Cinema is back at Base Camp as we bring you a truly international horror film season.
12 screenings launching Friday October 1 as part of Middlesbrough Art Weekender and running through to Saturday 4 December.
This project is supported by Film Hub North with National Lottery funding on behalf of the BFI Film Audience Network.
Fri 1 Oct 11pm
THE WOLF HOUSE
Mind-blowing stop-motion feature by Cristóbal León and Joaquín Cociña. ‘The darkest animated movie ever made’ [IndieWire] / ‘Jaw-dropping’ [Variety] ‘Astounding’ [New York Times] / ‘beautiful and grotesque [Screen International] / ‘Seductive and repellent in equal measure’ [Hollywood Reporter]
Thur 7 Oct 7pm
Summoned to a secluded research facility, a controversial young doctor is called in to examine a cosmonaut who has returned to Earth with an alien parasite inside him. Sputnik is a refreshing take on the alien horror genre, and what makes it different is that our protagonist and our monster have a very unique bond, which will crawl and slither its way under your skin until you really don’t know who to sympathise with and who to fear. It’s scary and it’s gross and, more than anything, it’s an unexpectedly emotional journey. SPUTNIK is a monster movie in the truest sense, proving that such things come in both human and alien form, but ultimately, it’s just a wickedly good horror movie.
Sun 17 Oct 3pm
This is the story of what happens when you investigate something and don’t take your subject seriously enough. When you’re sceptical going in, there’s never going to be a happy ending…. Following in the footsteps of other found footage classics such as Paranormal Activity, One Cut of the Dead and REC, Troll Hunter brings a uniquely Scandi vibe to the found footage genre. Not only do we get thrown into Norwegian folklore and the monsters that come with it, we see Norway at its absolute natural best, and also get to witness a controversial (according to the director) Norwegian comedian at the top his game playing his part as the titular Troll Hunter with absolute conviction. Troll Hunter is a really fun take on the found footage phenomena, and a great intro to the dark humour of Norwegian film-making. Just remember, you don’t want to be messing with those damn trolls…
Sun 17 Oct 11pm
WYRMWOOD: ROAD OF THE DEAD
Guerilla film-making at its very best, Wyrmwood: Road of the Dead has been described as Mad Max meets Dawn of the Dead, and honestly? That’s a massive understatement. It’s a joyously bloody combination of ass-kicking action, mad scientists and hungry hungry zombies, absolutely dripping with razor-sharp Aussie humour. Wyrmwood is the story of Barry, and his mission to save sister Brooke, who’s been caught in the boondocks during the breakout of a zombie apocalypse. On its release in 2015, Wyrmwood briefly gained notoriety as the most torrented film in the world, something that might ramp up the rad-factor add but does nothing to pay the film-making bills. Luckily for us, and for the zombie fans around the globe, the writer / director / producer Roache-Turner brothers have just wrapped on Wyrmwood 2, so we don’t have too long to wait until your new favourite Aussie zombie warriors are back to doing what they do best. But in the meantime, we recommend that you find yourself some Tim-Tams, maybe a Cherry Ripe or two, and enjoy the ride.
Fri 22 Oct 7pm
A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT
Lonely hearts find one another against the backdrop of an industrial ghost town in the feature debut of Iranian-American director Ana Lily Amipour. Self-described as ‘the first Iranian vampire spaghetti-western’, the film follows loners Arash and The Girl as they drift through the streets of Dark City, withheld from true human connection by violence, poverty, addiction and immortality. The look is is gorgeous and seductive; shot in inky monochrome, its night-sequences are dripping with classical noir imagery and its scenes of industrial machinery feel genuinely fresh and moving. The towering machines and our heroes are quite alike, moving mechanised day-to-day, as if on autopilot. Where A Girl Walks Home may catch you off-guard is in its story, moving from the deliberately disappointing conventional mystery opening act to a delightful exploration of mood and character. If classic noir stories full of tragic heroes and femme fatales are your thing, then this one’s for you. Alternatively, if skateboarding vampires are more your thing, you won’t be disappointed.
Fri 22 Oct 11pm
Great pacing and dedication to authenticity make this 2007 Spanish found-footage shocker a modern masterwork. The film, following a late-night TV presenter and her cameraman as they accompany a team of firefighters into an apartment building where shit has gone horrifically sideways, slowly teases us with severity of its emergency before exploding into one constantly elevating chase sequence – the nightmarish finale is a rare achievement in horror cinema. The film peaks in its final moments, maintaining expertly built tension, and then elevating it to something infinitely scarier. It’s not just about the pacing though – the found-footage element is realised with complete dedication to punky, un-cinematic rawness. No fancy camera tricks or moments of clunky exposition to break your immersion here, just engaging characters trying to catch their worst nightmares on film, for your viewing pleasure.
