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Living in Chicago, I spend much of my year being jealous of all the people I see online going to the various genre film festivals held around the parts of the country that aren’t here… until now.

For the first time ever, Chicago is getting its very own full-blown genre festival with Cinepocalypse, a week-long event running November 2nd–9th at the Music Box Theatre, the best place to see a movie in the entire city. Formerly the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival (which I have attended since it began and always completely loved), Cinepocalypse now has a new venue, a larger and more ambitious slate of programming, and dozens of special guests. It’s going to be bigger and better than any festival of its kind the city has ever seen, and I can’t wait to be there as much as possible to see as many cool movies as possible.

Over 60 films will screen as part of the week-long event, which will include several US premieres, a 35mm screening of Suspiria with star Jessica Harper in attendance, a lifetime achievement award for filmmaker Larry Cohen (scheduled to attend), a series of repertory screenings personally programmed by Joe Carnahan, a live podcast recording of “Eric Roberts is the Fu**ing Man” with Eric Roberts appearing on the show for the first time, and much, much more.

While I plan to see as much as possible, here are 12 films I’m looking forward to seeing most at Cinepocalypse. Keep in mind I make it a point not to watch trailers so that I can know as little about the films as possible, a policy with which I have had great success at festivals past. But between word of mouth, the talent involved, or just simple plot summaries, I know enough to know that I can’t wait to see these movies:

1) Applecart (USA, dir. Brad Baruh) I know very little about this movie except for its cast, which includes Chase Williamson, Brea Grant, Daniel Roebuck, and Barbara Crampton. That’s all I need to know! I’m sold. The movie has screened at other festivals already, but has gone through some editing and will be premiering a new cut at Cinepocalypse.

2) Tragedy Girls (USA, dir. Tyler MacIntyre) I’m pretty sure everyone else in the world has already seen and loved Tragedy Girls, about which I have heard nothing but great things. It’s about time I finally get to catch up with it.

3) Mohawk (USA, dir. Ted Geoghegan) Writer/director Ted Geoghegan’s debut feature film, We Are Still Here, was my favorite horror film of 2015, so I’m down for anything he does next. This sounds like a total departure from that film, which is great because he could easily have been branded “the Fulci guy” had he made another movie in the same style. I’m excited.

4) The Terror of Hallow’s Eve (USA, dir. Todd Tucker) Halloween may have just passed, but I’m always excited for any horror movie set on Halloween. This one promises lots of Halloween coolness and ’80s-style practical creature effects.

5) Psychopaths (USA, dir. Mickey Keating) I love that Mickey Keating seems to make a movie or two a year and I’m always up for anything he directs. My favorite of his movies remains Darling, but I still suspect he has something less referential and truly great in him. Crossing my fingers for Psychopaths.

6) Dead Shack (Canada, dir. Peter Ricq) Zombies? Check. Kids? Check. Canadians? Check. I’m in.

7) Jailbreak (Cambodia, dir. Jimmy Henderson) Like a lot of action movie lovers, I have been chasing the dragon ever since Gareth Evans unleashed The Raid and The Raid 2 on the world. This one, about an enormous prison brawl, sounds like it could be the movie to scratch that itch.

8) Rendel (Finland, dir. Jesse Haaja) The plot description of this film, the debut feature from Jesse Haaja, makes it sound sort of like Finland’s answer to Super. I’m fascinated by it.

9) Sequence Break (USA, dir. Graham Skipper) I’ve been a fan of Graham Skipper, actor, for many years thanks to his work in movies like Almost Human, Beyond the Gates, and The Mind’s Eye. I can’t wait to see what he has in store behind the camera, especially with the incredible festival buzz this one has garnered.

10) Primal Rage (USA, dir. Patrick Magee) I’m always in for some good Sasquatch horror, and the write-up for this one says it might be the goriest movie of the year. One, please.

