Shock & Gore 2016 listings

Shock & Gore 2016 launch night: The Shining (15) at Highbury Hall

Friday 8th July
7pm and midnight
£18 all tickets

Opening the sixth year of the annual Shock and Gore horror and fantasy film festival is a very special screening of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in the spectacular (and possibly haunted) environs of Highbury Hall.

Located in Kings Heath, just three miles outside the city centre, guests will be invited to join us at this stunning manor, long since used as a residential premise, for a screening of one the greatest horror stories ever conceived. Jack Nicholson eats up the screen as a stressed writer who holes up in The Overlook Hotel with his wife and child, unaware of the hotel’s tragic past – one that still lingers in the building, echoing through the halls.

We are also thrilled that our friends from Conjurer’s Kitchen will be along to provide a sensory experience of edible delights inspired by the movie. With any luck the screening will go ahead without any shocking or spooky goings on, but we can’t promise anything. It’s a night when the dead will make themselves heard, when the past will come to life around you…

Night Of The Demon (PG)

Friday 15th to Thursday 21st July
Various times
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Made in the 1950s, Night Of The Demon might have been pitched as a monster story on its initial release, but director Jacques Tourneur’s film is a much subtler, more effective horror than that. Based on the MR James story Casting The Runes, Dana Andrews plays Dr. John Holden, a scientist who comes to the UK with express purpose of debunking an infamous Satanist (Nial MacGinnis). After a series of supernatural occurences, Holden must struggle with his own scepticism as he comes to believe that a curse placed upon him might be all too real.

Night Of The Demon is best known for the battle between director Jacques Tourneur and his producers, the latter inserting shots of a demon that went against everything Tourneur was attempting with the film. The terror is in everything you don’t see – but what you do see is the work of a master.

Kill Me Please (15)

Friday 15th July
6pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Barra da Tijuca, the West Side Zone of Rio de Janeiro. A wave of murderers plague the area as young women are stabbed and strangled. What starts off as a morbid curiosity for the local youth slowly begins to spoil away at their lives. Among them is Bia (Valentina Herszage), a fifteen year old girl, and after an encounter with death, she will do anything to make sure she’s alive.

Garnering significant buzz at last year’s SXSW festival, Kill Me Please is an arresting debut from Portugese director Anita Rocha da Silveira that delves into the mind of the privileged but disaffected modern day teenager as its protagonist starts to empathise more with the murdered girls in the news than her peers.

A stop off point somewhere between the beautiful nightmares of David Lynch and the emotionally cold landscape of Bret Easton Ellis, Kill Me Please plucks at the links between sex and death in the morbid teenager’s mind.

Closet Monster (15)

Friday 15th July
8.30pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Terror can be sharp and shocking, or it can be subtle and unsettling. For Oscar, the protagonist of Stephen Dunn’s dazzling new film Closet Monster, it’s the terror of accepting his own sexuality that’s keeping him up at night. Lucky he’s got that talking hamster to confide in, eh?

It’s witnessing a vicious hate crime that leaves Oscar so conflicted about his own coming out, something that sticks with him into adulthood. Spending his spare time practicing grotesque make-up on his best friend Gemma or conversing with his pet hamster Buffy (voiced by Isabella Rossellini), he knows there’s a violent reckoning coming, a battle with the monster lurking in his closet.

Featuring a star making turn from Connor Jessup as Oscar and some suitably Cronenberg-esque body horror (Dunn being a fellow Canuck), Closet Monster is a coming out story with real guts.

Ghostbusters (12A)

Friday 15th to Thursday 21st July
Various times
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Who ya gonna call? Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Melissa McCarthy and Leslie Jones, that’s who. The Ghostbusters are back, and much to the terror of certain online stick-in-the-muds, they happen to be female.

A paranormal researcher (McCarthy), a physicist (Wiig), a nuclear engineer (McKinnon) and a subway worker (Jones) try to rid New York of ghosts that can possess humans in director Paul Feig’s brand new take on the Ghostbusters franchise, complete with Chris Hemsworth as the eye candy secretary and cameos from the original Ghostbusters actors. And Slimer, natch.

Once again taking much of its cast from legendary US sketch show Saturday Night Live, naysayers be slimed, for this is sure to be one of the must-see films of the summer.

Cinematic Time Machine: Deep Red (18)

Friday 15th July
10.30pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

It’s one of the great perversions of life that murder can be beautiful, and there’s nobody who can make murder look quite as beautiful as Italian auteur Dario Argento.

