This year, South By Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, will premiere new horror from Hollywood -- Unfriended -- as well as surprises from the world of independent film. Will the likes of the wintry We Are Still Here, the heavy metal heavy Deathgasm, and other macabre treats join the distinguished ranks of previous horror debuts at the festival? We'll soon find out.
SXSW has long featured horror movies on its program, and things kicked up a notch through an association with genre specialists Fantastic Fest in 2009. That specific partnership lasted just a few years, but since then SXSW has continued to display an adventurous spirit in its programming. Here are a handful of recent examples that help explain why we're so excited to see what the festival has to offer this year.
Quickly building positive word of mouth, this horror-thriller from New Zealand displayed a richly sarcastic sense of humor, as a rebellious young woman is placed under house arrest at her mother's home, only to discover that something is not quite right -- and might endanger her and her mother.
Evil Dead (2013)
As an opening night presentation of the festival, the movie provoked considerable discussion, as fans debated the merits of the remake's approach to Sam Raimi's classic original. What no one questioned was that the movie certainly earned an R-rating for its explicit violence!
Cheap Thrills (2013)
Debuting a few short blocks away, shortly after Evil Dead concluded its premiere screening, this very smart, very nasty black comedy explored how far very desperate people are willing to stretch their moral boundaries. The movie featured an superb performance by Pat Healy as a family man placed in extraordinary circumstances.
Kill List (2011)
What sounds like everyday talk is soon revealed to be a conversation by commonplace assassins who eventually end up in a very dark and twisted place. Ben Wheatley's quiet horror movie is unsettling at a nuclear level.
Cold Sweat (2011)
Director Adrián García Bogliano had already made multiple feature films before this intense thriller arrived in Austin, but his tale of two old men and the trio of unsuspecting young women they trap in their home delighted audiences ready for a demented, very adult midnight movie.
The Horseman (2009)
A particular vicious and violent tale of revenge, this Australian movie follows a grieving father who metes out justice upon those he deems responsible for his daughter's gruesome death. Its rain of punishment made it harrowing to watch, but for those with stronger stomachs it remains a moving, if deeply disturbing, experience.