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BFI Announce Full Programme For ‘In Dreams Are Monsters’ Horror Season

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The BFI has announced the full programme for their upcoming UK-wide film and events season ‘' celebrating the genre on screen, taking place from 17 October-31 December at BFI Southbank, BFI IMAX  and in cinemas nationwide, on BFI Player and with a tie-in major BFI Blu-ray release.

In Dreams Are Monsters coincides with two big screen horror re-releases, both of which will be screening at the BFI Southbank. It's the 40th anniversary of Tobe Hooper's all-time horror classic Poltergeist (1982) and the 20th anniversary of Alejandro Amenábar's double BAFTA nominated The Others (2002), which features a chilling performance from Nicole Kidman.

In Dreams Are Monsters is a fresh, inventive and inclusive take on the horror genre tracing how the imagery of nightmare has been created through film, and how stories of monsters have always been political. Through five mythical horror archetypes – the beast, ghost, vampire, witch and zombie – In Dreams Are Monsters explores how these monstrous bodies have been represented on screen over the last hundred years and how they have been reclaimed by new voices in horror filmmaking.

Each archetype doesn't so much inform a subgenre as it does a taste for horror; whether it be the creatures that lurk in the shadows, or those that come from within, the beasts of cinema are our darkest fears made flesh. The witch threatens the patriarchy with her alternative, gendered power: her magic and sexuality destabilise the masculinist social order. The ghost embodies the silenced classes: a domestic sign of broader, social horrors taking place. Vampires, the most seductive of monster archetypes, blur the lines between horror, action, eroticism and romance, whilst the zombie is the most overtly politicised of all cinematic monsters, a rotting blank canvas for social commentary.

Programmer Michael Blyth said: “Over the last two years, fear has been what's united us. The pandemic has upended our relationship with our bodies, our idea of home and social interactions. Alongside social discontent and instability, over the last decade we have seen horror increasingly embraced by audiences and critics alike.”

Highlights from the October/November BFI Southbank programme including a Halloween double bill celebrating the work of queer writer/director Clive Barker. A 35th anniversary screening of his deliciously debauched directorial debut  (1987) introduced by actors Nicholas Vince and Simon Bamford/ A screening of Let The Right One In (2008) will be followed by a discussion on trans representation within the genre and a selection of Queer Horror and Experimental Magic Films, drawn from the BFI National Archive, will screen as part of BFI Southbank's Experimenta strand.

Special guests from the world of film and television will take part in events throughout the season. Guests confirmed for BFI Southbank so far, with more to be announced, include:

  • Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle will be on-stage for a Q&A following a special 20th anniversary screening of 28 Days Later (2002) with extra special guests to be announced.
  • Director Lesley Manning and writer Stephen Volk will join the BFI Southbank audience for an on-stage Q&A following the immersive 30th anniversary screening of Ghostwatch (1992) presented by Celluloid Screams and Live Cinema UK.
  • Award-winning director and cinematographer Clarence A Peters will be on-stage to present the world premiere of his thrilling new drama television drama series Inside Life (2022) as part of Film Africa 2022.
  • Acclaimed author, critic, film programmer, podcaster, publisher and producer Kier-La Janisse, whose influential book House of Psychotic Women was published ten years ago, completes her UK-wide in-conversation tour presented by Matchbox Cine at BFI Southbank, followed by a screening of Andrzej Zulawski's POSSESSION (1981). The UK tour begins at the Weird Weekend festival at Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow, and continue with events in Edinburgh, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester and Cardiff.

The programme also includes a special edition of Mark Kermode Live In 3D and there will be a surprise film night with live commentary from horror podcasts Evolution of Horror, Brain Rot and The Final Girls.

The BFI IMAX cinema will be transformed into a spooky summer camp for an all-night sleepover in December. Before enjoying a marathon of cabin-themed slasher films on the biggest screen in Britain, audiences will be able to explore an interactive in venue summer camp. FW Murnau's iconic take on Dracula (1922) plays on the big screen in its centenary year with an introduction from the BFI's silent film curator Bryony Dixon.

The season will also feature a UK-wide programme of over 35 special events and screenings including

  • Chapter (Cardiff) will present a season focusing on “The Monstrous Welsh” and folk horror as a space for exploring identity and representation. The programme will include an event around the use of Welsh language in Saint Maud (2019), with a discussion on “The Treachery of the Blue Books” and the suppression of Welsh language.
  • As part of the Foyle Film Festival, Nerve Centre (Derry) in partnership with In Your Space Circus will create an immersive cinema experience inspired by A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) recreating a teen horror slumber party (26 November).
  • Riot Productions will host an All-Nighter Film Festival in Glasgow on the Winter Solstice (21 December). Centered around the “transgressive witch” and its feminist renaissance, the programme will span 100 years of cinema, from Häxan (1922) to Dario Argento's original  (1977) alongside a Queer Witch themed club night.
  • In the Hebrides, Screen Argyll's It Came From The Deep will explore local audiences' complex relationship to the sea. Alongside screenings of  (1954), Bong Joon-ho's  (2006) and Hideo Nakata's Dark Water (2002) there will be an illustrated talk “Surrounded by Water – Our Elemental Fear” and a monster making workshop.

BFI Player will be hosting an extensive collection of films including Nosferatu (1922), (1960),  (1977), Suspiria (1977), (1998) and (2017).

The BFI's In Dreams Are Monsters will be in cinemas and venues across the UK from 17 October – 31 December 2022.  It explores how horror has always been the genre of our times and the ways in which it speaks to us today by new voices in horror filmmaking, with a nationwide series of screenings and events, accompanied by a major horror collection on the BFI's VOD service BFI Player, available to viewers across the UK and a free collection of horror-themed titles to explore in venue at BFI Mediatheque.

Head to the BFI for more info and listings.