Eli Roth's The Green Inferno
If you go down to the woods today, you're sure of a big surprise…
Scary Movies is back for its seventh annual Halloween frightfest at Film Society of Lincoln Center! This year's edition, which opens on All Hallows' Eve and continues through November 7, has more premieres and in-person appearances than ever before, including modern horror stalwart Eli Roth presenting the New York Premeire of his new film The Green Inferno, an homage to the controversial 1980 Italo-horror bloodbath Cannibal Holocaust.
We've also got the U.S. Premiere of All Cheerleaders Die, the latest from indie horror favorite Lucky McKee (The Woman, May), about a group of vengeful undead cheerleaders with supernatural powers. Autopsy screenwriter E.L. Katz brings his directorial debut, the disturbing and darkly comedic Cheap Thrills, for a New York Premiere. And six more films will have their U.S. or New York Premiere in the series, many with the filmmakers in person for Q&As.
John Hough's Twins of Evil
If new isn't your speed, we've got you covered with rare screenings of overlooked horror gems, five of them on 35mm or 16mm prints! Looking for a pregnancy scare? Baby Blood (1990) is for you. Sexy twin vampires more your style? Hammer Horror delicacay Twins of Evil will have you seeing double. Rupert Everett fan? Cemetery Man (1994) is sure to split your sides. In need of a vacation? Make it a Death Weekend (1977).
Method acting gets a whole new meaning in underappreciated slasher Curtains (1983). Let's Scare Jessica to Death (1971) makes lakes eery, as evidenced by this creepy clip. And Rituals (1977) deserves some sort of award for most twisted use of “Teddy Bears' Picnic” in a trailer.
But perhaps our most exciting offering blends old and new: the New York Premiere of the Cabal Cut of Clive Barker's Nightbreed. Don't miss this cult fantasy-horror classic as the author-turned-director, and master of otherwordly terror, meant it to be seen!
Lucky McKee & Chris Sivertson's All Cheerleaders Die
ACROSS THE RIVER (2013) 91 min
Director: Lorenzo Bianchini
Deep in the woodlands of Friuli, on the Italy-Slovenia border, a biologist stationed alone to perform animal census studies (played by an excellent, appropriately rugged-looking Renzo Gariup) makes a frightening discovery. And, no, it doesn’t involve the wildlife… This meticulously crafted naturalist film with a supernatural kick is good old-fashioned storytelling at its finest. In fact, its impeccable sound design and music, atmospheric locations, and slowly building tension are used to such great effect that you’ll feel like you’re trapped there alongside the scientist: damp, isolated, unsettled, scared to death.
AFFLICTED (2013) 85 min
Directors: Clif Prowse & Derek Lee
Clif and Derek’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure? Actor-writer-directors Clif Prowse and Derek Lee put a creepy new spin on the first-person “found-footage” horror subgenre, playing two friends named Clif and Derek who decide to document their tour of Europe despite the latter’s potentially life-threatening medical condition. What begins as a deceptively playful “America’s Least Funny Videos” lark soon takes a gruesome turn when Derek contracts a mysterious infection after a one-night stand with a comely girl who picks him up in a club. The trip goes on, but Derek’s symptoms become more and more extreme, and you could say his illness is a classic case of—whoa, no spoilers, dude! Switching gears, AFFLICTED becomes a high-speed pursuit with Interpol chasing their seemingly superhuman—or subhuman—quarry from Italy to Paris, with Prowse and Lee’s fast-paced and inventive camerawork and effective special effects driving the action like there’s no tomorrow. A CBS Films Release.
Clif Prowse & Derek Lee in Person!
ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE (2013) 90 min
Directors: Lucky McKee & Chris Sivertson
What’s worse than mean-girl cheerleaders? How about resurrected mean-girl cheerleaders with supernatural powers? Following first the gruesome accidental death of the squad captain and then the demise of four other squad members when their car is run off the road after an outdoor party turns into a boys-vs.-girls fight, witchcraft is used to revive and rejuvenate the crash victims , who return to school to avenge themselves on the football players who caused their deaths—and anyone else they don’t like. While character motivation shifts as the action plays out (a sapphic subtext may explain things), there’s more than enough mayhem and laughs to go around in this twisty, satirical take on high-school horror. An Image Entertainment release.
Introduced by producer Andrew van den Houten!
Michele Soavi's Cemetery Man
BABY BLOOD (1990) 84 min
Director: Alain Robak
Though she may work as a circus animal wrangler, there’s one species of wild beast the well-endowed-and-proud-of-it Yanka (Emmanuelle Escourrou) can’t seem to control—men. Yet, surprisingly, it’s not one of her human admirers that ends up impregnating her but a slimy snake-like creature that arrives hidden inside an African leopard, frees itself, and finds refuge in her womb. And so begins what is quite possibly the worst pregnancy ever. That maternal glow nowhere to be found, Yanka becomes pale, sickly, and homicidal, under the telepathic influence of the bloodthirsty “fetus.” (While Gary Oldman provides the voice for the unborn monster in the English-language edition, it’s not nearly as unsettling as the one in original French version, screening here.) This is one batshit-crazy movie—and it’s not to be missed!
