Larry Cohen in King Cohen. (Photo: Fantastic Fest)

Chicago’s newly minted Cinepocalypse film festival announced its final wave of programming this afternoon, building upon an already-solid base of Eric Roberts, Simon Barrett, and Finnish superheroes announced at the end of August. The new lineup fills out the previously announced “Blood.Guts.Bullets.Octane” series curated by Smokin’ Aces director Joe Carnahan—Near Dark, Hard Times, Bullet In The Head, and Maximum Overdrive are all on the menu—and welcomes Suspiria star Jessica Harper to a previously-announced 35mm screening of Dario Argento’s 1977 horror classic, as well as a slew of new programming.

Chief among the new announcements are the addition of two lifetime achievement awards: The first goes to one-man movie studio Larry Cohen, who wrote, directed, and produced such genre classics as It’s Alive, The Stuff, and God Told Me To; Cohen will appear for King Cohen, a new documentary about him that played at this year’s Fantastic Fest, as well as sitting in with Eric Roberts for a screening of Cohen’s 1990 film The Ambulance. The second award will go to Antonio Fargas, the veteran character actor best known to TV fans as Huggy Bear on Starsky & Hutch; Fargas will be in the house to celebrate his many blaxploitation roles at a special screening of Foxy Brown, as well as for the movie that spoofed those roles, 1988's I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.

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Also new to the Cinepocalypse lineup are a secret screening that even we don’t know anything about; the product of the “Cinepocalypse Midnight Movie Challenge,” in which festival organizers challenged young filmmakers JD Lifshitz and Raphael Margules to write, shoot, and edit an entire feature film between August 31 and November 2; a female-focused shorts program; and Get Even, a rarely seen cult-classic-in-the-making presented by your friends here at The A.V. Club. Behold, the Shimmy Slide:

You can check out early-bird badges and individual tickets, as well as the schedule for Cinepocalypse 2017, at the Music Box website, and see the rest of the newly announced wave of Cinepocalypse programming below.

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A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR DIRECTOR LARRY COHEN


Larry Cohen is the sort of filmmaker who creates movie geeks. Upon discovering discover Black Caesar, It’s Alive, Q: The Winged Serpent, or The Stuff, you’re immediately tempted to see all of the director’s other movies. Between his directorial work and his (non-stop) screenplays, it’s safe to say you’ve seen and loved a few Larry Cohen movies without even knowing it. And this year, he’s here to hang out with the audience at Cinepocalypse and watch some movies!

THE AMBULANCE
with writer/director Larry Cohen and star Eric Roberts in attendance!

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USA, 1990

Dir. Larry Cohen

Eric Roberts, James Earl Jones, and Janine Turner star in this typically colorful high concept thriller (with humor) from Larry Cohen, one of the most reliably entertaining indie filmmakers over the past 40 years. While not be as well-known as Cohen’s more regularly-screened classics, this smoothly entertaining flick about a mysterious ambulance that keeps snatching up all the women in Roberts’ life has to be seen to be believed.

KING COHEN: THE WILD WORLD OF FILMMAKER LARRY COHEN - Midwest Premiere
with subject Larry Cohen in attendance!
USA, 2017
Dir: Steve Mitchell
Indie film legend Larry Cohen has directed cult classics like Black Caesar, It’s Alive, Q the Winged Serpent, and The Stuff. Hollywood screenwriter Larry Cohen delivered enjoyable high concept matinees like Best Seller, Phone Booth, and Cellular - and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Fans and newcomers alike will savor every minute of this exhaustive documentary, covering virtually every piece of Mr. Cohen’s wildly impressive career.

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A LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR ANTONIO FARGAS


Shaft. Across 110th Street. Cleopatra Jones. Foxy Brown. Starsky and Hutch. I’m Gonna Git You Sucka. These are just a few of the exploitation classics that have been enlivened by the presence of character actor extraordinaire Antonio Fargas, whose body of work stretches from the late 1960s to our closing night film, Beyond Skyline. Join us in celebrating this beloved veteran performer, as we highlight his eclectic and extensive body of work.

FOXY BROWN
with co-star Antonio Fargas in attendance!
USA, 1974
Dir: Jack Hill
Cult legend, blaxploitation goddess, and overall badass Pam Grier stars as a young woman out for revenge after her boyfriend is murdered by a cabal of drug-dealing, sex-trafficking scumbags. It gets gruesome and unpleasant on occasion, but Ms. Grier always brings steely class to even the campiest of moments. Cinepocalypse honoree Antonio Fargas does some fine work as our anti-heroine’s conflicted - and untrustworthy - brother.

