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Premiere scares as Terror-Fi festival returns for Halloween

The Terror-Fi Film Festival returns to The Roxy this Halloween with a second celebration of horror, thriller and sci-fi films from around the world.

This year’s schedule from 31 October to 4 November includes eight New Zealand premieres and two Wellington premieres, with many films screening shortly after world premieres at the Toronto Film Festival and Fantastic Fest.

These include the much-anticipated homage to Dario Argento’s 1970s horror classic Suspiria, starring Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, and Overlord from producer JJ Abrams, with WW2 American paratroopers behind enemy lines encountering not just Nazis, but the undead.

The launch date of Halloween (31 October) is apposite for the Miramar location as it is the birthday of local media mogul Sir Peter Jackson, whose artistic highlights are still possibly early horror films Bad Taste and Braindead.

The opening night presentation of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining will see the Roxy transformed into The Overlook Hotel with themed food, a jazz band and a bubbling blood REDRUM cocktail (make sure you say hello to bartender Lloyd). The timing of the screening is perfect in advance of what could be a horror-filled, gerrymandered, ballot-hacked mid-term elections in the United States a few days later, and it’s no spoiler to advise that appreciation of Kubrick’s genius will be enhanced by observing how he uses the Old Gorious red, white n’ blue in his colour palette.

Terror-Fi’s other retro screening comes from a true horror/action/scifi maestro (Kubrick was just slumming): John Carpenter, with a rare big-screen chance to experience a paranoia classic about consumerism and control. Anyone who’s seen They Live has never looked at sunglasses and cigarettes the same way again, and its warning of evil-among-us is still relevant 30 years on. Plus you won’t want to miss the inevitable hoot-along that’s bound to accompany Roddy Piper’s largely improvised smackdown fight in the parking lot. True cult genius.

Also on the futuristic tip are indie sci-fi western and SXSW winner Prospect, of which Variety opined “this is what the standalone Star Wars movies should feel like”, and black comedy data-hack thriller Assassination Nation, direct from the Toronto Film Festival’s Midnight Madness.

Horror comedy fans are catered for with the zombie Christmas musical Anna and the Apocalypse, and the B-movie-gore of Puppet Master: The Littlest Reich.

British horror Ghost Stories is directed by star and writer Andy Nyman (from his 2010 play), alongside Martin “Bilbo” Freeman and others; Lifechanger is a shape-shifting, serial killer body-horror thriller at warp speed; and Korean action-thriller Believer, based on Johnnie To’s Drug War, is similarly hyper-paced, and the fastest selling film of this year in its homeland. Speculation will be rife as to the identity of the Secret Screening that will have its second-ever festival showing at Terror-Fi.

The festival will again promote New Zealand talent by presenting some of New Zealand’s best genre short films before every feature film screening, with the aim to develop more pathways for New Zealand talent. This year’s best short receives a $10,000 grant of services from Avalon Studios.

For more information, session times and tickets, visit www.TerrorFiFest.com or www.RoxyCinema.co.nz