CEMETERY MAN (Dellamorte Dellamore) (1994) 103 min
Director: Michele Soavi
This compulsively watchable and quotable zombie classic from the warped minds of Dylan Dog comic-book creator Tiziano Sclavio and onetime Dario Argento protégé Michele Soavi has it all: gore, humor, heart, brains, sex and nudity, and more gore! A perfectly deadpan Rupert Everett stars as graveyard caretaker Francesco Dellamorte whose job—aided by his grotesque halfwit sidekick Gnaghi—becomes a little more complicated when the corpses start unearthing themselves after only a week’s rest, looking for human flesh to feed on. And to complicate matters further, “She” (Anna Falchi), the voluptuous woman Francesco falls for, herself joins the ranks of the undead…
CHEAP THRILLS (2013) 85 min
Director: E.L. Katz
Just when it seems like his day couldn’t possibly get any worse—he’s already been served with an eviction notice and laid off—new-dad Craig (Pat Healy) and an old schoolmate (Ethan Embry) are approached at a bar by a pair of filthy-rich thrill-seekers (David Koechner and Sara Paxton) looking to spice up their anniversary celebrations. What begins as a night of innocent enough boozy fun devolves into a series of increasingly disturbed “games.” While not a horror film in the conventional sense, this memorably twisted and darkly hilarious portrait of the extremes to which down-on-their-luck people will go for quick cash is actually quite terrifying. A Drafthouse Films release.
John D. Hancock's Let's Scare Jessica to Death
CURTAINS (1983) 89 min
Director: Richard Ciupka
Method acting runs amok in this underappreciated slasher flick when an aging star (Samantha Eggar) who can’t quite master playing “crazy” decides to check herself into the loony bin for inspiration. Problem is that her regular collaborator, scumbag director Jonathan Stryker (John Vernon), leaves her there so he can hold a weekend casting session at his secluded mansion with six younger, very eager candidates. As the rivalry heats up, a masked lunatic who leaves creepy dolls as death warnings starts offing the women one by one. Is the scorned actress, who has escaped the asylum and crashed the audition bent on getting her role back, also responsible for killing off the competition?
Actress Lesleh Donaldson in person!
DEATH WEEKEND aka THE HOUSE BY THE LAKE (1977) 87 min
Director: William Fruet
A sleazy oral surgeon (Chuck Shamata) lures model Diane (Brenda Vaccaro) to his country home with the promise of meeting some good people. Those other “guests” of course never arrive—but some unwelcome ones do: a group of repulsive vengeance-seeking backwoods locals (led by Don Stroud) Diane pisses off on the ride up in a humiliating demonstration that she—yup, a mere woman, one who also knows how to fix a carburetor—can outdrive them. Produced by Ivan Reitman, this film is a cut above the standard home invasion/rape-revenge thriller, most of all because Vaccaro plays it smart and tough—though Diane may have been unwise to accept the invitation in the first place, she’s no bimbo. If exploitation films can have a conscience then let this be an example.
THE GREEN INFERNO (2013) 103 min
Director: Eli Roth
With this homage to the Italian 1980 cult classic CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST and other titles from the brief late-1970s vogue for Amazon cannibal movies, the inimitable writer-director-actor-producer-horror movie impresario who gave the world HOSTEL finds punishing and grisly new ways to inflict unimaginable torment and graphic violence on a group of unwary young Americans abroad. Justine (Lorenza Izzo), a naïve but feisty Columbia University student looking for a cause, joins a group of seemingly idealistic campus eco-activists on an trip to Peru to stage a cellphone-camera-wielding protest against the destruction of the jungle by the encroaching forces of land development. Mission accomplished. But when the group’s small aircraft crashes in the jungle, the survivors are captured by an indigenous tribe who definitely aren’t vegetarians. Let the ethnographically accurate bloodletting begin! Will Justine escape the fate of genital mutilation (i.e., a traditional “circumcision” ritual) and go on to be the proverbial Final Girl? Does a pygmy shit in the woods? An Open Road Films Release.
Eli Roth in Person!
LET’S SCARE JESSICA TO DEATH (1971) 89 min
Director: John D. Hancock
“I sit here and can’t believe it happened. And yet I have to believe it. Dreams or nightmares? Madness or sanity? I don’t know which is which.” Spoken in somber voiceover by the titular Jessica (Zohra Lampert), these cryptic words are the first we hear in the film—they pull us in immediately and we never stop being transfixed by the creepy events that lead up to them. Following a recent stint in a mental hospital, Jessica has relocated to the Connecticut countryside with her husband and a friend from New York City to find some peace. But they sure picked the wrong farmhouse to live in! They arrive to find an alluring young squatter there—who, as it turns out, bears an uncanny resemblance to a woman who lived there centuries earlier, and who, as legend goes, drowned and now walks the grounds as a vampire. A series of strange occurrences begin, but only Jessica, who may or may not be unraveling again, seems to witness them. With its eerie use of water imagery and of the great outdoors in general, this unnerving film defines moody.
