We’ve just had a creepy communiqué from our fearsome friends over at GrimmFest, Manchester’s International Festival of Horror and Cult Films. They’d like to remind you all that this year’s festival is almost here, and invite you to join them for a cornucopia of cinematic chills, chaos and carnage. The Festival commences on Wednesday October 3rd at the Plaza Super Cinema in Stockport with a special Preview Night Double bill of the critically-acclaimed chiller SINISTER and the much anticipated AMERICAN MARY, then runs from Thursday 4th to Sunday 7th at the decadently art deco Dancehouse Theatre in Manchester. Even if blood and gore are not your thing, Lord and Lady Grimm inform us, there are a few film screenings in this year’s programme that should have a particular appeal to the Doctor Who Online community.
The festival’s Opening Night Gala, on Thursday October 4th will be a double bill of London-based horror. First up, there’s the world premiere of COMEDOWN, the gritty new urban slasher movie from Mehnaj Huda, director of KIDULTHOOD, which marked the feature film screenwriting debut of Mickey Smith himself, Noel Clarke. Mehnaj will be there for a Q&A following the screening.
Second on the bill will be the riotous geezer gorefest COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES, starring such genre-familiar faces as Richard Briers, Honor Blackman, Dudley Sutton, Alan Ford, Harry Treadaway, and sometime Eastender and Bionic Woman, Michelle Ryan, who also got to show off her Lara Croft chops as aristocratic cat burglar Lady Christina De Souza in the “Planet of The Dead” episode of DOCTOR WHO. COCKNEYS VS ZOMBIES, is written by James Moran, a rising star of British horror cinema, responsible for both TOWER BLOCK and SEVERANCE, as well as the forthcoming SILENT NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, which teams up gore sfx guru and horror legend Tom Savini, The League of Gentlemen’s Reece Sheersmith, and one of the leading figures in the new wave of US independent horror cinema, character actor AJ Bowen (House of the Devil, A Horrible Way To Die, etc). But James is equally well known for his TV writing. He wrote the classic “Fires of Pompeii” episode of DOCTOR WHO, which marked the first appearance of Karen Gillan in the show as a Roman Soothsayer - presumably a distant ancestor of Amy Pond’s - and the “Sleeper” episode of TORCHWOOD, featuring Nikki Amuka-Bird as a tormented “sleeper” agent from an alien invasion force. He was also co-writer of the 5-part TORCHWOOD: CHILDREN OF EARTH mini-series. James will be attending the screening, so this will be a fine opportunity to pick his brains about his writing career and the various projects he’s worked on.
There’s more WHO-connected horror on Sunday October 7th, in the festival’s closing film, STITCHES, a bloody black comedy in which a killer clown comes back from the dead to avenge himself. The film stars lugubrious Geordie comic Ross Noble, whose deadpan delivery has dominated many an episode of HAVE I GOT NEWS FOR YOU, and Tommy Knight, who follows his droll and oddly touching performance as Sarah-Jane Smith’s otherworldly adopted son Luke with something rather darker. Ross and Tommy will be there, along with the film’s director and co-writer Conor McMahon for what promises to be an entertaining and informative Q&A.
Both screenings will be followed by aftershow parties, too, so there will be a chance to mingle. In short, it’s a hell of an opportunity to see some fearsome features, meet some creepy celebrities, and discover some of the darker places in the universe. The Grimm Team are waiting for you. Don’t you dare disappoint them, now...