MOTELx - Horror rises to take Lisbon!

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To all fans of the horror genre this articles is for you! Since 2007, during the month of September, Lisbon’s streets are filled with an eerie aura of darkness and dread as the film festival MOTELx arrives. This six-day festival boasts a ever rising audience! With over 20.000 attendees, and it’s spread out through the city in many venues, although the epicenter is Cinema São Jorge. MOTELx celebrates national and international filmmakers, from newcomers to veterans in the horror spectrum, like Eli Roth, John Landis and the master himself George A. Romero, all of the marked their presence in the festival.

Official MOTELx television spot.

The Competitions

This year’s edition has ended recently and made a big (bloody) splash! With a huge list of special guests and worldwide premieres, like the film The Nun (by Corin Hardy) from the Conjuring franchise, which opened the festival. But the real standouts were the winners of the National and International Competitions. MOTELx is part to many filmmaking foundations and federations, like EFFFF or FIAPF, so it really prides itself on what it has achieved, not only in promoting good international horror films bit also contributing to the portuguese horror scene. And that’s what the competitions are for. One for European long format films and the other for Portuguese short format films. This year the respective winners where Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse by Lukas Feigelfeld (from Germany) and A Estranha Casa na Bruma by Guilherme Daniel (based on a H.P. Lovercraft story). There was also a special mention to the portuguese animated short Agouro by David Doutel and Vasco Sá.

Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse, Lukas Feigelfeld, Germany (2017).

A Estranha Casa na Bruma, Guilherme Daniel, Portugal (2018).

Room Service and Special Guests

Besides the two competitions there are also many other spooky categories of course. The main one being Serviço de Quarto, where the best recent horror films are shown, here the film One Cut of the Dead by Shinichirou Ueda (Japan) won a audience award, and many others where shown, like the previously mentioned The Nun, or Unsane (from Steven Soderbergh) or even Upgrade by Leigh Whannell, a special guest director, creator of the Saw and Insidious franchises, who had a whole category dedicated to him, presenting his latest Insidious film and Mad Max (by George Miller) as great influence on his work.

Upgrade by Leigh Whannell, USA (2018).

Other Categories

To add to this horror show there are other categories, like the International Shorts, a category synonymous with this festival, since it has been present since it’s inception. And besides that there are many extra sessions, like Lobo Mau, for a younger audience, or Quarto Perdido, which honors the first portuguese horror movies. Or even the Special Sessions, where the goal is to explore new things and ways to show horror.

Cinema São Jorge
Cinema São Jorge
Av. da Liberdade 175, 1250-096 Lisboa, Portugal
Cinemateca Portuguesa - Museu do Cinema
Cinemateca Portuguesa - Museu do Cinema
R. Barata Salgueiro 39, 1250-195 Lisboa, Portugal
Centro Cultural de Belém
Centro Cultural de Belém
Praça do Império, 1449-003 Lisboa, Portugal

Be sure to check out the program next year, if you dare… (Vincent Price manic laughter)


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The author

André Jesus

André Jesus

I am André, from Portugal. I grew up in the south, but I live in Lisbon. Whenever I can, I go out and experience whatever Portugal has to offer. And I'm here to share those experiences!

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