The mud capital’s coolest festival HÕFF comes with the Walpurgis Night! Starting on Friday already, the scariest festival of Estonia invites all the horror film fans to Haapsalu for the weekend. Culture.ee brings to you five films, which we definitely recommend you to watch at HÕFF. The recommendations have been put together by the editor of culture.ee and horror film fan Helina Koldek!
Under the Shadow
(Jordan, Great Britain, 2016, director: Babak Anvari)
The first feature film of Babak Anvari, who was born in Iran and lived there for the first 19 years of his life, was inspired by his early childhood and the Middle Eastern mythology. The film, which was shot in Jordan due to the restrictions and censorship in place in Iran, takes place in Tehran during the 1980s conflict between Iran and Iraq and skilfully intertwines the war-induced fears with the stories of the mythological genie who travels with the wind. Anvari confronts the outer and private space and lets us follow the main character’s reaction to the invasion of an alien. This is the opening film of the festival, which screens on April 29 at 19:15 in the great hall of Haapsalu Cultural Centre.
(Great Britain, 2015, director: Steve Oram)
Steve Oram, who is known to HÕFF friends as an actor from films “Sightseers” (Ben Wheatley, 2012) and “The Canal” (Ivan Kavanagh, 2014), wrote a regular screenplay with English-language dialogue, which the actors familiarised themselves with. But when they started shooting, they abandoned the screenplay and conveyed the entire dialogue uttering monkey sounds. The result is a study of a person, who lives in contemporary world, but acts like a monkey. Despite the fact that there is lots of aggression and pointedly bizarre behaviour in the film, it can be said that there is nothing that people certainly would not do. The main difference is that we have an opportunity to justify our strangeness, but also everyday habits, manners and social rituals, with the language and thereby affirm and normalise everything. What is left when all the verbal explanations are set aside, can be seen on April 29 at 23:45 in the balcony hall of Haapsalu Cultural Centre.
(USA, 2015, director: Karyn Kusama)
Those who like to analyse the background of customary behaviour, can confidently be recommended to watch Karyn Kusama’s film “The Invitation”, which screens in the great hall of Haapsalu Cultural Centre on Saturday, April 30, at 16:00. The film centres on a young man called Will, who is invited along with his fiancé to a social dinner at his ex-wife Eden’s place. As the evening progresses, Will becomes more and more suspicious of his hosts, but no one takes his fears seriously. The slow-paced thriller with a mystical atmosphere gives time for both following the film as well as thinking about it and is suitable for also those film lovers, who don’t consider horror to be their favourite genre.
(Turkey, 2015, director: Can Evrenol)
„Baskin“ (meaning „raid“), based on Can Evrenol’s short film of the same title, tells a story about policemen, who come upon an abandoned house while responding to an emergency, and are faced with a real nightmare. Evrenol has named the French new wave horror of the last decade, and especially Nicolas Winding Refn’s colourful and dreamlike „Only God Forgives“, which has also screened at PÖFF, as his visual and stylistic role models. Under „Baskin“’s grotesque and surreal surface there lies, among other things, criticism against the prevalent macho culture of Turkish society. One of the brightest pearls of this year’s HÕFF screens in the great hall of Haapsalu Cultural Centre on April 30, at 22:00.
Cat Sick Blues
(Australia, 2015, director: Dave Jackson)
Cat fanatic Dave Jackson starts pondering over what could happen, if a mentally extremely unstable person lost their beloved pet and with it their last grain of humanity. This train of thought is what led to “Cat Sick Blues”, which talks about the Catman and the nine lives that he owns. Just like the main character’s cat mask can convey lack of emotions and empathy as well as irresistible cuteness, humour and horror walks hand in hand in harmony in this film. “Cat Sick Blues”, which has been influenced by a number of classic horror films, is still a completely unique and original story about an animal friend living in his fantasies. The film screens in the balcony hall of Haapsalu Cultural Centre on April 30, at 23:45.