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The Ultimate Alchemy Lockdown Filmfest Strikes Back II

Welcome to the second part of our guide to the past decade’s best – and baddest – underground cinema. If you missed the first part, check it out here first. If you’ve already explored the first exploitation extravaganza, buckle up for more movie madness, as we meet some dangerous punks, battle a brace of werewolves, and get our asses kicked in Indonesia. Grab the popcorn, crack open a beer, and hit play!…

Two brothers revisit the doomsday cult where they grew up in this thoughtful, psychological, sci-fi horror film, with disturbing overtones of the nightmare universe of cult author H. P. Lovecraft. THE ENDLESS focuses on distortions of space and time, and what malevolence might lurk beneath the mundane world, as reality slowly dissolves.

Surely one of the most punk rock films ever, in GREEN ROOM a hardcore band unwisely accept a gig in a Portland venue that turns out to be a neo-Nazi hangout, and guitar string-taut tension rapidly explodes into vicious blastbeat violence. Look out for an unusual role for Star Trek’s Captain Picard, Patrick Stewart.

US hardcore punk icon Henry Rollins (ex-Black Flag) gets to exercise his – surprisingly impressive – acting chops in HE NEVER DIED. What starts out as the bleak, blackly funny saga of an unholy outcast struggling to survive the underbelly of a Canadian city evolves into something far stranger, darker and more oddly poignant.

HOWL is like the more downbeat, less glamorous cousin of the Scottish, squaddies-versus-werewolf classic Dog Soldiers. Set on a branch line of Britain’s dilapidated rail network, the put-upon guard soon has more than awkward passengers to deal with, in this very British, engaging, character-driven horror that will strike a chord with anyone who’s ever been on the last train home.

Christopher Lloyd (Doc from Back to the Future) heads the cast in this witty, unusual thriller that’s oddly reminiscent of the Canadian werewolf classic Ginger Snaps. I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER has to be among the darkest – and coolest – coming-of-age films, as alongside all of the usual adolescent issues, its teen hero has to worry about yielding to his sociopathic urges.

The evening gets off to an ominous start in THE INVITATION, as a meet-up of old friends threatens to be the dinner party from Hell. As skeletons emerge from closets, awkwardness evolves into nerve-shredding tension in this skilfully-woven psychological thriller.

This much weirdness shouldn’t be this much fun, in JOHN DIES AT THE END, an innovative blend of cosmic slapstick, buddy movie, and madcap horror. Time and space bend as our intrepid heroes try to navigate its deranged plot that defies all logical explanation while somehow making perfect sense.

LATE PHASES concerns a charismatic but deeply curmudgeonly Vietnam vet, blinded in action, then crushed by guilt and grief at the death of his wife, but determined not to let the world beat him. The film works as a character piece on its own, but the compelling mystery plot and kickass werewolves are certainly a bonus!

THE LODGERS is a haunting old school Gothic ghost story, literally dripping with chilling atmosphere and brooding menace. Set in Ireland in the 1920s, orphaned twins live in a dank, eerie crumbling mansion, subject to bizarre house rules – but who or what are these regulations protecting the two youngsters from?

Things swiftly get messily out of hand, when a virus that eliminates all of the victim’s inhibitions gets loose in the corporate HQ of a predatory law firm. If you’ve ever yearned to get even with your boss or colleagues at the office, then you should get a kick out of MAYHEM, a savage, knockabout satire of (literally) cutthroat office politics starring Steven Yeun (Glenn from The Walking Dead).

MON MON MON MONSTERS! is set in a brutal Taiwanese school where bullying isn’t tolerated so much as positively encouraged. Things take an unexpected direction when some of the bullies discover a flesh-eating female ghoul, in this unusual, anarchic film, that is by turns harrowing, fun, and unexpectedly heart-rending.

Anyone who’s seen cult flick The Raid – largely a showcase for the lethal Southeast Asian martial art of silat – will know what to expect in THE NIGHT COMES FOR US, another ferocious Indonesian crime thriller. If you like your martial arts action as ruthlessly bloody as it is masterfully choreographed then this bone-crunching action film is for you.

See you soon for the final part of our comprehensive guide to cool cult cinema!

Words by – Gavin Baddeley

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