Cinepocalypse, Chicago’s premiere festival for electrifying and provocative genre cinema, returns to the Music Box Theatre June 13th for eight days of features, shorts, events and surprises, including eight fantastic break-out world premieres, and today the festival's movie lineup has been announced.
This year's fest is insane, opening with Glenn Danzig's highly-anticipated Verotika. The punk/metal legend (Misfits, Samhain, Danzig) has turned to directing with a feature film adaptation of his popular Verotika comic characters for Cleopatra Entertainment.
Glenn’s passion for film, the occult, and all things ghouls ‘n ghosts has long influenced his music, and now he’s taking these elements to the big screen, the press release explains. Featuring a plot shrouded in secrecy, a soundtrack of new Danzig music, and based on the output of his comic book publishing company Verotik—a compound of “violence” and “erotic”—this feature film anthology is a realization of his lifelong love of comics and the dark arts.
There are all sorts of surprises at Cinepocalypse 2019, including world premieres more precious than the Holy Grail. A love story like no other, Tammy and the T-Rex, from the director of Mac and Me, is described as "a ’90s Disney Channel movie on bath salts, starring Denise Richards as the titular T-Rex love interest." The never-before-seen, never-known-to-exist, R-rated ‘Gore-cut’ 35mm print of the film will screen for the first time ever, courtesy of the Academy Film Archive.
Get ready to return to the sexy slopes of Hot Dog...The Movie for the 35th Anniversary Producer’s Cut 4K Restoration of the David Naughton (An American Werewolf In London) and Shannon Tweed (post-Playmate of the Year and pre-Gene Simmons) starring winter wonderland, Porky’s-esque youth comedy, now with never-before-seen restored footage. The special screening will be hosted by Synapse Films Don May Jr., the A.V. Club’s Katie Rife and Mike “McBeardo” McPadden, author of Teen Movie Hell: A Crucible of Coming-of-Age Films From Animal House to Zapped!
Cinepocalypse is rolling out the blood-red carpet for some of the most exciting voices in horror filmmaking of this age. They'll host a special screening of Culture Shock, directed by Gigi Saul Guerrer, one of Variety’s 10 Latinxs to Watch. Her contribution to Hulu and Blumhouse’s popular "Into The Dark" series follows a young Mexican woman as her pursuit for the American Dream turns into the American Nightmare.
Minimum wage jobs are bad enough but a pizza delivery goes devilishly wrong in Chelsea Stardust hotly anticipated After Hours-esque dark comedy Satanic Panic. Produced by the production wing of Fangoria, who will also be releasing a special mini-edition of the magazine for CFF.
Caryn Waecther tackles isolation in the age of social media with her haunting sophomore feature Deadcon, following real-life YouTubers Lauren Elizabeth and Claudia Sulewski up against vengeful ghosts even more horrifying than their devoted fans.
Dark pasts come calling back in Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala’s Sundance hit The Lodge as the fate of a young woman and her new, grudging step-children unravel in this star-studded psychological slowburn featuring Riley Keough, Jaeden Lieberher, Alicia Silverstone, Richard Armitage and Lia McHugh.
Pollyanna McIntosh, best known for her role on AMC’s "The Walking Dead", moves into the director seat for Darlin’, a follow-up to Lucky McKee’s 2011 film The Woman, while also reprising her starring role in the debut that charged SXSW’s Midnight Madness earlier this year.
Cinepocalypse salutes the patron saints of debauchery with a two-tier punch of totally original and unparalleled cinematic chaos, with GWAR members in attendance. First with a special retrospective screening event showcasing a number of their most extravagant short films, including the Grammy-nominated Phallus In Wonderland (for the first time on the big screen!). BälSäc and Sleazy P. take the stage to verbally skewer John Fasano’s 1987 Canadian cult classic Rock 'N' Roll Nightmare, starring (and written by) fellow rock god Thor!
In addition, the festival will present its annual achievement award to none other than the esteemed Canadian actor Michael Ironside, who’s been a staple in the world of genre cinema for the past three decades. Ironside will accept his award following a special 70mm screening of the sci-fi action film Total Recall!
Joel Schumacher, revered director of The Lost Boys, Batman Forever and St. Elmo’s Fire (to name a few!) joins the festival as Jury President and to present and take part in Q&As for special screenings of Falling Down on 35mm and a rare 70mm print of Flatliners, originally filmed in Chicago.
Continuing to set the bar for exciting new genre cinema, CFF brings even more world premieres to the Music Box. We’re not joking around when we say you’ve never seen anything like Eric Power’s Attack of the Demons. Three friends fight off a horde of demons in the apocalyptic film that more than delivers in carnage, gore, and cut-paper animation. Holly’s perfect-on-paper life is threatened by strange dreams she can’t explain in Dean Kapsalis’ The Swerve. Both a stellar portrait of depression and a horrific drama, Dean’s feature-debut easily marks him as an emerging talent to watch.
