ByRicardo Du Toit, writer at
Aspirant filmmaker and pop-culture geek! Follow me on Twitter @RicardoDuToit
Ricardo Du Toit

It's unbelievable what MOTELx — Lisbon International Horror Film Festival has accomplished in 10 years.

Starting out in 2006 as a relatively small festival at the mythical Cinema São Jorge in Lisbon, mainly composed by the exhibition of episodes of Masters of Horror and a retrospective of Guillermo del Toro, among a few other features, MOTELx grew into one of the most popular film festivals in Portugal, attracting film fans from all ages and backgrounds. Here is where they come together.

As the festival is celebrating it's 10th edition here are 15 films that made MOTELx the main event to anyone who enjoys a good scare.

Xavier Gens gave us Frontier(s), one of the most brutal european horror films, as a group of thieves run away from a rioting Paris, only to be hunted but a group of Neo-Nazis.
It's notable violence and blood will make even the strongest of horror fans quite squirmish!

Of all the anthologies shown at MOTELx, Trick 'r Treat is probably my favorite. It's illegal, "not-supposed-to-be-watching" feeling, along with 6 short stories, including a very, very horrifying short about kids in buses, this one is a must-have on home video and to be watched every year, on Halloween, of course.

Triangle was a hard one to watch back then, but having revisited it recently, I can fully appreciate the scare-factor of Triangle, as Melissa George is stranded in the middle of the sea and takes matters into her own hands against someone who seems to be stalking her. It's a wild ride, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing.

Both the original Spanish version and American remake of We Are What We Are were shown at MOTELx and honestly, they're both amazing in their own way. While the Spanish version has it's charm, it's the American version that takes things to a scarier level, as Ambyr Childers and Julia Garner know how scare the bejeezus out of someone, as the lifestyle of a cannibal in a modern day can be, well, messy.

American Mary was my formal introduction to The Soska Twins, as it was the closing film in 2012. What they directed was a film where Katherine Isabelle does what she does best and becomes the ultimate female scream queen, as she plays the part of Mary, a medical student turned revenge bitch and body-modder.

Kevin Smith, with all his charm and know-how in the modern filmmaking scene, decided to take on the most hateful religious group, the Westbro Baptist Church, and portray them in his own light, as Red State makes it onto this list.
What we end up is a full-out ride that will boil your blood and make you a believer that there is a Heaven and a Hell, quite literally.

Shown in separate years, The Raid: Redemption and The Raid 2: Berandal, was a sign that MOTELx wasn't only about horror and fantasy films, with the Indonesian martial-arts and action flicks being a masterclass on how to shoot a modern kick-ass story

Rob Zombie presented us with The Lords of Salem, a grim tale about a radio host that ended up going through one hell of a trip. It's dark soundtrack, the book that came out later, giving us even more details that we imagined, it's clear Zombie is here to stay. Specially when 31 is about to be shown at Frightfest in London. And, hopefully (fingers crossed), right here at MOTELx!

Coherence takes the traditional horror plot of a few old friends who haven't seen each other for a while, and brings it's tension based on how the stars align, creating a film that isn't easily forgettable.

Adam Wingard and Simon Barret aren't new to MOTELx, as You're Next was an expected thrill of a home invasion, only for the show to be stolen by Australian actress Sharni Vinson and her skills.

Caught at a midnight screening on the last day of the festival, back in 2014, Starry Eyes had everything to be cheesy and irrelevant, but really made itself into one of the most messed up films I've ever seen, at least visually.

Road Games was one of the biggest highlights at last year's edition, with the short but sweet masterclass that followed the screening, with writer and director Abner Pastoll, that was as insightful as he was inspiring. As far as the story is concerned, this British-French crossover is deadly, as Jack, a man who just wants to get back home, encounters a beautiful French girl and everything goes sideways. Because, of course it does!

Creators of Flight of the Conchords took on the vampire mockumentary What We Do In The Shadows and nailed it, as the vampire buddies do their best to live a normal life. Well as normal as it gets... Now if they could hurry with sequel We’re Wolves, that'd be nice!

With a big reputation previous to it's screening at last year's edition, Tubro Kid managed to include everything we loved from the 80's and 90's and not mess it up. It's a colorful flick, with an unbeatable sense of adventure and an amazing sense of danger, full of awesome moments. Critics might argue that it's childish, but honestly, with a movie this great, I don't think anyone cares.

The Invitation was last year's midnight screening on the last day of the festival and any expectation I had of it went down the drain within the first 20 minutes, as Logan Marshall-Green soughts out to uncover the mystery of the evening. This is some serious "edge-of-the-seat" viewing, not recommended for the faint of heart.

Notable mention: F is for Fart (The ABCs of Death) (Video NSFW)

I had to, OK! This entire scene is as dumb as it's memorable for it's ridiculousness, making an entire theater laugh to tears and gas (pun intended). There is hardly anything on this earth quite as idiotically funny as this.

There are dozens of other films that rightfully deserved a place on this list, but admittedly, this was a hard one. Regardless, this 10th edition of MOTELx will surely be as amazing and filled with scared shitless moments as it usually is, and I can't wait to tell you more soon!

Thankfully, I've been able to attend every edition so far and recently have covered the festival in its entirety for the last three years. Hopefully, I'm able once more to attend and give you a list of my favorites of this 10th edition!

MOTELx - Lisbon International Horror Film Festival is going on from the 6th to the 11th of September. You can read more info at their official website.


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