Shock & Gore Festival 2016 – Launched in 2011, the Shock & Gore festival has gone from strength to strength, and is another reason Birmingham is established as one of the best cities in the UK for cinema. Always with an eclectic and imaginative schedule featuring not just gory classics but obscure gems from the fringes of cinema. Expect Q&As, introductions, live scores and foodie events, all for the most part, housed in the beautiful Electric Cinema. Here are our picks:

The Shining (dir: Stanley Kubrick, 1980, cert 15) Loved by just about everyone except Stephen King, Kubrick’s vision is simply one of the greatest horror films ever made and Jack’s descent into murderous madness is as unsettling as it is iconic. Opening the festival in the grand, and possibly haunted, surroundings of Highbury Hall don’t go wandering down any corridors alone and under no circumstances enter room 237. The Kitchen Conjurer will also be in attendance serving themed snacks throughout the film. Fri 8 July 7pm & 12am at Highbury Hall, King’s Heath, £18

Manhunter  (dir: Michael Mann, 1986, cert 18) Hannibal Lector makes his first hideous bow on the silver screen, played ably by Brian Cox. Silence of the Lambs may have all the blockbuster bells and whistles but Mann’s grimy vision is a much better film.  Tom Noonan’s ‘Tooth Fairy’ is a genuinely creepy serial killer and outshines Lector’s psychotically babbling genius.  Just don’t be distracted by CSI’s Grissom (William Peterson) in an early excellent role as the tormented Will Graham. Fri 15 Jul 10:45pm at Electric various prices.

Scream (dir: Wes Craven, 1996, cert 18) It takes a special kind of genius to invent a genre and then reinvent it in spectacular fashion decades later. That’s what the sadly departed Wes Craven did with Scream. The director of the vicious revenge thriller Last house on the Left (1972), a film that came with the now legendary tag line ‘just keep repeating it’s only a movie’, turned the whole genre upside down with the existential and rampantly self-referential Scream. Disembowelling your star actress in the opening scene was a master stroke.  Remember kids; if you don’t want to be murdered then don’t have sex! The screening will be followed by the Shock & Gore awards. Sat 16 Jul, 10:15pm at Electric, various prices.

The Crow (dir: Alex Proyas, 1994, cert 18) Mostly remembered for the tragic on set death of Brandon Lee; either in a freak squib accident or from the curse that was placed on Bruce Lee, depending on how feeble your mind is. The Crow is an exhilarating, unique and darkly imaginative take on the super hero genre. Worth more than every one of the putrid and banal production line of superhero reboots, rebrands and remakes, which the dull witted suits of Hollywood turn out by the trough load. The screening will be followed by the Shock & Gore awards.  Sat 16 Jul, 10:45pm at Electric, various prices.

Don’t Look Now (dir: Nicolas Roeg, 1973, cert 15) A masterpiece from a master director. The tiny nuances of a couple’s behaviour as they grieve the death of their child, is explored in prosaic and almost forensic detail. If a film could leak emotional pain then this would be it. If grief wasn’t enough to contend with, just who is the mysterious childlike figure in red, running around Venice with an emotionally disintegrating Donald Sutherland in pursuit?  Often remembered for the ‘did they didn’t they’ sex scene between Sutherland and Julie Christie. A classic film that transcends genres and is not easily classifiable. If you haven’t seen it before then don’t discuss it with anyone who could potentially ruin a horrifying twist for you. Sun 17 Jul, 12pm at Electric, various prices

Harold and Maude (dir: Hal Ashby, 1971, cert 15) The greatest ‘odd couple’ film you will ever see. Blacker than priests’ socks, sharper than whiplash and possessed with a violent energy bulldozed along by the relentless septuagenarian Maude (Ruth Gordon).  Delight in suicide, inter-generational canoodling and existential crisis after crisis as our heroes “try something new every day “. As the tag line goes “They were meant to be. But exactly what they were meant to be is not quite clear.” For extra fun see if you can spot Cat Stevens. The Kitchen Conjurer will be providing snacks themed on the film throughout. Tue 19 Jul, 8:15pm at Electric, various prices.

Deep Red (dir: Dario Argento, 1975, cert 18) Rarely has violence, murder and blood been so beautifully realised as in Argento’s supreme Giallo. Gallons of the red stuff, that terrifying gloved hand and some razor sharp slashing create an atmosphere of unrelenting terror. Each kill is choreographed with a prescient flourishing beauty as blade pierces flesh with balletic precision. Argento is the undoubted king of the Giallo genre and Deep Red is his masterpiece. Obligatory stunning score from Goblin included. Fri 15 July, 10:30pm at Electric, various prices

There’s your recommendations; now go and corrupt your minds and say Birmingham Wire sent you!

Fri 8 Jul - Sat 16 Jul
Giles Logan
Published on:
Wed 13 Jul 2016