The Chicago International Film Festival celebrates 50 years this October 9-23, and the horror genre will again be a featured attraction. Just as they’ve done for the last few seasons, horror films will be plentiful at the AMC River East 21 Theater during the 15-day celebration. And this year’s collection of frighteners holds great promise.
The following films are all part of the CIFF “After Dark” series:
“ABC’s of Death 2” is a collection of 26 individual shorts with each one a story of death dictated by a letter of the alphabet. Some of the most acclaimed horror directors in the business right now, from E.L. Katz (“Cheap Thrills”) to Jerome Sable (“Stage Fright”), have contributed to this sequel to the wildly popular first anthology from two years ago. It’s showing October 11 at 10:30 PM.
“Allelujah” is a French/Belgium co-production from director Fabrice Du Welz concerning a blind date that turns into a killing spree. It’s based on the true story of the Lonely Hearts Killers. “Allelujah” will be showing two nights, October 11 at 9:30 PM, and October 22 at 5:30 PM.
“The Babadook” from Australia was Sundance’s breakout horror hit this past January. It’s the story of a troubled single mom struggling with madness and a 2-D monster who’s come to life from a mysterious children’s book. This is director Jennifer Kent’s debut, and it too is showing two evenings: October 10 at 11 PM and October 21 at 8:30 PM.
“Creep” is yet another horror movie taking place in a remote cabin in the woods, but this one sounds like a self-reverential thriller as it’s about a cash-strapped filmmaker responding to an ad promising money and “filming services” for that forest location. It’s director Patrick Brice’s debut film and it’s showing at 10:30 PM on October 17 and at 8:30 PM on October 19.
“The Editor” is a campy horror comedy that also points its lens at the film industry. This one has a film editor who becomes the prime suspect in a murder case involving industry colleagues. It’s showing on October 18 at 8:30 PM and October 19 at 8 PM.
“Goal of the Dead” is exactly what you think it is – a zombie movie set against the backdrop of soccer. It promises to be gory, funny and very French as Benjamin Rocher and Thierry Poiraud direct it. Catch it October 18 at 10 PM or October 21 at 9:30 PM.
“High Five” seems more like a drug comedy than horror movie with its theme of two stoners finding a cache of drugs and using it to stay high all day, but since it is part of the “After Dark” series at the CIFF, it likely will feature some scary drug-induced sequences. It’s showing two Fridays, October 10 at 9:30 PM and October 17 at 4:20 PM.
“It Follows” is a USA production from director David Robert Mitchell that again blends the tried and true combo of sexual anxiety and bodily harm. A teenage girl has casual sex and is then followed around by a shapeshifting presence intent on haunting her. It’s playing two nights: October 18 at 9:45 and October 22 at 6 PM.
Hong Kong brings “The Midnight After” and it’s about the survivors of a pandemic that erases the rest of the human life off the planet. Fruit Chan is the director here (“Don’t Look Up”) and he likes darkly comic scares. This one’s available October 10 at 10:15 PM and October 12 at 12 PM.
“The Well” comes from director Tom Hammock, and it’s a post-apocalyptic thriller where a drought-stricken valley has to be defended by a 17-year-old girl. Any relation to what’s going on in California this year is purely coincidental, albeit quite timely. “The Well” shows on October 17 at 10:15 PM and October 19 at 2:30 PM.
“The World of Kanako”, which is showing October 11 at 11 PM and at 8:45 on October 20, comes from Japanese director Tetsuya Nakashima (“Confessions”). When a female student goes missing, her ex-cop father sets out to find his daughter and discovers she wasn’t quite the good girl he thought she was.
Finally, the CIFF has a series of horror shorts to show as part of their Midnight Mayhem on October 18 at 11 PM. This year, there is an animalistic theme to the mini-movies as they promise to show off disturbing manifestations of bears, monkeys, and rabbits. And you thought Caesar and his CGI apes were frightening.
More details about these featured horror movies, as well as the festival’s full schedule, can be ascertained by logging online to ChicagoFilmFestival.com or by calling 312-332-FILM. And tickets are currently available for purchase too in the River East 21 box office lobby. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s nice to know that the CIFF is again offering horror fans some fiendish fun from around the world.