the Time of Heroes details the battle between human and zombiekind which has raged for centuries with hilarious results. Described as “a film that will split your sides and then eat what falls out” this is a must see.
French fear fest The Pack (La Meute) follows with the love letter to the Giallo genre Amer on afterwards. British horror 13 Hrs tells the tale of a group of teens terrorised by a mysterious beast and the cast and crew including director Jonathan Glendening and scream siren Gemma Atkinson will be there to reveal all.
Taught Thai terror tale Slice combines elements of Seven and Slumdog Millionaire in a brilliantly bizarre thriller and the final movie for the eve of all Hallows Eve is Chop a late night piece of grind house torture porn perfect to drag you kicking and screaming into Halloween morning.
Sunday 31st of October is Halloween and the final day of Grimm Up North which opens with Finale a dark, intense, gothic supernatural movie about a mysterious soul collector. South Korean Bedevilled follows detailing the downtrodden life of a woman on a small island, abused and pushed around by everyone till she can take no more and turns on them with nasty results.
Aussie gore fest Primal has a flock of teens heading into the wild and getting turned into rabid flesh hungry Neanderthals brought about by some ancient creepy caves. The final film of the day and the festival is the Mexican family cannibal drama We Are What We Are a dark disturbing piece of powerful cinema to end the amazing Grimm Up North line up on.
Although the films may be over the party keeps going as Zombie Aid host a Halloween parade through Manchester from 6pm, followed by the Grimm Up North Awards Party at the Odder Bar from 8.30pm, where the winners of the festival will be announced. An after party at The Ruby Lounge and The Haunted House Party continues till 3am.
Grimm Up North this year also introduces The Breakout Room showcasing the best low budget indie movies, documentaries, short films and seminars throughout the weekend for the horror connoisseur looking for something a little different.
Guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat titles being shown include brutal U.S horror Sweatshop, Indonesian comedy horror Chased By Satan, Canadian grind house and wonderfully named Dead Hooker in a Trunk and fear at 40,000 feet in Altitude along with horror documentary The Splat Pack featuring interviews with Adam Green, Neil Marshall, Eli Roth and many more.
For up to date news and full coverage of the festival keep your eyes peeled on LoveHorror and on the Grimm Up North website Here where you can purchases festival passes and individual tickets for all the main screenings. The Festival Pass gives you access to the whole line up of films, seminars, features, events and more. However tickets for the Gala Opening Night event must be purchased separately.