Didn’t we just do this? Yes, we did, but an abnormal year calls for abnormal festivals, so here we are. Coming for the second run just a few months later, MAXIMUM HALLOWEEN is the traditional end of the year portion of the Night Visions festival lineup. Featuring this year a selection of 26 feature lengths films over the course of three nights, it’s going to be a whopper of a finale for 2020.
Naturally, all the films available are entirely worthwhile, many of which could easily feature on this top five. (There’s an incredible opportunity to see the nightmarish ANGEL HEART on the big screen!) But for now, I’ve gone with both old and new ones in equal measure as the picks which not to miss out on. Tickets go on sale today, 13.11.2020, and links to each film is in the headings.
As always, remember that it’s an abnormal year, and there’s a pandemic on. Tickets are limited. Don’t miss out, and see you at the theater!
NEW ORDER is already picking up steam to become The Next Big thing this year, right in the wake of PARASITE shaking up audiences the world over. Continuing the streak of socially aware genre films, NEW ORDER, directed by Michel Franco, sees the sudden outbreak of the poor begin open warfare on the ruling elite – and everything that comes afterward.
Clocking in at a lean and mean 86 minutes, Franco’s film is already hailed as a masterpiece across the pond. His previous film, CHRONIC, is a brilliant portrayal of grief and death, so my expectations for this are through the roof. If there’s a film at this festival you shouldn’t miss, it’s this one.
They say that good sci-fi predicts the future, and who would have guessed that it was Sylvester Stallone’s big and goofy actioner DEMOLITION MAN that would get so many things right? Certainly not contemporary critics, who criticized the film for its then over-the-top plot and humor. But time, funnily enough, has been kind to John Spartan and friends. Today, DEMOLITION MAN is going through a revival of sorts, as people finally come around to the absurdist dystopia on display.
Stallone is John Spartan, a relic of the 80s machismo, who kicks ass, takes names, and maybe solves the crime afterward. Framed by his arch-nemesis, Simon Phoenix, and sentenced to life in cryo-stasis, Spartan is a man out of time in the literal sense. Phoenix, likewise, is sentenced alongside him.
But things don’t go as planned, and in the far future of 2032 Los Angeles, Phoenix escapes, forcing the new LAPD to bring back Spartan to help. What starts as a fish out of the water scenario soon morphs into a surprisingly sharp satire of west coast denialism, hyper-consumerism, and Sunday liberalism.
It’s incredibly cheesy, somewhat dated, and Wesley Snipes is a total goofball as Simon Phoenix. But DEMOLITION MAN is one of the rare oddities of the 90s; a film so ahead of its time, it now feels downright prescient. Seeing it on the big screen is going to be a joy.
Nicolas Cage leads a group of warriors fighting against “a poet-warrior in the sci-fi sense,” who arrives from another world to duel for the ownership of ours every six years. Why? Because they’re chosen Jiu Jitsu warriors, of course.
That’s it. What else do you need to know? Nicolas Cage is one of the most interesting actors of our time, simply because he refuses to say no to anything. This mostly leads to humdrum parts in entirely forgettable z-movies, many of which he makes for the money. But every once in a while, he’ll surprise with a streak like MANDY and COLOR OUT OF SPACE. Hopefully, this includes JIU JITSU as well.
The film doesn’t look like it makes a lick of sense, and something tells me that Cage isn’t going to be doing much of his own fighting, but with the added power of Rick Yune and Tony Jaa in the mix, JIU JITSU promises to be at least entertaining – if not coherent.
A group of people joins together to survive in a shared coma induced nightmare, where reality is what you make of it.
Sharing the DNA of films like TEKKONKINKREET, PAPRIKA, INCEPTION, and THE MATRIX, COMA is the next in a long line of terrific Russian genre films, where imagination matters more than technical prowess. COMA has the ambition to spare, and the wild action looks hugely promising. The film is directed by first-timer, former VFX artist Nikita Argunov, whose previous credits include films MONGOL and GUARDIANS.
It’s also a rare chance to enjoy balls-out madness like this from our neighbors to east on the big screen. Last year that chance was the amazing WHY DON’T YOU JUST DIE, which everyone should seek out. Fingers crossed COMA knocks it out of the park as well.
After yet another attempt to mess with nature goes horribly wrong, a freighter ship stuck in radioactive waters is overrun with giant crab-spiders, forcing those on board to fight for their lives.
I’m a total sucker for a good monster movie, and even more so when it’s a claustrophobia-inducing survival horror film to boot. It helps that ABYSSAL SPIDER, originally titled MAD SPIDER SEA, is precisely the kind of over-the-top b-movie splatter madness one sometimes needs.
Directed by Taiwanese wunderkind Joe Chien, horror and gore aficionado behind such films as THE HOUSE THAT NEVER DIES, ABYSSAL SPIDER delivers exactly what it promises. Plenty of cheesy effects, lots of people running around screaming, and goretastic kills worthy of a scream or two.