Well it’s the Summer in England, which means a mix of Sunshine and rain; joy and gloom. Ideal for a Horror Film Festival then, eh?
Last year I volunteered my cameraman ‘skills’ (aka ‘drink coffee, carry equipment and press buttons’ skills- you know it’s all true, camera operators!) to FrightFest. A recap of that can be found here http://www.chrisandphilpresent.co.uk/blogs/hollyweird/hollyweird-episode-na-what-happens-at-frightfest-stays-at-frightfest/
This year was my second go round on the old FF merry-go-round of death and doom, gore, applause, fans and fandom at the 2013 event. Here were a few of 1/2 of the You Total Cult experiences of FrightFest 2013.
Does this count as a deviant act given where my left hand is?
First up on the first day was meeting Chucky. Well, Don Mancini, the creator, writer and partial director of the entire Child’s Play franchise and Fiona Douriff were there too since were interviewing them. But Chucky was the main point of interest for myself.
This was an actual puppet with a metal frame, not just a toy replica. Apparently it was not used in the latest film, but it was genuine- and I completely believe that because it weighted a ton. Naughty Chucky needs to lay off the pies.
By the way, Don and Fiona were both lovely and happy to chat away to fans, which is a great energy to start off a festival with.
Later in the evening, the European Premiere of the new- and for the first time uncut- screening of Curse Of Chucky occurred. For this event, masks given out to the crowd which led to a weird ‘Cult Of Chuck’ moment that I was able to observe from my position as a Cameraman.
Curse Of Chucky brings a haunted house feel to the film series and absolutely gets it closer the spirit of the original film. For the record- it is cannon and does tie into the other movies. And also for the record, it has one of the best Post-Credit sequences I have ever seen.
Later in the same evening was the UK Premiere of You’re Next. This was probably my favourite film of the event- it features a seemingly simple home invasion story with a nice twist; one of the intended victims is a serious badass who begins to decimate the invaders. Technically it is not a decimation as there are not 10 invaders, but the Protagonists ingenuity deserves some hyperbole.
The film had a nice creepy feel, but it was the strength of the leading lady that really made the film such a delight. It was just refreshing to see a female lead who is smart, tough and capable and is not allegedly those things whilst relying on wearing tight leather trousers or posing seductively with guns.
The screening also featured these nifty posters being given out. Score!
By the next day, my cohort, and experienced Media Wall interviewer, Jennifer Eiss was given a chance to interview the Variety Icon award winner of the festival, Ben Wheatley.
Not only was this fun for Jen, it also meant that I got to ask Ben what his favourite pub in Brighton is. I know now, but you all never shall… unless you offer to buy me drinks there in which case I will lead the way.
Anchor Bay gave out some fun Coloring Books that were filed with a few games and a cut out Michael Myer’s mask. Fun for adults and kids, but kids really shouldn’t be at Frightfest anyway.
Hatchet III was more of the same, but it is in the same tone as the first two entries. So it is a fun way to see the end of a franchise that plays as one large, single movie when put back to back. It also features Gremlins star Zack Galligan in featured lead role, and some fun cameos too, so bonus points all around for that.
One smaller film that I can recommend is In Fear. I knew nothing of the film, and resented having to film the screening event as the title was so poor. In fact it was an extremely well acted drama that wring a surprising amount of tension out of two people lost as they drive their car around eerie countryside. I found the final act a bit dull as it features a third character and the tone shifts a lot,but it was certainly well made. I stand by the title being poo, though.
Another film that I did not expect to like was Odd Thomas. Although a little bit cloying and trying very hard to be cool, the film is genuinely breezy and unique. It seemed to me like a horror-detective version of Scott Pligrim Vs The World, and may be just as equally destined for cult status
V/H/S 2 was introduced on stage with the line “If you love V/H/S, then you’ll love V/H/S 2!”. That may be factually correct, but I found V/H/S a mixed bag of overall mediocrity. A better descripition may be “If you didn’t mind V/H/S then you’ll not mind V/|H/S 2, either!”
My final film of the festival was Rewind This!, a documentary about the rise of the VHS Format, its part in popular culture and how it still remains loved by a small and passionate few fans. The film had some problems, but it was very heartfelt. I think this was an idea film for myself to exit the Festival on- something that was low key, sparsely attended and made with love. Just like many classic horror film viewings that undoubtedly caused such devotion in horror film fans.
As the 2013 festival wound down, I can reveal that there is a particular bar frequented by the crew, the guests and the organisers of FrightFest every year.
Although I could not manage the main drink-a-thon after this years event, I ensured to graffiti my name onto the 2013 Poster hanging in the bar the night previously. I’m just to the left of Bobcat Goldthwait in faint biro.
Although there were numeorus incidents I got to chat to directors and actors etc, and there were a couple more movies that I saw at the festival, there were also a lot of highs and lows that will arise with any large event. Instead what I will say is that for horror fans, FrightFest is a great chance to meet icons and see a mix of unknown films and bigger releases.
Oddly enough though, my own highlight may well have been separate to the entire Festival. During a break, I managed to pop to a small 2nd hand music shop in Berwick Street that I frequent whenever I can.
Inside the shop I found a £2 Album from a band I had not heard of, but that makes me smile even now. Ladies and Germs, , allow me to present a CD by whoever the hell Orcquesta El Macabeo are.
Yep. The front has a Goat playing bongos…
…and the inside cover has a Bowtie-wearing skull with Macarneenas for crossbones!
Sadly, the music does not live up to the enticement of the featured images, but the very fact this CD exists make me stupidly happy.
This Total F’n Cult will now leave you with an interview that I helped to film. It features one scholar and one gent. I will not say who is which, but it was the most fun interview that I was a part of this year.
Incidently, Bobcat was promoting his new movie, Willow Creek. I did not manage to catch the movie, but I hear it was genuinely terrifying for those that did.
So, until next year, uh…maybe, I hope you had a ball at FrightFest if you were there and check it out one year if you like the sound of it.