The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Bloody January

By Rob Christopher in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 5, 2009 4:03PM

2009_1_BLOODY.jpg The first few months of the year are typically the cinematic equivalent of a graveyard. Studios have already unloaded their Oscar bait in advance of the January 1 deadline and are in the midst of prepping their would-be cash cows for release in the late spring. But After Dark's Horrorfest III will take the phrase "cinematic graveyard" seriously. It unspools January 9-15 at Piper's Alley, highlighting eight fright flicks. They'll be shown on a rotating schedule for the duration of the festival.

Most of the titles seem to be your standard B-movie grindhouse setups: cannibals (Dying Breed), sundry torture (Slaughter) as well as yet another sequel that nobody asked for (The Butterfly Effect: Revelation). But a few in the lineup sound genuinely interesting. The Broken is the psychological horror tale of a woman (Lena Headey) who chances to see herself driving past her on the street one day; she follows her double to her own apartment, and ... Shades of Dostoyevsky! It garnered some good reviews after its Sundance screening last year, and also stars Richard Jenkins and Mevil Poupaud. Also intriguing: From Within, directed by esteemed cinematographer Phedon Papamichael. He describes it this way:

On the surface, it's a good old-fashioned scary movie - a bunch of young people are killed by an enigmatic evil. But while it's a movie with teens in it, it is not a "teen movie". There is great diversity to these characters. It was important to me that each one seemed real ...someone you might identify with. Also the story deals with a lot of subjects you wouldn't necessarily expect in a horror-flick: Intolerance, hypocrisy, temptation, hope, family, religion... In the end, they all clash and it just goes awfully wrong!

Later in the month we'll be blessed with the releases of such intelligent gems as My Bloody Valentine 3D and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans. But not every horror movie released early in the year is terrible. For example, on Valentine's Day, 1991 a little movie called The Silence of Lambs opened nationwide and later won five Oscars.