With his 1975 feature Deep Red (aka Profondo Rosso, aka The Hatchet Murders), Argento produced arguably the greatest giallo movie ever made. David Hemmings stars as a man who witnesses the brutal axe murder of a woman in her apartment and decides to track down the perpetrator, leading him into a tangled web of murder and mystery that features brutal deaths, homicidal black gloves and a memorable Goblin score.

Having influenced creations as disparate as John Carpenter’s Halloween and twisted TV soap Pretty Little Liars, Argento’s impact on popular culture is astonishingly broad. Watch his masterpiece in its 127 minute director’s cut to truly appreciate his devilish artistry.

Manhunter: 30th Anniversary (18)

Friday 15th to Thursday 21st July
10.45pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

The Thomas Harris novel Red Dragon has now been adapted for the screen three times, most recently during the final season of NBC’s Hannibal, and debate rages as to who did it best. For us, there’s no competition. Michael Mann’s forensic thriller Manhunter is a masterpiece of tension and screen composition, and with Brian Cox gave us the world’s very first Hannibal Lector (or Lektor, in this instance).

William Peterson plays FBI profiler Will Graham, brought out of early retirement to track down a brutal serial killer named the Tooth Fairy (Tom Noonan). To do this, he consults the best mind he knows – imprisoned cannibal Dr. Hannibal Lecktor, who helps Graham get into the mind of the Tooth Fairy. A place he might never return from.

Restrained and unashamedly intellectual, Manhunter is revered for its technical mastery as much as its storyline, but it’s Noonan’s unnerving performance that will stay with you. His is a human monster, one you can both sympathise with and despise.

Fear Itself (18) + director Q&A

Saturday 16th July
2.30pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Half-heard whispers. A creaking door. A missed step. From Vertigo to Videodrome, the scariest movies exploit our greatest and most basic fears. Constructed from a carefully chosen selection of cinema’s most heart-stopping moments, Charlie Lyne’s fascinating film explores how filmmakers scare us – and why we let them.

A girl haunted by traumatic events (voiced by Amy E. Watson) takes us on a mesmerising journey through 100 years of horror cinema to uncover the fundamental nature of fear. It may change the way you watch horror movies for good.

This screening will be followed by an onstage Q&A with director Charlie Lyne, hosted by Shock & Gore programmer David Baldwin.

The Craft (15) + Charlie Lyne intro

Saturday 16th July
5.30pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Released in 1996 at the very beginning of the 90s teen horror boom, The Craft has become a true cult classic over the past twenty years, winning itself a largely female fanbase with its bounty of metaphors for adolescent self-discovery and depiction of feminine empowerment.

Fairuza Balk, Neve Campbell and Rachel True are the ‘Bitches of Eastwick’, a high school clique who also happen to dabble in a spot of witchcraft. They’re looking to find a fourth member to complete their circle, but when they choose Robin Tunney’s troubled new girl, they find that their increased power comes with a price, setting the stage for a magical showdown that will split the coven in two.

Made for anybody who feels like an outsider (so that’s all of us, then), The Craft is so gloriously 90s it even has a role for Skeet Ulrich. This twentieth anniversary screening will be introduced by director Charlie Lyne, who recently worked with Fairuza Balk on his teen movie doc Beyond Clueless.

Lights Out (15)

Saturday 16th July
8.15pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Join us for a special preview of what’s set to be one of the year’s most memorable horror films – Lights Out, a spine tingling chiller produced by James Wan and directed by David Sandberg, who has expanded his original short film into something much more terrifying.

When Rebecca (Teresa Palmer) left home, she thought she had left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out – and now her little brother Martin (Gabriel Bateman) is experiencing the same terrifying events that had once tested her sanity. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother Sophie (Maria Bello) has re-emerged, and as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, she realises that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.

With Wan’s stamp of approval, you know that Lights Out is going to deliver the goods, and it does so with the kind of panache you wouldn’t normally expect from a first time director. If you’re not afraid of the dark now, you most certainly will be after watching Lights Out.

90s Horror Party Night: Scream vs The Crow (18)

Saturday 16th July
10.15pm (Scream) and 10.45pm (The Crow)
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

The 1990s were a very good decade for horror, and for this year’s annual party night, we’ll be celebrating the decade by offering audiences the chance to choose between two cult 90s horror films.

First up is Wes Craven’s 1996 horror Scream, a game changing meta slasher that legitimately changed an entire genre, Kevin Williamson’s razor sharp script placing characters who’ve actually watched horror films in the middle of a horror film. And with Craven behind the camera, the self-aware subversion never outweighs the terror, a nail biting opening sequence confirming Craven as one of the greatest horror directors in history.

