2013 / UK
Dir. Caradog W. James
Screening 21 April, 18:30
In the near future, the West is locked in a new Cold War with China and the British Ministry of Defence is determined to develop an ultimate weapon with which to repel its new enemy. Two robotics engineers have been tasked with delivering that weapon, but in truth they are more interested in developing the first artificial intelligence with true self-awareness. Their creation, ‘The Machine’, is a constructed being with unparalleled physical and cognitive ability – one that will soon refuse to be contained.
The Machine is a thrilling meditation on the ethical implications of creating artificial life: a Frankenstein for the twenty-first century. Sadly, despite its low-budget ingenuity and a number of successful festival screenings in 2013, it was quickly overshadowed by the runaway success of Automata (2014) and Ex_Machina (2015). One of the first films in what has become a sustained cycle of robotic horror movies, The Machine is a technophobic nightmare already ripe for rediscovery.
2017 / US
Dir. Michael O’Shea
Screening 22 April, 18:45
In rundown New York, a troubled teen with a love for horror cinema immerses himself in vampire films to escape the bullies who plague his existence. As he watches vampiric classics on aging videos, he becomes gripped by his own insatiable thirst for human blood and embarks on an indiscriminate killing spree. As his victims pile up, he forms an unsteady relationship with a lonely neighbour who can empathise with his growing isolation from the outside world.
There has been a healthy dose of buzz swirling around Michael O’Shea’s directorial debut since it was selected to screen in the Un Certain Regard category at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival. A complex meditation on monstrosity, racism, loneliness and youth, The Transfiguration pays loving tribute to the likes of Nosferatu (1922), Martin (1977) and Let the Right One In (2008) and captures the arthouse sensibility of recent independent break-outs It Follows (2014), The Babadook (2014) and The Witch (2015).