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Horror Channel Manager Stewart Bridle rounds up some of the genre gems to catch at FrightFest 2019.
By James Whittington, Monday 19th August 2019
It's the most terrifying time of year, one filled with fear, torture and overwhelming dread. I'm not talking about being strapped to some SAW-type trap but rather having to decide watch to watch from FrightFest's annual line-up. And in their 20th year things are even harder than before with a record-breaking 78 movies to choose from. But if making a decision is slowly killing you then let us help with some of the movies we recommend scaring yourself with...CRAWL Alexander Aja, the director behind such horror hits as Switchblade Romance, the 2006 version of The Hills Have Eyes and Piranha 3D, returns with another gory genre piece that will do for the reputation of alligators what he previously did for mutated hillbillies and man-eating fish. During a huge hurricane Florida resident Haley (Kaya Scodelario) searches for her missing father (Barry Pepper), finding him injured in the crawlspace beneath their home. In trying to rescue him they both quickly become trapped by both rising floodwaters and the inhabitants of the local alligator farm who are now on the loose. The film has been already been going down a scream stateside and Aja has a proven nasty humourous streak so that combined with The Evil Dead's Sam Raimi on Producer duties means that we're in for some real jaw-some fun with this creature-feature. GIRL ON THE THIRD FLOOR The haunted house movie may have been done a million ways before but when Travis Stevens (the producer behind such previous horror hits as Starry Eyes, We Are Still Here and 68 Kill) chooses to use it as the setting for his directorial debut it's definitely worth paying a visit. Featuring WWE legend CM Punk as Don Koch who is trying to renovate a crumbling mansion for his pregnant wife but is soon encountering all the kinds of problems you just don't see on 'Changing Rooms' such as unidentifiable slime oozing from the walls, odd marbles rolling across floors and a strange seductive young woman hanging around. Weirder still is, as Don's renovations progress, the house reveals hidden rooms and crevices that may have a connection to his past. If all that isn't interesting enough then how about that apparently Stevens wrote the script specifically for the house where it is filmed, based on reports of actual hauntings there... HARPOON Three close friends on a yacht trip, sounds very nice and not at all FrightFest, right? Now strand them with no ignition keys, take away the food and water and throw in suspicions, secrets, jealousies and a spear gun and you have something more like it. Writer and Director Rob Grant, behind last year's impressive Alive, wrings all the tension, black comedy and more from his single location set-up, backed by some great performances from all the cast (which includes Turbo Kid's Munro Chambers), some extremely disturbing developments and a great soundtrack. Smart, stylish and shocking, you'll be glad you came aboard this boat. FEEDBACK Its terror on the airwaves for legendary British actor Eddie Marsan (The Disappearance of Alice Creed, The World's End) when his London radio jock, Jarvis Dolan, is taken hostage along with his crew during an edition of his late-night 'The Grim Reality' show. The masked intruders force Dolan to continue his broadcast, following their script and without letting on to the listeners they danger they are in, leading to a confession about a scandal he has no idea of but could ruin him. This looks to be a taught claustrophobic thriller in the vein of Funny Games, driven by a compelling central performance from Marsan and with a plot point very relevant right now. Tune in and hang on! CRITTERS ATTACK! Eighties gorier gremlin-a-likes the Critters return for another bite of the big screen and they've also brought the original film's star, and horror legend, Dee Wallace back to battle them once more. This time around a young student babysits her tutor's children on a hike when they find themselves in an unfortunate encounter with the extra-terrestrial eaters. With both a TV series and a movie out this year there's a lot of new life being breathed back into this fun franchise that was once responsible for launching the career of Leonardo DiCaprio (Critters 3). This installment, from director Bobby Miller who was behind previous FrightFest selection The Cleanse, promises to be crazier and gorier than everything that's gone before and will also introduce us to the first female Crite, will she be friend or foe? THE FURIES What's