Complete programme of MOTELX 2020 revealed!

“Malasaña 32” and “The Rental” bookend the 14th edition of Lisbon’s International Horror Film Festival
Lisbon’s International Horror Film Festival is less than two weeks away. The 14th edition of MOTELX starts at Lisbon’s Cinema São Jorge on 7 September, offering 8 days to reconnect with movie-going and over 70 screenings to rediscover horror cinema’s unique place in our changing world. All while observing strict health and safety measures to ensure the Festival is enjoyed without unwanted scares.

The opening secreening of MOTELX brings Malasaña 32, an Albert Pintó film in the great tradition of Spanish horror with a paranormal story inspired by real life events. A family swaps rural life for an apartment in Madrid, only to find out it is not alone… The Festival has its closing ceremony on 13 September with The Rental, a slasher by Dave Franco about an Airbnb stay that goes horribly wrong.  The directing debut of James Franco’s brother (trivia: James visited the Festival in 2018), this is the second film ever to top both theatrical and VOD charts at the same time.

Two world premieres headline the Room Service section, which showcases the best horror movies of the last 2 years. MOTELX fans will be the first to see Koji Shiraishi’s A Beast in Love (Japan) and Cristian Jesús Ponce’s History of the Occult (Argentina). There will also be European premieres of two American films: Sanzaru, a gothic tale by Xia Magnus, and Scare Me, a metafictional horror comedy by Josh Ruben which premiered in Sundance. In a selection that includes films from the world’s 5 continents, there is room for horror with political subtext from Turkey (AV: The Hunt) and Guatemala (La Llorona), folk mysticism from the world’s coldest inhabited region (Ich-Chi), an LSD-fueled road movie from South Africa (Fried Barry) and a macabre story from Brazil (Macabre by Marcos Prado, producer of Elite Squad), among many other stories.

As for pandemic-related films, there will be a special screening of Lars von Trier’s Epidemic, a 1987 horror feature in which the director plays a doctor who is looking for a vaccine to cure an epidemic that jumped from a script to reality. There will also be a screening of Rob Savage’s Host, a terrifying séance on Zoom filmed during lockdown – Savage directed the actors remotely while they had to set up their own cameras, lighting and stunts.

In 2020 there are seven films in competition for the MOTELX Award for Best European Feature/ Méliès d’argent, organized in partnership with the Méliès International Festivals Federation. They are: Advantages of Travelling by Train, by Aritz Moreno (Spain); Amulet, by Romola Garai (UK); Darkness, by Emanuela Rossi (Italy); Hunted, by Vincent Paronnaud (Ireland/Belgium); Pelican Blood, by Katrin Gebbe (Germany); Sputnik, by Egor Abramenko (Russia); and Stranger, by Dmitriy Tomashpolski (Ukraine).

These features join the 12 shorts in competition for the MOTELX Award for Best Portuguese Short Film/ Méliès d’argent. Philippe) is an authoritative documentary on the 1973 classic, while Ivan the TerrirBle revisits the life and legacy of Ivan Cardoso, the Brazilian inventor of the terrir subgenre (a unique mix of horror, comedy and Brazilian chanchadas). Cardoso was one of the first guests of MOTELX and in this documentary by Mario Abbade there are images of his visit to the Festival in 2007.

Last but not least, MOTELX announces the screening of Grizzly II: Revenge, a 1983 movie that was to be a Jaws riff with a bear but was never completed. Young versions of George Clooney, Laura Dern, Charlie Sheen and Timothy Spall appear in this highly entertaining piece of work put together by André Szöts and producer Suzanne Nagy.

Speaking of eventful shoots, the team from Bro Cinema will come to MOTELX to talk about the adventures behind the filming of Color Out of Space, which stars Nicolas Cage as an alien-fighting alpaca farmer. The film was shot in Portugal by a previously retired director who was living deep in the mountains of Southern France – none other than Richard Stanley, MOTELX’s guest of honour in 2015. These new announcements complete a programme that also includes the retrospective “American Nightmare: Racism and Horror Cinema”, a new wave of female terror and a section dedicated to Pedro Costa, who will appear at the Festival to talk about his affinity with genre movies and the influence of Jacques Tourneur on his oeuvre.


 MOTELX will be preceded by three days of free, open-air Warm-Up events from 3 to 5 September. On 3 September, the Convent of São Pedro de Alcântara hosts The Woman Without a Head, a concert performance inspired by a text by Gonçalo M. Tavares, voiced by MC Papillon and with live illustrations by António Jorge Gonçalves. The following evening, Espaço Brotéria is the venue of a staged dinner based on Fernando Pessoa’s A Very Original Dinner. The popular open-air screening at Largo Trindade Coelho will bring MOTELX’s Warm-Up to a close on 5 September with The Host, Bong Joon-ho’s breakthrough monster movie. 

Tickets to MOTELX will be on sale from 31 August via Ticketline.
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