This rarely happens. Almost never do you look at a festival lineup and think, "I want to see (or already saw and loved) every single film that's playing." So kudos to the programming team at the Stanley Film Fest for really outdoing themselves on their sophomore fest.
Filmmakers on the impressive list include such favorites as Miike Takashi, Kim Ki-duk, Ti West, Alex De La Iglesia, Nacho Vigolando, and Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement. Titles include Dead Snow, R100, Housebound, Starry Eyes, The Babadook, and Doc of the Dead. Plus, how about retrospective screenings of Gremlins, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Eyes Wide Shut? And all of that is only half the schedule. Can you tell I'm excited?
A few words about the fest and the full line-up follows (and then a bunch more words about the fest). If you can get yourself to Colorado, you're gonna want to hit up this festival.
Set at the notoriously haunted and historic inspiration for Stephen King's THE SHINING, The Stanley Film Festival showcases the best in classic and contemporary horror cinema at the Stanley Hotel in beautiful Estes Park, Colorado. Operated by the Denver Film Society, the festival is a labor of love dedicated to crafting a more interactive experience for genre filmmakers and fans. Presenting emerging artists and established luminaries within the genre, the four-day event features live shows, installations, industry panels, the "Stanley Dean's Cup" student film competition, and spooky secrets within a frightening, yet elegant atmosphere that can function as a true horror summit for all.
- The Babadook - Australia/2013 - (Director: Jennifer Kent, Featuring Essie Davis, Noah Wiseman, Daniel Henshall, Hayley McElhinney ) - A break-out hit at the Sundance Film Festival, Jennifer Kent's terrifying debut about an unhinged child, his suffering mother and a sinister spectre that may or may not exist offers sophisticated scares and commanding tension.
- Blood Glacier - Austria/2013 - (Director: Marvin Kren, Featuring Gerhard Liebmann, Edita Malovcic, Brigitte Kren, Hille Beseler, Peter Knaack) - A group of scientists stationed in the German Alps discover a melting glacier that leaks a strange red liquid. When that liquid begins producing rapidly increasing biological monstrosities, all hope may be lost in this environmental chiller.
- Dead Snow: Red vs. Dead - Norway/Iceland/2014 - (Director: Tommy Wirkola, Featuring Vegar Hoel, Martin Starr, Jocelyn DeBoer, Ingrid Haas) - In the follow up to his cult hit, director Tommy Wirkola brings back Colonel Herzog to lead his Nazi zombie army on their unholy quest. Although this time, a Russian battalion is wakened for the fight.
- Doc of the Dead - USA/2014 - (Director: Alexandre O. Philippe, Featuring George Romero, Simon Pegg, Bruce Campbell, Max Brooks, Tom Savini, Greg Nicotero, Robert Kirkman)- Could there be a real zombie outbreak? If so, Doc of the Dead can help you prepare. This definitive guide to all things undead delves deep into the evolution of the zombie genre in film and literature, as well as its impact and influence on pop culture, to deliver a comprehensive, fast-paced, highly entertaining look at a contemporary social pandemic of global proportions.
- Housebound - New Zealand/2014 - (Director: Gerard Johnstone, Featuring Morgana O'Reilly, Rima Te Wiata, Glen-Paul Waru) -An unruly hooligan sentenced to house arrest at her childhood home must contend with her family, police-handlers and the spectral frights that may be haunting the property in this tautly written comedy-thriller.
- Late Phases - USA/2014 - (Director: Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Featuring Nick Damici, Ethan Embry, Lance Guest, Tina Louise, Rutanya Alda) -When a no-nonsense war vet moves into a secluded retirement community that's fallen victim to a series of violent beast attacks, he vows to stop the creature once and for all. Stanley Film Festival alum Adrien Garcia Bogliano (Here Comes The Devil) returns with his English-Language debut.
