Director William Brent (The Boy) Bell’s folk horror thriller Lord of Misrule will open the 21st edition of the New York City Horror Film Festival, to be held at Look Dine-In Cinema (657 West 57th Street) December 7 to 10, 2023. In its East Coast premiere, the Magnolia Pictures release will play the evening of Thursday, December 7. Lord of Misrule’s top-shelf cast includes Tuppence Middleton (the Downton Abbey films, Mank), Ralph Ineson (The Witch, Game of Thrones, The Office) and Matt Stokoe (Cursed, Outlaw King).
In Lord of Misrule, Rebecca Holland (Middleton) has recently taken over as vicar of a rural English village. When her young daughter Grace (Evie Templeton) goes missing at the local festival, the villagers and local police join in a desperate search. However, the closer they edge towards finding Grace, the more secrets emerge from the village’s dark past. Jocelyn Abney (Ineson), the village’s pagan master “Lord of Misrule,” tells Rebecca that Grace is beyond God’s help – she has been taken by the spirit Gallowgog, and will not return. Abney’s own son vanished from the same festival years before. Soon, Rebecca must decide just how much she is willing to sacrifice to rescue her daughter from the grip of evil.
Over the last few decades, Lord of Misrule director William Bren Bell has emerged as a new master of horror. His chilling credits include Stay Alive, The Devil Inside, Orphan: First Kill, as well as the blockbuster The Boy and its sequel, Brahms: The Boy II. Lord of Misrule was written by Tom de Ville (The Quiet Ones).
“I was enthralled by Tom’s disturbing pagan mythology with haunting imagery that framed this drama of a missing child,” says Bell. “In my experience, it’s rare to find such well-written and beautifully dark material. My head was spinning with ideas for how to make this film, and I couldn’t wait to do it.”
“Lord of Misrule is a dark, unflinching look at how a community can be turned against itself by blind faith and superstition,” says screenwriter de Ville. “I think that’s something that, unfortunately, should resonate deeply with audiences who have lived through world events of the past six years.”
Producer Nik Bower sees Lord of Misrule as a “chilling and utterly convincing horror, in the vein of The Wicker Man or more recent hits like The Witch and Midsommar. I hope audiences will enjoy it for that. It’s also an emotionally complex character-driven drama with compelling performances, beautiful production design and stunning cinematography.”
Add director Bell, “There is an ever-growing collective thirst for films that push the genre into places that audiences can relate to in frightening and fundamental ways. I hope Lord of Misrule will do what movies do best and transport the audience to another world.”
Lord of Misrule will be joined by over 50 films from around the world at the New York City Horror Film Festival. The festival offers 13 programs, each consisting of terrifying new feature films and shorts. Q&A panels and celebrity guests follow each screening. Fans and filmmakers will mingle at the full bar located at Look Dine-in Cinema.
The NYC Horror Film Festival will also provide virtual screenings of most of the movies showing, available one day after each live screening. VIP passes and tickets are on sale now.
The NYC Horror Film Festival is the brainchild of founder Michael J. Hein, who created the festival in 2001 as a venue for new independent horror filmmaking. The festival will continue its Lifetime Achievement Award that honors the scare masters of horror. George Romero was the first recipient, followed by Tom Savini, Tobe Hooper, Roger Corman, Mick Garris, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Frank Henenlotter, Bill Lustig, Robert Englund, Wes Craven, Lloyd Kaufman, Angus Scrimm, Sean Cunningham, Adrienne Barbeau, Brad Dourif, Tony Todd, Kane Hodder and Greg Nicotero.
For more information about the NYC Horror Film Festival and to purchase passes and tickets, please go to www.nychorrorfest.com