Wrapping Up Cinepocalypse 2018


What a year for The Music Box Theatre with the Cinepocalypse film festival.  Though I wasn't able to attend every screening, there were a couple of films I was able to view that truly were special.  That's not to say everything was a home run.  Despite having seen THE RANGER, I have very little to say about it aside from "yep, that was a slasher movie."  Of course, there's nothing wrong with that.  A genre film festival is supposed to present a little bit of everything, including something truly divisive and bizarre like the latest PUPPET MASTER film.  Luckily, my cohort Patrick Ripoll and I were able to see a lot of interesting titles this year that were memorable and special.  I know Patrick couldn't say enough good things about the latest from Joel Potrykus with RELAXER, and I found EMPATHY INC., to be right up my alley as well.  The rep screenings were also marvelous with Lana Wachowski making an appearance for her debut noir thriller BOUND as well as the movie where Denis Leary got to play a gang leader, JUDGMENT NIGHT.   All positives aside, I can't say I was remotely excited for HOWARD THE DUCK having despised it when I was young and fairly certain that opinion wouldn't change.  Again, there's always a quality mix of films with any festival, and I'm grateful to Ryan, Josh and Stephanie for all their hard work in making sure it all comes together.  Plus they're kind enough to ensure attendance for both Patrick and myself, hence the many reviews that are archived here both from last year and this year.  Patrick will be wrapping up with a couple more takes but until then, here's the official press release / summary as things came to a close!  Can't wait to check out an abundance of titles I missed and will definitely review them once I catch up!


Chicago, Illinois - 29 June 2018 - The Music Box Theatre is honored to announce the juried winners of the 2018 edition of Cinepocalypse. As the festival wraps today, it is also immensely proud to note that, in its sophomore year, the festival shattered its first year attendance record, and won accolades for its progressive, boundary-pushing, and phenomenal programming and guests.

The festival's feature film jury, which was co-chaired by DOCTOR STRANGE director Scott Derrickson, screenwriter C. Robert Cargill, and Deputy Director of the Illinois Film Office Louis Ferrara have awarded "Best Film" to Robert Schwentke's riveting World War II thriller THE CAPTAIN; "Best Screenplay" to Matt Leslie and Stephen Smith for their retro throwback mystery SUMMER OF '84; and "Best Director" to Joko Anwar for his horrific, electrifying take on the haunted house genre, SATAN'S SLAVES (PENGABDI SETAN).

Additional feature awards were given to Joe Cole, for "Best Actor" in A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN, and Paula Niedert Elliott, for "Best Actress" in CLARA'S GHOST. The festival bestowed LUCIFERINA an award for "Best Sexorcism Scene" and HEAVY TRIP (HEVI REISSU) their "Best Discovery" prize. The Audience Award was given to Johnny Kevorkian's AWAIT FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS.

Co-Presidents Derrickson and Cargill noted in a joint statement, "These were incredibly hard choices to make, as 2018 has proven such an amazing year for genre cinema. The films chosen by Cinepocalypse not only reflect the diversity of genre film this year, but actually push the boundaries of what is considered genre. These films are among the very best of an incredibly strong crop, which includes several we wish we could simultaneously award for their genius, craft, and in some cases, audacity. It was an honor to be able to sit on a jury of films so wildly original and accomplished."

The Cinepocalypse short film jury, presided over by Northwestern University film professor Spencer Parsons, Kristin Wicks, and Lisa Holmes, awarded "Best Film" to DAUGHTERS OF VIRTUE, noting that it is "distinguished by its sharp technical execution of a total vision and style" and "builds from dread and paranoia to a great shocker of an ending.

The short film jury also awarded David Mikalson "Best Director" for STAY, Al Clemente Saks and Bianet Diaz "Best Actor" and "Best Actress" for their performances in THE CHAIRMAN, "Best Cinematography" to Director of Photography Jonah Rubash for his work on QUIVER, and their "Armed and Grammatically Dangerous Prize" to Jake Jarvi's OXFORD COMMA. An additional award, dubbed the "Best Noggin Flapjacks Prize", was given to Anthony Cousins' THE BLOODY BALLAD OF SQUIRT REYNOLDS.

Cinepocalypse will return to The Music Box Theatre in 2019.