The cursed videotape from The Ring has nothing on Antrum, aka The Deadliest Film Ever Made. Produced in the 1970s by brothers documenting an occult ritual, the film disappeared soon after it’s completion before reemerging in 1988. After screening at a film festival in Budapest, the theaters burned to the ground and several of the event’s programmers died under mysterious circumstances. A few years later, a riot erupted in a theater in San Francisco where Antrum was screened; in the ensuing chaos, the only physical print went missing.
After premiering at last year’s Brooklyn Horror Film Festival, Uncork’d Entertainment has acquired the North American rights to distribute Else Films’ underground horror feature Antrum: The Deadliest Film Ever Made.
Written and directed by Michael Laicini and David Amito, Antrum presents itself as a cursed film from the 1970s. Through several layers of lost and uncovered footage, it explores how audiences allow horror films to frighten them long past their viewing experience.
Antrum is set for a limited theatrical release before coming to streaming and VOD services in Fall 2019.
Here’s the mythology created for the film, with a trailer below it:
” 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 year 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.”
“Everywhere I went people were talking about this secret film Antrum,” Thirteen recalls. “Filmmakers passing it around. You’d hear that it was from the 70’s, or that it was part documentary, or that it had cursed footage spliced into it. One person literally dared me to watch it, which I frankly scoffed at. Still, I had to know what the film really was – and once I saw it, the feeling wouldn’t leave. The allure of something you weren’t supposed to watch. That’s how I knew people needed to see this movie.”
“Horror audiences are extremely smart,” Thirteen commented. “When I see the ‘cursed’ videotape footage at the heart of Ringu, I don’t look away. I’ll watch the sequels too, because I know seeing that footage won’t actually kill me. At the same time, if I get a phone call… it’s going to freak me out. In that moment, rationality is gone. In that way, horror movies do cast a spell. That spell is very real.”
Thirteen describes the “Antrum effect” by comparing it to the malicious TV signal at the heart of David Cronenberg’s 1982 classic Videodrome– a signal which triggers hallucinations that manifest themselves in horrific ways. “I couldn’t stop thinking about the Videodrome signal,” Thirteen said. “It’s always with me.”