Exciting news for fans of the director Jeff Lieberman! The horror auteur and creator of the cult classics Squirm, Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn is president of the international jury at this year’s Neuchatel International Fantastic Film Festival to be held in Switzerland 6-14 July.
Judging by the strength of the films in competition for 2012 Mr Lieberman and his fellow jury members are going to have to make some tough decisions when awarding the prizes: among the line up are Maniac, Franck Khalfoun’s remake of William Lustig’s infamous slasher, produced by Alexandre Aja; Jonathan Zarantello’s new-generation giallo, The Butterfly Room, starring the legendary Barbara Steele, and Excision, directed by Richard Bates, starring John Waters, Traci Lords and Ray Wise. Good to see a number of British films in competition as well: including Keith Wright’s wry zombie comedy Harold’s Going Stiff (ooh-er!) and Pat Holden’s set-in-the-70s poltergeist horror When the Lights Went Out. Given such a stellar set of movies, judging the competition is going to be one hell of a task, but we’re sure JL and the jury are more than up to it.
Starburst have been fans of Lieberman for years (ever since Just Before Dawn appeared in 1981, blowing all the those post-Friday the 13th slashers out of the water) so we’re thrilled to learn that the festival is paying homage to him, with tribute screenings of Squirm, Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn (with the director in attendance) between the 7th and 15th July. It’s an honour previously bestowed on the likes of Eli Roth, George A. Romero and John Landis.
And that’s not all! Back in Lieberman’s native New York City, the Anthology Film Archives is also doing a Jeff Lieberman retrospective in August! Squirm, Blue Sunshine and Just Before Dawn are getting another showing over the weekend of August 17-19th, again with Jeff there in person.
For anyone not familiar with Lieberman’s oeuvre the Anthology Film Archives programme describes his work as ‘inspired, ridiculously entertaining, and masterfully crafted movies, which, for all their thrills and chills, display a visual intelligence and brilliantly slow-burn pacing that puts them head and shoulders above most other horror films of the time.’
Damn straight! So when are we going to see another horror film from the maestro? It’s been a while since Satan’s Little Helper (2004). “I always have something on the burner but have learned not to talk about anything until it's actually happening.” Jeff told Starburst. “All I can say to my fans is to 'stay tuned.'
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