Spring Break in Texas means a lot of things, like South Padre Island, Mustang Island, and South by South West!
I have many a fond memory of my time as a college student in Austin, Texas, too poor and too uncool to go to the exclusive, VIP SXSW events and having to settle for free events and waiting in line for screenings and concerts. Most of the time, I could only ever get into the musical events. I dreamed of the day I could afford a VIP pass to the SXSW Film Festival, especially because of all the freakin’ amazing SXSW horror movies there. So many great horror films premiered at SXSW! To name a few of those SXSW horror films, take French-extremism horror film Them, Lake Mungo, Insidious, and The Cabin in the Woods, to name a few.
Sadly, I’m still not in a place where I can take off a whole week to go party in Austin. Someday, I’ll get there. But until then, here’s a list of SXSW horror movies that are premiering this year! I’ve included a synopsis and a trailer if available. Enjoy!
First, the Midnighters category!
In the festival’s own words, the Midnighters category is “Scary, funny, sexy, controversial”, and showcases, “provocative after-dark features for night owls and the terminally curious.”
Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
(This movie actually premiered at SXSW in 2006! This screening is special.)
“If Christopher Guest ever turned his attention to psycho killers instead of folk singers and dog breeders, this is exactly the sort of movie he would make.
Set in a world where Michael Myers, Freddy Krueger and the like are not only real but celebrity role models for a disturbed hero, Leslie (Nathan Baesel), the movie examines his murderous passions through the eyes of a young filmmaker (Angela Goethals) and her crew…
Appealing more to the brain than to the gut, “Behind the Mask” subtly prods at the sick dance between the news media and ubercriminals without belaboring its point or lowering its tone.”
Game of Death
“Kill or be killed is the golden rule of the Game of Death, which sucks for seven decent-looking young friends who decide to play one sunny day. They quickly and gruesomely realize that if they don’t murder people, their heads will literally explode. Hence, they go on a killing spree, taking the lives of anyone they meet in their middle-of-nowhere town. The killer-instinct in each of them bubbles to the surface as their search for victims unravels into chaos. Divided, terrified and confronted with their own mortality, their drive to survive blurs with their desire to win the game. Will they turn on each other? “Jumanji” meets “Natural Born Killers”… The Game of Death will blow your mind.”
“When Lucy’s prom night falls apart, she finds herself jumping into a hearse headed for a psychedelic party in the woods. Looking for a thrill, the party wanders deeper into the forest, to a haunted prison work farm. A secret wish and a summoning of the dead sends the group on a mind-bending trip that may be a dangerous trap.”
“Every camper’s worst nightmare came true at Lake Bodom in 1960 when four teenagers were stabbed to death while sleeping in their tent. As the years passed and the case grew cold, the unsolved mystery turned into an urban legend, a creepy campfire story passed from generation to generation.
Now, a group of teenagers arrives at the same campsite, hoping to solve the murder by reconstructing it minute by minute. As night falls, turns out not all of them are there to play.
Tonight… it’s girls against boys. Let the killing games begin.”
A dangerous virus, one that prevents the infected from controlling their inhibitions, is discovered in a corporate law building, the very same firm that recently cleared an infected man on murder charges. When a quarantine is issued and the building goes on lockdown, all hell breaks loose inside, while a disgruntled employee (Steven Yeun) and an irate client (Samara Weaving) must fight and even kill their way to the top to “have a word” with the corrupt executives who wronged them before time runs out.
Meatball Machine Kodoku
“Nobody knows where they came from. They parasitize in human beings, take control of them and change their bodies into hideous monsters (Necro-borg). The Necro-borg fight each other until the other dies. Where did they come from? To what end? Yuji and Kaoru, whom both have dark secrets within themselves, get caught up in the horrific battles of Necro-borg. What will their fate be?”
LMAO this is one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a long time! I’m so sad I’m not at SXSW!!!
“A savage satire of gender politics in America, Adam Mason is guaranteed to shock and offend with “PIG.” Created with actor and long time collaborator Andrew Howard, “PIG” is a virtuoso piece of pure cinema – with the vast majority of the film shot in a single, excruciating take. Less a narrative than a slice of madness – “Pig” pushes gender roles out to wild, lunatic extremes. Boasting a powerhouse performance from Howard in front of the camera and technically dazzling work from Mason behind it, “PIG” creates a truly uncomfortable sense of intimacy and has never been more relevant than in the chaotic time we live in now.”
Apparently this film is BRUTAL. The Austin Chronicle has a great write-up about the storied past of this gruesome and infamously mysterious film. Check it out.
Here’s the trailer. It’s something.
“Sadie and McKayla are two social-media obsessed best friends who will stop at nothing to build their online following. The self-titled “Tragedy Girls” kidnap Lowell, an unambitious local serial killer, and force him to mentor them into modern horror legends by committing murders to blow up on the internet. As the bodies fall, the girls become national news and panic in their small town hits a fever pitch — just then, Lowell escapes! Now with the local Sheriff closing in and their relationship on the rocks, the girls must rethink their plan before they find themselves the latest victims of their own killing spree.”
“Hussein, a wide-boy estate agent, doesn’t realize he’s sharing his apartment with a forgotten stranger, a master of concealment… until his malicious campaign of sweet revenge starts to really hit home.
A roof above our heads is a basic human need so why are we all fighting each other over it?”
The next category are the Festival Favorites – “Acclaimed standouts & selected previous premieres from festivals around the world.”
“A pitch black, wryly British comedy from the mind of Alice Lowe, “Prevenge” follows Ruth, a pregnant woman on a killing spree that’s as funny as it is vicious. It’s her misanthropic unborn baby dictating Ruth’s actions, holding society responsible for the absence of a father. The child speaks to Ruth from the womb, coaching her to lure and ultimately kill her unsuspecting victims. Struggling with her conscience, loneliness, and a strange strain of prepartum madness, Ruth must ultimately choose between redemption and destruction at the moment of motherhood. “Prevenge” marks the directorial debut from Lowe, who is a triple threat, writing, directing, and acting in the film during her own pregnancy.”
“An official selection at the Cannes Film Festival [I profiled it here], writer/director Michael O’Shea’s debut feature “The Transfiguration” follows troubled teen Milo who hides behind his fascination with vampire lore. When he meets the equally alienated Sophie, the two form a bond that begins to challenge Milo’s dark obsession, blurring his fantasy into reality. A chilling portrait of violence, “The Transfiguration” is an atmospheric thriller set against the grit of New York City.”
Are you at SXSW’s Film Festival? Did you see any of the SXSW horror movies? Let me know in the comments!