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10 FrightFest flicks for 2017
By James Whittington, Monday 14th August 2017
Heading to Horror Channel FrightFest 2017? Horror Channel Manager Stewart Bridle lists some of the fearful flicks to catch.
Horror Channel FrightFest returns to London this August and has its usual abundance of riches for the genre film fan. Choosing what to watch can be a hard and painful process every year and I often want to clone myself just so I can enjoy it all. With such a fantastic line-up for 2017 the task seems even harder but for what it's worth here's ten of the films that I recommend you treat your eyeballs to.
CULT OF CHUCKY
Everyone's favourite "friend to the end" returns to play at FrightFest once again and this time to do the honours of opening the festival itself. It's strange to think we're now on the seventh film of this unlikely franchise which has gone to some pretty strange and Meta places during the run so far. 2013's Curse Of Chucky brought the series back to its simple slasher roots a little and this instalment is set to continue that story with Fiona Douriff returning from that movie alongside previous series stars such as Jennifer Tilly as Tiffany and even Alex Vincent as the original Andy Barclay. Series creator Dom Mancini looks to have crafted another fun and frightening entry that draws on many elements from the movies series so far so will this bring things full circle and be the final playtime for Chucky?
IT STAINS THE SANDS RED
Although this actually took it's FrightFest bow in Glasgow back in February I'm glad it's also getting an English premiere at the London event as it is one of my favourite horrors this year. Yes, zombie movies are certainly a dime a dozen these days but this one pairs it all down to a simple but incredibly effective story of a lone woman being relentlessly pursued through the desert by a single, undead shambling corpse and is all the better for it. With a tour-de-force performance from Brittany Allen as the Las Vegas party girl caught up in this slice of the apocalypse and direction from Colin Minihan, of Grave Encounters and Extraterrestrial fame, this movie is by turns thrilling, hilarious, shocking and sad (not since Day Of The Dead's Bub will you find yourself caring as much for a flesh-eater). The feedback from its showing in Glasgow was extremely positive with many fans stating that although they didn't like zombie movies they very much enjoyed It Stains..., so if that sounds like you then take a bite out of this.
There's a fair bit of science-fiction related horror this year and one of the stand-out shockers is Graham Skipper's Sequence Break. With touches of 80's classics such as Videodrome and Altered States this is described as a surreal sci-fi romance set around a video arcade repairman who encounters a strange new console and a beautiful young woman leading to disturbing manifestations of weird and grotesque bio-mechanical creations and the breakdown of reality itself. Skipper has been the stand-out star of previous FrightFest hits Almost Human, The Mind's Eye and Beyond The Gates, which all have their fair share of strange and retro imagery, so it will be extremely interesting to see what he will produce from the other side of the camera.
If there is one franchise that has suffered from fatigue with multiple sequels, prequels, reboots and reinventions its that surrounding chainsaw-loving Texan Leatherface. So the question is what could yet another entry into this saga have to recommend it and the answer lies in directors Julian Maury and Alexandre Bustillo. The French writing and directing team have been behind some amazing slices of Gaelic horror such as Inside, Livid and Among The Living and now they bring their extreme sensibilities to this story of the origin of the skin-masked psychopath. Let's hope this puts the buzz back into the saw.
TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY
While FrightFest is great for checking out the latest cinematic scares it's also perfect for getting to go behind the make'up and masks to discover the talent involved. This year horror icon Kane Hodder, the man who has welded Jason Voorhees' machete and Victor Crowley's hatchet, has brought this documentary about his amazing life and career to the festival. With harrowing tales of a childhood of torment, a horrific on-set accident that left him scarred for life and then working to create some of horror's greatest and most iconic monsters this should be a special and interesting film about someone who is rightly regarded as not just a great stuntman but an important and much loved ambassador for the genre.
ATTACK OF THE ADULT BABIES
With one of the most interesting titles of the festival this year and an intriguing premise to match this promises to be a lot of fun. Featuring fat men in nappies being tended to by nurses in suspenders on the surface but delving deeper into themes of hypocrisy and moral corruption from those who control society all wrapped up in scenes that are promised to make even seasoned gore-hounds reach for the sick bags (tales from the Glasgow showing of preview footage mentioned the invention of a 'shit-cannon' for some effects work). Director Dominic Brunt is regular FrightFest attendee and has amazed with previous movies Before Dawn and Bait so get ready for him to take it to a whole new level with this one. Best bring a bib though!
One of the best additions to FrightFest in recent years has been the 'First Blood' strand, exposing audiences to debut movies from up and coming British film makers, and one of the stand-out efforts this year looks to be this Welsh sci-fi horror comedy from Peter Stray. Coming on like a version of Peter Jackson's Bad Taste set in the Valleys this looks like it could be quite innovative with not just alien invasion but also time-travel involved, all happening during a pissed-up New Years Eve party. Go in expecting aliens in rain-macs, lots of beer and some biting Welsh humour and show your support for some home-grown horror.
Work can be hell at times, even at Horror Channel HQ, and no more so than in Joe Lynch's action-packed comedy. The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun is an attorney that wishes he'd taken a sickie the day an infectious outbreak hit's his law firm making everyone act out their wildest impulses. FrightFest favourite Lynch has proved he has both great chops at the scares and laughs with Chillerama and Wrong Turn 2 and last movie Everly was an impressive action thrill-ride so with Mayhem combining all of those elements we should be in for a fun and crazy day in the office.
If you're flagging a bit by the final day of the festival then this bat-shit crazy caper should certainly wake you up. An addict, an ex-con and a Mexican luchador collide when an organ-harvesting job goes horribly wrong and these sordid small-timers must fight with all they have to save a pregnant woman from a nasty fate. There's always a few out-there flicks each year and Ryan Prows' debut looks like it could be a future cult classic as it weaves insane and bloody violence, a Pulp Fiction like vignette narrative and some memorable characters into what can be a hard but extremely interesting watch.
This year's festival closer brings the satire to the slasher in a way that hasn't been seen since the Scream series. With a comedic modern theme that speaks of obsession with social media status, and how far some will go to maintain their online profile, this movie should bring the hilarity along with the horror. Rising stars Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hilderbrand power director Tyler MacIntryre's follow-up to previous FrightFest hit of female fury Patchwork as High School seniors that use a serial killer and his murders for their own ends. Closing movies can be divisive among the crowds but are always something interesting and I think there'll be much to make you click the 'like' button for this one.
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