Summon yourself this winter as Soho Horror Fest returns for a sprawling 2023 hybrid edition. Spread over two consecutive weekends and boasting two unique film programmes: exhuming from the crypts of the Whirled Cinema, South London, then bringing the ritual to your inner sanctums with a 4 day long online home-invasion of screenings and special events. Over thirty features and 50 short films have been painstakingly conjured from the very best in independent genre cinema, all set to make even the hardiest cult member sh*t their robes.
Shattering the shackles of horror normalcy is the name of the game at this year’s Soho Horror Fest, things are gonna get weird. The festival will open with the International Premiere of THE HYPERBOREAN, like KNIVES OUT on a moonshine bender, prepare to get mummy-wrapped up in the rye humour and cosmic chaos of the latest brain buster from the director of CULT HERO and writer of PONTYPOOL.
Not bonkers enough? How about When Harry Met Sally but for necrophiliacs in Isti Madarász’s kitsch and fantastical mortuary romance HALFWAY HOME, psychiatric psychotronic TIFF sensation FIXATION, or American Dream meets Greek Tragedy in the UK Premiere of the perverse HIPPO. Hack up a hairball in the gag worthy but nonetheless beautiful feline body-horror BOOGER, or take a trip to the woods for an analogue arrest of the heart with the gooey and terrifying FROGMAN- both of which are feature debuts from previous festival alumni filmmakers Mary Dauterman and Anthony Cousins respectively, seeing their European Premieres.
Upholding the festivals keystone of platforming LBGBTQ+ horror, is the centrepiece film: the International Premiere of SAINT DROGO - from the creators of cult favourite DEATH DROP GORGEOUS – a horny, ethereal and shockingly savage queer folk horror that will leave audiences’ jaws on the floor. Bringing even more horn-dog horror, chow down on carnal delights in Aimee Kuge’s raucous and redemptive CANNIBAL MUKBANG. Keeping up the gore for some midnight madness is the UK Premiere of Adam Mason’s supernatural slasher BABY BLUE; but if Sunday afternoon gentleness is more your speed then try not to lose your head with the festival circuit favourite THE COFFEE TABLE from Caye Casas.
A showpiece gala for this year’s festival will focus on Satanic Panic. Opening with a special preview of the disturbing documentary SATAN WANTS YOU, which follows the untold story of the 80s moral panic; a reckoning of religious hypocrisy in the harrowing Australian horror GODLESS: THE EASTFIELD EXORCISM; satanic summoning of a more light-hearted (and puppet filled) nature with the English Premiere of ONYX THE FORTUITOUS AND THE TALISMAN OF SOULS, and closing the in-person festival is Dutch Southern’s hypnotic cultist crime opus ONLY THE GOOD SURVIVE.
The Satanic Panic Gala continues into the virtual festival, which opens with the International Premiere of SATRANIC PANIC, a demon filled road trip movie from Australian queer teen auteur Alice Maio Mackay, who will also present her alien parasite feature T BLOCKERS. Australian horror finds itself front and centre in 2023 with the runaway success of TALK TO ME, and to celebrate it Sohome Horror Fest will play host to an Australian Horror summit. Sam Curtain’s nihilistic BEATEN TO DEATH will quite literally beat you to death, and confined creature feature SUBJECT is bound to make you feel clawstraphobic. As well as an Antipodean short film showcase and a roundtable discussion of the history and importance of the countries stamp on the genre; come down under mate.
Showing the broadest reaches of the genre, there’s the hand animated marvel of 80s nostalgia in Zach Passero’s THE WEIRD KIDZ, the unholy fusion of Lovecraft and full blown musical in the goofy and earworm filled ELDRITCH, USA, and heart-warming apocalyptic love letter to the power of filmmaking in THE LAST MOVIE EVER MADE.
Fear will assault your airwaves; in the skin crawling study of psychopathy that is TEARSUCKER a man thirsts for – you guessed it – tears, from Chile an all-female black metal band conjures more than just riffs in Patricio Valadares’ INVOKING YELL. Ensuring that the truly unhinged weirdness isn’t just confined to the physical festival is a special preview of the 9 years in the making human sized puppet nightmare ABRUPTIO, and more marionette madness in the unhinged CAROUSEHELL 3 which finds Duke the merry-go-round horse fighting a hitman chocolate easter bunny!
Flying across the pond to have their International Premiere is the intimate and insidious coven spooker SUMMONERS from Terence Krey, a husband and wife separately plot to murder each other on the same fateful night in Zachary Burns twisted HELL HATH NO FURY, and hilarity and catharsis collide in Cassie Keet’s witty cult comedy SCREAM THERAPY. Closing the festival, deck the halls with bows of horror for a very merry aXeMas with SANTASTEIN.
With special collaborations with female collective Ghouls Magazine – presenting their first curated film programme in GHOULSBUMPS, and a live 25th anniversary celebration of DISTURBING BEHAVIOUR with Drunken Horror Podcast; there really is something for everyone in this gathering of 2023’s horror great! So don’t miss out: Festival passes and tickets are on sale now! Summon Yourself.
The Soho Horror Film Festival will run from 24th-26th November at the Whirled Cinema in Brixton, London. The online Sohome Horror Film Festival will run from 30th November to the 3rd December. Full details on all the films on show and tickets can be found at www.sohohorrorfest.com
Follow the festival on Facebook, X and Instagram @SohoHorrorFest