- Lesson Of The Evil - Japan/2012 - (Director: Takashi Miike, Featuring Ruth Sundell, Takayuki Yamada,Fumi Nikaidô) -The notorious and prolific Takashi Miike (Audition, Ichi The Killer), one of the living legends of genre, tackles his most controversial subject matter yet in this story of a charismatic teacher with an extreme and violent plan to stop the rash of bullying at his school.
- Moebius - South Korea/2013 - (Director: Kim Ki-duk Featuring Jae-hyeon Jo, Eun-woo Lee, Young-ju Seo ) - Kim Ki-duk's Freudian breakdown of the family unit sees a wife take revenge upon her adulterous husband by dismembering their son. And then things really take a turn to the extreme as the family falls into complete destruction.
- Nothing Bad Can Happen - Germany/2013 - (Director: Katrin Gebbe, FeaturingJulius Feldmeier, Sascha Alexander Gersak, Annika Kuhl, Swantje Kohlhof) -Christian devotee Tore has his faith put to the ultimate test after moving in with a religious skeptic and his family. This tension building game of cruelty explores just how often one can turn the other cheek.
- Open Windows - Spain/USA/2014 - (Director: Nacho Vigolando, Featuring Elijah Wood, Sasha Grey, Neil Maskell) - This year's Stanley Film Festival Visionary Award co-recipient Elijah Wood stars in an otherworldly new thriller from cult filmmaker Nacho Vigalondo (Time Crimes). Extreme technical bravado and frenetic energy create the sensation of Rear Window for the digital age.
- Ragnarok - Norway/2013 - (Director: Mikkel Brænne Sandemose, Featuring Pål Sverre Hagen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjørn Sundquist, Sofia Helin, Maria Annette Tanderød Berglyd) - An archeologist obsessed with ancient Viking myth stumbles upon the discovery of a lifetime in this good old fashioned creature feature adventure that's fun for the whole family.
- R100 - Japan/2013 - (Director: Hitoshi Matsumoto, Featuring Nao Ohmori, Lindsay Kay Hayward, Hairi Katagiri) - Renowned cult director Hitoshi Matsumoto crafts a bizarre tale of a mysterious S&M club where dominatrixes can strike at any time and its participants can't escape their leather clad relentlessness
- Rigor Mortis - Hong Kong/2013 - (Director: Juno Mak, Featuring Anthony Chan, Siu-hou Chin, Kara Hui, Hoi-Pang Lo, Richard Ng) - Produced by the director of the J-horror sensation series The Grudge comes a viscerally charged, beautifully realized and relentlessly surreal interpretation of traditional tales of supernatural forces guaranteed to attack the sense
The Sacrament - USA/2013 - (Director: Ti West, Featuring Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Kentucker Audley, Amy Seimetz, Gene Jones) -Stanley Film Festival's inaugural Visionary Award winner Eli Roth produces indie horror icon Ti West's slow-burn take on the Jonestown Massacre, a smart blend of found-footage style with excellent performances that instill true fear.
Starry Eyes - USA/2014 -
Directors: Dennis Widmeyer & Dennis Kölsch, FeaturingAlexandra Essoe, Amanda Fuller, Fabianne Therese, Noah Segan, Shane Coffey, Natalie Castillo, Pat Healy) - From
the producers of Cheap Thrills and Jorodowsky's Dune, struggling actress Sarah will give anything to land her dream role in cutthroat Hollywood. But when a storied production company gives her that chance, she learns the true cost of fame.
- The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears - Belgium / France / Luxembourg/2013- (Director: Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani, Featuring Klaus Tange, Ursula Bedena, Joe Koener, Birgit Yew) -In this visual bounty of a thriller, a man searches for his wife through a kaleidoscope of stained glass windows, sliced flesh and sexual intrigue.
- Witching and Bitching - Spain/2013 - (Director: Alex De La Iglesia, Featuring Hugo Silva, Mario Casas, Pepón Nieto, Carolina Bang) - Cult director Alex De La Iglesia (The Last Circus) is in top form with this hilarious and gory tale of thieves who find themselves in over their heads when faced with a coven of bloodthirsty witches.
