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Universal Vampire Flick ‘Abigail’ Set To Close Out Overlook Film Festival – View Full Lineup

Universal’s monster movie Abigail helmed by Radio Silence’s Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett has been set to world premiere as the closing night film of horror fest The Overlook Film Festival, which is taking place this year at the Prytania Theatres in New Orleans from April 4 – 7.

Slated for release on April 19, Abigail watches as a group of criminals retreats to an isolated mansion after kidnapping the ballerina daughter (Alisha Weir) of a powerful underworld figure, unaware that they’re locked inside with no normal little girl. Written by Stephen Shields and Guy Busick, the film’s cast also includes Melissa Barrera, Dan Stevens, Kathryn Newton, William Catlett, Kevin Durand, Giancarlo Esposito, and the late Angus Cloud.

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This year’s Overlook lineup includes 45 films — 22 features and 23 shorts — from 11 countries, as well as four live presentations and five immersive experiences. Set to open the fet, on the heels of its Berlin launch, is Neon’s giallo-esque Cuckoo starring Hunter Schafer.

Other highlights from the lineup include Larry Fassenden’s Blackout, E.L. Katz’s Azrael, starring Samara Weaving, and Shudder’s Sundance pic In a Violent Nature. Additionally, Mike Flanagan’s debut feature Oculus will be getting a tenth anniversary screening, with both Flanagan and actress Kate Siegel on hand to receive the Master of Horror Award, previously bestowed on the likes of Roger Corman and Joe Dante. Other films set for retrospective screenings include Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond and Brian De Palma’s Phantom of the Paradise, to name just a couple.

“We are finally able to see the fruits of post-pandemic productions and it’s a sight to behold,” said Michael Lerman, co-founder and director of film programming of The Overlook Film Festival. “This year’s lineup is full of bigger, scarier, more personal, more bombastic fever dreams that are sure to haunt you for the rest of 2024.”

Added the festival’s co-founder and executive director, Landon Zakheim, “This festival has always been as much about horror’s history as it is about its future. The expanded retrospective screenings, with some of our favorite heroes once again joining in person, allow us to celebrate what drew our community together in the first place, while our signature live shows and interactive experiences show us where we can go.”

For the full lineup for this year’s festival, dedicated to the memory of film programmer Doug Jones, read on.

Opening Night Film

Cuckoo

Director: Tilman Singer

Cast: Hunter Schafer, Dan Stevens, Jessica Henwick

Germany, United States, 2024

When 17-year-old Gretchen reluctantly moves with her family to a resort in the German Alps, she finds herself the subject of terrifying visions and aggressive stalking by a mysterious woman who may or may not be linked to the town’s past. Featuring audacious performances from Hunter Schafer, Dan Stevens and Jessica Henwick, this beautiful and terrifying Giallo-esque nightmare is sure to make you think twice about going into the woods at night.

Closing Night Film

Abigail

Directors: Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett

Cast: Kathryn Newton, Dan Stevens, Giancarlo Esposito, Kevin Durand, Melissa Barrera

United States, 2024

Feature Film Presentations

All You Need is Death

Director: Paul Duane

Cast: Simone Collins, Charlie Maher, Olwen Fouéré, Gary Whelan

Ireland, 2023

Set in the world of Irish folk ballads and brimming with lure, this creepy tale follows a young couple who collect rare songs. Hired by a mysterious man to track down and translate an ancient, taboo tune, they unlock something that was best left undisturbed.

Azrael

Director: E.L. Katz

Cast: Samara Weaving, Vic Carmen Sonne, Katariina Unt, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Sebastian Bull Sarning

United States, 2024

Survivalist horror is alive and well in this pulse-pounding, dialog-less, post-apocalyptic vision from director E.L. Katz (Cheap Thrills) and writer Simon Barrett (You’re Next) that follows Azrael (Samara Weaving), a desperate woman who is being hunted by a tenacious cult of mutes determined to use her in a sadistic ritual.

