Event Report and Reviews from the 2010 GoreZone International Film Festival
On October 2nd the third annual GoreZone International Film Festival got under way at Leicester Square’s Prince Charles Cinema; and for the first time ever, Dread was on the scene to check it out. Our report follows along with condensed reviews of six of the films shown over the weekend.
Blood Night: The Legend of Mary Hatchet, Breath of Hate, Hyenas, Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer, New Terminal Hotel, Darfur, and Devil's Playground are all included, but first a recap of the event and awards show.
In the face of fellow Leicester Square-based festival and horror heavy hitter, Film4 Frightfest, GoreZone (or GZ, as the magazine has rebranded) would appear to be the underdog. Having experienced the festival first-hand, however, it’s pleasing to discover a level of intimacy and audience connection that is easily lost amongst the hustle and bustle of many larger profile fests, bolstered by the cosy (and immensely comfortable) surroundings of the two-screen Prince Charles Cinema.
Presented by GZ’s resident horror hotties, Emily Booth and Christa Campbell, the two days of the fest played host to an eclectic, and often surprising, bunch of genre offerings alongside the magazine’s first ever live awards ceremony featuring plenty of celebrity guests. The early morning opening offered a jolt to punters’ bleary systems not only through the abundance of free cans of Monster energy drink provided by the sponsor, but also a brilliant sword-swallowing live show by “Hannibal Helmurto”, straight from the UK’s Circus of Horrors – who even went as far as walking around the audience so everyone could feel the authenticity of his surgically modified floating upper ribs. Just what you need to wake you up for a day of carnage!
As per usual for any fest, many of the screenings featured Q&A sessions with filmmakers and stars including Breath of Hate director Sean Cain; Life Blood (aka Pearblossom, aka Murder World) director Ron Carlson and actress Anya Lahiri; and Devil’s Playground director Mark McQueen, who was joined on stage by actors Craig Fairbrass and Craig Conway.
Recorded for broadcast next month on the LAVA TV channel in the UK and The Fusion Network in the US, the awards certainly had a character all their own. The lack of a teleprompter saw that main hosts Booth and Campbell were relegated to reading their lines at the podium from a few sheets of paper printed, as exclaimed by an exceptionally good-humoured Emily, in the tiniest font imaginable. This sense of humour permeated the entire proceedings and ensured that everyone – audience, guests, and winners alike - had an absolute blast. The intro to the ceremony included a troupe of ghoulish live actors invading the seating and stage to shake up punters and, ultimately, savage a screaming victim for all to see. Special props need to be extended to one particular actress who quite unsettlingly crawled around the floor, manipulating her joints and making a high pitched clicking noise that, quite frankly, was not something that should ever come from a human throat.
Purists may balk at the lack of high-class sheen and intermittent issues such as spelling errors in nominee projections and technical hitches, but for a first run at this type of event, magazine editor Bryn Hammond and the GZ crew approached their task with just the right amount of enthusiasm and lighthearted camaraderie. Feeling more like a family get-together than a suited and booted occasion, nobody was left feeling uninvolved or unwelcome. Surprise guest appearances were in full force, including the unexpected attendance of Taiwanese black metal band Cthonic’s diminutive (and lovely) bassist Doris Yeh and the undeniably legendary Doug Bradley.