This year was the 14th Grimmfest, and its 15th anniversary. It is a diverse and well respected horror festival that has a lot of the greatest talent the global indie circuit has to offer on display. We had a writer present all four days, catching most of what was on offer, and doing a spotlight review of each day. Below is a roundup of these thoughts, any links to full Grimoire of Horror reviews, and some extra details from the festival.
Shorts Programme One
Short film blocks are a great way to kick off a festival! A good chance for a diverse variety pack, this one had quite the theme of babies and/or parasites. The stand out short was Ringworms by Director Will Lee (be wary of Trypophobia here, even with its comedic edge this is a short with visceral imagery), although the dreamlike surrealism of Fabio Colonna’s Unheimlich was a striking experience to soak up too.
The Grimmfest website has a full write up of what was on offer to track down. Check that out here.
The Loneliest Boy in the World
This feature perfectly encapsulates the 80s ask-no-questions magical coming of age movie, only with a morbid twist. Our spotlight review for Thursday, this is set to garner a lot of attention next year once it hits a US theatrical release.
A small cast of colourful characters are at the mercy of a transformative monster in a creature feature with a layered meaning to the title. A rideshare app leads to a roadtrip across a remote part of Spain, that results in a different kind of passenger when a strange parasite is encountered. Described by Grimmfest staff as “The Thing in the back of a van”, it has a lot to offer genre fans.
One of the stand out movies of festival season 2022! A morally murky dark tragedy unfolds as the bullying of a town’s outcast girl collides with a spree killer’s next targets. Piggy will make for incredibly interesting discussions with friends after having seen it, as to where everyone’s sympathies lie. What actions do people approve of, and anything they would like to have seen happen instead?
This feature was reviewed by us earlier in festival season. Check it out here.
“Confrontational” was the word of warning given up front about this one. This is an unrepentantly sadistic experience that revels in the cruelty of its premise. Very much not for everyone, but if you’re a fan of extreme cinema you will be rewarded here. Artistic presentation to a high standard, dreamlike moments of strange beauty, and character studies of an extreme you won’t quite get anywhere else.
A French remake of One Cut of the Dead that’s also an in-universe French remake of the Japanese film within the film of One Cut of the Dead. It’s one big meta joke about film making, and it’s a lot of fun. The one caveat is that it isn’t a horror movie in the slightest, and is instead more a mockumentary about the process behind making horror movies.
Not caught as a part of Grimmfest coverage, here is a Grimoire of Horror review from earlier in festival season.
House of Darkness
A dialogue driven horror drama, where a man out of his depth doesn’t realise quite how much danger he may be in if he says the wrong thing. Not the most action packed, but it’s a brilliantly written game of cat and mouse with a great pay off ending.
This was our spotlight review for Friday.
A fun and charismatic cast of characters takes the audience on a dark journey in the world of full service sex work that ends in tragedy. The insight into their lives begins bleak, gets worse, then culminates in a series of scenes that risk leaving an indelible stain on the memories of viewers.
Not caught as a part of Grimmfest coverage, here is a Grimoire of Horror review from earlier in festival season.
Shorts Programme Two
Not caught by our writer (getting enough rest on a four day festival can be tricky), Grimmfest has a full listing to check out of their selected shorts on their website.
Our writer’s favourite film of the festival (and so far this year, too)! While technically a dark fantasy, the Teeth monster may be the most terrifying thing this year’s Grimmfest. An incredibly creative journey across a little girl’s imagination packs in a whole lot of heart while it impresses with practical effects.
Our spotlight review of this outstanding gem of a movie can be found here.
The international premier of The Goldsmith was not caught by our writer, but here is more detail from Grimmfest on this feature.
Last year’s Night Drive with AJ Bowen was a fun magical realism road trip around LA, this is an expanded roam around Utah and New Mexico. A reluctant protagonist, a strange woman, and a deranged pursuer will entertain in this indie Science Fiction thriller.
The Price We Pay
Shades of From Dusk Till Dawn when a heist going wrong leaves most of the gang, plus a hostage, in far worse danger than if they had just faced the police. An ultimately simple premise with a small cast, but a fun one for action fans who like their gore. Impressive wound detail and medical trauma make for an enjoyable violent spectacle.
A refreshingly fun, if admitted dumb, energetic action movie. The jokes come thick and fast, while everyone making it is clearly having a blast. This is the perfect mix of absurd entertainment to remain a watch party staple for years to come.
Malibu Horror Story
This found footage horror movie was not covered by our writer, but there are more details on the Grimmfest website here.
A great creepy feature with an extra sinister evil entity. Structured around, and making great use of, pandemic lockdown anxiety The Harbinger is going to get under your skin and stick with you. Bad dreams aren’t going to feel safe for a while after watching it.
This was our writer’s spotlight movie for Sunday.