I’M GONNA GIT YOU SUCKA
with co-star Antonio Fargas in attendance!
USA, 1988
Dir: Keenan Ivory Wayans
Fans of Shaft, Black Caesar, SuperFly, and Cleopatra Jones, have likely grown up with this Airplane!-style parody, but even newbies to the wonderful world of blaxploitation cinema will find much to love in Keenan Ivory Wayans’ affectionate, on-point lampoon of ‘70s street crime cinema.

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Image: Cinepocalypse

SWEET VIRGINIA - Opening Night Film

Midwest Premiere
USA, 2017
Director: Jamie M. Dagg
Talent in attendance!
A former rodeo champ with a dark past unknowingly starts a rapport with a young man who has a propensity for disturbing sociopathic violence that has suddenly gripped a small town. Jon Bernthal (Netflix’s The Punisher), Christopher Abbott (It Comes at Night), Rosemarie DeWitt (Mad Men), and Imogen Poots (Green Room) star in this twisted, moody, modern day neo-noir masterpiece.

BEYOND SKYLINE - Closing Night Film
U.S. Premiere
USA, 2017
Dir: Liam O’Donnell
Talent in attendance!
The stars of The Purge: Anarchy (Frank Grillo) and The Raid: Redemption (Iko Uwais) team up to battle the alien apocalypse in this pulpy, colorful, and wildly over-the-top action/sci-fi/horror mash-up that has to be seen to be believed. The sequel to 2010’s Skyline, this mind-bending lunacy somehow manages to be even more insane (like, way more insane) than its infamous predecessor!

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THE A.V. CLUB PRESENTS: BEYOND THE ROOM - GET EVEN


For the inaugural Cinepocalypse, The A.V. Club is taking you “Beyond The Room” with a special presentation of Get Even. By day, John De Hart is a trial lawyer in Los Angeles. By night, he’s the writer, director, producer, composer, and star of this DIY action-romance opus. Shot mostly in 1993 and completed in 2007, Get Even features Satanic cults, corrupt cops, hot tubs, Shakespearean monologues, Wings Hauser laying down his personal philosophy while standing fully clothed in a swimming pool, and the life-changing magic of the “Shimmy Slide,” as performed by De Hart himself. Get Even has never received mainstream distribution and is only available from the director himself, so don’t miss your chance to see this cult-classic-in-the-making that will have you asking, “Who’s Hamlet? Who gives a shit?”

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PRIMAL RAGE (World Premiere)

USA, 2017
Dir: Patrick Magee
Talent in attendance!
You may have seen a few Bigfoot-related horror films over the years, but it’s safe to say you’ve never seen a Sasquatch rampage like this. Primal Rage is a tale of a young couple, a bunch of hunters, a witch, and some Native American cops who butt heads with a wildly violent forest monster, causing all Hell to break loose! From practical special effects guru Patrick Magee (Spider-Man, Jurassic Park III), this may be the goriest film you’ll see all year!

SNOWFLAKE (North American Premiere)
Germany, 2017
Dirs: Adolfo Kolmerer and William James
Talent in attendance!
Take a dash of Tarantino, a splash of Coen brothers, a metric ton of meta-textual self-awareness, and a fast-paced series of humorously violent misadventures, and you’re halfway to grasping the magnificent madness of this bizarre German import. A gang of lowlife characters all want revenge on the others, but along the way they must contend with assassins, madmen, a blood-covered angel, and an electricity-powered superhero.

THE TERROR OF HALLOW’S EVE (North American Premiere)
USA, 2017
Dir: Todd Tucker
Talent in attendance!
Timmy Stevens is socially awkward kid, obsessed with horror movies and frequently bullied. But Timmy’s about to get his revenge in full-bore fashion when he unwittingly unleashes an evil creature known as The Trickster on Halloween Night. Genre veteran Doug Jones (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy) provides an amazing creature performance, but the real stars here are the wide array of surprisingly effective creature FX and affection for old-school ‘80s mayhem.