Birdeater

Director: Jack Clark, Jim Weir

Cast: Mackenzie Fearnley, Shabana Azeez

Australia, 2023

Engaged couple Louie and Irene are as close as two people could be. So close, in fact, that Irene is attending Louie’s bachelor party, all set for a night of fun and debauchery. But, as uncomfortable details about their relationship start to come to the surface, it becomes clear that Louie’s friends may have other plans in this unnerving and shockingly unforgettable first feature.

Blackout

Director: Larry Fessenden

Cast: Alex Hurt, Addison Timlin, Motell Gyn Foster, Joseph Castillo-Midyett, John Speredakos, Michael Buscemi, Joe Swanberg, Barbara Crampton, James Le Gros, Marshall Bell

United States, 2023

Not your typical werewolf story, Blackout follows a painter, haunted by guilt, who becomes convinced that he is transforming at night and wreaking havoc in his small town in this genre-bending and often hilarious portrait from the legendary Larry Fessenden (Habit, Wendigo).

Humanist Vampire Seeking Consenting Suicidal Person

Director: Ariane Louis-Seize

Cast: Sara Montpetit, Félix-Antoine Bénard, Steve Laplante, Sophie Cadieux, Noémie O’Farrell, Marie Brassard, Patrick Hivon, Marc Beaupré

Canada, 2023

Struggling with her own personal ethics, a teenage vampire makes a pact with a suicidal boy after her family cuts off her blood supply in this sweet and touching tale of friendship and loyalty.

In a Violent Nature

Director: Chris Nash

Cast: Ry Barrett, Andrea Pavlovic, Cameron Love, Reece Presley, Liam Leone, Charlotte Creaghan, Lea Rose Sebastianis, Sam Roulston, Alexander Oliver, Lauren Taylor

Canada, 2023

The story is familiar: a savage, undead monster stalks a group of unsuspecting teenagers in the woods. But filmmaker Chris Nash turns this brutal slasher on its head, following the creature in his relentless pursuit.

Infested

Directors: Sébastien Vaniček

Cast: Théo Christine, Sofia Lesaffre, Jérôme Niel, Lisa Nyarko, Finnegan Oldfield, Marie-Philomène Nga, Mahamadou Sangaré, Abdellah Moundy

France, 2023

Packed full of jump scares and sure to be every arachnophobes’ worst nightmare, this spine-tingling chiller sees the residents in the French projects go to war with a group of deadly spiders who are rapidly reproducing through each floor of their apartment building.

Look Into My Eyes

Directors: Lana Wilson

United States, 2024

The intimate relationship between psychics, their clients, and the loved ones they are trying to contact from the beyond is explored in this hilarious and heartbreaking new documentary from filmmaker Lana Wilson.

New Life

Director: John Rosman

Cast: Sonya Walger, Hayley Erin, Tony Amendola

United States, 2023

A tense game of cat-and-mouse unfolds as a young woman flees a mysterious facility, evading a savvy agent with nothing to lose, as the stakes rise to apocalyptic proportions in this nasty, genre-bending, and surprisingly intimate thriller.

Oddity

Director: Damian Mc Carthy

Cast: Gwilym Lee, Carolyn Bracken, Tadhg Murphy, Caroline Menton, Steve Wall, Johnny French, Joe Rooney, Shane Whisker, Ivan de Wergifosse

Ireland, 2023

A blind medium resorts to desperate measures in an effort to find out the truth behind what happened to her sister in this mystical, terrifying creepfest that will burn its lasting, nightmarish imagery into your brain.

Red Rooms

Director: Pascal Plante

Cast: Juliette Gariépy

Canada, 2023

Canadian auteur-in-the-making Pascal Plante presents a disturbingly engaging tale of a model’s obsession with a child murderer who is on trial and her dark web search for evidence of his innocence.

Sleep

Director: Jason Yu

Cast: Jung Yu-mi, Lee Sun-kyun

South Korea, 2023

An expectant wife desperately tries to break her loving husband from his deranged sleepwalking patterns in this cleverly scripted, razor-edged thriller from Bong Joon-ho’s protégé Jason Yu.

