Thursday, 19 May 2011


Monday was a busy, busy day on the hunt for GRIMMFEST content. Too many horror screenings in fact! I missed an early screening (Cos I'm rubbish at getting up early!) of THE WICKER TREE, the sequel to the original THE WICKERMAN and directed by Robin Hardy (The man behind the original). Although I've heard rumours it's not that hot!

I chose morning screening of new UK (Screen Yorkshire and Warp X) horror KILL LIST over Xavier Gens (FRONTIERS) new movie THE DIVIDE, which I hope to find out more about soon. KILL LIST is a really interesting movie with great naturalistic performances from its key cast which includes Myanna Buring (The DESCENT 1 +2), our guest at GRIMM UP NORTH 2009. As the plot unfolds we come to realise that our slightly unbalanced family man lead character is actually a contract killer with a list of victims he must take down for cash. As you might suspect, things don't go to plan and slowly we come to realise that something is very wrong in this world. The film takes an unexpected change of direction in the 3rd act (ala DUSK TILL DAWN) into classic horror territory which surprises shocks but also mystifies a little. I'm not sure the jarring plot totally adds up but it's certainly a visceral and involving watch, sometimes violently shocking, sometimes very funny! Definitely worth a watch. Think it's gonna screen at FRIGHTFEST later this year and if its not released by October, we'd be keen to screen at GRIMM.

THE SPEAK is an interesting little US supernatural thriller, cleverly utilising the one take visual style we saw in THE SILENT HOUSE recently.  Despite the restrictions you might associate with this technical and stylistic choice the film manages to remain atmospheric and at times pretty scary, it also has a cameo from Tom Sizemore.

Sacrificed screenings of Kevin Smith's RED STATE and new UK horror HOLLOW for the Screen international party. Was it a mistake? Well, the UK Minister for Culture, Ed Vaizey and Gregg Dyke (head of BFI) talked to the crowd of UK film talent and expressed their political differences but also their joint commitment to British film. After the demise of the UK film council and the move of responsibilities to the BFI, it's not yet clear if anything has really changed? Here, I also bumped into Piers Tempest who produced new ghost thriller THE CALLER which stars Stephen Moyer of TRUE BLOOD fame and comes out later this year in the UK. The trailer looks intriguing.

We finished at the Finnish party! I wasn't sure I'd find much on the horror/fantasy side of things here until, of course, I remembered that Nazi Scifi movie IRON SKY is a Finnish film. The part crowd source financed movie revolves around WW2 style Nazi's who have hung out on the darkside of the moon until now. They mean to take back Western Europe and the rest of the world! It's a crazy concept, which looks visually spectacular; utilising major CGI effects work on a pretty limited budget. The film gets a UK release later this year. I talked to the producer and discussed the potential of bringing the movie to GRIMM this year. Watch the trailer here:


Last night was a real treat for me and probably my highlight of Cannes this year. I persuaded Rachel to join me for a screening of CORMAN'S WORLD, a new documentary about the king of exploitation movies, Roger Corman, not realising we were actually attending the official festival screening. The film is in competition and so Roger himself was in attendance along with sixties rebel rouser and icon, Peter Fonda. What a treat! The documentary was a fantastic insight into Corman's life and work and includes interviews from so many of the famous people whose careers he helped to kick start. Jack Nicholson, Ron Howard, Joe Dante, Martin Scorsese, etc, etc. A brilliant insight and also bloody funny in places! Were very keen to secure this for this year's GRIMM UP NORTH!!!

Desperate to blag our way into the Corman after party but failing miserably, we found ourselves at the 5 DAYS OF AUGUST after party. I haven't managed to catch this new offering from Action Maestro Renny Harlin yet but it looks more in the tradition of UNDER FIRE or THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY (Journos in a war zone). Great cast, Rupert Friend, Val Kilmer, Andy Garcia, etc. Unfortunately we didn't spot any of the cast at the party although Renny himself was in attendance. The cocktails flowed and the music kept us gyrating, somewhat precariously, courtesy of Val and co. Brilliant party and surprise meet up with the director and producer of Grimmfest 2009 movie, THE FALLOWFIELD. Leigh Dovey and Colin Arnold told us all about their current movie projects. Leigh has written a number of new horror screenplays and Colin has just completed a new music documentary, which is being compared in some quarters to RATTLE AND HUM! Nice work guys.



