Grimmfest 2014 Preview: As I recall, it was a horror film

Simran Hans
Poster image for horror film Julia, showing a girl and blood dripping down a wall

Manchester’s premier horror film festival returns to Gorilla and The Dancehouse for four days of thrills and chills.

Horror fans, rejoice! The biggest and bloodiest horror film festival in the north is back in town. Specialising in independent horror, sci-fi and cult movies, the return of Grimmfest hails a scare-packed schedule of premieres, cult classics and cutting-edge short films – as well as a few tricks up its sleeve.

The programme includes the UK premieres of gritty prison thriller Let Us Prey, which stars Game of Thrones’ Liam Cunningham (who will be in attendance for a post-film Q&A along with director Brian O’Malley) and Richard Bates Jr’s supernatural teen movie Suburban Gothic, which features a cast containing the likes of Kat Dennings (Thor), Ray Wise (Robocop) and Matthew Gray Grubler (Criminal Minds).

The return of Grimmfest hails a jam-packed schedule of premieres and cult classics

Other highlights include Kiwi vampire mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, written and directed by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi of Flight of the Concords fame, indie zom-rom-com Life After Beth and camp Canadian horror-comedy Wolf Cop, which – you guessed it – is about a cop who is also a werewolf. Fans of straight-up gore will also appreciate German slasher Der Samurai, Aussie Giallo flick Sororel and creepy college caper Truth or Dare, which screens in the festival’s Women in Horror strand.

And the best of the rest? Self-proclaimed “vegan feminist horror” The Herd, revenge tale She and the Alice Lowe (Sightseers) directed Solitudo head up Grimmfest’s short film selection, while a Dario Argento double-bill sees the director’s cut of Dawn of the Dead as well as Suspiria (think an Italian Black Swan), presented with a live score. It’s only fitting that the screening, accompanied by 70s prog-rock band Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin, take place at Manchester’s ballet school, The Dancehouse. The festival’s other venue Gorilla might be a marginally less terrifying setting – but with films like this, you’ll probably forget where you are anyway.

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