Thu 4 Nov 7pm
THE HANDS OF ORLAC
Could the hands of a murderer make you evil? In Robert Weine’s silent classic The Hands of Orlac (1924), talented pianist Paul Orlac loses both of his hands in a horrific railway accident and then spirals into madness upon the discovery that his new hands are transplants from a vicious killer. Conrad Veidt shines as Orlac with a performance that is unusually naturalistic for the silent era – he’s physical and highly expressive for sure, but there’s genuine emotion here; Orlac’s turn to insanity will leave you more than a little heartbroken. Weine’s direction is top-notch, with a noticeably more natural presentation than his expressionist masterpiece The Cabinet of Dr Caligari. Here the crooked, painted sets are swapped out for something a bit more traditional, as if to foreshadow the movement towards the more realistic ‘talkies’ of the late twenties.
It’s a thrill to witness the history of horror take shape. But it’s not just an academic exercise. The film is really quite spooky, and destined to keep giving audiences nightmares for generations to come.
Thu 4 Nov 11pm
An absolute cracker of a mystery thriller, and one of the great benchmarks of Asian horror, from J-Horror hero Hideo Nakata. Newspaper reporter Reiko lands herself a story that may prove deadly after she unearths the myth of a videotape that kills anyone who views it. In a moment of piss-poor judgement she decides she can’t find anything better on TV to watch. With a seven-day deadline to beat, our heroine must unravel the video conspiracy to save her life – yikes! Released when Japan’s shift into technological modernity was raising new cultural anxieties, Ring was a hybrid of the country’s old and new fears, joined together in the form of urban legend. Traditional Yurei folklore is given a digital coat of paint to become something that, while pretty scarring to contemporary viewers, seems as though it shouldn’t remain as deeply unsettling today as it does. So how does it? Through the use of pitch-perfect pacing, a grungy analogue aesthetic and a finale that’s truly one for the horror history books, the film is soaked in a quiet dread that’s hard to shake out of your head, even after the credits have finished rolling. Fair warning – this one’ll have you sleeping with the lights on for the forseeable.
Fri 26 Nov 7pm
HORROR NOIRE: HISTORY OF BLACK HORROR
With a big fat fully justified 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, this documentary takes a fascinating look at the history of black horror films and the role of African Americans in the genre since it all started. It’s an assured analysis of how changes in society influence what’s reflected on screen – or sometimes don’t. It also explores how the stories we see on screen can affect how society views certain subjects, and even change our fundamental perceptions about our society.
Horror Noire features a crazy impressive roster of contributors, both in front of and behind the camera. It’s a truly engaging and inspiring watch, and totally deserving of that perfect RT score.
Fri 26 Nov 11pm
NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD
If you ever wondered where zombie movies really started in the popular consciousness, then look no further than Night of the Living Dead. George A. Romero took the horror genre and punched it right in the gut, giving us this 100% solid gold classic as a result. The socio-political commentary spin we know so well from Romero’s works such as Dawn of the Dead and The Crazies all started with NOTLD, which was made on a shoe-string budget and came to be known as one of the most important horror movies ever made. Not least because Romero cast Duane Jones as leading man Ben, saying later that the casting decision had nothing to do with race, and that he simply chose the best actor for the job. Ben is most definitely in charge. He needs to be listened to, but has to fight every step of the way to make himself heard.
Duane Jones’ performance is what pushes this movie over the edge – it’s electrifying. He’s the hero this little band of survivors stuck in a Pittsburgh farmhouse never knew they needed. This one should definitely be on every horror fan’s big-screen watchlist – you know what to do!
Sat 4 Dec 3pm
AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Twisted comedy fuses with timeless practical FX in this 1981 classic. Thrill as a pair of American backpackers fail to heed the warnings of threatening locals and become prey to a mythical beast on the Yorkshire Moors. Considering how many people get mauled to death during its runtime, American Werewolf is a really funny film and although director John Landis is from the other side of the pond, he’s got a talent for capturing our more buttoned-up national traits and mining them for comedic gold (first-time viewers will discover just how polite a Brit can remain in spite of the fact that his face has been eaten by a werewolf). These comedy moments somehow blend perfectly with American Werewolf’s grimmer elements, brought to life by FX legend Rick Baker. There’s nothing left to be said about the iconic transformation scene; instead, attention should be drawn to the film’s eponymous monster which we reckon, forty years on from release, still remains cinema’s greatest werewolf. This one stands tall as one of the definitive horror-comedies. Unmissable? Yep!
Sat 4 Dec 6pm
Any notion of cave-diving with thrill-seeking pals will become your worst fear after seeing Neil Marshall’s The Descent (2006) – the story of six women whose’ off-grid adventure snowballs from bad to absolutely hellish when they become trapped underground. The all-female ensemble feel real and relatable. Sarah, Juno, Beth and co are strong, but make no mistake – they’re flawed, they’re scared and most importantly, they’re not safe from a potentially super-grisly death. Sarah is the heart of the story, with her dark past throwing an emotional time-bomb, with terrible consequences, into the group’s situation. Can she come to terms with her tragedy, or will the dark abyss and the evil waiting inside eat her alive? The Descent is a classic of British horror that every fan of the genre should watch – preferably with a crowd, in a pitch-black room. We know just the place.