Indie horror vet Lucky McKee (May, The Woman) returns with Kindred Spirits, a twisted tale of two sisters, and the one who won’t let anything, or anyone, get between them. Eric Liberacki’s Chicago-set slasher The Lurker pits theatre students against savage killer in a film that gives new meaning to “The show must go on!”
The festival will also play host to a number of exciting North American and Midwest premieres. Talal Selhami’s Morrocan monster horror ACHOURA, where old friends confront both their past and a beast of legends. Emilio Portes’ demonic border-set Belzebuth follows the investigation of missing children that takes a decidedly demonic turn. YouTubers try to crack a ghostly urban legend in Fabrício Bittar’s horror-comedy Ghost Killers vs. Bloody Mary with equal amounts gags and gore. The Polish pagan epic The Mute, from award-winning Polish director Bartosz Konopka, explores a clash of beliefs in a thrilling, atmospheric heavy weight. Daniel de la Vega offers up a throwback to the days of black-and-white Noir films with the bewildering crime thriller Punta Muerto.
Celebrated horror director Joe Begos brings us Bliss his latest pounding feature, that’ll drag you to the deprived underbelly of L.A. with the spiraling artist Dezzy Donahue, whose struggle for inspiration becomes complicated by her mounting bloodlust. Based on a tragic, true story Lucas Heyne’s Mope follows two best friends, and low-end porn actors, who sought fame but gained infamy in connection to a gruesome, on-set murder. The tables are turned on two wannabe criminals in Villains, from directors Dan Berk and Robert Olsen and starring Bill Skarsgård, when thievery runs a foul and the prowlers soon become the prey. Kirill Sokolov delivers a taste of bombastic revenge in Why Don't You Just Die, a delicious serving of Russian dark humour as each character tries to murderously wreak revenge on the next, presented by our friends from across the globe, Paris’ L'Étrange Festival.
COMPLETE CINEPOCALYPSE PROGRAM:
Achoura, dir. Talal Selhami Morocco, North American Premiere Four childhood friends are reunited when one of them re-surfaces after 20 years, forcing them to confront a creature straight out of a spine-chilling Moroccan legend.
Attack of the Demons, dir. Eric Power USA, World Premiere – Filmmaker in attendance! Three friends must use every skill their minds can fathom to stave off a legion of mutating demons overtaking their community. Move over South Park, this gore-soaked film is done entirely in hand cut-paper animation.
Belzebuth, dir. Emilio Portes Mexico, North American Premiere After losing his family in a most horrific way, a special border agent must investigate a series of deaths involving young children, possession, and an ancient demon named Belzebuth.
Bliss, dir. Joe Begos USA, Midwest Premiere A brilliant macabre painter facing the worst creative block of her life turns to every vice she can to complete her masterpiece, spiraling into a hallucinatory hellscape of drugs, sex, and a whole lotta murder.
Hulu’s Into The Dark: Culture Shock, dir. Gigi Saul Guerrero USA, Special Presentation – Filmmaker in attendance! This thriller follows a young woman in pursuit of the American Dream, who crosses illegally into the United States, only to find herself in an American nightmare.
Darlin’, dir. Pollyanna McIntosh USA, Midwest Premiere – Filmmaker in attendance! A direct sequel to 2011’s cult classic The Woman, star Pollyanna McIntosh takes over the director’s chair in this coming-of-age shocker with a horror-tinged twist.
Deadcon, dir. Caryn Waechter USA, World Premiere The horrors and isolation of being a social media influencer run rampant in Deadcon, when a collection of Youtube and Instagram stars soon discover there are things scarier than thousands of teenagers armed with phones asking for selfies.
Falling Down, dir. Joel Schumacher USA, Retrospective – Filmmaker in attendance! An unemployed defense worker, frustrated with the various flaws he sees in society, begins to psychotically and violently lash out against them. Presented in 35mm.
Flatliners, dir. Joel Schumacher USA, Retrospective – Filmmaker in attendance! Five medical students experiment with “near-death” experiences until the dark consequences of past tragedies begin to jeopardize their lives. Presented in 70mm
Ghost Killers Vs. Bloody Mary, dir. Fabrício Bittar Brazil, North American Premiere In this horror-comedy bloodbath, four Youtubers with expertise in supernatural events seek recognition from their viewers while solving the urban legend of Bloody Mary. Prepare yourselves for gut-busting hilarity and gore-soaked chaos.
GWAR Showcase USA, Special screening – Guests in attendance! A retrospective of GWAR’s blood-splattered iconic heavy metal career, including the Grammy nominated Phallus In Wonderland, followed by a Q&A!
