Wild Nights presents a versatile program of new horror films, from clever auteur pictures that even the Cannes Film Festival could not help but notice to genre experiments that could well be screened in multiplex theatres.
Grotesque, visceral, and often taboo-breaking, horror films have for a long time been relegated to the margins of “high culture.” Listed as B-movies, they were regarded as questionable entertainment, and with the invention of VHS many fell into the straight-to-video category.
But the genre does not die. Even today, in the time of homogenized films that avoid any kind of extremities, films like Insidious and The Grudge still become box-office hits: fear in small doses is something that people find exciting (in a similar way, The Exorcist and The Omen became popular in the 1970s).
In the hands of auteurs, horror can turn into something strange and very interesting. Having more freedom than their colleagues restrained by the requirements of “the general taste,” auteur filmmakers can experiment without the fear of breaking the rules.
In Die, Monster, Die by young Argentinian director Alejandro Fadel, a horror film is politicized and mixed a surrealist crime story. For many up-and-coming filmmakers— Abdelhamid Bouchnak from Tunisia, Adam Sedlák from the Czech Republic and Dennison Ramalho from Brazil—the genre of horror is a magical lens through which they look at the world.
A horror film can be melancholic or have erotic undertones, like Owen Long’s debut feature Seeds. Or, it can become an illustration for Marx’s writings on the class struggle, like in the provocative The Cannibal Club by Brazilian filmmaker Guto Parente.
Incisive, original, and contemporary, films selected for the festival are first and foremost great examples of auteur cinema featuring unique visual styles and narratives.
Wild Nights is organised by Garage and Cool Connections and curated by film critic Vadim Rutkovsky.