Grimmfest, Manchester’s International Festival of Fantastic Film, celebrated its fourteenth
anniversary this year with four high-octane, fear-filled days of the very best in genre cinema,
screening at The Odeon Great Northern in Manchester, UK, on October 6th – 9th . Twenty-one
Feature Films and two programmes of short films, all new to Manchester, and many of them
International, European or UK premieres. And all of them eligible for the much-coveted Grimm
The daunting challenge of allocating the Awards was confronted with an admirable lack of
screaming or bloodshed by this year's heroic jury: Mary Beth McAndrews, Editor-in-Chief at Dread
Central; Dr Linnie Blake, Founder of the Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies at Manchester
Metropolitan University; film festival programmer and Screen Anarchy News Editor Andrew Mack,
and acclaimed genre author Simon Bestwick.
The festival team would like to thank them all for their dedication, discernment and diplomacy.
Their task has not been an easy one, and no doubt many favoured films fell by the wayside as the
passionate arguments flew back and forth, but in the end a final consensus and agreement were
The Grimm Reaper winners for Grimmfest 2022 are:
BEST SCARE: THE HARBINGER
Andy Mitton’s previous film THE WITCH IN THE WINDOW won the Reaper for Best Scare back in
2018, so he has past form when it comes to putting the fear into the Grimmfest audience and jury
alike. Tapping into the lasting traumas of the recent pandemic lockdown, THE HARBINGER offers
both chilling visual shocks and an escalating sense of existential dread that stayed with our jurors
for a long time afterwards.
BEST SFX: MOON GARDEN
Ryan Stevens Harris’s unsettling yet life-affirming steampunk gothic fairytale won the jury’s hearts
for its sheer visual inventiveness, loving, hands-on practical craft, and sheer dedication in creating
a totally immersive dream world.
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: VESPER
Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper’s timely Science Fiction Eco-fable found itself a recurring
favourite with our Jury, but it was the overall world building that most stood out, the careful
combining of detailed yet unshowy production and costume design, carefully chosen location, and
deft and inventive digital VFX to create an entirely believable vision of a crumbling dystopian future
society, on the verge of total collapse.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY and BEST SCORE: MEGALOMANIAC
Karim Ouelhaj’s sulphurous study of the cycle of abuse and the nature of evil proved a
controversial film with both audience and jury alike, but nobody could deny its sheer audiovisual
impact; the claustrophobic combination of Gary Moonboots and Simon Fransquet’s intense
industrial drone-rock score, and François Schmitt’s unsettling, expressionist camerawork makes for
a truly visceral, nerve-jangling experience.
BEST SCREENPLAY: THE GOLDSMITH
Another Jury favourite, this won particular favour for its slippery unpredictability and clockwork
precision, the way in which the narrative unfolds, with fiendish logic yet never quite as expected,
and for the subtle, deft characterisation, which gives every character their reasons, and keeps the
audience's sympathies continually shifting.
BEST SHORT: BABY FEVER
Hannah May Cumming’s campy, splattery, elegantly retrostyled feminist body horror is a real love-
letter to classic 70s and 80s horror, with sly genre-savvy nods to Fulci, Stuart Gordon, Brian Yuzna,
Cronenberg and De Palma, balancing full-on gross out humour with sharp – and all-too-
depressingly topical – sociopolitical satire in a powerful and thought-provoking exploration of the
pressures of unexpected and unwanted motherhood.
BEST ACTOR: RAMIRO BLAS for THE PASSENGER
Ramiro Blas’s beautifully judged performance as Blasco, an old-school male chauvinist, living on his past
glories on the fringes of the music scene, who finally has the chance to be the hard man hero he’s
always dreamed of being offers a surprisingly sympathetic and winning portrayal of old school
Spanish machismo; undercutting and critiquing his attitudes, while at the same time making him
credibly human, resourceful and unexpectedly likeable, and serves very much as the anchor of the
BEST ACTRESS, BEST DIRECTOR, BEST FILM: PIGGY
Proving very much a Jury favourite, finding favour in most categories, this finally bagged three
awards. The film was the one that everybody in the Jury singled out for particular praise, and there
was really no question that it would win the Best Film category from fairly early on in the
discussion. But Laura Galán’s extraordinary, emotionally raw, vanity-free, utterly heartbreaking
performance as the film’s put-upon protagonist soon proved a clear winner in the Best Actress
Category, and Carlota Pereda’sabsolute control of her material, sharp eye for environment and
social nuance, and almost tactile sense of location, made her an equally clear winner in the Best
AUDIENCE AWARD: FEED ME
The votes are all in, and after a close-run contest, this year’s Audience Award goes to Adam
Leader and Richard Oakes’s FEED ME, which combines pitch-black absurdist comedy of manners
with squirm-inducing cannibal serial killer horror and an emotionally weighty exploration of
bereavement and suicidal depression, to truly startling, disorientating effect.