worse than being pursued by a masked psycho with an axe? How about finding out there are seven more, each with their own female victim and you're all part of some sick hunt where implanted retinal cameras are recording every moment of your fear. This is the horror style Hunger Games situation that high school student Kayla wakes up to after being abducted, now she must kill or be killed while providing twisted entertainment for an unseen audience in Aussie Tony D'Aquino's smart slasher debut. Far from being yet another misogynistic girls-getting-murdered-by-maniacs flick this promises to unleash some real girl-power on the collection of crazies, who come with monikers like "Melonhead" and "Rodface", and may prove that the beauties could be the real beasts. DARK LIGHT Who doesn't love a good monster-in-the-dark story? And you can't get darker than this tale where the creatures feast on human inner light from FrightFest regular Padraig Reynolds, who has brought us Rites of Spring and last year's selection Open 24 Hours. Jessica Madesen is Annie Knox who returns to remote farm home after many personal devastation only to encounter a whole new nightmare when she discovers an extinct humanoid race living in the walls and under the house and they want her daughter Emily. Reynolds always delivers some solid scares and this latest sci-fi flavoured horror looks certainly to be no different. Perfect for an audience already sat in the dark! READY OR NOT Coming from the Radio Silence collective (behind segments of V/H/S, Southbound and the feature Devil's Due) you know that when bride Grace marries into Daniel's wealthy games manufacturing family this will be no fairy-tale affair and instead will become the reception from hell. A tradition dictates they all must play a game the night before the honeymoon but instead of Monopoly the game chosen is murder and Grace now must fight for survival against her new insidious in-laws. This mash up of Clue and The Purge has a fantastic cast (including Andie MacDowell and an amazing Samara Weaving in the lead), some incredibly black humour and a hell of a lot of red being splashed on that white dress. The best wedding-set horror since REC 3? Get an invitation and find out! THE BANANA SPLITS MOVIE If, like me, you're old enough to have been entertained by the Saturday morning 70's psychedelic-styled antics of Fleegle, Bingo, Drooper and Snorky you may be wondering what on Earth the FrightFest team are smoking to have included them in the line-up but you can be rest assured that this will be no kid's show! For what is being hailed as the first R-rated adaptation of a Hanna Barbara property certainly sounds like the craziest flick of this year's festival and a cult hit in the making. When a family attend a recording of The Banana Splits TV Show it's meant to be a magical birthday treat but news of the show's cancellation turns the animatronic Banana Splits into a homicidal rage and soon it's a battle for survival as the zany cartoon violence gets executed for real on the audience and crew. Prepare to have your childhood memories replaced by all-new nightmares! RABID (2019) The original Cronenberg version is one of my favourite slices of 70's horror but if anyone can make me interested in a modern rework of this zombie-tinged tale it's going to be The Soska Sisters, the twisted twins who have given us such deviant delights as Dead Hooker In A Trunk, American Mary and See No Evil 2. Bringing its themes smack up to date this time Rose (Laura Vandervoort) works in fashion, dreaming of being a famous designer, when an accident leaves her horrifically scarred. After she takes part in an untested stem cell treatment she is reborn as everything she has wanted, but this transformation comes at a price and she finds to achieve the dream she has to live a nightmare feeding on others leading to a strange new form of contagion. Those Soskas know how to have a lot of frightening fun with their films and have previously proven they are worthy inheritors of their fellow Canadian's body horror crown so I can't wait to catch this fresh strain.
Related show tags: SEE NO EVIL 2, STARRY EYES, THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ALICE CREED, THE EVIL DEAD, TURBO KID, WE ARE STILL HERE MORE FRIGHTFEST Interview with Evan Daves star of Porno
Posted on Friday 30th August 2019
In the bizarre and gruesome comedy/horror Porno, Abe, played by Evan Daves is a burgeoning pervert with a guilty conscience who works in a cinema and ends up battling a demon! Here, Evan tells all about this gory story. (Headshot - Matthew Murphy)
HC: How did the role of Abe in Porno come about?
