Giant alien spiders attacking Los Angeles, mysterious strangers, supernatural phenomena, and a vampire who falls for a screenwriter are just some of the strange and fascinating SXSW picks for their popular Midnighters program.
“We work year-round searching for films that will wow our audiences at Midnight. This year we scoured the globe and brought back a batch that we knew would truly satisfy the gore hounds of SXSW,” said SXSW Senior Programmer & Operations Manager Jarod Neece in a press release announcing the lineup, Wednesday. “Full of scares, sex, madness, laughs, chills and major mind f—-, we hope there’s a little something for everyone.”
The Festival also selected 106 short films which will be shown in ten programs throughout the Festival. Shorts programmer Claudette Godfrey said in the press release that “this year’s selections beautifully capture, in a multitude of ways, the essence of existence in this very specific moment, while still managing to provide a much wider and relatable commentary across time.”
Take a look at a few of the midnight features and shorts that caught our eye.
The full list of Midnighters selections is available here.
• Haunter Little Miss Sunshine herself, Abigail Breslin, plays a ghost who must relive (somehow) the day before she and her family were all killed.
• The Lords of Salem Rob Zombie’s latest directorial effort follows a Salem, Massachusetts DJ who plays a mysterious record she receives from “the Lords” and begins to experience flashbacks of the town’s terrifying past. We discussed the trailer here.
• Kiss of the Damned Xan Cassavetes (daughter of John), directs this film about a vampire (Joséphine de La Baume) who falls in love with a human screenwriter (Milo Ventimiglia), but things get complicated when her sister comes to visit.
• Big Ass Spider! J.J. Abrams favorite Greg Grunberg (Alias) stars in this awesome-sounding film about a giant alien spider attacking the city of Los Angeles. An exterminator and a security guard are the city’s only hope. Ray Wise (Twin Peaks) also stars.
• The Rambler Dermot Mulroney stars as “The Rambler” - a man just released from prison and searching for his brother. On his trip through dangerous back roads and small towns, he encounters some mysterious figures.
• S-VHS (V/H/S/2) V/H/S Director Adam Wingard returns with another tale of missing students and clues on VHS tapes.
And here are a few of the narrative short films that looked particularly interesting. Notably, the winner of the SXSW Grand Jury Award for the best narrative short will be eligible for a 2014 Academy Award nomination in that category. The full list is available here.
• LaDonna Atlanta Filmmaker Nathan Honnold directs this tale about an elderly couple looking for adventure, which they find in an abandoned trailer that becomes their new hideout.
• When We Lived in Miami Shot during Hurricane Isaac, the film follows a woman trying to keep her family together.
• Sequin Raze Sarah Gertrude Shapiro directs this short about a reality show and the producer and the beauty queen who must face off in “mental mortal combat.”
• Weighting 21 Jump Street’s Brie Larson is a co-director on this sparsely described film about a relationship in turmoil.
• Mobile Homes The story of a mother trapped in human trafficking and her 7-year-old son who travels with her from place to place.