Sleep isn't something you do a lot of in Cannes! Drinking, yes, chatting, yes, Watch movies, yes but sleep....

Wednesday, I caught a screening of Honk Kong movie REVENGE: A LOVE STORY. A strong and violent crime thriller (of which this part of the world do so well).  It's bloody, very bloody! The initial plot revolves around the hunt for a serial killer who picks on pregnant mothers and cuts the unborn child from their wombs. Uncomfortable stuff! But, the film stays true to its title. What starts in slasher territory does manage to embrace not only bloody revenge but also a central love story between the killer and a young girl, whose violent treatment at the hands of the local police is what triggers the killers actions. A clever time shifting structure unravels a really interesting plot. Like SLICE that we screened last year, this film will undoubtedly divide audiences.

Also caught a little US teen scifi movie called RECREATOR, which drops three teenagers on a desolate island only to find that the scientist who once worked there had developed cloning technology. Essentially the film revolves around our hero's battle for supremacy against their cloned doppelgangers. Interesting concept, well made but could have pushed the concept further, I feel. RECREATOR'S sales company Cinemavault have also offered us a new movie called WARGAMES, which I'm yet to view but the trailer looks cool!

There's a lot of horror movies here in the market place and too many to mention here but a couple I've picked up on are: The new film from the Soska sisters AMERICAN MARY. I don't think it's finished yet but anticipation is growing already! Cuban zombie movie JUAN OF THE DEAD, franchise revival, THE HOWLING REBORN, US horror, THE TOOLBOX MURDERS and a new low budget UK psychological thriller from  Nick Lean (Grandson of David) called HARD SHOULDER. Female lead Angela Dixon shared dinner with us and told us all about the production, which sounds fascinating. Well be beckoning the movie for GRIMM this year.


Didn't catch many films on Tuesday but did manage to hook up with a number of sales companies to discuss potential movies for GRIMM UP NORTH 2011.  First off, It was great to catch up with an old friend of mine who works for IM Global a very large US sales company who brought us PARANORMAL ACTIVITY amongst other things. IM GLOBAL also sell all the AFTER DARK movies. I'm hoping I've secured a GRIMM screening of a new fantasy/action movie they have called BAKARU which stars Woody Harrelson, Demmi Moore, Josh Hartnet, etc. The film was shot in Eastern Europe and the trailer reveals a heady mix of martial arts, crazy futuristic cityscapes and violent action. Fascinating!

Bleiberg Entertainment  are selling  EPISODE 50, a supernatural found footage movie, that's getting some good coverage in the market as is Sundance selected THE WOMAN. Finally, CMG are plugging DEADHEADS a horror zombie comedy.

Our own movie SPLINTERED is being sold by Kaleidoscope distribution who also have a new UK comedy chiller called ELFIE HOPKINS which brings father and daughter Ray and Jaime Winstone together for the first time in a comic tale of small town cannibals.

I can also report that GRIMM friend and director of last year's golden scythe awarded 13 HOURS, Jonathan Glendening is also about to start lensing a new movie called STRIPPERS VS WEREWOLVES, which is also being handled by Kaleidoscope. One can only guess at the content!

To round off the day I caught a screening of THE HUNTERS a French psychological thriller by actor/director Chris Briant but with an English speaking cast. It's a contained and gory action thriller set primarily in an abandoned fort and delving into uncomfortable psychological territory as our hero (Briant) uncovers a group of very unsavoury characters, who hunt humans for pleasure. A well shot and at times gripping thriller that amongst others, stars UK actor Steven Waddington.