ED: I had the audition come in through my agent. Adrienne Stern, the casting director, is great; she actually cast me in my first movie when I was 13, a comedy called "Harold" starring Cuba Gooding Jr. Since then she's always been kind enough to bring me in for projects that I'm right for. When I saw her name in the breakdown I knew it would be a wacky, cool project - she has a great eye for that stuff...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Sara Garcia, star of True Fiction
Posted on Friday 30th August 2019
FrightFest 2019 was contained some of the best psychological thrillers we've seen in a long time. One of the finest was Braden Croft's True Fiction which boasts incredible performances from John Cassini and Sara Garcia. We chatted to Sara about her role of lonely librarian, Avery Malone.
HC: Did you always want to be an actress when you were growing up?
SG: I've always been a performer. As a child my parents encouraged my artistic side through dance classes, singing lessons and after school performing arts programs. When I was very young, I dreamed of being a singer and as a grew older I gravitated more towards the dramatic arts. I didn't seek acting out as a profession until later in life. I fel...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Fernando Alle, writer and director of Mutant Blast
Posted on Thursday 29th August 2019
One of the wildest and most bizarre movies of FrightFest 2019 was Fernando Alle's gore-splattered sci-fi inspired feature, Mutant Blast. Here, he tells us the story about making this crazy piece of celluloid.
HC: Regular FrightFest goers will know you from your pieces Banana Motherf**ker and Papa Wrestling, why has it been so long for Mutant Blast to come along?
FA: I started making this film in 2012, and it has indeed been far too long. I figured that making a feature film would be 10 times harder than making a short film, but in fact it is at least 100 times harder. I am glad I was naive, because otherwise I would have cut a lot of stuff from the script and the film would not have turned out ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Chad Archibald director of I'll Take Your Dead
Posted on Wednesday 28th August 2019
Chad Archibald has been behind a number of FrightFest favourites in the past including Bite which is showing on Horror in September. With is latest movie, I'll Take Your Dead wowing audiences at FrightFest we chatted to Chad.
HC: We last spoke a few years back about your fabulous movie, Bite, I loved it, and would you consider a Bite 2?
CA: I would love to do a Bite 2 if there was enough demand for it. Bite was the most fun I've had making a movie and I think if we made a second, we would just amp it all up. More goo, more gore, more laughs. I've got tons of ideas already so it's never off the table.
HC: Where did the story of I'll Take Your Dead come from?
...SHARE: READ MORE Fear: The Autobiography of Dario Argento is coming soon from FAB Press
Posted on Tuesday 27th August 2019
To his legion of admirers Dario Argento is a horror legend of the greatest magnitude. And to his genre filmmaking contemporaries he's an inspiration and an icon. Now, thanks to FAB Press we can get the whole story on this cinematic legend in the book, Fear: The Autobiography of Dario Argento.
For many years Argento's ground-breaking shockers like The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, Deep Red, Suspiria, Inferno, Tenebrae and Opera meant box-office gold. Now the maverick auteur, lauded as the Italian Hitchcock and the Horror Fellini, has written his autobiography, revealing all about his fascinating life, his dark obsessions, his talented family, his perverse dreams, and his star-crossed ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Abner Pastoll director of A Good Woman is Hard to Find
Posted on Tuesday 27th August 2019
A few years back we met director Abner Pastoll at the world premiere of his thriller, Road Games. 2019 and he's back with his new movie, A Good Woman is Hard to Find so we caught up with him just before its premiere at FrightFest 2019.
HC: We first met when you unleashed the "killer of a thriller" Road Games, what have you been up to since then?
AP: Making this new film! And trying to stay alive.
HC: How did you become connected to A Good Woman is Hard to Find?
AP: I was looking for a writing partner to collaborate with. My producer knew a great agent so reached out to him, asking for writing samples from some of his clients. One of those 'samples' happened to be a...SHARE: READ MORE Not with a whimper but with a bang! FrightFest 2019 comes to a close
Posted on Tuesday 27th August 2019
The final two movies of FrightFest 2019 gave the crowd exactly what they wanted from the festival; invention, fun and truly shocking cinematic moments.