11) Housewife (Turkey, dir. Can Evrenol) I liked director Can Evrenol’s last movie, Baskin, but didn’t quite love it. The visuals and atmosphere were strong enough to make me want to see whatever he does next. Now here it is!

12) Motorrad (Brazil, dir. Vincente Amorim) I love the sound of this one, which promises to be a biker movie combined with a slasher film. Plus, it’s the film’s US premiere. First! First! First!

Keep checking back to Daily Dead for reviews and coverage of Cinepocalypse in the coming weeks!

About Cinepocalypse:

From Music Box: The Music Box Theatre is proud to announce their full wave of programming and guests for the debut year of CINEPOCALYPSE (an evolution to the program design of Bruce Campbell's Horror Film Festival), which will take place November 2 - 9 at Chicago’s Music Box Theatre. The Midwest’s largest gathering of genre films and fans, the festival’s organizers are proud to announce dozens of new features, shorts, and premieres, alongside their juries, repertory, and secret screenings.

Of the over 60 films selected, highlights include the World Premiere of PRIMAL RAGE; North American Premieres of RENDEL, SNOWFLAKE, and THE TERROR OF HALLOW’S EVE; and U.S. Premieres of BEYOND SKYLINE, LOWLIFE, DOWNRANGE, and MOTORRAD! Among the guests at this year’s festival are writer/director Larry Cohen, filmmaker Joe Carnahan, actor Antonio Fargas, actor Eric Roberts, screenwriter/guest host Simon Barrett, actress Barbara Crampton, and Suspiria star Jessica Harper - with many more to be announced!

Says Cinepocalypse founder Josh Goldbloom, “This lineup represents the most twisted, hilarious, intelligent, horrifying, and no holds barred badass cinema on this planet. It’s a pummeling collection of international genre films from the world’s most creative and audacious artists. It was a pleasure for us to curate and discover these films and we’re thrilled to unleash it all in a fury of festivities unlike Chicago has ever seen!”

Cinepocalypse is made possible by sponsors IFC Midnight, Bloody Disgusting, and The Onion’s A.V. Club. 

Josh Goldbloom, Founder and Artistic Director of The Awesome Fest and what had been known as Bruce Campbell’s Horror Film Festival, and Ryan Oestreich, General Manager of The Music Box Theatre, aim to make this year bigger, better, and scarier than any in the festival’s history. Since 2014, the festival has terrorized audiences with an annual slate of premiere films, guests, and bloodcurdling entertainment. Leaving a trail of apocalyptic annihilation in the suburbs, as Cinepocalypse, the festival sheds its suburban skin, forms an epic alliance with the city’s historic Music Box Theatre and reemerges as a brand new horror behemoth for Chicago. 

The Music Box Theatre stands as one of the nation’s most prestigious art house theatres, and has recently made a concerted effort to diversify programming and bolster local audiences. Located on the city’s Northside at 3733 North Southport Ave, The Music Box's year-round programming has consistently offered genre fans some of the very finest cinematic experiences in digital, 35mm, and 70mm formats.

This year’s Cinepocalypse, November 2-9, will features scary-good world, U.S., and regional premieres, repertory screenings, special guests, parties, and much more. For more information, visit www.musicboxtheatre.com. To purchase early bird badges, please visit https://www.musicboxtheatre.com/events/cinepocalypse.

Patrick Bromley
About the Author - Patrick Bromley

Patrick lives in Chicago, where he has been writing about film since 2004. A member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Online Film Critics Society, Patrick's writing also appears on About.com, DVDVerdict.com and fthismovie.net, the site he runs and hosts a weekly podcast.

He has been an obsessive fan of horror and genre films his entire life, watching, re-watching and studying everything from the Universal Monsters of the '30s and '40s to the modern explosion of indie horror. Some of his favorites include Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (1931), Dawn of the Dead (1978), John Carpenter's The Thing and The Funhouse. He is a lover of Tobe Hooper and his favorite Halloween film is part 4. He knows how you feel about that. He has a great wife and two cool kids, who he hopes to raise as horror nerds.

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