Grimmfest horror film festival 2015: The best line-up yet?

Louise Bolotin

Featuring national and international premieres, directorial debuts and, best of all, Sam Neill, this year’s Grimmfest is looking like a spectacular horror fest.

Not all the best film festivals go to London. Grimmfest, Manchester’s annual programme of horror, cult and sci-fi screenings, is back next month for its seventh annual extravaganza and is unparalleled in its curation of films and fringe events. The Grimm Up North team behind Grimmfest push the boundaries further every year – for 2015, they claim the programme will be ‘bigger, bolder and bloodier than ever before’.

This time round, horror aficionados aren’t only getting an eclectic assortment of 30-odd films, but also talks, special guest appearances and even a gaming hub. The gaming area will offer fans the opportunity to play a range of games dating from the 1980s onwards, which fit the festival’s themes. Some of the games are brand new and designed by local creators, cementing Grimmfest as a truly northern event.

‘Bigger, bolder and bloodier than ever before’

As usual, premieres – regional, British and international – abound on the festival’s calendar. The gala opening night has two north-west débuts: Corin Hardy’s The Hallow, which stars Joseph Mawle (Benjen Stark in Games of Thrones), and Blood Sucking Bastards, which features Fran Kranz of Cabin in The Woods, plus another Game of Thrones star, Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell). As part of the Northern Showcase, there’s a world premiere of The Box, the directorial debut of Shaune Harrison, best known for his SFX expertise. And those are just the hors d’oeuvres.

This year’s Grimmfest has a retro theme based around heavy metal horror, dystopias and 80s post-apocalypses – think Mad Max and Bladerunner. And among the talent on screen are Sam Neill, Johnny Vegas and punk legend of Henry Rollins of Black Flag. There’s also space for that perennial classic, Clive Barker’s Hellraiser, plus a special charity screening of Wes Craven’s Scream. With all that on offer, Grimm Up North’s pronouncement that this is their greatest line-up yet could well turn out to be true.

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