Things Will Be Different

Director: Michael Felker

Cast: Adam David Thompson, Riley Dandy, Chloe Skoczen, Justin Benson, Sarah Bolger

United States, 2023

Executive produced by veteran filmmakers Justin Benson and Aaron Moorehead, this twisty time travel story follows two siblings, fresh off a robbery, who hide out on a remote farm in a different time period than their own, only to find themselves reckoning with a mysterious entity that does not like being there.

Retrospective Film Presentations

The Beyond

World Premiere of 4K Restoration

Director: Lucio Fulci

Cast: Katherine MacColl, David Warbeck, Sarah Keller, Antoine Saint-John, Veronica Lazar

Italy, 1981

Lucio Fulci, the Giallo maestro himself, sets his sights on the bayou with his propulsive, brain-melting nightmare of psychedelia. Shot entirely in and around New Orleans, and driven by one of the all-time great Fabio Frizzi scores, Grindhouse Releasing’s brand new restoration is mandatory big-screen viewing.

Creature From the Black Lagoon 3-D

70th Anniversary Screening in 35mm

Director: Jack Arnold

Cast: Richard Carlson, Julie Adams, Richard Denning, Antonio Moreno, Nestor Paiva, Whit Bissell, Ben Chapman, Ricou Browning

United States, 1954

Not since the beginning of time, has the world known terror like this. Science couldn’t explain it, but there it was: the last of the old Universal movie monsters. An inspiration to countless generations of fans and filmmakers, don’t miss this absolute classic as it was meant to be seen, in its original 3-D and on 35mm!

The Hands of Orlac

100th Anniversary Screening with New Live Score by Think Less, Hear More

Director: Robert Wiene

Cast: Conrad Veidt, Alexandra Sorina, Fritz Kortner, Carmen Cartellieri, Fritz Strassny, Paul Askonas

Austria, 1924

From the director of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari comes this expressionist-tinted pulp tale of the macabre starring the sinister somnambulist himself, Conrad Veidt (The Man Who Laughs). Watch in horror as a concert pianist’s hands are replaced by those of a murderer and hear the all new score by returning NOLA artists Think Less, Hear More.

Phantom of the Paradise

50th Anniversary Screening

Actor, Composer and Music Producer Paul Williams in Person

Preceded by Swan Archives Lecture

Director: Brian de Palma

Cast: Paul Williams, William Finley, George Memmoli, Harold Oblong, Archie Hahn, Jeffrey Comanor, Gerrit Graham, Jessica Harper

United States, 1974

The Swan Archives and its Principal Archivist Ari Kahan will introduce a very special screening of Brian De Palma’s faustian, fantastical opera of rock and roll composed by, and starring, the legendary Paul Williams (The Muppet Movie, Bugsy Malone) that has rightfully taken its place as one of the genre’s finest cult masterpieces. See it as you never have before!

Oculus

10th Anniversary Screening

Mike Flanagan in person

Director: Mike Flanagan

Cast: Karen Gillan, Brenton Thwaites, Katee Sackhoff, Rory Cochrane

United States, 2014

Before he took on Hill House, Bly Manor, the House of Usher and the halls of King, there was the supernatural thrawl of the Lasser Glass. Adapted from his own short film of the same name, auteur Mike Flanagan cemented his reputation as a modern master of the art of the scare with his breakthrough second film.

Live Event Presentations

FASTERPIECE THEATER

Creator/Host: Bret Berg

What if you could binge-watch a weekend’s worth of wild vintage horror movies all at the same time? You’ll know the feeling once you step into Fasterpiece Theater: a service of found footage livestream channel Museum of Home Video, airing every Tuesday. Made with modern attention spans in mind, as well as the cult movie canon’s sheer depth, this tightly-edited blast of horrors past serves up ten feature films you’ve never heard of, sautéed and shattered ’til only the spicy parts remain, all guided by Museum of Home Video VJ Bret Berg.

