Monday, October 24, 2011

IFI Horrorthon 2011… The Return

Let’s elaborate further upon the highlights of this year’s IFI Horrorthon programme, for the week that’s in it: IFI Horrorthon 2011 kicks off this Thursday, running through the weekend to our very favourite day of the year… Who doesn’t love Halloween?  

I’d like to begin with a simple, searching query: what’s your favourite scary movie? It’s the mantra proffered by the killer in Wes Craven’s original Scream, and a highly subjective poser indeed: the finest shock cinema, after all, taps directly into our deepest, darkest places, enabling us to tackle the fundamental fears that inform who and what we are.

It’s always been the case that horror cinema can act as a brutally effective mirror to the world in a way that any number of good-meaning but ineffectual prestige movies can’t. Any way you look at it, films like Hostel, Land Of The Dead, A Serbian Film and Kevin Smith’s underrated Red State say far more about the political brutalities of the last decade than multi-million dollar mediocrities like Rendition and Green Zone. At the alternate end of the spectrum, a decent ghost story always plays well; witness the spectacular success of Paranormal Activity 3, which just scored the largest US opening for a horror movie in box-office history, or Insidious, which is already the most profitable release of 2011. 

Blow Out

What the IFI Horrorthon programme always attempts to do is juxtapose the finest new fright cinema with classics from a bygone age, movies that say something about their era – while still thrilling us years later. This year we’re dusting off Brian De Palma’s Blow Out, a masterful conspiracy thriller from the mad genius of the movie brat generation and one of the final farewells from the last true golden age of American cinema; it plays beautifully alongside our double-bill of ‘80s vigilante flicks, The Exterminator and Maniac Cop, reactionary exploitation flicks gleefully giving the (severed) finger to the Reagan era.

The Exterminator

Elsewhere at this year’s IFI Horrorthon, you’ll find Clint Eastwood’s seminal Play Misty ForMe, a proto-genic psycho-stalker flick that established the template for ongoing generations of copycats, most notably Fatal Attraction, and a 25th anniversary screening of James Cameron’s masterpiece Aliens, a joyous relic of a pre-CGI era… Fact: the moment aliens started being pixellated, they stopped being scary. Then there are the classics that we dust off simply because we loved them as kids, and want to turn a whole new generation onto them, while geeking out at them on the big screen: we couldn’t be more delighted to present Mike Hodges’ 1980 ‘re-imagining’ of Flash Gordon (with that Queen soundtrack…) and Jim Henson’s stunning 1982 fantasy epic The Dark Crystal, movies that positively scream to be seen on the big screen.

The Dark Crystal

Thusly, we look forward by looking back. The ongoing evolution of the horror movie is a fascinating and unpredictable one: it’s a genre that (somewhat appropriately) constantly cannibalises itself in search of the Next Big Thing. Just when you think you’ve seen absolutely everything, you catch that unheralded gem that makes it fresh – and frightening – all over again. So make a point to catch some of this year’s fresh IFI Horrorthon discoveries – you can choose from Kidnapped, Snowtown, Rage, Rabies, The Hunt, A Horrible Way To Die, The TheatreBizarre and so many more. You’ll fall in love with being terrified all over again.

Derek O'Connor
Associate Programmer
IFI Horrorthon

For more information on films, bookings and special guests, visit the IFI Horrorthon website

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