Definitely as good as I'd hoped, and in all cases probably even better!
*** Spoilery bits follow... ***
'DEATH' - in THE DARK - is a traumatic existence when you are aware of your own fate and and live with that death (as the undead!) every day, but also deeply invigorating and hopeful.. Super cool and quiet teenage zombie girl almost or sort of in love with a boy without sight or hope in a haunted wood: just unforgettable. And so oddly quiet and hushed for much of the runtime...
'FAMILY' was the most depraved and twisted and sinful in SEEDS that made human monsters into something out of Lovecraft but still always elusive and undefinable ... a weird and hypnotic Harry Dean Stanton-like haunted central lead role with lashings of 'good Lolita'/ 'bad Lolita' unsettling and often uncomfortable imagery..a film difficult or impossible to pigeonhole, which is a good thing.
'RELIGION' was tarnished, ritualistic and oppressive in LUCIFERINA, a film that soared with occult threat, hallucinogenic adventure and 'sex as weapon' (not in terms of seduction but as 'battle') that was the most OTT and deranged horror movie I've seen in a long time - just glorious! This was the film along with CLIMAX I most wanted to see this year without doubt: and this was why!
'TECHNOLOGY' in CTRL was given a youthful, cleverly plotted and very angry byte (!) with a claustrophobic, almost old-fashioned, gothic haunted house vibe (with tech edge)..Low budget, crowdfunded, but with excellent effects, a truly kinky 'love' triangle at its heart and a cheer-worthy human/ virus hybrid zombie called Tinkerbell (underused) to black moth creatures from the black gloop.. Brilliantly original but may lose interest in some for being quite detached from convention: scenes are kind of like browsing a clip site in a hurry but again - in a deliberate and quite good way that feels like the path modern horror is either heading, or could/ should be.. Like it or not!
CLIMAX represented 'SEX' of course, and Noe did what I hoped he would do - took us way too high up and then dragged us right back shamefully down in a vortex of sound and p/ss and puke and perversion and sound and it wasn't like watching a film: but a car crash of a club with people you want to avoid but are stuck watching disintigrate quickly. I didn't 'watch' CLIMAX but was in it! I don't think I was alone in there.. We all needed a group hug! I was thrillingly disorientated throughout and weaving my fingers around other fingers ..quite worried for my sanity. Expectation was intense but the film had less actual sex in it than others I saw above, but was still more extreme in idea and threat than anything more explicity shown. The fact it didn't kick off into an expected orgy from Helll was kind of a masterstroke from Noe I thought and a proper kick to convention.. Almost a coming down from deviant anticipation like a slapped hand that exposes the watcher as much as it does the participants - sex (like in LUCIFERINA) was something of a weapon being used again.
I loved all the 5 films above and how different they all were and they all shared a common thread in sex and friendship or family gone bad or horrific, or sex and friendship or family gone bad and getting good and a bit less horrific!
It was a successful experiment all the way. I'm going to try it again next year...