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Abertoir Horror Festival Celebrates Its 10th Year

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Artist Graham Humphreys' artwork for the Vincent Price Legacy Tour.

Not many film festivals have an official patron saint, but Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales (which closed on Sunday night, November 15th) does and it’s Vincent Price. Each year it shows at least one of Price’s films, and in 2011 the festival celebrated the Vincentennial, which would have marked the actor’s 100th birthday.

That’s when Victoria Price, the horror icon’s daughter, made her first trip to the Welsh festival: “I was invited in 2011 by Gaz [Bailey], who is the organizer, and I had such an amazing time. So when I knew I was coming to the U.K. and Ireland to do the Legacy Tour, I reached out to Gaz, and I knew it was the 10th anniversary of the festival and my dad is their patron saint, Vincent Price is the patron saint of Abertoir, so it seemed like we should celebrate together.

The Japanese yakuza versus zombies film took home the Best New Feature prize at Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales this past Sunday.

The Japanese yakuza versus zombies film took home the Best New Feature prize at Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales this past Sunday.

And what a celebration it turned out to be. First, Price fan/historian Peter Fuller brought a collection of memorabilia (including an Edward Lionheart doll and Shrunken Head activity game) to share. Then Victoria Price did an amazing hour-plus tribute to her father with some wonderful personal photos and stories to share.

A small portion of Peter Fuller's collection of Vincent Price memorabilia.

A small portion of Peter Fuller’s collection of Vincent Price memorabilia.

I had the privilege of having an amazing father that I loved very much and who I think was an extraordinary human being in how he lived his life, his philosophy of life, how generous he was, how much he gave back; and I really wanted to continue to share with people his philosophy of life. In exchange for doing that, I get to hear stories from thousands of people of how much he meant to them, and that’s a huge gift to be able to share that love,” Price said.

Beth Accomando and Victoria Price, the daughter of Vincent Price, after the Dinner with Vincent at Abertoir: The International Horror Film Festival of Wales.

Beth Accomando and Victoria Price, the daughter of Vincent Price, after the Dinner with Vincent at Abertoir: The International Horror Film Festival of Wales.

The festival also held a Dinner with Vincent to serve a meal prepared from the actor’s famous and massive cookbook. Attendees could also see such Price’s horror films as The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, and Scream and Scream Again.

Price makes the perfect patron saint for Abertoir not only because the actor made so many classic horror films but also because – as his daughter made clear in her talk – he was a man of passion and joy. Abertoir above all else is about finding passion and joy in the horror genre and then sharing it. Plus, having Price as their patron saint emphasizes the value they place on appreciating the genre’s past as much as its future.

Festival co-director Nia Edwards-Behi said, “In terms of our film programming, we pay due care to celebrating old classics of all sorts, and they’re treated with the same excitement as the new films we show. I also think that due to our relatively small capacity we’re able to offer a very friendly and welcoming experience.

Artist Graham Humphreys' artwork for the Vincent Price Legacy Tour.

Artist Graham Humphreys’ artwork for the Vincent Price Legacy Tour.

So welcoming and friendly that at the festival’s closing night ceremony, Danger 5’s Dario Russo presented a gift of a huge autographed poster from the show to Gaz Bailey, the festival director. Then longtime attendees of the festival revealed that they had commissioned artist Graham Humphreys (who was exhibiting his posters at the gallery in the arts center) to create artwork featuring Bailey and Edwards-Behi.

Both gestures were deeply appreciated by the organizers Edwards-Behi said, “Yes, it’s really touching to receive things back from our audience and from our guests like that. It’s a testament, I hope, to how much effort we put toward everyone having a really good time, but also it’s testament to how lucky we are that we attract such wonderful, kind, and generous people to our event.

Beth Accomando and Italian composer Fabio Frizzi after the concert and an interview at Abertoir: The International Horror Festval of Wales.

Beth Accomando and Italian composer Fabio Frizzi after the concert and an interview at Abertoir: The International Horror Festval of Wales.

This year Abertoir also brought back Italian film composer Fabio Frizzi to present his Frizzi 2 Fulci concert tribute to horror master Lucio Fulci.

Frizzi played music from his scores to such Fulci films as The Beyond, Zombi 2, and The City of the Living Dead. But he also included three new scores to short films he’d composed for including a fantastic looking Saint Frankenstein from actor Scooter McCrae.

