One thing that continues to amaze is the rate at which Celluloid Screams, Sheffield’s beast of a horror film festival comes round each year. Maybe that’s just age for you; time flying whether you’re having fun or not. Or getting the bejesus scared out of you.
So as tends to be the case year on year, festival director Rob Nevitt and his programmers surpassed themselves. Yes, the seventh annual Celluloid Screams preyed on the senses of the twisted genre aficionados who holed up at the Showroom Cinema for three straight days to devour an all-you-can-suffer buffet. 18 features, 27(!) shorts, and even some 360-degree insanity courtesy of some Oculus Rift VR horror got a UK-first airing.
Kicking things of was Karyn Kusama’s return to indie with The Invitation. Fresh from taking best picture at Sitges last month, this adroit blend of unease and suspicion, all tinged with tragedy set things in motion splendidly.
Then we had the UK premiere of one of the weirdest, most wondrous shorts ever in the shape of The Chickening¸ an insane faux trailer that uses CGI to remix The Shining into the misadventures of the new night manager of a chicken shop that’s built into the side of a volcano. Oh, and Danny sports a beard.
And of course, no festival would be complete without the endurance test that was the classic horror all-nighter. Those who had the constitution for it were treated to A Nightmare on Elm Street, Phantasm, Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and the wonderful Re-Animator. Boxes ticked across the board, there.
The main event, however, had to be Claudio Simonetti’s Goblin and their live re-scoring of Dario Argento’s giallo masterpiece Profondo Rosso (celebrating its 40th anniversary this year), which brought the festival to a close in a suitably spectacular manner.
There’s almost too much to talk about in such a short space, but rest assured, highlights were many, and interestingly, for a genre oft-maligned for by the absence of female voices behind the camera, this year saw more female directors represented than ever before, which can only be a good thing, I’m sure my learned colleague across the page will agree.
In summary it was always gonna be hard to go wrong with such a varied line-up. World and UK premieres, a pile of awards, a mettle-testing horror quiz, and even its own signature beer meant that this year’s Celluloid Screams delivered yet again. Well played, Team Screams!
Woids by James McVeigh
For more of James’, er, ‘unique perspective’, get his podcast from here: meatforthebeast.podomatic.com