Director John Landis heads to Edinburgh’s Dead by Dawn

The legendary filmmaker heads to the annual horror festival to introduce two of his films, and the 25th anniversary edition of Dead by Dawn also includes a taste-along screening of Evil Dead II and premieres of brand new horror films from around the globe

Article by Jamie Dunn | 03 Apr 2018
  • An American Werewolf in London

Ask any horror-nut to reel off their favourite scary movies and it's odds-on they’ll include John Landis’s An American Werewolf in London – the greatest lycanthrope horror ever made – on the list. Not only is annual horror festival Dead by Dawn screening that 1981 film at the upcoming 25th anniversary edition, but it'll also be welcoming its director to Edinburgh as the festival's guest of honour.

Landis has made a wide range of movies over his career, including The Blues Brothers, Trading Places, ¡Three Amigos! and Into the Night, but he's best known as a horror director thanks to that wonderful werewolf flick and his iconic promo for Michael Jackson's hit single Thriller. Landis's most recent feature was also a horror and has an Edinburgh connection: 2010's Burke and Hare, in which he tried to mine laughs from the city's notorious serial killers, but the less said about that film the better.

In addition to presenting American Werewolf in London, Landis will introduce one of his most underrated films at Dead by Dawn, vampire flick Innocent Blood, as well as a double bill of James Whale’s Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein.

Horror fans can also look forward to a terrifying-sounding “taste-along-screening” of Evil Dead II in collaboration with Conjurer’s Kitchen, who’ll be rustling up some devilish treats to match the demonic visuals of Sam Raimi’s horror-comedy. Also included in Dead by Dawn’s classics line-up is Jorge Grau’s zombie flick The Living Dead at the Manchester Morgue and a screening of Murnau’s Nosferatu with live piano accompaniment from Forrester Pyke.

In terms of the contemporary films heading to the festival, we love the sound of Taiwanese horror Mon Mon Mon Monsters, which follows a group of high school teens who capture a flesh-eating creature and torture it for their own amusement, only to find it has a bigger, much more terrifying sibling. We’ve also heard great things about Dave Made a Maze, an imaginative  fantasy film about a slacker artist who accidently gets lost in his own artwork, a labyrinthine structure he’s made out of cardboard in his living room that’s inexplicably inhabited by supernatural beings.

If you prefer your horror movies more brutal, there’s Aussie thriller Rabbit, creepy Canadian shocker Knuckleball with Michael Ironside, and the atmospheric WW1 set horror Trench 11 from Canadian director Leo Scherman, who trained under David Cronenberg and Paul Schrader. The festival also includes four shorts programmes containing a total of 33 short films from 13 countries.

“In 25 years we’ve introduced so many amazing directors to Scottish audiences – the likes of Peter Jackson, Neil Marshall, Jim Mickle, Jaume Balaguero, Mike Flanagan, the Spierig Brothers – and this year’s selection showcases yet more exceptional talent from all over the world,” said the festival’s director, Adele Hartley. “Dead by Dawn continues to treat fans to the very finest chills and thrills!“

Dead by Dawn runs 19 – 22 April at Filmhouse, Edinburgh. Full festival programme at