At 64, Frizzi seemed invigorated not only by his tour of the U.S. and Wales but also by new technology and new opportunities like making short films with filmmakers he’s met on the Internet.

Frizzi explained how it usually goes: “The Internet is like this, ‘Hello, Mr. Frizzi. I’m a huge fan of yours…’ Maybe every week I get this. But there are some situations that are different. The three short films I play from during the concert are linked to Fulci, why? Because every one of those are fans to Lucio. I think human beings can adapt themselves to what is changing, but it is not easy. And you need a predisposition to do this. I always loved computers ever since the Commodore and the very first Apple. I was on the Net in Italy; I was really one of the first. And I always thought it was a great opportunity. Everything is part of doing your job. The white paper is totally the same thing as an upgrade of software that helps you. But you must also have some ideas in your head if not you cannot do anything.”

The Frizzi concert highlights another thing that makes this festival stand out: It is a multi-arts venue, which allows it to do things like a music concert, poster gallery exhibit, and theatre show as well as screen films. This year, the theatrical staging was actor Robert Lloyd Parry doing a one-man show as M. R. James reading two of his famous horror tales.

To add a little more fun to the screening of The Descent (which is also celebrating its tenth anniversary), the festival arranged for a trip to a local mine so attendees could experience the darkness, cold, and claustrophobia of the film’s spelunking first hand. The plans were to show the films outdoors in a tent by the mines, but 80-mile-an-hour winds prompted a move to the safety and warmth of the Aberystwyth Arts Centre’s indoor cinema.

The Descent took home the Best Classic Feature prize, which was voted on by the audience. Runners-up were Deep Red and The Abominable Dr. Phibes.

Kurt Russell stars in the slow burn western thriller Bone Tomahawk, which screened at Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales.

Kurt Russell stars in the slow burn western thriller Bone Tomahawk, which screened at Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales.

The Best New Feature Award went to Japan’s horror-comedy Deadman’s Inferno, in which yakuza had to battle zombies in an affectionate and gore-filled homage to both Japanese action films and zombie movie tropes. The intense indie American western Bone Tomahawk took second place, and Hong Kong’s deliriously nihilistic and oddly endearing Robbery took third.

The runners-up represent something of a trend Edwards-Behi welcomes to horror: the slow burn.

Many of the films I’ve liked best this year have been real slow burn thrillers – films like They Look Like People, The Invitation, or Bone Tomahawk, for example. It’s been refreshing to find films that really take their time over building characters and stories and treating the genre seriously.

The Danger 5 Season One marathon took the festival’s Overall Best Prize as the audience’s favorite.

Abertoir also showcases short films, which is important because it’s part of the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation (EFFFF), and the winning short gets to move on to the next level of competition.

Spain's Sanguine Craving took home the Best Short Film at Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales.

Spain’s Sanguine Craving took home the Best Short Film at Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales.

The Best Short Award went to Spain’s dark serial killer comedy Sanguine Craving. Rounding out the pack were Vintage Blood in second, Ultravioleta in third, and Invaders in fourth.

Being in the EFFFF also provides a great support system for a smaller festival.

The EFFFF is a great network of festivals across Europe, and beyond, that celebrate and promote European fantastic cinema,” Edwards-Behi stated. “The European notion of the ‘fantastic’ is really appealing to me because it’s such a broad umbrella term. Our remit is very much rooted in horror, but the appeal to the broadest of it as a genre. Being a member of the federation is a real honor and can really help us out, for example when we are trying to negotiate for a film.

Bailey repeatedly mentioned at the festival how difficult it was to get the American films The Witch and Bone Tomahawk. But Bailey’s enthusiasm and determination seemed to have been a combo that helped convince distributors.

But Edwards-Behi pointed out that negotiating with distributors isn’t the only challenge a film festival faces in an age of VOD and multi-platform releases.

The main challenge is the speed with which something can now be released online,” Edwards-Behi said. “Our policy is to only show pre-release films, and yet, this year two films we screened had in fact received U.K. VOD releases after we had secured our screenings of them. It can get a little frustrating in that regard because one of the purposes of a festival is to showcase new films and to encourage people to see new films on the big screen. If they’re already on VOD, that becomes a bit more difficult.

Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales puts out a special beer each year. This year one of the ales honored Vincent Price.

Abertoir: The International Horror Festival of Wales puts out a special beer each year. This year one of the ales honored Vincent Price.

Abertoir may be small, but it offers a high quality experience because of that intimacy. For one, you can speak with the festival directors at any time. Then, guests like Danger 5’s Dario Russo and David Ashby, as well as artist Graham Humphreys, hung out all festival long and attended many films alongside horror fans so it was easy to chat with them. Things like that, along with strong film selections, are helping to build the festival’s reputation and popularity. In fact, this year festival passes sold out for the first time.

This was really exciting for us, especially coinciding with our tenth anniversary,” Edwards-Behi said. “What was really humbling was that we were only a few passes away from selling out when we finally announced our full line-up, so people were very trusting of us when they bought their passes!

Victoria Price told the audience that she has never liked the horror genre and hated seeing her father either do terrifying things on film or have horrible things done to him. But she has embraced the fans of horror.

Horror fans really get who my dad was; they’ve kept his legacy alive,” Price said. “He was certainly not the most famous actor of his generation by any stretch of the imagination, but his legacy has lasted. He is iconic and beloved and remembered because of the horror fans. But I also feel like the horror fans have embraced me even though I am not a fan of the genre and with so much love. And honestly, horror fans are just the most awesome group of people. They are kind and they are sweet, they’re funny and they’re smart, and they’re very dedicated to their genre so I feel it is an absolute privilege to be as embraced as I am by horror fans.

Abertoir not only creates a horror community for fans to meet, but it is run by people with a genuine passion for sharing their love of the genre in its broadest sense with others.

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Amazon Developing Stephen King’s The Dark Tower TV Series

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The Dark TowerIt’s been a while since we brought you guys an update on the planned TV series based on Stephen King’s The Dark Tower book series.

But today it looks like we have confirmation via Deadline that, “Amazon… is developing a slew of high-profile titles, including The Dark Tower…”

The series is being developed by Amazon as part of their bid to move into bigger budgeted spectacles ala their recent acquisition of the rights to The Lord of the Rings.

No further info is available at this time but we will keep you up to date as we hear word on Amazon’s “The Dark Tower.”

Are you excited about this series? Let us know below!

Synopsis:

Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), the last Gunslinger, is locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim (Matthew McConaughey), also known as the Man in Black. The Gunslinger must prevent the Man in Black from toppling the Dark Tower, the key that holds the universe together. With the fate of worlds at stake, two men collide in the ultimate battle between good and evil.

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Rutger Hauer Says There Was No Love and No Soul in Blade Runner 2049

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I don’t know about you, but I dug the hell out of last summer’s Blade Runner 2049. I found the film to be a tonally perfect addition to the Blade Runner universe and appreciated how it built on the story established in the original film.

That said, there are some out there that aren’t fans of the sequel – most of all, it seems, is the original film’s baddie, Rutger Hauer.

Recently, Hauer spoke with THR and didn’t hold back on his dislike of the new film.

“I sniff and scratch at it,” Hauer says. “It looks great, but I struggle to see why that film was necessary. I just think if something is so beautiful, you should just leave it alone and make another film. Don’t lean with one elbow on the success that was earned over 30 years in the underground.”

He continues: “In many ways Blade Runner wasn’t about the replicants; it was about what does it mean to be human? It’s like E.T. But I’m not certain what the question was in the second Blade Runner. It’s not a character-driven movie and there’s no humor, there’s no love, there’s no soul. You can see the homage to the original. But that’s not enough to me. I knew that wasn’t going to work. But I think it’s not important what I think.”

Wow, don’t hold back, Hauer. Tell us how you really feel!

I’m kidding. And while I don’t agree with Hauer on this particular issue, the man has more than earned the right to think it IS “important what [he] thinks.

Do you agree with Rutger Hauer on Blade Runner 2049? Let us know below!

Synopsis:
Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.

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Ash vs Evil Dead Set Visit Part 2: Learning About Kelly, Pablo, and Brandy

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If you haven’t read through the first part of my set visit for the third season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”, make sure to do so here.