- What We Do In The Shadows - New Zealand/2014 - (Directors: Taika Waititi & Jemaine Clement, Featuring Taika Waititi, Jemaine Clement, Jonathan Brugh) - Living with roommates can always pose quirky challenges. But when you're a vampire cohabitating with your fellow kind for a few hundred years, things get a bit tricky. From Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords) comes a hilarious mockumentary of a house of vampires trying to get back in touch with modern society.
- Who Can Kill A Child? - Spain/1976 - (Director: Narciso Ibáñez Serrador, FeaturingLewis Fiander, Prunella Ransome, Antonio Iranzo, Miguel Narros) - Presented by SpectreVision, in cooperation with Channel Z, this rarely seen Spanish horror finds an English couple vacationing on an island where the children are murdering all the adults.
SECRET SCREENING: The Stanley Film festival presents a highly anticipated new film from a modern master of gore.
- Eyes Wide Shut - USA/1999 - (Director: Stanley Kubrick, Featuring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Madison Eginton, Sydney Pollack, Jackie Sawiris) -Longtime Kubrick collaborator and Stanley Film Fest alum Leon Vitali presents a 15th anniversary screening in its European cut of the legendary auteur's final haunting masterpiece.
- The Fall of the House of Usher - France/USA/1928 - (Director: Jean Epstein, Featuring Jean Debucourt, Marguerite Gance, Charles Lamy, Fournez-Goffard) -Silent film with live score. Based on the works of Edgar Allen Poe, this rarely seen macabre silent film continues the Festival's tradition of live score accompaniment to horror of the past.
- Gremlins -USA/1984 - (Director: Joe Dante, Featuring Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Corey Feldman) - Channel Z and horror luminary Joe Dante present a 30th Anniversary screening of the great 80s classic about what happens to irresponsible little Mogwais who eat after midnight.
- Sleepwalkers - USA/1992 - (Director: Mick Garris, Featuring Brian Krause, Mädchen Amick, Alice Krige, Jim Haynie, Ron Perlman, Cindy Pickett) - Mick Garris ("The Shining" and "The Stand" and "Masters of Horror") presents his Stephen King penned cult favorite. A mother and son who are not what they seem move to a new town in order to feed.
FREE FAMILY SCREENING:
- The Nightmare Before Christmas - USA/1993 - (Director: Henry Selick, Featuring Danny Elfman, Chris Sarandon, Catherine O'Hara) - Join Jack Skellington as he discovers the strange new world of Christmas Town. Preceded by Pixar's Toy Story OF TERROR!
Shorts Program I
JONATHAN'S CHEST, USA, directed by Christopher Radcliff: Everything changes one night for Alex, a troubled teenager, when he is visited by a boy claiming to be his brother -- who disappeared years earlier. UNICORN BLOOD, Spain, directed by Alberto Vazquez: Two teddy-bears go hunting unicorns, for their tender flesh and delicious blueberry-flavoured blood which the bears need to stay cute-looking. ANIMALS I KILLED LAST SUMMER, Sweden, directed by Gustav Danielsson: A young boy kills small animals and his father can't deal with it. GHOST TRAIN, Australia, directed by James Fleming and Kelly Hucker: An elderly man struggling to cope with his wife's dementia is drawn into a macabre cabaret restaurant where he becomes enchanted by the lead actress. KEKASIH, USA/Malaysia, directed by Diffan Sina Norman: In pursuit of his late wife, a botanical professor encounters a divine presence that will transform him forever. BOX ROOM, Ireland, directed by Michael Lathrop: Behind Jerry's bedroom wall he discovers a seductive alien creature with which he has sex, leading to a horrific outcome. FLESH, Colombia, directed by Carlos Gómez Salamanca: FLESH reveals the sacrifice of an animal during a countryside celebration in Colombia. THE OBVIOUS CHILD, UK, directed by Stephen Irwin: Somebody broke the girl's parents. The rabbit was there when it happened. It was an awful mess.
