Promising ‘three high-impact, fear-filled days’ of features, captivating shorts, chilling international premieres and an array of thrillingly talented emerging directors, as well as a range of market stalls, special guest appearances and Q&A panels, beloved genre cinema carnival Grimmfest returns to Odeon Great Northern with a revamped feast of international contemporary horror and devilishly dark humour from Fri 6 to Sun 8 Oct, with a special preview screening the night before official proceedings begin.

This year’s festival also marks a pioneering break from tradition; directed by horror specialists Leonie Rowland and Linnie Blake of Man Met Uni’s Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies, the Grimmfest 2023 programme reflects their shared passion for the rich tapestry of J-horror cinema and their commitment to amplifying women’s contributions to the genre across acting, writing and directing, as well as the ways in which contemporary horror captures and explores the trauma and existential precarity of everyday life as a woman.

Here are some films and events to look forward to this year.

SUITABLE FLESH | Thu 5 Oct | 6pm | £8.90 (Free with pass)

Across a riotous weekend which showcases the best of new horror, sci-fi, cult and fantasy cinema, attendees can enjoy a range of exclusive screenings and international premieres, kicking off with a special preview showing of Joe Lynch’s SUITABLE FLESH at 6pm on Thu 5 Oct. Featuring a deliciously full-on star performance from seasoned scream queen Heather Graham (BOOGIE NIGHTS, FROM HELL), Lynch’s latest creative vision takes a ‘vibrant, visceral and challenging’ swan dive into the rich lore surrounding the mind-melting marine leviathan, Cthulhu. Gory, garish and gleefully retro, SUITABLE FLESH acts as both a modern, gender-flipped rework of H.P. Lovecraft’s original tale and a spiritual tribute to the legendary late
director and maverick horror provocateur, Stuart Gordon.

DOOR | Sun 8 Oct | 8pm | £7.50 (Free with pass)

Billed as a ‘magnificently excessive mix of deadpan domestic comedy, chilling stalker thriller and baroquely bloody home invasion horror’, Banmei Takahashi’s seminal, genre-bending 1988 opus DOOR screens for the first time ever outside of Japan on Sun 8 Oct at 5pm. Believed to be lost for almost thirty years, the cult J-Horror movie had a belated international premiere in Korea this July, and premieres in the UK with a 20-minute panel session following the film’s conclusion.

ABRUPTIO | Sun 8 Oct | 9.20pm | £7.50 (Free with pass)

Staged in its entirety with disconcertingly uncanny puppets, Evan Marlowe’s ABRUPTIO melds the best of Gerry Anderson and Philip K. Dick in a bizarro tour de force of staggering technicality, buoyed by an all-star voice cast featuring James Marsters, Jordan Peele, Christopher MacDonald, Sig Haig, Robert Englund and others. Wild, weird and all-embracing with a half-wink of postmodern irony, ABRUPTIO offers a tripped-out ride through an alternate LA ‘noirscape’ in a grotesque tale of social decay, alien invasions and human bombs.

MOTHER SUPERIOR | Fri 6 Oct | 4.20pm | £7.50 (Free with pass)

Repurposing the unmistakeable tropes of 1970s European shlock horror into a ‘flamboyantly Gothic psychodrama’ with a female focus, Marie Alice Wolfszahn’s women-led MOTHER SUPERIOR premieres in England on Fri 6 Oct. In following a young nurse’s exploration of her own origins as a product of the Nazi Lebensborn Project – a campaign to breed ‘racially pure’ Aryan children – the film wades through eugenics, witchcraft and Nordic-Teutonic folklore to interrogate the corruptible power of glamorous myths and bad science.

THE COFFEE TABLE | Sat 7 Oct | 3.20pm | £7.50 (Free with pass)

In Caya Casas’ THE COFFEE TABLE, which premieres in the UK on Sat 7 Oct, a strained and relentlessly woebegone husband endeavours to reestablish his pride and overcome his brittle masculinity in the face of his exacting wife by purchasing a uniquely repulsive table. Beginning as a tart, occasionally relatable black comedy, the film quickly careens through a series of unimaginably horrific events, destroying both the marriage and all in its orbit, as the suffocation of deception and guilt pervert the recognisable chaos of a farce into a brutally sobering cinema experience.

HAUNTED | Fri 6 Oct | Lion's Den | 8pm | £15

Taking place on Fri 6 Oct at beloved Great Northern Warehouse bar, Lion’s Den, The Book of Darkness and Light present a thrilling one-man show which brings two classic ghost stories to life in an immersive environment.

Staged in association with Grimmfest, actor-writer Adam Z. Robinson captivatingly recounts W.W. Jacob’s cautionary tale, THE MONKEY’S PAW, and Marion Crawford’s gripping story of a peculiar cabin on a doomed liner in UPPER BERTH.

A Manchester Wire Partnership post
Thu 5 Oct - Sun 8 Oct, ODEON Great Northern Warehouse,
253 Deansgate, Unit 2 The Great Northern,. Manchester, M3 4EN
, £35.50-£79.50
Wolf McFarlane
Published on:
Wed 27 Sep 2023