Halloween 2014: Keep calm and have a Nice fright

Beware … despite the beautiful weather still lingering on the French Riviera, ghouls, witches, ghosts and zombies have not forgotten that Halloween is on its way and are preparing to gather and enjoy a great night of terror.

Trick or Treating in France may not be as popular as in the US but that doesn’t stop the French from celebrating the most terrifying holiday of the year, especially in Nice where it comes in the form of the Samain du cinema Fantastique de Nice (see full program at www.samainfilmfestival.com).

Samain

This wild week, imagined by the movie association “Les Méduses”, celebrates its fifth anniversary with 5 days of festivities. From October 28th to November 1st, festival-goers will enjoy a wonderful and scary program mixing cult and indie cinema, pop quizzes and cookies.

For the 2014 edition, the team selected exceptional movies starting with Ghostbusters. The cult American comedy, which turns 30 this year, will be honoured during the opening night. The funniest ghost hunters won’t feel too lonely as they’ll soon be joined by other fantastic classics The Addams Family, Nightmare on Elm Street and The Warriors. On Halloween night, a special evening will celebrate “fear on the big screen” at the Cinémathèque de Nice with a debate presented by two French critics, Philippe Rouyer and Jean-Jacques Bernard, followed by the screening of the famous Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Hitchcock’s Psycho. Most films are screened in Version Original with subtitles; tickets are €5 but may vary depending on movie theatres.

Like the most prestigious festivals, the Samain has its own competition. Following last year’s big winner, Gravity, Les Méduses selected several unseen long-features as Kevin Smith’s Tusk, the awarded Why Don’t You Play in Hell by Sono Sion and The Editor by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy. And to celebrate the new generation of filmmakers, the festival will host the world premiere of Hostile a horror movie directed on the French Riviera by 15-year-old niçois Nathan Ambrosioni.

“This year we wanted to propose a diversified program to the audience in Nice to suit all tastes,” explained a member of Les Méduses who, over the year kept an eye on the famous International Film Festivals including the Market Film of Cannes.

Even if long features aren’t your cup of tea, Samain organizes at the same time a competition of international and European shorts including the phenomenal Lights Out, Rose McGowan’s (Charmed, Once Upon a Time, Scream) directorial debut Dawn or French novelist Maxime Chattam’s Par acquis de conscience.

And don’t miss the screening Wednesday at the Mercury of Kosmodrome, the short by Nice resident Youcef Mahmoudi (see Cannes connection for a big noise in the movie world) which won Best International at the Hollywood Short festival this summer.

Meanwhile music lovers can enjoy a dress-up Halloween Party at Volume where fun and fear join forces for this special day because after all, life’s no fun without a good scare.

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