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With the 2013 August Bank Holiday having passed, so too have some of the grandest 5 days in the UK’s horror calendar: the Film4 FrightFest. Here a look at the sights and sounds of this year’s festival plus easy access to reviews of the flicks we caught during this monster weekend.
Introduced this year by Bobcat Goldthwait, there to present his new found footage horror flick Willow Creek (whose limited availability proved ultimately so limited that it was impossible to nab a ticket), London’s Film4 FrightFest 2013 proved to be a major mixed bag when it came to the quality on show on the Empire cinema’s gigantic main screen. However, while the highlights on celluloid were admittedly few, the real-world highlights delivered the goods with a plethora of top-drawer guests, interesting Q&A sessions, plenty of freebies thrown around and some of the best goodie bag contents in years for holders of full weekend passes (including Arrow Video’s excellent release of Juan Piquer Simón’s cult classic Pieces and Adam Nevill’s critically acclaimed novel The Ritual).
With regular festival features such as Andy Nyman’s “Quiz From Hell” still managing to remain immensely fun for genre fans alongside the now traditional “Turn Off Your Bloody Phone” idents and smatterings of short films (which, on a critical note, it would be nice to know date, time and location of as they’re randomly placed before films on various screens with no mention of the crucial details in the festival schedule), the atmosphere inside the Empire cinema remained as energetic and positive as ever despite the effects of sleep deprivation and the discomfort of spending almost five full days with your ass welded to a theatre seat.
Unscheduled highlights included an impromptu appearance on stage by legendary composer Fabio Frizzi, promoting his upcoming live orchestra performance in London this Halloween in London’s Union Chapel! Tickets for this sure-to-be-amazing evening can be had right here, and the revelation of some particularly repugnant behaviour by some audience members engaged in a spot of mutual masturbation towards the back of the theatre. During RIPD 3D (review here). The Ryan Reynolds effect, right there!
More amusing than that particular shred of knowledge, however, was FrightFest co-organiser Paul McEvoy announcing the fact while introducing the director and cast of I Spit on Your Grave 2 on stage, and then proceeding to dig himself into an ever-deepening hole while attempting to tie the two duties together and proclaim that director Steven R. Monroe’s sequel couldn’t possibly be a “wankfest”. A cringe-worthy sequence of events laden with sheer hilarity, and thankfully taken with good natured humour by everyone.
And now, on to the reviews! If you haven’t noticed the sidebar filling up over the past few days, here’s an easy-access list to the new reviews straight from the festival:
The Dead 2: India Review
The Dyatlov Pass Incident Review
Dark Touch Review
No One Lives Review
Dark Tourist Review
The Banshee Chapter 3D Review
I Spit on Your Grave 2 Review
In Fear Review
Outpost: Rise of the Spetsnaz Review
The Last Days (Los Ultimos Dias) Review
Also screening during the festival were a number of films that we’ve already covered, such as the barmy Frankenstein’s Army; Curse of Chucky (I’m on Andrew’s side regarding our recent review head-to-head!); E.L. Katz’s amazing Cheap Thrills; fun Aussie horror-comedy 100 Bloody Acres; Jim Mickle’s mature and accomplished remake of We Are What We Are, and finally Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado’s utterly magnificent Big Bad Wolves. While in agreement with Drew’s analysis of the flick, I’d probably stretch to the full five knives for this staggering piece of work — alive and crackling with some excellent dialogue, performances, and pitch black humour from start to finish. On a more solemn note, it came to pass that Big Bad Wolves was actually to be the final film to show on the Empire Screen 1’s famously massive screen, as almost immediately after the screening it was set to be torn down, replaced with an IMAX, and the auditorium split in two. A sad day for central London cinephiles, yet a stark commercial reality. At least it had a grand send off with one of the best films of the year.
Enough rambling! Take a close look at our photo gallery above, and feast on a selection of video highlights and interviews from each day of the festival below, courtesy of FrightFest organisers Alan Jones, Ian Rattray, Paul McEvoy and Greg Day — all of whom we would like to sincerely thank for having us along once again. See you next year!
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