LOOKING OVER THE GARDEN WALL: A 10TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

Panelists: Patrick McHale, Nick Cross

Ten years ago this fall, the world was introduced to two travelers who became lost in the unknown on Halloween night, and embarked on a series of adventures both wonderful and strange. Join Patrick McHale (co-writer of Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio), the creator of gateway horror-tinged animated miniseries Over The Garden Wall, along with art director Nick Cross, for a look back on the creation of this modern cult classic that will include screenings of behind-the-scenes rarities and some of their own shorts that inspired this stunning accomplishment. That’s a rock fact!

SCREAM DREAMS: THE NIGHTMARES THAT SHAPED US

Hosts: Catherine Corcoran, Barbara Crampton

Creators: Catherine Corcoran, James A Janisse, Barbara Crampton

Venture into the shadows with Catherine Corcoran and Barbara Crampton as they dive into the real nightmares of the best minds in genre entertainment in this special live episode recording of the Scream Dreams podcast where the subconscious of a festival filmmaker will be revealed. You have been warned!

THE SWAN ARCHIVES

Host: Ari Kahan

Join Ari Kahan, Principal Archivist at the Swan Archives, as he takes you on a wild and fascinating journey through the tumultuous history behind the making and release of Brian De Palma’s iconic collaboration with Paul Williams that resulted in the creation of one of horror’s most exalted works. This presentation will precede a 50th anniversary screening of Phantom Of The Paradise.

Immersive Presentations

The festival’s unique interactive live theatrical horror experiences for small audiences return with fresh offerings for the brave and mysterious.

THE DARK SÉANCE

Creator: Zabrecky

Stray into the darkness with notorious séance medium Zabrecky: he will attempt to part the veil and manifest the dead, whose messages may bring solace, silence, or terrifying signals from unknown reaches. Success is not guaranteed, but there is one simple rule to the séance: if you believe, you will receive.

A FREAK ENCOUNTER

WORLD PREMIERE

Creator: Todd Robbins

Book a therapy session with the iconic Todd Robbins and let a very strange stranger into your subconscious. Venture as deep into hypnosis as you’re willing to go, but be ready to encounter the darkest corners of your own mind… some things there you may rather forget, but they must be confronted right now, because it’s later than you think.

THE GRAND HALL

SNEAK PREVIEW

Creators: Cyrus Cooper, Rachel Dunphy, Sam Moodey, Andrew Preble, Kali Russell

After decades of misfortune, the Delaporte Family has finally regained possession of their ancestral home and the family archivists have wasted no time digging up the darkest, deepest mysteries from the family’s storied past. To celebrate this victory, the mansion’s Grand Hall will be previewed to guests for the first time in over a century. We invite you to join us for a self-directed journey of your choosing. Explore the halls, uncover secrets, and help the family find truths once lost to time.

THE MOST DANGEROUS MAN IN AMERICA

WORLD PREMIERE

Creator: Mark Calabrese

An unforgettable meeting with the greatest card cheat in America. You’ll find a questionable character who will simultaneously expose some of his secret scams and cons, while taking from you what you never wanted to give up.

REGRETS FROM THE DEAD

WORLD PREMIERE

Creator: Jared Kopf

A necessary encounter for the dead. We carry around ghosts: our past, our regrets, and all our forgotten selves. The Oracle, an ambiguously friendly guide — and a person you have unsuspectingly met many, many times over — will assist you in coming to terms with the final step of the experience in a decision that will change the course of your life or death.

Short Film Presentations
Short films will be presented in three themed programs: Rise & Grind, Haunted and Overlook Shorts.

Benediction, Dir. Zandashé Brown, United States, 2022

A broken woman’s search for solace lands her at a black baptist church in rural Mississippi, where an eerie encounter leads her to unsettling truths.

Bits, Dir. Lilliya Scarlett Reid, United States, 2023

A story of a young woman in small town Montana who catches the attention of a serial killer on the hunt. When his pursuit ends abruptly, the young woman is overcome with rejection. Pining for closure, she struggles to untangle feelings of neglect and desire.

Bookworm, Dir. Javier Yanez Sanz, Spain, 2023

Irene is an aspiring writer who obsesses over the delicate ghost at the library where she works.

