6. The Seasoning House.
Sorry, Balkans. If you thought the horror genre was done making you look like a shitty place to be after A Serbian Film, think again. Here we have a deaf-mute girl (Rosie Day), captured and forced to work in a terrible, terrible eastern European brothel, where sex and violence are on the a la carte menu. But when the sadistic soldier (Sean Pertwee) who shot her family shows up as a client, it's a tough choice between the devil she knows - the brothel owner, who at least values her services - and the devil she vaguely remembers, who's an unholy sonofabitch. But one thing she can do is pit them against each other and hope to get away in the chaos that ensues.
I don't know that I can say more without spoiling. It's atmospheric and a tense journey, arguably not unlike Gravity if you were to replace the vacuum of space with a bunch of angry, accented dudes. Even without the Venusian Aikido, Pertwee is a shit-ton scarier than his dad.
Speaking as we were of Cube, its director, Vincenzo Natali, has a new one in the festival, with Abigail Breslin as a girl who befriends a ghost, and must discover who her killer was before he comes back. SPOILER: the trailer above makes it pretty clear, just in case it was supposed to be a mystery or something.
Actually, that trailer makes it look like any number of middlebrow fall horror releases, but I tend to trust Natali a little bit more that I do your average marketing person. Anyone who was a storyboard artist on the Beetlejuice animated series is okay by me.
Okay, here's one where the trailer really does sell it. A photographer on vacation in Romania gets a bad blood transfusion, and his subsequent slow transformation into a vampire - as scary to him as to anyone else - puts a major strain on his relationship, and draws the attention of local criminals when several of their number start turning up dead and bloodless.
A better love story than...nahh, I'm not going to say it. And a crowd-funded movie to boot.
Honestly, I can't do better than the program synopsis. Take it away, synopsis writer!
In the aftermath of a flesh-eating plague that has wiped out most of humanity, a surviving man and woman face unimaginable horrors when he suddenly becomes infected. Confined to the basement of an abandoned farmhouse, she tends to him as his body rapidly deteriorates over the next four days. But they soon find themselves up against more than just the disease. A crazed infected woman begins to stalk the farmhouse. A suspicious stranger arrives promising the key to survival. And the only possible cure is an injected drug that slowly drives you insane.
4. Cannon Fodder.
Tagline: "There is a new conflict in the Middle East." It's Israeli Defense Forces versus Hezbollah, versus...KITTIES!
Just kidding - of course it's zombies. And of course they were created by illegal WMD. And a common enemy made up of the undead is probably what it would take to get peace in the Middle East.
I'm gonna bet everyone dies in this one, though. I haven't seen it...just a hunch.
5. Room 308.
A malevolent sea spirit inhabits room 308 of an Indonesian hotel, and when they tell you not to open that door, like, ever, you'd think it wouldn't be so hard to follow instructions. Don't they ever show The Shining in Indonesia?
For a spirit associated with water, let's just say this one seems really handy with air and fire too. I get it - when I'm staying at a hotel and the help knocks at the wrong time, all waking me up and stuff...I get homicidal too. I don't act on it, but if you're spirit has been hanging around forever, patience might wear thin.
Screamfest runs Oct 8-17th at Laemmle's NoHo Theater in North Hollywood. For more info - including the films I didn't mention - check out the full schedule of events.