IN DREAMS ARE MONSTERS is a major UK-wide film and events programme led by BFI in partnership with BFI FAN / Film Hub Midlands’ Major Programmes, taking place Oct-Dec 2022.
The season is a celebration and exploration of the horror genre through the mythological archetypes of the beast, ghost, vampire, witch and zombie and their evolutions through time: how those figures have morphed to make physical the anxieties of their times, and how we react when faced with the monster within.
The representation of monstrous bodies on screen has been reappraised and reclaimed by marginalised voices, with inclusive takes explored, showing how horror has always been a radical and politicised genre. This season aims to shine a light on these narratives as well as celebrate the breadth of the genre as a whole.
In the Midlands, 5 FAN members are exploring the monsters of horror, with special curated seasons and unique one-off events:
Across October and November, Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham, is hosting a ‘Queer Bodies’ season that aims to reflect on LGBTQ+ issues such as trans identities and gender fluidity: from “the pre-Code queerness of James Whale's The Old Dark House, to the vilification of Frankenstein's monster by an angry mob and The Lure's sparkly metaphor for the trans experience”.
On why they chose to participate in the In Dreams Are Monsters series, Cinema & Screen Producer David Baldwin states that “the horror genre can often be brushed off as buckets of gore and cheap scares by those who don’t often engage with it,” and the ‘Queer Bodies’ season is designed to show “just how complex and fascinating the genre is, and to perhaps make a few new horror fans along the way”.
Browse for the season’s screenings on MAC's website.
Derby Quad will be creating a very special augmented reality interactive trail for audiences to enjoy at their venue before the screenings, which include their annual horror all-nighter marathon, ‘Dead and Breakfast’, a line-up filled with cult classics, and season titles from the ICO Tour. The enhanced screenings will feature bespoke Augmented Reality experiences that bring elements of the film out into the building, game engine and CGI technology, as well as more traditional elements of photography, video and text to offer deeper understanding of the films and the history behind them.
Check out the season’s screenings on QUAD's website.
From October to December, Warwick Arts Centre are presenting ‘Show Me Your Teeth’ a season exploring feminism, vampirism, and the representation of women in vampiric tales. Beginning on October 31st, this project aims to introduce and expand upon feminist readings of vampires, who have long been associated with seduction, sexuality, and irresistible temptation. With a mix of genres from noir to modern fantasy, this season will provide a rich selection of cinematic takes on the female vampire for you to sink your teeth into and ponder the relationship between femininity, power, and desire.
Their first screening, The Hunger, will be introduced by Producer Melissa Gueneau.
More information is available on Warwick Arts Centre's website.
Electric Cinema, Birmingham’s upcoming project, ‘Beauty Into Beast’ is also female-focused, exploring the evolution of shapeshifting women, and mapping how their on screen portrayals and audience perception of them are a reflection of the changing role of women in society. Beginning on the 13th of November, their first screening will be Cat People, an atmospheric and haunting thriller that brings an ancient curse into a fresh, metropolitan setting, with a female shapeshifter battling expectations from modern society.
“To say we’re fans of horror is probably a bit of an understatement” Events Manager Jean Stanton states, “the biggest difficulty was choosing which monstrous archetype we’d most like to get our teeth into”. Electric’s focus on shapeshifters was borne from the difference between male and female lycanthropes on screen, “how men seem to be hapless victims yet for women, it’s almost empowering to give themselves over to the beast within”. The exploration of the She-Wolf-type character helps to move past the ‘victim’ archetype that female protagonists in horror tend to be tied to. The season will come to a close with a perfect book-end, Wildling (dir. Fritz Bohm, 2018), starring Bel Powey & Liv Tyler, a modern take on the ‘wild girl from the woods’ trope.
With exclusive director interviews, introductions from leading academics in lycanthropy and lots more surprises to come. Keep an eye out for upcoming screening times on Electric Birmingham's website!
Victoria Park Productions will be undertaking a deep dive into some of the very best and most challenging horror films by some standout Black, Asian, and minority filmmakers from across the globe. Their ‘Hearts of Darkness’ season hosted at Mockingbird Cinema (Digbeth) will champion radical horror and how it has been used to offer a new take, voice, commentary and platform for marginalised voices. Alongside feature films, this season will also feature Q & A’s with Midlands Horror director Idris Assoumanou, Rajab Mahmood and Sheikh Mohammed in association with Birmingham Young Filmmakers Network, and some screenings of the very best horror shorts.
Stay updated on their upcoming screenings via Mockingbird Cinema's website!