It was also covered earlier in festival season by another writer if you would like another perspective.
Tragedy and comedy collide in a dark tale of despair and consensual(ish) cannibalism. This is a truly twisted story that a lot won’t find palatable, but with the right sense of morbid humour you will gobble this right up. Without a doubt a very weird movie, but a rewarding one to stick with to the final moments.
After an attempt to fix the failing ecosystem with genetic engineering backfires horribly, Earth in now a very different place. Nature as it once was is gone now, replaced with strange and dangerous new life forms that are also the foundation of the post-apocalyptic technology. There is beauty in the bleakness world, not to mention hope, as the audience is shown this new world through the eyes of Vesper.
Do Not Disturb
Some couples will do anything except go to therapy, including a dangerous amount of drugs they don’t know the strength or dosage of. While you get a few laughs from the initial high, this devolves into a bleak and dark conclusion that is pretty dragged out. This won’t be for everyone, but if you liked Harpoon you may get a kick out of this as terrible things happen to a small cast of unlikeable characters.
This was sadly the point our writer called it a day on the festival and headed home. Here are some further details from Grimmfest.
With a great premise of a Thai take on the Japanese Kaiju movie, this sadly would not have been possible to cover even if our writer stayed later due to the timings of the last train home! Here are some details from Grimmfest.
Each year Grimmfest has a great array of vendors! Here is our coverage released through The Banshee on Facebook so you can look over what was on offer, and who the talented creators were to track down their horror products yourselves!
The overall takeaway from Grimmfest is that, while being on location for a full four days is exhausting, the experience is more than worth it. If you find yourself in the Manchester, UK area of an October? This is an event well worth joining in on! You don’t need a full festival pass and accommodation set up, this is a brilliantly flexible festival that will also do a per-screening admission like a regular cinema visit with each movie, and the vendors are open to the public Friday to Sunday meaning everyone can come to the Great Northern Odeon to soak up the horror magic on offer.
More Film Festival Coverage
Santiago Mendoza (Harold Torres) is a successful tabloid crime photographer in Mexico City, who has developed a hard exterior in order to deal with the extreme violence he photographs. One… A Wounded Fawn opens with a quote from Surrealist painter and author Leonora Carrington: “I suddenly became aware that I was both mortal and touchable and that I could be… In the middle of a pandemic, times are hard for Eula Baek and the restaurant she inherited from her grandfather. A plan to get some rare truffles to help raise… Follow Her is a 2022 American horror thriller, written by Dani Barker and directed by Sylvia Caminer. Aspiring actress/social media influencer Jess responds to a mystifying classified ad to work… New Religion is a 2022 Japanese surrealist horror, written and directed by Keishi Kondo in his feature-length debut. Kenshi is also known as the writer/director/cinematographer behind the drama short See… Prisoners of the Ghostland wastes no time engaging viewers with its opening scene depicting the curious contrast of the stark white interior of a bank with its many patrons donned…
Disappear Completely (2022) Film Review – The Horror of Losing Oneself
A Wounded Fawn (2022) Film Review – The Faun and the Muse
Peppergrass (2021) Film Review – Truffles To Die For
Follow Her (2022) Film Review – Revenge is a Dish Best Served Digitally
New Religion (2022) Film Review – The Degradation of Society
Prisoners of the Ghostland (2021) Film Review – East Meets West for a Radioactive Psycho-Western
Santiago Mendoza (Harold Torres) is a successful tabloid crime photographer in Mexico City, who has developed a hard exterior in order to deal with the extreme violence he photographs. One…
A Wounded Fawn opens with a quote from Surrealist painter and author Leonora Carrington: “I suddenly became aware that I was both mortal and touchable and that I could be…
In the middle of a pandemic, times are hard for Eula Baek and the restaurant she inherited from her grandfather. A plan to get some rare truffles to help raise…
Follow Her is a 2022 American horror thriller, written by Dani Barker and directed by Sylvia Caminer. Aspiring actress/social media influencer Jess responds to a mystifying classified ad to work…
New Religion is a 2022 Japanese surrealist horror, written and directed by Keishi Kondo in his feature-length debut. Kenshi is also known as the writer/director/cinematographer behind the drama short See…
Prisoners of the Ghostland wastes no time engaging viewers with its opening scene depicting the curious contrast of the stark white interior of a bank with its many patrons donned…
Luke Greensmith is an Editor at the Grimoire of Horror and an active folklorist as well as working in film across a few roles. While this can cover quite a wide range of things, he’s a dedicated horror fan at heart and pretty involved with horror communities both online and local to him. You can find their folklore work on the Ghost Story Guys Podcast, their own LukeLore podcast, and accompanying the artist Wanda Fraser’s Dark Arts series as well as on the Grimoire of Horror itself.