FrightFest The 13th was without doubt one of the finest yet with a programme bursting with originality from all over the globe.
It's always difficult to pick highlights and with 48 movies to choose from and countless shorts the decision this year is that much harder. The programme was so strong with a huge mix of movies that touched upon nearly every horror genre there is.
The event kicked off with the very sombre shocker The Seasoning House but was in the realm of gruesome laughs with the cracking double header of Cockneys Vs Zombies and Grabbers, two films that mixed big laughs with big set-pieces of gore and humour.
Stand-out movies included the stunning American Mary from the Soska Sisters. This slick shocker delivered big style and having the girls there plus leading lady Katharine Isabelle made it an even more special preview. Then there was the tense Spanish masterpiece Sleep Tight. Directed by Jaume Balaguero this gripped the audience with its claustrophobic atmosphere and intelligent script. A superb excursion into psychological terror. Berberian Sound Studio also gained huge praise from attendees for its inspired script and stunning soundtrack.
Then there was the Maniac remake which was far better and stronger than anyone expected it to be as was Jennifer Lynch's Chained which again proved that originality was still well and living in the USA.
Talking of America, Hollywood was well represented with the rather wonderful Sinister and equally impressive The Possession. Both were huge fun and proved that tension and atmosphere can sometimes be perfect replacements for outrageous blood and gore set-pieces. Italy also supplied some rather memorable movies. The Manetti Bros delivered the psychological and savage Paura 3D whilst Federico Zampaglione returned to FrightFest with his incredible kiss to 70s Gioallo movies, Tulpa.
Let's not forget the appearances of legends Dario Argento and Greg Nicotero, two very different artists but whose work has long been celebrated by fans of the genre and it was amazing to see them both in the flesh. I have never seen such long autograph queues. Add to this countless others including Sean Pertwee, Ross Noble, Michelle Ryan and Sheridan Smith and you have quite an impressive list of stars.
A real highlight was Dominic Brunt's stunning directorial debut Before Dawn. This heartfelt and emotional film was a story of two halves that combined to make an unforgettable piece. With raw and emotional performances from Brunt and Joanne Mitchell (who also attended the screening) this was horror with real heart and proves that FrightFest does go out of its way to delivering the freshest talent around.
The International Short Film Showcase which was once again sponsored by the Horror Channel was a huge success. This collection of the very best short movies around today gained much acclaim for their diversity and scope. It proved that the future of horror movies is in safe hands.
As usual I'd like to thank the FrightFest fellows; Alan, Paul, Ian and Greg for putting on such an awesome and well organised event once again making sure we had access to every guest that attended. To all of the staff at the fabulous Empire Cinema, thanks for letting us dump our kit and never complain when we took over the foyer when filming. To all the FrightFesters who let us film their reactions to some of the movies, your honest soundbites will form parts of original content that you'll be able to see on the Horror Channel very soon.
Facebook and Twitter played a big part in my blogs this year so if you missed any updates go and check the exclusive pics taken as the festival unfolded.
As usual my blogs will remain on the Horror Channel site so if you need a reminder of how amazing FrightFest The 13th was then pay this section a visit.
So, all that remains for me to say is from all of the Horror Channel crew Gillian, Fran, Rich, Ed, Emily, Rich, Zuzka, Charlie and myself, we say an emotional farewell to FrightFest 2012 and look forward to 2013 for the next celebration of the best in horror from around the globe.