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Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Serves Up Some New Takes on Classic Themes, and Loads More

The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival has consistently presented jaw-dropping line-ups of fright fare, and was recently named to Moviemaker Magazine’s 30 Bloody Best Genre Fests in the World. This year is the fests’s fourth edition, and it offers up another superb batch of features and shorts during its October 17–24 run. Among the films slated for the 2019 Brooklyn Horror Film Festival are the following eight, which have the Grue-Crew salivating and wringing hands in anticipation. My comments follow in italics after the official Brooklyn Horror descriptions.

The Beach House 

North American Premiere

USA | 2019 | 88 Min | Dir. Jeffrey A. Brown

Hoping to reignite their relationship, Emily and Randall arrive at their weekend getaway only to discover a peculiar older couple already staying there. They all agree to share the home and after an indulgent night of partying, wake up to a living nightmare of apocalyptic proportions. Something is infecting the water and a fog is making its way ashore. THE BEACH HOUSE calls to mind the best of ‘50s science fiction with an updated twist. 

Director Jeffrey A. Brown and producer Andrew Corkin in attendance.

As a huge fan of 1950s science fiction, I’m eager to see this one. The description makes the film sound like a cross between an episode of The Twilight Zone and classic atomic age fear fare, which should make for an exciting story.

Sick, Sick, Sick

New York Premiere

Brazil | 2019 | 100 Min | Dir. Alice Furtado

It’s love at first sight when teenager Silvia meets the charismatic Artur, with whom she begins a passionate and world-changing relationship. That is, until Artur suddenly dies, leaving Silvia in a debilitating state of loss, complete with intense depression and physical sickness. While on a beachside vacation with her family, though, she meets a local who introduces her to the notion of voodoo—specifically, bringing loved ones back from the dead. Proudly inspired by PET SEMATARY, Alice Furtado repurposes the themes of Stephen King’s classic resurrection story onto a hypnotic film that’s both distinct to her Brazilian culture and visually decadent. 

Resurrecting the dead is a hot trend in Brazilian film these days. The Father’s Shadow, which also screens at Brooklyn Horror, plays with a similar theme, and it is a prime contender for my year-end top 10 list of favorite horror movies. Hopefully Sick, Sick, Sick will help make those 10 choices even harder from which to choose.

The Room

North American Premiere

France, Belgium, Luxembourg | 2019 | 95 Min. | Dir. Christian Volckman

Looking for a change, Matt (Kevin Janssens from Coralie Fargeat’s REVENGE) and Kate (Olga Kurylenko) relocate from New York City to quaint New Hampshire. While cleaning out their new home, the couple discovers a secret room in which any wishes one speaks out loud materialize. At first, it’s all fun, money wishes and games until Matt and Kate realize what this could mean for their inability to have a child. And with that MONKEY’S-PAW-esque setup, Christian Volckman’s bold psychodrama THE ROOM constantly surprises with its unpredictable turns while maintaining an air of subtly potent dread. 

Speaking of classic The Twilight Zone set-ups, this one sounds like a promising offering. Janssens and Kurylenko as the leads are reason enough to put The Room on your need-to-see list. 

1BR

East Coast Premiere

USA | 2019 | 90 Min | Dir. David Marmor

For recent LA transplant Sarah, the Asilo Del Mar apartment complex seemed like the perfect place to start her new life; safe with friendly and considerate neighbors who treat each other like family. Hiding behind this utopian exterior is an all-consuming evil that wants to form her into its image and never let her go. 1BR taps into the universal fears of moving to a new city, forming a tableau not of unimaginable terror but something much worse.

Director David Marmor in attendance along with lead actress Nicole Brydon Bloom and producers Alok Mishra and Shane Vorster.

The first official clip from 1 BR sees a tenant find out the punishment for breaking the apartment complex’s no pets policy — and it is chilling. If the film lives up to the eeriness and shock of this clip, it should be a corker.

