DarkFest V Brings The Horror To London
Now in its fifth year, DarkFest has now cemented its position as one of the UK’s biggest and best horror-themed events. The acclaimed festival once again took place at the Genesis Cinema in east London, and horror aficionados from across the globe all came down to experience one of the best Saturdays of their lives.
Once again, a varied assortment of classic horror films was screened throughout DarkFest, with Amityville II: The Possession, Zombie Flesh Eaters, Tombs of the Blind Dead, and Faceless all showcased. Each of the films was preceded by an introduction from members of the cast, so we got to hear Ian McCulloch describing his experience of working with the legendary Lucio Fulci on Zombie Flesh Eaters (and his disappointment at not being given his own trailer during the shoot) and the wonderful Lone Fleming discussing her role in Tombs of the Blind Dead before the films started.
Most of the stars were also signing autographs in the foyer, and fans were delighted to have the opportunity to chat with them in between the screenings. At the same time, a vast assortment of collectible items were sold at the stalls, giving fans plenty of excuses to fork over their hard-earned cash.
As well as the feature films on display, attendees were also treated to a bizarre assortment of trailers for classic cult grindhouse movies at the start of the event. They were clearly shown to help us feel as though we were entering a time machine and experiencing a theatrical experience when grindhouse cinema was the norm.
The acclaimed short film A Hymn for Her, in which Linda Marlowe plays an elderly actress who begins taking action against ungrateful members of society, was also screened. Attendees were grateful for the opportunity to experience the multiple award-winning short on the big screen. Similarly, a truly stomach-churning short called Libra was then screened, and it was probably the grossest thing viewers had seen all day.
I asked co-director Tony Mardon if he used real maggots for the shoot, and he said he did. They were subsequently released into the wild to serve as bird food. Tony is also currently directing The Witches of the Sands, which features appearances from just about everyone in the UK horror industry. The first trailer was showcased at the event.
The Circus of Horrors proved to be a huge hit when they performed at DarkFest last year, so it was no surprise to see them returning to the festival this year. They once again performed an array of death-defying stunts onstage, with sword-swallowing, stepping across raised ladders, and leaps over literal flames all being on display. Audience members were no doubt on the edges of their seats. The brilliantly profane commentary from the lead presenter ensured that we also laughed while we watched the insane stunts being performed before our very eyes. Those of us who sat in the front rows could literally smell the flames the performers jumped over, so their act really was as real as it could get.
Once again, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to Dark Side and Infinity editor Allan Bryce for organizing such a fantastic day for horror fans to enjoy. I am happy to say that I have written for both magazines, which can be purchased online and in physical stores across the UK. At the same time, If you have yet to experience DarkFest for yourself, you should certainly make an effort to attend next year.