We’re deep in the autumn festival season right now and the horror genre seems to be rightfully receiving a lot of buzz out of these events. That’s exactly what we like to see here at Diabolique. And this October, there is no better place to look for new genre gems than London Film Festival. Every year LFF presents films in sections like Love, Debate, Laugh, Dare, Thrill, Journey, Experimenta, Family and Create. It is their Cult Strand, however, a strand which brings films twisted, strange, and terrifying, that we look forward to the most. Here are the top 5 genre films to keep your eye out for this October at the 62nd London Film Festival.
5. MANDY, Dir. Panos Cosmatos
Can one ever go wrong with a batshit crazy piece of violent psychedelia starring Nicolas Cage… in what might be his best performance yet? Red (Cage) leads a happy, idyllic life with his wife Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), but soon their utopian times are disrupted by – lo and behold! – a bunch of Satan worshippers. When the group claim Mandy and take her away, it all goes very downhill as Red takes his bloody revenge. Mandy looks more like the cinema of pure experience and is one we’ve already praised on this site. Miss at your peril.
4. CAM, Dir. Daniel Goldhaber
Madeline Brewer (Braid, The Handmaid’s Tale) stars as a camgirl Alice (known on the Internet as Lola) who discovers that someone has hacked her account and is trying to steal her online identity. Soon, paranoia ensues as Alice tries to stop the mysterious doppelgänger. The director collaborated with his friend and writer Isa Mazzei in a script which blends our modern obsession with social media and technology with the, often undermined, story of a sex worker. Mazzei herself is a former sex worker. With a strong female cast (Samantha Robinson of The Love Witch also makes an appearance as PrincessX), CAM is definitely one to look out for.
3. DRAGGED ACROSS CONCRETE, Dir. S. Craig Zahler
The American director S. Craig Zahler returns to the festival with his third feature. He has already shown us violent cannibalistic horrors in the Old West in debut feature Bone Tomahawk (2015), and the downward spiral of violence in Brawl in Cell Block 99 last year. In Dragged Across Concrete (yet another fantastic and apt title), Vince Vaughn is joined by Mel Gibson. The pair play police officers, with Zahler turning his hand to the horrors of police brutality. It is shaping up to be another slow burning but brutal shocker, and further proof from Zahler that horror is much present in our everyday lives.
2. SCHOOL’S OUT (L’ HEURE DE LA SORTIE), Dir. Sébastien Marnier
Professor Capadis leaps from a top-floor classroom window and tragically dies. Having witnessed their teacher’s suicide, most of Capadis’ pupils are terrified, but some kids don’t react like the others – instead watching with morbid curiosity. When a new teacher soon arrives, he starts to investigate what really happened to his predecessor, but this interest soon turns to terror as the kids become more and more creepy. Psychopathic children in horror are terrifying; think Children of the Corn and Battle Royale, but with a French touch.
1. ALL THE GODS IN THE SKY (TOUS LES DIEUX DU CIEL), Dir. Quarxx
Directed by Quarxx and based on his short film A Nearly Perfect Blue Sky, this one is for fans of New French Extremity (but not exclusively!). A children’s play gone wrong left Simon’s sister, Estelle, gravely disabled. Now, 30-year-old Simon lives in the French countryside, where he cares for his sister and falls deeper into depression. Simon wants to find a way out for him and his sister by ‘looking to otherworldly forces’… Described as nightmarish, disorientating, sad and surreal, All the Gods in the Sky is the top film to see this October.
London Film Festival runs 10-21 October 2018. Get your tickets here.