While you might think that things seem horrific enough at the moment, the horror genre has always provided both escapism and a lens through which to reflect upon and interrogate the social issues of the day. Whether you’re looking for distraction or catharsis, there are horror films of all shapes and sizes in this year’s edition of FilmFear — HOME and Film4’s annual celebration of all things spooky.
Starting with Wes Craven’s (A Nightmare on Elm Street, Scream) underseen The People Under the Stairs (Wed 28 Oct) and continuing with Philip Kaufman’s spectacular remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers (Thu 29 Oct), FilmFear is a weeklong chance to indulge in the macabre corners of cinema history. There’s also room to reflect, with a pay-what-you-can live-streamed discussion with experts on representations of race in the horror film (Thu 29 Oct.)
the horror genre has always provided both escapism and a lens through which to reflect upon and interrogate the social issues of the day…
This year’s edition is subtitled “Scream Now, Think Later”, a comment appropriate for Parasite director Bong Joon-ho’s aquatic creature-feature The Host (Fri 30 Oct), which combines thrills with scathing satirical content. There’s been added interest in the South Korean filmmaker since Parasite’s Oscar win earlier this year, and this earlier effort is equally worthwhile.
Similarly, Bernard Rose’s Candyman — showing Saturday 31 October in place of the delayed remake — is a tale of murder, but also reckons with Blackness in America, and the Chicago housing projects in which it is set. Showing later the same day, Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Body has also undergone a reappraisal in the years since its release, with critics praising star Megan Fox, as well as its social content and feminist themes.
Also on Halloween, curators David Cox of Film4 and HOME’s Creative Director for Film and Culture, Jason Wood, have linked with the Instituto Cervantes to bring HOME a double bill from one of Spanish film and television’s most distinctive voices — Narciso Ibáñez Serrador. This rare retrospective continues with the director’s influential Who Can Kill a Child? on Sunday 1 November.
Billed as a biting satire about food fads and marketing that makes chlorinated chicken look benign, Larry Cohen’s cult film The Stuff (Sun 1 Nov) follows. Meanwhile the season concludes on Thursday 5 November with one of the breakout British genre hits of the last decade, as John Boyega battles space aliens on a South London housing estate in Joe Cornish’s Attack the Block.