After a summer of sport, the Olympic Park passes the baton to Picturehouse Cinemas in Stratford for Sci-Fi London East, a weekend of dystopian nightmares, adventurous weaponry, and surreal hyper-violence from 9-11 November. As well as 9 metaphysical and infectious cinematic traumas (including 3 UK premieres), the festival is hosting a masterclass in disaster survival, forums with sci-fi writers, and an end-of-the-world pub quiz held in association with the Post-Apocalyptic Book Club.
Billed as ‘the post-apocolympic event’, Sci-Fi London East itself opens with a race, the UK premiere of The Human Race directed by Paul Hough. In the film, people from different ethnic backgrounds, different generations, different sexes, and different physical capacities are chosen by an anonymous force, instantly disappearing from whence they came to appear on a path, ready for the race. Friday evening closes with Crawlspace, a tense and claustrophobic blend of sci-fi and horror which sees the producers of Wolf Creek return to the Australian outback, this time to top secret underground military compound Pine Gap.
In Antiviral, the feature debut of Brandon Cronenberg, competing private clinics specialise in infecting patients with genetically modified illnesses harvested directly from celebrities. What better way for fans to get closer to their idols? Set in the vacuously antiseptic clinics made famous by his father David in his early body horror films, identities transform and bodies mutate when a salesman injects himself with the latest virus. It is a biting satire, in the most literal sense, on the contemporary obsession with celebrity culture. Other highlights on Saturday include the UK premiere of Cory Mcabee’s Crazy and Thief, an Anime all-nighter and a Mystery Science Theatre 3000 all-nighter.
Sunday opens with Flight of the Navigator, Disney’s child-friendly sci-fi with a Beach Boys soundtrack, ahead of its Blu-Ray release on November 19. The festival comes to an end with screenings of Metamorphosis, an adaptation of Kafka’s classic short story, and finally Carre Blanc, a gravely stylish vision of the future inspired by Chris Marker and Jean Luc Godard’s Alphaville. (Words: Chris Fennell)
Sci-Fi London East runs from November 9-11. For more info, visit www.sci-fi-london.com