DOWNRANGE (U.S. Premiere)
USA, 2017
Dir: Ryuhei Kitamura
Talent in attendance!
A merciless sniper takes aim at a car full of college kids, disabling their vehicle on a lonely country road and methodically picking them off, one by one. This latest, nail-biting offering from genre veteran Ryuhei Kitamura (The Midnight Meat Train, Versus) contains the filmmaker’s trademark creeping tension, sudden violence, and extreme nihilism. In other words, things get pretty dark.

MOTORRAD (U.S. Premiere)
Brazil, 2017
Dir: Vicente Amorim
Talent in attendance!
A slasher by way of George Miller’s MAD MAX meets Wes Craven’s THE HILLS HAVE EYES, this violence-fueled adrenaline ride will leave you absolutely breathless. In this visually stunning Brazilian import, a gang of dirt-bikers on a ride across an isolated region, find themselves being hunted by a machete-wielding band of motorcyclists intent on killing them all. Based on characters created by Marvel comic book author Danilo Beyruth, this atmospheric and suspenseful genre film also functions as an allegory to our battles within. It’s as smart as it is downright frightening, and we’re damn excited to unleash this beast into the U.S. for the very first time!

APPLECART - All-New Cut (Midwest Premiere)
USA, 2017
Dir: Brad Baruh
Talent in attendance!
A gaggle of powerhouse horror veterans - including Barbara Crampton (Re-Animator), Brea Grant (Beyond the Gates), AJ Bowen (The Signal), Daniel Roebuck (At the Devil’s Door), and Chase Williamson (John Dies at the End) get together for what seems like a fairly standard “cabin in the woods” tale and then it gets weird… and weirder… and super gory. Let’s just leave it at that.

CHARISMATA (Midwest Premiere)
UK, 2017
Dir: Tor Mian and Andy Collier
Talent in attendance!
A rookie female detective, struggling to find acceptance in a police department defined by a culture of bullying and intolerance, watches as things go from bad to worse as her chief suspect in a series of brutal ritualistic murders takes a personal interest in her. A game of cat and mouse degrades the detective’s grasp on reality and, as she spirals out of control, this young woman must suddenly fight for her sanity, life… and maybe even her soul.

THE CRESCENT (Midwest Premiere)
Canada, 2017
Dir: Seth A. Smith
A young widow and her two-year-old son take shelter in a massive, creepy seaside house after the sudden death of her husband. But rather than follow the tropes of standard jump-scare storytelling, The Crescent places a unique focus its child star, some truly impressive visual touches, and a consistently ominous sound design. This creepy Canadian import, which premiered in TIFF’s Midnight Madness program, is guaranteed to get under your skin.

GET MY GUN (Midwest Premiere)
USA, 2017
Director: Brian Darwas
Talent in attendance!
This wonderfully executed homage to beloved and controversial exploitation classics of the past (namely Abel Ferrera’s Ms. 45 and Meir Zarchi’s I Spit on Your Grave) proves itself to not just as an imitator, but in a league of its own. After a horrible attack leaves Amanda pregnant and out of a job, she finds herself on the verge of motherhood and the target of a psychotic stalker who will stop at nothing to get her hands on the unborn child.

THE LODGERS (Midwest Premiere)
Ireland, 2017
Dir: Brian O’Malley
There’s been a great flood of Irish horror films over the past several years, and their latest offering is just another example of how to combine classy scares and intermittent nastiness into one good thriller. Director Brian O’Malley (Let Us Prey) brings us the tale of two young twins in the 1920s, the strange rules that govern their existence, and what happens when a handsome newcomer threatens to upset their order of things.

PSYCHOPATHS (Midwest Premiere)
USA, 2017
Dir: Mickey Keating
Prolific indie genre machine Mickey Keating (Pod, Darling, Carnage Park) returns with a tale of psychos run amok… Yes, multiple disparate psychos. The execution of an infamous serial killer somehow inspires a half-dozen maniacs to lose their collective minds and commit all sorts of nasty acts, but this is not your standard body count movie. Loaded with odd digressions, fractured narratives, and some enjoyably abstract weirdness, this is may be Keating’s strangest, creepiest movie yet.

SEQUENCE BREAK (Midwest Premiere)
USA, 2017
Dir: Graham Skipper
To call this freaky dark romance a love letter to David Cronenberg’s classic Videodrome would be an understatement, but at least writer/director Graham Skipper has awfully good taste in influences. Sequence Break is a story of a lonely guy, a sweet girl, a deserted arcade, and a video game with insidiously biological tendencies - all of which become intertwined in a perverse, melancholic string of events that will leave all of them forever changed.

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