The much talked abut Rabid remake from Jen and Sylvia Soska didn't disappoint and delivered a smart updating of the David Cronenberg classic. Rose wants to become a famous designer in the fashion world, but a terrible accident leaves her scarred beyond recognition. Undergoing a radical untested stem cell treatment, wallflower Rose turns into the belle of the ball and starts to realize her ambitions. But everything in life comes at a price and Rose's newfound perfection is no exception as she unwittingly sets off a bloody spiral of contagion. Well-paced wi...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Charlie Steeds director of The Barge People
Posted on Monday 26th August 2019 Ever wanted a horror movie set on a canal boat? Well your dream has come true with Charlie Steeds' new movie The Barge People.
HC: Looking at your CV you seem to be a big fan of the horror genre, can you recall which film inspired your career?CS: Absolutely, I'm a horror fanatic, that's why I'm making horror films! I got hooked on this genre by watching Stephen King adaptations. I looked for anything with King's name on and knew I'd love it, this one guy's imagination produced a whole world of unique horror stories, the Stephen King brand, it still amazes me.
HC: Has any one director or other creative influenced your work?
CS: I'm a huge fan of Lucio...SHARE: READ MORE Where did that time go? Day 5 of FrightFest has dawned
Posted on Monday 26th August 2019
Hard to believe but in a blink of an eye the final day of FrightFest 2019 has dawned but the festival is going out with a real bang with a programme packed with some of the strongest movies from the entire event playing today.
Brian Hanson's The Black String allows Frankie Muniz to really get his teeth into a mature role and he carries it off perfectly. A slacker goes on a blind date with a strange woman, and his world suddenly begins to unravel in horrifying fashion as he's plagued by paranoia, illness and nightmarish visions. Part social commentary part tale of a truly lost soul this is smart film that takes us into a life that has been oppressed for so long and when he finally does think ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Justin Edgar director of Stalked
Posted on Monday 26th August 2019
The themes of fear of the unknown and being hunted collide in Justin Edgar's Stalked. Here he talks about the creation of this smart chiller.
HC: Where did the idea for Stalked come from and did it take you long to write?
JE: I believe we're living in a golden age of suspense thrillers and horror and I wanted to be part of that. I knew I had to come up with a cool suspense concept that could form the basis of the film. I've always been very interested in how we all love watching - reality TV, social media, CCTV, surveillance and phone cameras and how that relates to the nature of cinema -voyeurism and scopophilia - the fetish of watching. When I found...SHARE: READ MORE Dangerous games and apps from hell, it can only be FrightFest!
Posted on Monday 26th August 2019
A trio of movies brought day 4 of FrightFest to a chilling close as they were a mixture of psychological horror and full out exploitation madness.
Director Adam Egypt Mortimer, a guy who had already impressed FrightFest goers with his brutal movie Some Kind of Hate a few years back brought with him Daniel Isn't Real. Here, a troubled young man's imaginary friend from childhood returns as an adult eager to indulge in darkly disturbing desires. As you might guess this is a film that mixes surreal situations with grim reality and makes for some very memorable set-pieces.
Ready or Not from Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett is a cool take on the "I've just married into an incredibly creepy...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Casey Dillard writer and star of Driven
Posted on Sunday 25th August 2019
FrightFest 2019 contains some of the most inventive and rewarding movies that are out there waiting to be discovered. One in particular, Driven is causing a bit of a stir so we chatted to Casey Dillard, writer and star of this smart shocker.
HC: How did the idea for Driven come to you?
CD: Glenn wanted to try to make an "easy" movie that took place entirely in a car, so the concept was his. I came up with the idea of a ride-share driver and passenger. Once I had solid reasons for them to stay within this space the story came easily enough. I enjoy a good curse as long as it isn't put on me.
HC: Did it take long to write?
CD: If you count the time that I actually sat in front of t...SHARE: READ MORE Frightfest Archive: 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
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