By MICHAEL GINGOLD
Do you dare watch a movie that has claimed a body count? ANTRUM: THE DEADLIEST FILM EVER MADE, which has won awards at festivals, is now headed for wider release.
RUE MORGUE got the tip that Uncork’d Entertainment nabbed North American rights for ANTRUM, which will be given limited theatrical play and then hit streaming and VOD services this fall. It was written and directed by Michael Laicini and David Amito, and according to the official PR, “The heart of ANTRUM is the titular cursed feature, which purports to have been shot in the late 1970s by unknown filmmakers. It spins the tale of two siblings who perform an occult ritual in the woods, seeking closure after the death of a beloved pet…but their seemingly symbolic act may have truly unleashed hell on Earth. As rumor has it, this film vanished shortly after its completion along with the original creators—until a surprise screening during a film festival in Budapest in 1988. Not only did the theater reportedly burn to the ground, but several festival programmers later died under mysterious circumstances. The film was thought to be lost until many years later when a print was allegedly exhibited in San Francisco. The showing took a horrific turn when a full-scale riot broke out in the theater. Amid the chaos, the last known print of the film went missing. It was considered lost once again, and its deadly reputation returned to the domain of myth and mystery.
“The legend is expanded by documentary bookends on the lost film’s shadowy origins, its deadly history, and the path to its ultimate rediscovery—but outside the film, even the actual directors are shrouded in mystery. Laicini and Amito have refused to comment on strange occurrences reported by viewers, nor have they discussed the subliminal insertion of occult symbols [“sigils”] and flash-frame footage that appears unrelated to the central film.”
Eric Thirteen, who executive-produced the movie with David Bond (EXTREMITY), tells us, “ANTRUM got traded around by horror directors and producers for a while. People would kind of wink and dare each other to watch it. It was an oddity. I just found out THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT director Eduardo Sanchez watched it. I got a note from Laurence R. Harvey from the HUMAN CENTIPEDE movies. All these people were basically tape-swapping ANTRUM around, and yet if you tried to find anything out about the movie…there was just nothing written about it online. No history, you couldn’t look it up. That felt mysterious and scary and kind of magical—a secret movie. I haven’t had that experience in a really long time, and as a total horror fanatic, I really wanted other people to be able to have that experience too.
“The film is a simple haunted attraction, but it’s also HOUSE OF LEAVES,” Thirteen continues. “There’s some recovered footage. There’s a spell scratched in the celluloid—and at the center of it all, there’s a 1970s art-house film that you’ve been warned is not safe to watch. ANTRUM is the movie you used to find on cable at 2 a.m. You’d call your friend, tell her to turn on Channel X and see if you could figure out what the fuck you were watching. Sometimes what you would find…there was a sense it was something you weren’t supposed to see. It was dangerous.”
For those who dare to risk ANTRUM’s dangers, it will also be hitting more festivals, including the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival April 18. Keep your eyes here for more details of the movie’s release.