Christopher O’Neill, programmer of the upcoming Dundead horror festival in Dundee, looks forward to the nine films screening over three days which should appeal to splatter fans everywhere.
With the colossal popularity of home video during the eighties came the decline of old-school cinemas. Inevitably, exploitation movies slowly but surely began to fade from the big screen and generations of horror fans have seen their favourite movies in the confines of their home, missing out on the collective audience experience of seeing these films as intended: in a cinema auditorium.
The Dundead Film Festival is an opportunity for splatter fans and horror enthusiasts to come together and see such movies on the big screen once again. Since this festival has come together due to the enthusiastic encouragement of Dundee’s film fanatics, it is essential to give them the established classics as well as introducing exciting new films that they have not yet seen.
Taking place during the Royal Wedding bank holidays (a perfect opportunity for some counter-programming!), a collection of nine will be shown at the Dundee’s DCA from Thursday 28th April until Sunday 1st May.
Opening the festival is a new movie that possesses the down-and-dirty aesthetics of 70s exploitation cinema. Hobo With A Shotgun began as a ‘mock’ grindhouse trailer to a non-existent film which proved so popular that it spawned its own feature. Rutger Hauer (Blade Runner) portrays the title character delivering justice one shell at a time (to quote the cinema poster) in this vigilante splatterfest.
Following on the same night is the most requested film from Dundee’s horror fans the 1976 classic, Suspiria. With its bizarre camera angles, intense colour schemes and unnerving rock soundtrack, Dario Argento created what critic Kim Newman aptly describes as “the most surreally terrifying experience of the 1970s”.
Friday evening begins with Outcast which is steeped in ancient Celtic mythology and mysticism while taking place in the contemporary setting of a council estate in Edinburgh.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times proclaims the original Dawn Of The Dead, screening on Friday, to be one of the best horror films ever made. Its lasting appeal is due to the fact that George A Romero blends outrageous gore effects and suspense sequences with taut action, dark humour and social satire that make this picture the multi layered epic of zombie movies.
For Saturday there is Insidious, an old-fashioned supernatural chiller which relies on maintaining a creepy atmosphere rather than simple false scare tactics or graphic gore effects. It’s from the creators of the original Saw movie and the producers of Paranormal Activity – director James Wan describes his film as “this generation’s Poltergeist“.
“John Landis, the director of Animal House, brings you a different kind of animal” announced the original cinema poster for An American Werewolf In London. With this 1981 classic, the director revolutionised the horror genre with its black humour, unflinching bloodshed and amazing special effects (Rick Baker rightfully won an Academy Award for his F/X work on the film).
For the final day we’re doing something a little different by having an additional film in the programme that we think will appeal to both horror and non-horror fans alike. Genuinely unsettling while also being thoughtfully moving, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now has rightfully earned its position as number one in the Time Out 100 best British films poll.
Red Hill is the first feature from writer-director Patrick Hughes and is a blood-soaked modern-day spaghetti Western. Recalling such violent Australian classics as Mad Max and The Chant Of Jimmy Blacksmith, the film may be indebted to movies of yesteryear yet possesses its own distinctively contemporary flavour.
With its dreamlike atmosphere, intense set pieces and blood splattered effects, Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond is a masterpiece in visceral terror that proudly earned a place on the ‘video nasties’ list back in the eighties. It is fitting that Dundead should close with a 30th Anniversary screening of this controversial classic.
Nine movies, all uncensored and on the big screen as they were made to be seen. Advance interest has been immense, so no doubt Dundead will be back in the near future…
Check out the DCA website for further details on Dundead.