Stanley Film Fest programming director's picks for the fest

R100 will kick you in your face.
R100 will kick you in your face.

Tonight at the world-famous Stanley Hotel, the Stanley Film Festival will kick off its second year with Alexandre O. Philippe's look at zombie culture, Doc of the Dead. [Disclosure: I appear in Doc of the Dead.] Sunday, the fest closes with the horror comedy What We Do in the Shadows, starring Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. In between, more than two dozen films will show, far more than you can reasonably cram in, especially if you also make time for the audio play, the immersive horror game and the myriad other activities filling the weekend. Some of those films are from big-name horror directors -- Takashi Miike, Ti West and Nacho Vigalondo, to name a few. Some are well-loved classics. Choosing between those is a simple matter of priorities.

But with the rest, there are some hard decisions to be made -- with not much info to go on. To ease this process, we asked Landon Zakheim, the festival's programming director, for his picks for under-the-radar films for every taste, from experimental horror to horror comedy. Here, in his words, are the films to look out for -- and why you should make time for them.

See also: Local filmmakers unleash zombie doc Doc of the Dead at SXSW

The Strange Color of Your Body's Tears

"It veers very much into the experimental, by way of early Cronenberg. It's a male and female Belgian directing team [who] made


a few years back. This is even further down the rabbit hole than that. It's one of the trippiest, most oddball, visual mind-melts of the festival. It's a good one. I hope some Boulder film school kids see it and have their minds opened to some more cerebral cinema. There's a total command of directorial precision and visual panache that really makes it feel like a trip."

Rigor Mortis

"This is produced by the director of

The Grudge

films, the originals, not the American remakes. The director is new. A lot of [the plot] is really kind of a back seat to some of the most intense computer effects I've seen in some time. The digital imagery is really elegant and violent at the same time. It's just a handsomely made production. They throw everything in there in terms of traditional Eastern ghost stories. There's ghosts and demons and mysticism and evil spirits and possession and vampires. I think there's a line in the movie where somebody comes back from another room and is like, 'Bad news, the vampire's been possessed.' It's like, what is happening? How many crazy things can occur here? [Laughs] It's really intense."


"This is by Hitoshi Matsumoto, who's really famous in Japan, although relatively unknown here. He was this subversive, comic director who rose through the ranks and was successful over there.


is really out there. It's about a father who has signed up for a secret S&M club, where he'll be visited at unknown times by various dominatrixes throughout the next year. When things get out of hand, he finds he can't get out of the contract.


is a reference to the Japanese rating system, the idea that the film is inappropriate for anyone under 100 years old. There's some fun and bizarre twists in the movie that are best not to discuss, because a lot of the enjoyment comes from seeing how much weirder and weirder it gets as it goes."

Keep reading for more film-fest picks.

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