After walking through the halls of Brandy’s high school, the sperm bank clinic that has been seen in the trailer, Brock’s house, and the streets of Elk Grove (all through the magic of set designs), it was time to sit down with stars Dana DeLorenzo and Ray Santiago, who told me about their characters Kelly and Pablo through this season of “Ash vs Evil Dead”! Oh, and there’s also a lot from Arielle Carver-O’Neill about her character Brandy as well, because who can resist hearing from Ash’s daughter?

After finding out that Dana, who is from Youngstown, Ohio, is a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes, our interview nearly ended. After all, your boy is a Wolverine, through and through, and anyone who knows sports rivalries knows that Buckeyes and Wolverines don’t get along. That being said, we managed to put aside our differences so that I could learn a bit about Kelly and what she’ll be going through this season.

I really loved Kelly’s journey in season one and two. It was very exciting to play because, in a way, it mirrored my own as an actor coming into a franchise like this. Just like Kelly was dragged into this fight against evil and was caught completely off guard, it was very similar to the actor struggling for 10 years. I was living in Los Angeles working at a bar when I got this job. All of a sudden I’m being thrown into this with this incredible franchise, with the amazing producers of Rob Tapert, Sam Raimi, Bruce Campbell, where a franchise that’s built upon one man, a lone wolf as we’ve said, who is the star of this show and now he’s going to have sidekicks, that was terrifying as well! But it was really cool because I feel like I got to grow with Kelly and every time Kelly did something new, it was me doing something new,” DeLorenzo explains.

Expanding on that, DeLorenzo starts telling me more about Kelly and how she specifically changes through the upcoming season, saying, “At the end of season two, there’s the parade. And if you look, you can see that Kelly isn’t happy. Kelly is the smart one of that trifecta, the ghostbeaters. She knows that evil is not gone for good, which brings us to season three. Now that she’s tasted blood, she’s constantly chasing that high. So, at the start of season three, Kelly is a warrior without a war. She wants to stay on her game for when evil comes back. Her journey for season three…evil paints Kelly in a bloody corner and sets up her to fail where she can’t do what she does best, which is kick evil’s ass. She’s put in these catch-22 situations that she can’t fight her way out of without someone she cares about getting hurt. I think fans will be shocked at her transformation [this season].”

The theme of family running throughout this season of the show is not lost on DeLorenzo, who recognizes that Kelly’s ultimate purpose throughout this series is called into question through events that she wasn’t able to elaborate upon. However, she did tell me, “It was always about protecting and staying by the side of Ash and Pablo because they are not her family by blood but they are her family by bloodshed.

When describing the ghostbeaters, she calls Ash the “brawn”, Pablo the “heart”, and Kelly the “brains”. Later, as I sat with Arielle Carver-O’Neill, I asked what Brandy represents, to which she stated, “the hope”. “They all become very protective of Brandy and are very supportive of her journey,” Carver-O’Neill explains.

I asked her to envision a world where a fourth season is confirmed and how she’d like to see Brandy’s role expanded. Pondering this for a couple of moments, she then told me, “I’d like to see her find herself a bit more. I think just because she’s a teenager, you go through that journey at that age where you are figuring out who you are and your parents, either consciously or unconsciously, play a large role in that. For her, she only had her mum and then she found parts of herself in her dad. But she’s got a lot of growing up to do and I think that’d be really fun to explore how she goes about that.

For Santiago, the character and evolution of Pablo throughout the series has a very personal meaning for him. “As a kid, I grew up watching horror films and I always wanted to be the hero saving people from the monster and I always wanted to be the person chased by the monster. I think, in this show, I have the opportunity do that every day as Pablo and I’m one step closer to becoming the superhero I wanted to be as a kid,” he states.

As for his evolution, Santiago sees Pablo as going from a pushover in the first season to someone very important and potentially very powerful in the third season. “We’ve seen Pablo go from this naive guy [in the first season] that’s pushed through the ringer to last season and…the Necronomicon and Pablo have an undeniable relationship that will never end. As we move into this third season, Pablo sees things differently. He’s not just tormented by his visions of darkness, we see that he may not be just a sidekick but also psychic! We’re going back to his family and we callback to his roots. Perhaps it wasn’t just a coincidence that he met Ash and that he himself was always destined to be somewhat of a Jefé. I think season three is where we see all that coming to fruition. He’s not just along for the ride, he’s become an integral part of the team.

Part III of our set visit coming soon!

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