Hot Dog… The Movie, dir. Peter Markle USA, 35th Anniversary 4K Producer’s Cut Restoration World Premiere
Kindred Spirits, dir. Lucky McKee USA, World Premiere – Filmmaker in attendance! In the latest twisted work from the director of May and The Woman, stars Thora Birch, Macon Blair, and Caitlin Stasey shine in this unapologetically dark thriller about a deeply disturbed young woman with a sinister agenda.
The Lodge, dirs. Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala UK/U.S.A, Midwest Premiere In this psychologically unsettling slowburn, a young woman and her soon-to-be new stepchildren find themselves snowed in at a remote winter cabin. Of course, strange and frightening events take place concluding in a final act that will leave you shaken.
The Lurker, dir. Eric Liberacki USA, World Premiere – Filmmaker in attendance! A group of high school theatre students (led by Scout Taylor-Compton), celebrate their final performance of Romeo & Juliet by dying at the hands of a savage killer, in this Chicago-set slasher that gives new meaning to the expression “the show must go on!”
Mope, dir. Lucas Heyne USA, Midwest Premiere – Filmmaker in attendance! The tragic and very icky true story of two best friends and low-end Mopes (slang for wannabe porn stars) who sought fame but gained infamy in a 2010 murder at a San Fernando valley porn company’s warehouse.
The Mute, dir. Bartosz Konopka Poland, North American Premiere Two knights set off to christen a small pagan village hidden deep within the mountains, using vile methods to take control of the foreigners minds and souls. The Mute is a spectacle made of visuals and atmosphere combined to create a thrilling, savage, and mystical epic.
Punta Muerto (Dead End), dir. Daniel de la Vega Argentina, North American Premiere A mystery writer is suspected of murder when a colleague turns up dead in the exact way that is laid out in his latest, highly praised book. To prove his innocence, he must find the real killer, in this stunning B&W throwback to ’40s mysteries and film noir.
Rock N’ Roll Nightmare, dir. John Fasano Canada, Special live movie riff event with members of GWAR At a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, a hopeful hair-metal band seeking inspiration to record their new LP will soon find themselves in a furious confrontation with the Prince of Darkness himself, as well as GWAR!
Satanic Panic, dir. Chelsea Stardust USA, Midwest Premiere A pizza delivery girl at the end of her financial rope has to fight for her life – and her tips – when her last order of the night turns out to be to a group of high-society Satanists in need of a virgin sacrifice.
The Swerve, dir. Dean Kapsalis USA, World Premiere – Filmmaker in attendance! Holly seems to have it all, but there are troubling signs that all is not right as her life begins to spiral out of control. Both a stellar portrait of depression and a horrific drama, this haunting update on a classic tragedy comes from a new writer/director raised on the films of Bergman, Polanski, and Hitchcock.
Tammy & the T-Rex, dir. Stewart Raffill USA, Original R-rated ‘Gore-Cut’ 35mm World Premiere From the director of Mac and Me, comes a love story like no other. Starring DEnise Richards and the late great Paul Walker. Oh, and of course a T-Rex.
Total Recall, dir. Paul Verhoeven USA, Retrospective – Film Guest in attendance! Presented in 70mm. “See you at the party Richter”. Villain extraordinaire Michael Ironside in attendance for one of the greatest sci-fi action films of all time! From filmmaker Paul Verhoeven and starring Arnold Schwarzenneger. You know this one!
Verotika, dir. Glenn Danzig USA, World Premiere – Filmmaker in attendance! Featuring a plot shrouded in secrecy, a soundtrack composed entirely of new Danzig music, and based on the output of his long-running, mature comic book publishing company Verotik—a compound of “violence” and “erotic”—this feature film anthology is Glenn Danzig’s directorial debut!
Villains, dirs. Dan Berk & Robert Olsen USA, Midwest Premiere When a pair of painfully amateurish criminals break into a suburban home, they stumble upon a dark secret in the basement that two sadistic homeowners will do anything to keep from getting out in this black-comic thriller.
Why Don’t You Just Die, dir. Kirill Sokolov Russia, Midwest Premiere – Presented by L’Étrange Festival A detective brings together a terrible group of people in his apartment, each one of whom has a reason to want revenge. With plenty of dark Russian humor, this rip-roaring rampage of violence and gore plays more as an evil Looney tunes than your basic gross-out experience. Presented by L’Etrange Festival in Paris.
Festival badges are available now, and individual tickets go on sale Friday at noon CT at cinepocalypsegenrefest.com
This year’s poster was designed by visionary heavy metal artist Paul Romano, whose work can be found on hundreds of album covers and frequently collaborates with famed force of musical destruction Mastodon.