While film festivals and much of public life have gone virtual in the pandemic, Los Angeles’ genre-focused Beyond Fest is here to say: “F— COVID.”
Starting next month, the seven-day lineup of physical screenings will feature the world premieres of Universal’s body-swap slasher “Freaky,” director Adam Egypt Mortimer’s “Archenemy” (starring Joe Manganiello), the U.S. and West Coast debuts of additional anticipated horror and genre titles and a timely David Lynch triple feature.
All films will be screened from a safe social distance in double bills paired with new or repertory classics at the Mission Tiki Drive-In in Montclair, where Beyond Fest programmers just capped a summer residency of sold-out genre fare.
“We specifically wanted to give COVID-19 a resilient middle finger and provide a safe, communal respite for filmmakers and film fans to celebrate the best genre cinema on the biggest screens possible,” said Beyond Fest co-founder Christian Parkes.
Joe Manganiello is Max Fist, a hero from another dimension, in Adam Egypt Mortimer’s dark superhero tale “Archenemy.”
Beyond Fest’s “F— COVID edition” (as proclaimed on this year’s poster) officially kicks off with the world premiere of Jim Cummings’ “The Wolf of Snow Hollow,” a small-town werewolf horror comedy marking the late Robert Forster’s final performance.
Christopher Landon’s (“Happy Death Day”) upcoming Blumhouse horror comedy, “Freaky,” starring Kathryn Newton as a teenager who switches bodies with a serial killer (Vince Vaughn), will close the fest on Oct. 8 before Universal opens the film in theaters Nov. 13.
Ahead of the festival, which runs Oct. 2-8, a special screening of Brandon Cronenberg’s mind-bending “Possessor Uncut” (starring Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott) will whet appetites a week early on Sept. 24, paired with the 1966 John Frankenheimer film “Seconds.”
Proceeds benefit the nonprofit American Cinematheque, whose Egyptian Theatre has been home to past iterations of Beyond Fest.
Buzzy titles coming off of splashy fest debuts include A24’s “Saint Maud,” from filmmaker Rose Glass; Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson’s time-twisting “Synchronic,” starring Anthony Mackie and Jamie Dornan; and Justin Simien’s ‘90s-set horror-satire “Bad Hair.”
The festival will also host the North American premiere of Canadian filmmaker Steven Kostanski’s (“The Void,” “Manborg”) latest, “Psycho Goreman”; the U.S. premiere of “The Dark and the Wicked,” from writer-director Bryan Bertino (“The Strangers”); and the U.S. premiere of gothic horror “The Reckoning,” directed by Neil Marshall and starring Charlotte Kirk, the British actress in the news lately over the exits of two studio heads.
A salute to David Lynch will unfold in what programmers describe as “a timely dissolution of the American Dream” as Beyond Fest screens three of the auteur’s signature works: “Blue Velvet” (1986), “Mulholland Drive” (2001) and “Lost Highway” (1997).
Tickets are now on sale. For more details and the full lineup, visit beyondfest.com.