Mayhem Film Festival - Opening Night

PrintE-mail Written by Jon Towlson

Mayhem 2016 hit the ground running last night with an opening gala of musical performance, arthouse body horror and martial arts action thriller.

The Human Centipede 2’s Laurence R. Harvey joined forces with The Duke St Workshop for Tales of H. P. Lovecraft, a mix of live narration, electronica and visual projection that set the mood for the weekend festival perfectly. The Wigan-originated musical duo opened with instrumentals tied to the theme, accompanied by Giallo-esque visuals before Harvey added spoken word in the form of Lovecraft's classic stories, From Beyond and The Hound.

The hype and hysteria surrounding Julia Ducournau’s Raw threatens to overshadow what is a highly accomplished film. While there were no reports of people passing out or barfing into their festival pints here in Nottingham, what we do have is a visceral debut by an adroit new voice in cinema. While there are graphic moments in Raw, the real horror is the social coercion, vis-à-vis university and family, of young vet school student Justine (vividly played by Rabah Nait Oufella). Peer pressure and sibling rivalry fuel her growing psychosis, and there are strong Freudian undertones throughout, but the real message of Raw is a feminist one.

Winding up with Headshot, the new action-thriller from Indonesia’s Mo Brothers (with We Are The Flesh and The Greasy Strangler on the bill for Friday, and The Ghoul, I Am Not A Serial Killer showing over the weekend) this first night of Mayhem proved the perfect opener of what promises to be its most eclectic programme yet.

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