Podcast: FrightFest 2016 critics’ roundtable post-mortem

Was this the ‘year of the mother’? Sixtysomething movies later, our indefatigable horror-film specialists stagger out of this year’s FrightFest bonanza and into our recording studio to dissect the best and worst, darkest and weirdest of this year’s horror scene.

Anton Bitel , Kim Newman , Virginie Sélavy
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The best of this year’s FrightFest

Anton Bitel

We Are the Flesh

Emiliano Rocha Minter’s psychedelic chamberpiece is a category-defying return both to the womb, and to all the dark, repressed underpinnings of Mexican society. An arresting arthouse debut!

Pet

Carles Torrens’ film starts as a familiar blend of stalker thrills and ’torture porn’, before entering more twisted psychosexual domains, and ending as a hallucinatory romance of sadomasochism and erotomania.

S i R E N

From its improbable origins as an expanded reimagining of an episode from the 2012 horror anthology V/H/S, Gregg Bishop’s film is a monster of all relationship movies, working through the tensions of the marital bond while neatly inverting gender norms. Inventively grotesque, and very funny, too.

 

Kim Newman

Director’s Cut

An ingenious metafiction with a satiric edge and a real chill – with a bravura turn from writer-star Penn Jillette as a spieling stalker. 

The Love Witch

A feminist, mystical 1970s-style soap opera with a diva-like sorceress invading a small California town, crafted by writer-director Anna Biller with extraordinary detail and style. The year’s most gorgeous horror. 

Under the Shadow

Babak Anvari’s chilling, thoughtful Farsi-language ghost story has a secular woman stuck in Tehran during the Iran-Iraq war clashing with a scarf-wearing djinn – it may be that the veil is all the monster is – over who is the more fit mother for her young daughter.

Plus three easy-to-overlook further discoveries, all reviewed at my website: Egomaniac, Karaoke Crazies and Found Footage 3D.

 

Virginie Selavy

We Are the Flesh

By far the best film of this year’s FrightFest, this stunning Mexican debut is a Sado-psychedelic descent into a dark space of fantasy that subverts moral boundaries and social conventions. An intensely disturbing sensory experience charged with a chaotic energy that few films possess.

Beyond the Walls

This atmospheric three-part mini-series made for the French-German TV channel Arte is a labyrinthine Borgesian nightmare that delves into the deepest recesses of the mind.

Under the Shadow

One of the great discoveries of this year’s FrightFest, this tense Iranian fe​minist horror film chillingly blends political and supernatural terrors in a slow-burn build-up that makes the scares all the more effective.

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