The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Conjures Up 'Lords of Salem' and 'S-VHS'

By Richard Whittaker, February 6, 2013, 3:20pm, SXSW

Horror fans, get ready to lose sleep. SXSW Film has unleashed its Midnighters list, with Rob Zombie's new nightmare The Lords of Salem, anthology sequel S-V/H/S and the unexpected return of Fantastic Fest 2011 smash You're Next.

A lot of horror fans have got snobby about Zombie ever since his rewriting of Michael Myers for Halloween, but reports out of the Toronto International Film Festival say his Bava-esque Lords lives up to all the greasy promise of House of a Thousand Corpses.

Zombie will be a first timer, but there's a cadre coming out of what we jokingly call the Mumblegore scene. Simon Barrett and Adam Wingard both contribute to S-VHS, the sequel to V/H/S that apparently avoids all the allegations of misogyny that plagued the original (the roster also includes fellow SX veterans Eduardo Sanchez and The Raid's Gareth Evans). E.L. Katz, who collaborated with Wingard on Pop Skull, unites with The Innkeepers stars Pat Healy and Sara Paxton for Cheap Thrills.

And the big shock? Barrett and Wingard return with a print of You're Next, the ultimate Mumblegore reunion, with The Innkeepers director Ti West, Joe Swanberg (who could be looking at his own breakout SXSW success this year with Drinking Buddies), and all-around good guy AJ Bowen. Lionsgate is holding back for a big fall release and, yeah, it may already have played once at Fantastic Fest 2011, but this will be a genuine case of saying you saw it before. It's that bloody good. Festival director Janet Pierson told me about how excited she was by its return, and how the team loved the film so much that they were happy to break their rule about not taking films that have shown at previous Austin film fests.

Elsewhere on the schedule, Cube creator Vincenzo Natali sets a new puzzle with Haunter; New York, I Love You contributor Xan Cassavetes takes a step into darkness with Kiss of the Vampire; And Mike Mendez, whose The Gravedancers has become a late night Chiller channel regular, gets his fangs into a Big Ass Spider!.

SXSW Film runs March 8-16. More info at Here's the rest of the Midnighters lineup:

Big Ass Spider!
World Premiere
When a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and rampages across the city of Los Angeles, it is up to one clever exterminator and his security guard sidekick to kill the creature before the city is destroyed.
D: Mike Mendez
Screenwriter: Gregory Gieras
Cast: Greg Grunberg, Lombardo Boyar, Clare Kramer, Ray Wise, Lin Shaye, Patrick Bauchau

Cheap Thrills
World Premiere
Recently fired and facing eviction, the married father of a newborn has his life turned upside down when he meets a wealthy couple who offer a path to financial security…but at a price.
D: E.L. Katz,
Screenwriters: Trent Haaga, David Chirchirillo,
Cast: Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, Sara Paxton, David Koechner, Amanda Fuller

World Premiere
Lisa Johnson is one day shy of her 16th birthday and will be forever. She and her family are doomed to repeat the fateful day before they were all killed in 1985.
D: Vincenzo Natali
Screenwriter: Brian King
Cast: Abigail Breslin, Stephen McHattie, Peter Outerbridge, Michelle Nolden, David Hewlett

Kiss of the Damned
U.S. Premiere
Beautiful vampire Djuna tries to resist the advances of human screenwriter Paolo, but eventually gives in to their passion. When her sister Mimi comes to visit, Djuna’s love story is threatened, and the whole vampire community becomes endangered …
D/Screenwriter: Xan Cassavetes
Cast: Joséphine de la Baume, Milo Ventimiglia, Roxane Mesquida, Anna Mouglalis, Michael Rapaport, Riley Keough, Ching Valdes-Aran

The Lords of Salem
U.S. Premiere
From the singular mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie comes a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood.
D/Screenwriter: Rob Zombie
Cast: Sheri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davison, Jeff Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree, Patricia Quinn

Plus One
World Premiere
When the party of the decade is disrupted by a supernatural phenomenon, the night soon descends in to chaos.
D: Dennis Iliadis
Screenwriter: Bill Gullo
Cast: Rhys Wakefield, Logan Miller, Ashley Hinshaw, Natalie Hall

The Rambler
After being released from prison, a man known as The Rambler stumbles upon a strange mystery as he attempts a dangerous journey through treacherous back roads and small towns en route to reconnecting with his long lost brother.
D/Screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder
Cast: Dermot Mulroney, Lindsay Pulsipher, Natasha Lyonne, James Cady, Scott Sharot

Searching for a missing student, two private investigators break into his abandoned house and find another collection of mysterious VHS tapes. In viewing the horrific contents of each cassette, they realize there may be terrifying motives behind the student’s disappearance.
D: Adam Wingard, Gareth Evans, Screenwriters: Simon Barrett, Timo Tjahjanto, Gareth Evans, Jamie Nash, Jason Eisener, John Davies
Cast: Adam Wingard, Lawrence Levine, L. C. Holt, Kelsy Abbott, Hannah Hughes

You’re Next
A fresh twist on home-invasion horror. A gang of masked murderers descend upon a family reunion, and the victims seem trapped … until an unlikely guest proves to be the most talented killer of all.
D: Adam Wingard
Screenwriter: Simon Barrett
Cast: Sharni Vinson, Nicholas Tucci, Wendy Glenn, AJ Bowen, Joe Swanberg

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