Chomp, Dir. Suki-Rose and Cricket Arrison, United States, 2023

A news studio is the perfect breeding ground for a new kind of monster.

Dark Mommy, Dir. Courtney Eck, United States, 2023

Ben is the only night shift 911 operator in a small town. His bubble of self-isolation is only ever punctured by drunks or prank calling kids, but tonight Dark Mommy has her own intentions for Ben…and the rest of the town.

Dream Creep, Dir. Carlos A.F. Lopez, United States, 2024

A couple awakens in the night to sounds emanating from an unlikely orifice.

Dream Factory, Dir. Alex Matraxia, United Kingdom, 2023, International Premiere

An experimental short that explores the historical role of cinemas as cruising sites, as well as the relations between nostalgia and fetish when navigating queer history, cultural memory, and the tactility of the past.

Hevel, Dir. David Grace, United States, 2023

When a devout Jewish woman begins her Friday night Shabbat service, a demonic presence will do whatever it takes to have her break with biblical tradition.

Hypoxia, Dir. Brian Imakura, United States, 2023, WORLD PREMIERE

A man fantasizes about becoming a terrorist.

I Could Just Die, and That Would Be Alright, Dir. A.K. Espada, United States, 2023

Trying to end her life, a woman offers herself as a meal to the monster in the woods near her house. But her plan backfires when she wakes up with a thirst for blood and realizes she has joined the ranks of the immortal undead.

The Influencer, Dir.Lael Rogers, United States, 2023

A social media influencer describes her perfect day harvesting the eyes and minds of her followers to achieve immortality.

Kombucha!, Dir. Jake Myers, United States, 2023

A short film that gives new meaning to being consumed by your work.

The Looming, Dir. Masha Ko, United States, 2023

A beautiful and emotional film that touches upon the difficulties that come with aging, mental illness, and the fear of being forgotten by those we love.

MLM, Dir. Brea Grant, United States, 2024, WORLD PREMIERE

When Sarah joins a multi-level marketing company called La La Leggings, she isn’t ready for the horrific consequences of not selling.

Mosquito Lady, Dir. Kristine Gerolaga, United States, 2023

Terrified of telling her parents that she’s pregnant as restrictions to abortion access worsen, a desperate teenager seeks the help of a reclusive neighbor who her parents warned her about.

Nap, Dir. Alicia Albares, Spain, 2023

Four people are about to undergo a dangerous experiment. The rules are simple: you will have to sleep if you want to live.

Powder, Dir. Ham Tran, Vietnam 2023

After his grandmother dies, Sang is tasked to keep watch by himself. He calls his best friend, Loc, to keep him company, but both will be haunted for life by what they see on the powder-covered floor.

The Red Room, Dir. Alex Liu, New Zealand, 2023, WORLD PREMIERE

A timid office worker’s life unravels after he fails to read the terms and conditions at a pseudo-health clinic.

Some Day All This Will Be Yours, Dir. Cricket Arrison, United States, 2023

A queer autofiction comedy/horror short shot entirely in the filmmaker’s childhood home. Amidst a riot of crumbling 1970s interior design, Some Day uncannily twists the tropes of motherhood, home, and family legacy.

Souling, Dir. Jacquelyn Ferguson, United States, 2023

An unsuspecting woman finds herself at the center of an ancient Pagan tradition.

Spooky Crew, Dir. Erin Broussard, United States, 2023

The Spooky Crew take on the urban legend of Mary Jane. Will they be able to debunk the myth, or will they discover that ghosts may actually be real? Tune in to their Patron livestream to find out!

Three Baths, Dir. Rafael De Leon Jr., United States, 2023

A spiritualist instructs Loreen to give her distraught younger sister, Rosa, three baths to get rid of a malevolent spirit that appears to be moving closer and closer to her.

Zit, Dir. Amber Neukum, United States, 2024

A film on anxiety, Zit tells the story of Gertrude as she prepares to ask her boss for a promotion at work, all while a tiny zit on her forehead slowly grows to become larger than life.

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