Clive Barker's Nightbreed
NIGHTBREED – The Cabal Cut (1990) 144 min
Director: Clive Barker
Restoration Director: Russell Cherrington (2012)
To serious fans, NIGHTBREED already holds a top spot in the fantasy-horror film canon (as does Cabal, the Clive Barker novella from which it was adapted, in the genre’s book canon). So to be given the opportunity to see an expanded version of the film—which incorporates an additional 42 minutes of recently recovered footage—is just the icing on the cake. And it’s delicious icing indeed. The new, richer cut presents the film as Barker originally envisioned it—with more of the subterranean world of Midian and its misunderstood mutant inhabitants, more Boone (Craig Sheffer), who is mysteriously tied to Midian through his dreams, more Lori (Ann Bobby), the girlfriend more loyal than any man deserves, more Dr. Decker (David Cronenberg), Boone’s no-good shrink, and, most frightening of all, more Buttonface, the serial killer hiding behind a spine-chilling mask. Whether it’s your first or 100th viewing, the Cabal Cut is the ideal way to experience the magic that is NIGHTBREED.
Please note: The additional footage is presented in VHS quality, which can be a bit jarring at first. You will adjust. At least this way there’ll be no confusion as to which scenes are “new.”
OPEN GRAVE (2013) 102 min
Director: Gonzalo López-Gallego
ELYSIUM and DISTRICT 9 star Sharlto Copley brings his hair-trigger intensity to this twisty mind game as an amnesiac who awakens one dark and stormy night—in a pit full of rotting corpses. He stumbles to an isolated house in the middle of a forest and discovers four other individuals who have likewise lost their memories. Mutual distrust reigns as the group slowly regain their identities, arm themselves thanks to the house’s rather conveniently well-stocked armory, and set out to understand where exactly they are, how they came to be there, and what all those distant screams in the woods means… A Tribeca Film release.
PATRICK (2013) 95 min
Director: Mark Hartley
The comatose young man with telekinetic powers is back with a vengeance in this crackerjack gothic retelling of Richard Franklin’s 1978 cult classic. Newly hired nurse Kathy (Sharni Vinson, who kicked ass in this year’s YOU’RE NEXT) reports for duty at a private clinic, where among its near-vegetable patients, she finds Patrick (Jackson Gallagher) a most intriguing subject. Not only is he strikingly handsome but it appears that he’s trying to communicate with her (to account for modern technological advances, computers and cell phones have replaced typewriters as brain-wave receptors). The sketchy doctor (Charles Dance) and head nurse (Rachel Griffiths) who run the place don’t want to hear a word of it—and with good reason: even unconscious, the possessive Patrick is capable of causing great harm, which places everyone close to Kathy in serious jeopardy. A Phase 4 Films Release.
Zack Parker's Proxy
PROXY (2013) 120 min
Director: Zack Parker
When eight-months-pregnant single-mother Esther (Alexia Rasmussen) loses her child after an unseen attacker viciously assaults her, the solitary young woman joins a support group in an effort to deal with her depression. Another group member, Melanie (Alexa Havins), whose husband and son have been killed in a car accident, takes an interest in Esther for reasons unknown—but nothing is as it seems. As one revelation follows another, this genuinely twisted and perverse mind game escalates in a chain reaction of violence and revenge in which the motivations of its characters remain tantalizingly enigmatic. A truly disturbing indie set in the heart of darkness that is suburbia, this showcase for the singular sensibility of writer-director Zack Parker boasts terrific performances from Rasmussen, Havins, Kristina Klebe, and the ubiquitous Joe Swanberg. An IFC Midnight Release.
RITUALS aka THE CREEPER (1977) 99 min
Director: Peter Carter
DELIVERANCE is a rare example of a film that’s actually spawned some quality imitators—and this is the best of them, and possibly the least-seen. Five doctors set out on their annual camping excursion, and while they may not always be the most sympathetic bunch—they bicker and whine—the men become increasingly sympathetic as the realization sets in that this may be their final trip. After their boots are mysteriously stolen, things go from bad to worse, until their idyllic wilderness trek descends into a full-on fight for their lives—and their attackers motivations just might be personal. Anchoring this grim, brutal (yet not overly bloody) backwoods survivalist horror entry is a commanding lead performance by Hal Holbrook.
TWINS OF EVIL (1971) 87 min
Director: John Hough
Vampire Girls Gone Wild! In this delicious culmination to Hammer Film’s luridly decadent lesbian vampire phase, and the conclusion of screenwriter Tudor Gates’s “Karnstein Trilogy,” orphaned twin sisters Frieda and Maria (played by identical twins and October 1970 Playboy Playmates Mary and Madeleine Collinson) move from Vienna to the village of Karnstein, where they are taken in by their austerely puritanical witch-hunter uncle Gustav (Peter Cushing). Entertaining himself with a sacrificial rite up at the castle meanwhile, jaded libertine Count Karnstein (Damien Thomas) inadvertently resurrects his vampire ancestress Mircalla (Katya Wyeth), who shows him how to have a really good time. And when the even racier Frieda, who has taken a fancy to the Count, slips away one night to visit the castle, the stage is set for a witch hunters vs. vampires showdown.