Your other option for the night is 1994 comic book feature The Crow, starring Brandon Lee as a man who rises from the dead to avenge both his own death and that of his fiancée. With B movie favourites like Tony Todd and Michael Wincott in the cast and a powerhouse performance from Lee, this darkly poetic Gothic horror stands as one of the greatest genre films of the 90s.

After the films, both audiences will unite for the 2016 Shock & Gore Awards, as we award the best films of the past year with accolades such as Best Death and Best Horror, followed swiftly after by big screen videogaming and some suitably 90s music on the playlist (Love Spit Love, anyone?).

Don’t Look Now (15)

Sunday 17th July
12pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

It takes a true craftsman to imbue every frame of a film with dread and grief. Such is the craft on display with Don’t Look Now, Nicolas Roeg’s exceptional supernatural drama about a couple trying to recover from the recent loss of their daughter.

Said couple are Laura and John Baxter (played by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie), their stay in Venice interrupted by two psychics, who approach Christie with news that they have been speaking to the spirit of her dead child. When John starts seeing visions of what he believes could be his daughter, the past, present and future start to intermingle with terrifying results.

Based on a Daphne du Maurier story, Don’t Look Now is, in every scene, a rebuke to anybody who considers the horror genre as somehow ‘lesser’ than other cinematic genres. Its beauty and psychological insight can stand alongside the greatest movies ever made, and it was undoubtedly the pinnacle of Roeg’s career.

Billy The Kid & The Green Baize Vampire (PG)

Sunday 17th July
5pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Alan Clarke was known for many things, notably his unflinching camera and a focus on society’s marginalised, but in the mid 80s he made what’s probably the strangest and most out-of-character film on his CV – a musical about a snooker playing vampire.

Billy The Kid & The Green Baize Vampire features Phil Daniels as an up-and-coming snooker player looking to challenge Alun Armstrong’s reigning champion, who also happens to be a vampire. The loser will never play snooker professionally again.

Made for cinemas rather than Clarke’s usual home of the BBC and featuring a collection of brilliant songs from composer George Fenton, including Armstrong’s showstopper I Bite Back, this British curio is

Queen Of Earth (15)

Sunday 17th July
8pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Horror can come in many forms. The horrors of a fractured mind, say. A fractured mind like the one owned by the central character of Queen Of Earth, Alex Ross’s disturbing new film that features a fantastically unbalanced performance from Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss.

Catherine (Moss) has entered a particularly dark period in her life: her father has recently died, and on the heels of his death she’s dumped by her boyfriend. Looking to recuperate, Catherine heads out to her best friend Virginia’s (Katherine Waterston) lake house for some much needed relaxation. However, once Catherine arrives, fissures in the relationship between the two women begin to appear, sending Catherine into a downward spiral of delusion and madness.

Think Polanski or Bergman for the prevailingly unsettling atmosphere of Queen Of Earth, a thrilling examination of a deeply complex relationship between two miserable women.

Angel Heart (18)

Monday 18th July
6pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

The Faustian pact is a horror trope that’s been used in a number of memorably disturbing ways, and near the top of the list has to be Alan Parker’s stylish 1987 horror Angel Heart.

Mickey Rourke plays washed-up detective Harry Angel, hired by Robert De Niro’s mysterious Louis Cyphre to track down a singer named Jonny Favourite. As he delves into Favourite’s past in the sweaty backrooms of New Orleans, Angel soon discovers he’s dealing with a case like nothing he’s ever dealt with, and one that will have violent implications for his own life.

Awash in 80s lighting and brutally violent deaths, Angel Heart is a world away from anything else on Parker’s directorial CV, and the ‘twist’ at the heart of the story is so obvious it’s almost the point – sometimes the Devil is stood right in front of you, and you still can’t see him.

The Hunger (18)

Monday 18th July
8.45pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Compared to a lot of rock stars who merely like to dabble in acting, David Bowie was a more committed thespian, working with the likes of Alan Clarke, David Lynch and Christopher Nolan across a very impressive acting CV.

Tony Scott’s erotic vampire fable The Hunger suited his sexually androgynous persona down to a tee, casting Bowie as the lover of Catherine Deneueve’s Egyptian bloodsucker Mirian, who finds the immortality he has been promised isn’t quite as ‘eternal’ as he thought. Tracking down Susan Sarandon’s blood doctor, it soon becomes clear that Miriam has designs on another life partner.

There’s no question that The Hunger is the very definition of style over substance, but Scott’s style –here best defined as erotic horror meets European arthouse – is so deliciously addictive that it seems silly to complain. This is cinema at its most seductive, thanks in no small part to Bowie’s performance.