Shorts Program II
HERE BE MONSTERS, New Zealand, directed by Paul Glubb and Nic Gorman: He only has one chance to live the last day of his life. BASKIN, Turkey, directed by Can Evrenol: Four cops, go to hell. THE PRESENT, Taiwan, directed by Joe Hsieh: A hotel manager's daughter falls for a married man at first sight. Rejected by the man, she embarks on a journey of revenge. THE GUEST, Canada, directed by Jovanka Vuckovic: In this existential thriller, a man must face the consequences of a mysterious bargain he has made. WHITE MORNING,UK, directed by Paul Barritt: Six naughty boys carry out an act of violence exploding into a visual investigation of the war machine the boys become. WAWD AHP, USA, directed by Steve Girard: A man raps in front of the mirror, cuts his head off and has sex with it. There is also a cartoon. ANGST, PISS & SHIT, Norway, directed by Fredrik S. Hana: A young couple that once shared a fascination for mass murder and torture, now resemble a sad and lifeless parody on relationships. PERFECT DRUG, Belgium, directed by Toon Aerts: A heist of strange chemical substances goes wrong when one of the thieves can't resist drinking the glowing elixir.
Shorts before features
THE MUCK, USA, directed by Tony Wash: Laverne arrives home and decides to relax in the bathtub. She strips down, settles into the tub, and closes her eyes. Serenity at last... or so she thought!
PAYADA PA' SATAN, Argentina, directed by Antonio Balseiro and Carlos Balseiro: A Gaucho lives peacefully in the countryside with his wife until one day they hear explosions and the earth starts to shake.
NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS
TOY STORY OF TERROR!, USA, directed by Angus MacLane: From Disney*Pixar comes a spooky new tale featuring all of your favorite characters from the "Toy Story" films.
the Stanley Film Festival (SFF) produced by the Denver Film Society (DFS) and presented by Chiller, announced today its full line-up and schedule. As previously announced, Doc of the Dead will open SFF. The festival, taking place April 24-27, will close with the mockumentary from Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords), What We Do In The Shadows, about a house of vampires trying to get back in touch with modern society. Throughout the four-day celebration of the best in horror cinema, SFF will showcase a full slate of features, shorts, panels, special events and awards presentations at the historic haunted Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.
The Stanley Film Festival is honored to welcome the founders of SpectreVision, Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh Waller to accept the Visionary Award for their contribution to independent film. Founded in 2010, SpectreVision is a film production and music management company created to tell heartfelt, character-driven stories tackling real, emotional and social issues that test the boundaries of the horror genre. The Visionary Award presentation will be followed by a screening of SpectreVision's executive produced film, Open Windows, an otherworldly new thriller which stars Wood.
"The Stanley Film Festival is about showcasing horror films that not only scare and entertain, but seek to elevate the genre," said Denver Film Society Festival Director Britta Erickson. "SpectreVision has broken onto the scene in a fantastic fashion an is leading the industry by producing films that feed the horror audience the type of genre fare they crave. We are thrilled to honor them with our second annual Visionary Award."
In addition to the Visionary Award presentation and screening of Open Windows, SFF will spotlight SpectreVision's wide-ranging influence in the industry with a panel highlighting the combined vision of Elijah Wood, Daniel Noah and Josh Waller as they talk about their recent productions - Cooties and A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night - which both premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, as well as new and upcoming projects including The Boy. SpectreVison will also present a specially curated retrospective screening of Who Can Kill A Child? and the dynamic trio will also treat festival-goers to special guest DJ sets.
The 2014 Stanley Film Festival film selection was curated by SFF Programming Director Landon Zakheim, DFS Programmer Matthew Campbell and SFF Programming Consultant Michael Lerman.
"This has been a tremendous year for horror cinema. We're especially honored to showcase some the world's finest new features, time honored staples of the genre presented by special guests and a truly innovative slate of short films," said Zakheim.
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