If you experience a certain creeping sensation north of the river this weekend—symptoms include chills, rapid heartbeat, and general paranoia—try not to be alarmed. As the dead of winter arrives, so does the hysteria of Kansas City’s most berserk film festival, Panic Fest, which possesses the Screenland Armour Friday, February 5th through Sunday, February 7th.
Dug up and brought to life in 2013, Panic Fest is one of the city’s biggest and best gatherings for fans of genre fare. And this year’s program, a bubbling cauldron of creepy classics and festival-darling exclusives, is the most ambitious yet. The festival opens with a sneak peek at the reboot of Cabin Fever. And while the movie will be under a lot of scrutiny—Eli Roth’s original was arguably the most clever horror comedy of the last decade and certainly one of the genre’s most audacious debuts—Roth is back as producer, hopefully retaining his singular take on frat-dude machismo. Alongside revivals of 1973’s excellent The Wicker Man and ‘80s trash-icon The Garbage Pail Kids Movie are Synchronicity, Baskin, and The Invitation—one of the eeriest indies in recent memory. (Come back later this week for CinemaKC’s review and more live coverage of the festival.)
Other highlights include a Saturday-night mystery screening, a short-film competition judged by the audience, and the region’s spookiest Super Bowl party. See PanicFilmFest.com for the full schedule. Tickets are $10 for individual shows, but full-day and full-fest passes (which include a Q&A with a surprise guest) can be purchased on the festival’s site. Festival sponsors include The Pitch, Rotten Rentals, and IFC Midnight.