This year’s closing night will feature the all female-led feature debut from Elizabeth E. Schuch, whose credits include storyboarding for WONDER WOMAN and concept art for the upcoming PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING. One part feminist fairy tale and another gothic horror, THE BOOK OF BIRDIE features Ilirida Memedovski as Birdie, a young girl who’s sent to live at a crumbling convent following her frequent hallucinations, bizarre obsessions, and special penchant for blood. The film will be screening at the Wythe Hotel Cinema with the leading actress in attendance!
BHFF will also host the New York launch of Spectacular Optical’s latest pop culture publication, Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin. Curated and edited by Samm Deighan, co-host of the ‘Daughters of Darkness’ podcast, the book consists of essays written completely by women scholars, critics, and film historians and focused on the work and life of Jean Rollin. Representing the first time his sometimes controversial work has been assessed purely from the female perspective, Lost Girls shines an important light on his decidedly gothic and sexual filmography. The launch is paired with a presentation by Deighan and a rare screening of SHIVER OF THE VAMPIRES, recently restored by Kino Lorber.
Taking things into the contemporary, a very BK approach to feminism and horror films, as Drunk Education (formerly known as Drunk Ted Talks) will be tackling the topic of Final Girls. Come hear female horror experts Aja Romano (Vox), Kristen Yoonsoo Kim (GQ/Village Voice/Vice), Hazel Cills (Jezebel), and Teo Bugbee (Daily Beast) make the case for everyone from Jamie Lee Curtis in HALLOWEEN to Neve Campbell in SCREAM to Sigourney Weaver in ALIEN—after a few too many Mermaid Pilsners!
Two of the boldest and most unique horror films of the festival are brought to us from skilled women making films on far-off continents. The Argentinian-made CLEMENTINA follows Juana, a tormented heroine abandoned by her husband after his vicious attack results in her miscarriage. Director Jimena Monteoliva reveals her lead character’s interiority with plenty of scares, steadily ratcheting up tension in this unique and fascinating ghost story, shown at the festival with actress Cecilia Cartasegna in attendance. Equally compelling is Spanish director Denise Castro’s fresh addition to the vampire genre, SALVATION. Thirteen-year-old hospital patient Cris encounters Victor, a self-described vampire, while she awaits open-heart surgery and an uncertain fate. Castro expertly manufactures both horror and heartache in this distinctive feature about a young woman faced with the prospect of her own untimely demise.
You’ll see femme fatales like never before in the darkly funny festival hit TRAGEDY GIRLS and the brutal as can be, COLD HELL, highlighted as one of our centerpiece films brought to you by Shudder. In Tyler MacIntyre’s TRAGEDY GIRLS Sadie (DEADPOOL) and McKayla (X-MEN APOCALYPSE) are typical teenagers—they try to get good grades in school, crush on bad boys, and want to get the most likes on social media (even if it means having to kill to get them). Things quickly take a twist when the two kidnap a killer on the loose and the girls are forced to put their friendship to the test. Girl power takes on a different beat in Stefan Ruzowitzky’s fierce German feature COLD HELL, which follows hard-as-nails taxi driver (and recreational Thai boxer that regularly makes all the boys cry) Ozge as she’s hunted down by a serial killer dead set on her demise—too bad for him, Ozge’s never been one to go down easy. After these two films about badass women, there will be no doubt in your mind that damsels in distress are so last millennium.
Power comes into play in both VERONICA, in which a retired psychologist asks her patient to move into her isolated home in the wood and a game of secrets and lies ensues as the two women battle for psychological dominance—and THE FOREST OF LOST SOULS, where a leather-clad teenager takes on the role of the grim reaper leading people to their suicide, but there might be more to her motives, and a secret behind her bravado. The psychological torrent that is FASHIONISTA brings the audience along with April (fascinatedly realized by Amanda Fuller) as she faces her suspicions that her husband is cheating on her and self-destructive behaviour takes over, while HAGAZUSSA dips its psychosis in the supernatural as a mother and child in the 15th century Austrian Alps are threatened by an evil presence, but she has to question if this ancient malevolence is an outside force or a product of her own mind.
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