Girl on the Third Floor

New York Premiere

USA | 2019 | 93 Min | Dir. Travis Stevens

For married man Don Koch (Philip “CM Punk” Brooks), remodeling his new home gives him the chance to start anew while trying to overcome legal troubles and fidelity struggles. Once inside the fixer-upper, Don is helpless against the house’s goo-dripping walls, sordid history and inner demons, the latter hideously exposing those of its new owner. Utilizing the expertise acquired from producing several critically acclaimed indie horror films, including STARRY EYES and WE ARE STILL HERE, Travis Stevens makes his directorial debut with a slick and wildly entertaining haunted house movie that’s truly like no other. 

Director Travis Stevens and lead actor Phil “CM Punk” Brooks in attendance.

Watching CM Punk go bonkers in a haunted house is reason enough for me to have to see this one!

VFW

New York Premiere

USA | 2019 | 92 Min | Dir. Joe Begos

A tight-knit group of grizzled military veterans (played by a formidable cast of genre fan favorites, including Stephen Lang, William Sadler and Fred Williamson) just want to have a laidback night of hard boozing inside their VFW digs. Too bad for them, though, that a gang of punk drug dealers and supercharged addicts have other plans for their unsuspecting elders. Coming off of his excellent descent-into-hell eye-opener BLISS, horror grime master Joe Begos puts his bold stamp on the good old-fashioned “siege movie” with this gore-drenched and delightfully sleazy adrenaline rush. 

Director Joe Begos in attendance. 

When siege movie meets horror film, there is a lot of potential for a thrill ride, and with Begos at the helm, this one should satisfy.

Swallow

USA | 2019 | 94 Min | Dir. Carlo Mirabella-Davis

Pregnant housewife Hunter (Haley Bennett) suddenly develops a case of pica—a psychological disorder involving the desire to consume inedible objects. The more her husband and his family try to stop her compulsions, the gruesomely deeper she falls into this harmful obsession until her perfect home becomes a patriarchal prison. Carlo Mirabella-Davis’ metaphorically rich feature debut is a body horror film that feels utterly essential from its timely commentary down to Bennett’s jaw-dropping lead performance.

Director Carlo Mirabella-Davis in attendance

Swallow has been blowing film festival audiences away. This is one of my most anticipated must-sees of 2019.

Carmilla

NYC Premiere

United Kingdom | 2019 | 95 Min | Dir. Emily Harris

Fifteen-year-old Lara has no freedom in her overbearing family’s stately manor, which makes her budding sexual curiosities all the tougher to navigate. One day, a carriage accident near their property leads to enigmatic teenager Carmilla taking up residence inside her home to recover, sparking a friendship that grows into something more passionate. Lara’s family, meanwhile, suspects there’s something inhuman about Carmilla. Adapting Sheridan Le Fanu’s classic vampire novella, which predates Bram Stoker’s DRACULA by nearly three decades, British filmmaker Emily Harris delivers an elegant and moody Gothic romance that isn’t afraid to let the blood flow. 

I’ll take British gothic horror whenever I can. This sounds intriguing!

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Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.
Joseph Perry
Joseph Perry fell in love with horror films as a preschooler when he first saw the Gill-Man swim across the TV screen in "The Creature from The Black Lagoon" and Mothra battle Godzilla in "Godzilla Vs. The Thing.” His education in fright fare continued with TV series such as "The Twilight Zone" and "Outer Limits," along with legendary northern California horror host Bob Wilkins’ "Creature Features." His love for silver age and golden age comic books, including horror titles from Gold Key, Dell, and Marvel started around age 5. He is a contributing writer for "Phantom of the Movies VideoScope" print magazine and the websites Gruesome Magazine, Diabolique Magazine, Ghastly Grinning, The Scariest Things, Horror Fuel, and When It Was Cool. He is a co-host of the "Decades of Horror: The Classic Era" and "Uphill Both Ways" podcasts. Joseph has also written for “Scream” magazine, "Filmfax" magazine, “SQ Horror” magazine, and the websites That's Not Current an HorrorNews.net. He occasionally proudly co-writes articles with his son Cohen Perry, who is a film critic in his own right. A former northern Californian and Oregonian, Joseph has been teaching, writing, and living in South Korea since 2008.