Shock & Gore 2016 Short Film Showcase (18)

Tuesday 19th July
6.15pm
£5 all seats, £4 concs

The horror genre perfectly suits the short film format, offering up opportunities for snappy jump scares, extreme set pieces or brief snippets of terror. Every year Shock & Gore looks for some of the best weird and wonderful short films from across the globe, and this year is no exception.

Previous years have featured films from as far aflung as Japan, Dubai, Canada, the US, France and Italy, as well as a number of homegrown shorts. From psychotic bunnies to homicidal housemates, this collection is always one of the highlights of the festival, with the full list of films added to our official website three weeks before the screening date.

Conjurer’s Kitchen presents Harold & Maude (15)

Tuesday 19th July
8.15pm
£25.90 sofas, £22.50 front row sofas, £20.70 std (no concs)

Over the past few years, food artist Annabel de Vetten has created an amazing array of culinary delights themed to classic films under her Conjurer’s Kitchen banner, including Pulp Fiction, Se7en and Shaun Of The Dead.

For this year’s Shock & Gore festival, Annabel will be revisiting one of her favourite films, namely Hal Ashby’s morbidly romantic Harold & Maude. Bud Cort plays a morbidly obsessed teenager who spends his time faking his own death, only to find his life changed forever when he begins a relationship with Ruth Gordon’s bubbly septuagenarian.

As ever, exact details of what treats audience members will receive are top secret until the night itself, but expect to see and sense Harold & Maude like you’ve never experienced it before.

Shock & Gore 2016 Feature Film Winner (18)

Wednesday 20th July
6pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Another batch of perfectly twisted feature films have come our way this year from both established and first-time directors from across the world, and once again we’ll be hosting a screening of the very best submission during the festival.

Previous years have seen wins for Matthew A Brown’s rape revenge thriller Julia and Andrew Spencer’s haunting tale The Casebook Of Eddie Brewer, so check out www.shockandgore.co.uk three weeks before the screening date to find out just which film has bagged the prize and will receive a prime slot in the festival programme.

Birmingham Ghost Tour + MR James Ghost Stories (15)

Wednesday 20th July
7pm (Meet outside Council House on Victoria Square)
£15 sofas, £14.50 front row sofas, £13 std (no concs)

Last year’s Birmingham ghost tour was a highlight of the festival, so our 2016 event will once again see the Birmingham Ghost Walk team take a group across the city for some haunting Midlands history, followed by a screening at The Electric Cinema.

Taking a slightly different route around the city centre than last time round, hear tales of gravediggers, poltergeists and spectral figures before ending up in Screen 2 of The Electric Cinema.

There you’ll hear a tale or two about the cinema’s own dark history, before settling down for a series of short films adapted from the author M.R. James – The Mezzotint, The Ash Tree, Wailing Well, The Rose Garden and Oh, Whistle & I’ll Come To You, My Lad. Originally broadcast on the BBC and featuring a number of supernatural tales that take in haunted pictures, witches and disturbing visions, they’ll make the perfect capper to a very creepy evening.

The Greasy Strangler (18)

Thursday 21st July
6.15pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

Experience one of the weirdest and filthiest comedies of the year months before its official release, as The Greasy Strangler comes to Shock & Gore.

Set in Los Angeles, we follow Ronnie (Michael St. Michaels), a man who runs a disco walking tour along with his browbeaten son Brayden (Sky Elobar). When a sexy woman comes to take the tour, it begins a competition between father and son for her attention just as an oily, inhuman maniac stalks the streets – a killer known as The Greasy Strangler.

Jim Hosking’s very hard to categorise film is pure depravity that will appeal to any fan of John Waters and features a lo-fi score from Andrew Hung of Fuck Buttons fame. Not one for the weak of stomach or easily offended, you’ll be confused, thrilled, disgusted and appalled. What’s not to love?

Trash Film Night presents The Howling II: Your Sister’s A Werewolf (18)

Thursday 21st July
8.45pm
£13.90 sofas, £10.50 front row sofas, £8.70 std, £5.90 concs

The first Howling movie was great. The second Howling movie…was not. Prepare yourselves for some true cinematic horrors as our regular Trash Film Night presents the cinematic travesty that is The Howling II: Your Sister’s A Werewolf (original title – Stirba: Werewolf Bitch).

Featuring werewolf orgies, genuinely awful effects, a plot that entirely contradicts the first film a and a credits sequence that repeats the exact same moment of female nudity a whopping SEVENTEEN TIMES, The Howling II really is something special/awful, a film that literally seeps 80s naffness.

So join Trash Film Night hosts Luke and David for their usual live commentary as they guide a stunned, suicidal audience through one of the worst films ever made.

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