Another day, this one a little quieter with me having got rid of my one guest and replaced with one more interested in the movies than the beer! We still got to a couple, but I managed to see all 6 films today. Well, I say “all six”, but due to its popularity we decided to watch Willow Creek with a short Bobcat Goldthwait introduction rather than I Spit On Your Grave 2. I don’t recall too many surprise extras other than a clip from the upcoming Under Your Skin, but the short film and quiz happened as ever, this time the shorts being the winning entries from a competition (Shortcuts To Hell, which is going to make a return appearance this year).
Day three, and as I mentioned yesterday this was a rather short one film-wise. After missing the last film to allow a few beers in the Phoenix Artist’s Club we decided to skip a couple of the opening movies to have a few more and to allow anothe r trip to the Phoenix. So, I ended up missing out on the Scandinavian thriller The Hypnotist, Viking actioner Hammer of the Gods and closer Cheap Thrills. I’d heard a lot of good things about the latter but wasn’t really bothered about the other two at all, but I’ll inevitably catch up at some point.
As I was only there for a few of the films, I didn’t see too many extras. There was a reasonably good crime-themed short called Turncoat and a quick on-stage appearance from Italian soundtrack legend Fabio Frizzi to promote an upcoming concert (note to the Frightfest guys: please invite him, Goblin or someone similar to do a quick gig in the cinema! Come on you managed to get Jim Sturgess’s band to do some tunes before Heartless, get a proper legend in!). Before R.I.P.D., we got an amusing but silly animated short called Chuck Steel and a near-repeat of the Curse Of Chucky stunt with everyone wearing a mask of the main character (less effective than Chucky even though the masks were better quality!).
The second day was an interesting one for me, awaiting the impending doom of a certain friend who comes every year to share beers as a primary objective while only being tangentially interested in the films! So, Saturday would be a light day but I still managed to fit in of the 6 films on the main screen (missing Aussie comedy horror 100 Bloody Acres). Also knowing he’d not be interested, I decided to use this day to sample Leon de Bruxelles, a Belgian mussels/beer franchise that’s partnered with Frightfest this year. They were fine, but I couldn’t see myself doing the full 5 day special offer they had going, although I did sample an interesting couple of Belgian beers.
In between the movies, there were also a few interesting special surprises. Festival regular James Moran premiered an amusing short about a man whose love for a woman is compromised by his habit of killing anyone wearing polka dots. There was an amusing fake trailer for an 80s-style ninja movie (I forget the title, sorry!). We were also shown the trailer for a new upcoming movie called Magic Magic, which looks OK.
Highlight of the day was undoubtedly Gareth Evans, who directed the best segment of V/H/S 2. He’s just finished shooting on The Raid 2, and we were treated to a short scene in a train featuring lots of hitting with claw hammers. It was awesome, can’t wait for the full movie!
Frightfest came with some unfortunate news this year – this will be the last time that it will be at the current incarnation of the iconic Empire Screen One in Leicester Square as refurbishment work would soon begin that would change it from its current setup. In fact, festival closer Big Bad Wolves would be the final film shown on the screen in its current setup. The exact nature of the refurbishments was kept quiet (presumably for contractual reasons) and the exact setup of next year’s Frightfest was kept very quiet. However, the organisers were very keen to make it clear that this would not affect Frightfest overall – it will be in the Empire next year, but full details are not yet worked out. Here’s hoping it will not affect the festival next year but I’ll be there no matter what!
The format of this year was the same as for last year’s. There were 2 Discovery screens with the option of adding further shows for films that proved too popular for the main screen. Tickets for these were allocated on a first come, first served basis to weekend & day ticket holders and many of the tickets available for single purchase were already sold out before the festival started. Inevitably, I couldn’t be bothered to make too much of an effort so I only watched one movie in the smaller screens (Willow Creek).
Apart from this, it was business as usual. I had virtually the same seat at the previous year, and I bumped into a lot of a familiar faces straight away. In keeping with a theme, I got 2 DVDs in my goody bag – one a film I’ve seen previously at Frightfest but not since (Urban Explorers) and one from my favourite label, Arrow, which I already own (Pieces, this time). There was also a copy of Haunted magazine (which I’d never previously heard of) and a copy of the novel The Ritual by Adam Nevill. Not a bad haul though I wish there was the option to swap out tiles I already have, although it will be nice to give Urban Explorers a fair shake as the only screening I saw was one where the subtitles were missing during German dialogue scenes.
The organisers were introduced on stage by a stand-up comedian, something I would like to become a regular thing! Last year’s hilarious opener from Ross Noble wasn’t quite matched by Bobcat Goldthwait this year, but it was definitely very funny. Bobcat’s presence did highlight exactly how unusual and ultimately misguided the decision to show Willow Creek on the Discovery Screen actually was, however. Many people wanted to see the film as much for Bobcat’s Q&A (in fact, even Terry Gilliam made an appearance in the audience!), so the film ended up shunted to a bigger screen for its final showing, which most likely put a heavy dent in the audience numbers for the world première of I Spit On Your Grave 2.
Director: David DeCoteau
Written by: Helen Robinson
Starring: Thomas Bern, Ashlyn Gere, Sylvia Summers, Lauren Peterson, Bob Pelham, Cynthia Crass, Brad Laughlin
Tagline: “You Don’t Have To Live On Elm Street To Have A Nightmare”
Director: Lee Harry
Written by: Lee Harry, Joseph H. Earle, Dennis Patterson
Starring: Eric Freeman, James L. Newman, Elizabeth Cayton, Jean Miller
Taglines: “The nightmare is about to begin… again!”
“Prayers Won’t Save You In The Silent Part Of This Night…”
The final day of Frightfest always comes too soon, and this was no exception. I’ll never stop marvelling at how I can spend 5 days watching more than 20 films and yet the last film is always accompanied by a feeling of “wow, was that all? I want more!”. Anyway, today proved to be a nice end to the festival with some great guests, decent films, and a lot of enjoyable after party drinks. Can’t wait till next year, and hopefully will be at the Glasgow event again in February!