LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS
Exclusive Interview With Journalist And FrightFest Man Alan Jones
By James Whittington, Thursday 12th August 2010
Alan Jones is one of the most respected journalists working today. He has reported from some of the most legendary movie sets ever and written for such magazines as Radio Times, GQ, FHM, Fangoria, in fact the list goes on and on. More importantly he is one of the four members of the FrightFest gang. Alan took time out to tell us about the last 11 years of FrightFest and the plans he and the team have for its future. (Photo by Steven Hurst)
HC: So Alan, here we are once again with FrightFest. Does it feel like 11 years since it all started?
AJ: Yes, and no... It's all been such a blur. I didn't expect FrightFest to take over my life in the way it has really. Back in 2000, when Paul McEvoy and Ian Rattray came to me with the idea to recreate my old Shock Around The Clock events, I thought, yeah, let's get a group of like-minded horror enthusiasts to stay in the sweaty Prince Charles cinema for a weekend. Anything was better than the enforced jollity of the Notting Hill Gate Carnival (I live close by). It was fun, we saw a few good movies, made new friends (who still come every year), had some laughs... Now we're at the Empire with thousands of people visiting daily, a DVD label, an E-zine...unbelievable really. Clearly the UK was crying out for something akin to the Euro-fests I've been attending for decades, and now we have a world class event to match them all.
HC: The event this year has a more independent feel to it, was this deliberate as there seems to be few “major studio” movies included?
AJ: We never go into any FrightFest with an overall theme in mind, it just happens organically. This year we were seeing a lot of independent movies and getting personal submissions and that's just the way it worked out. Obviously the fact that the big studios are catering to a far broader spectrum than ever before means they didn't have any suitable movies this year for us. We did think about asking for Resident Evil 3D, but everyone will see that soon anyway. Far better to give our audience those under-the-radar movies everyone will be talking about in twelve months time, like last year's selections The Human Centipede and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Who knew about the latter phenomenon then? Well, we had an inkling and we got it right. There are still some movies we've shown that have never been released in the UK and I'm pleased about that because it makes us even more unique.
HC: Does it get harder each year to choose which movies are shown or is it easier knowing that the FrightFest crowd expect diversity?
AJ: I've never thought about it like that. Paul and I see the movies, if we are passionate about them - as we were with Monsters - they are in the line-up, no question. Sometimes we have arguments about certain films the other wants to include, but we've always managed to get the mix and match it right. We all knew F was an important film to show the moment we saw it, likewise The Dead. Our pool to choose from gets wider each year because filmmakers and distributors get what we are trying to do and that's such a blessing. So I would say it's easier to get the cream of the crop to choose from.
HC: Even though bigger than ever, FrightFest still retains its friendly family atmosphere, it must be hard for you Ian, Paul and Greg to maintain this?
AJ: We make a point of being approachable and available to our audience. We are fans as much as they are and we don't forget that. There's nothing more I love than cruising the audience and engaging with regular FrightFesters, even though some look absolutely terrified when I approach them. Just as well I have no problem striking up conversations with anybody. FrightFesters themselves pass on this community spirit on quite well too. So many in our audience have made firm friends for life over the years. Anyone new is welcomed, we are an inclusive bunch, we want everyone to feel comfortable no matter where you are from, who you are, or even if you prefer Jason to Freddy. Actually, strike that, if you prefer Freddy you are dead to me! Only joking. I love hearing the fans opinions of the movies we choose. We know they aren't all going to like what we like and, you know something, that's great, what FrightFest is all about, sharing views and arguing the merits of giallo, Adam Green, remakes, whatever.
HC: FrightFest is such a recognised brand now, do you have any other plans for it such as resurrecting the DVD label?
AJ: Watch this space. The DVD label is being revived in 2011, our first release is a film I love that we showed last year, and we are currently in negotiations for other must-see titles too. All very exciting.
HC: I know it’s a tough question but do you have one favourite memory from the last 11 years of FrightFest?
AJ: So many to choose from - my speech in front of Pan's Labyrinth that moved many to tears, trying to protect Selma Blair from rabid Hellboy fans, the Hideo Nakata live on stage interview that went disastrously and hilariously wrong, The Descent premiere party, Jim Sturgess singing live the theme from Heartless. Actually I think my absolute favourite is when two old ladies walked into FrightFest and I was convinced they were in the wrong auditorium. So I went over to the OAPs and said something like, Are you sure you are in the right place love? I got this withering glance and one retorted, We've just watched Last House On The Left to get in the mood for this sonny, so f**k off! Just goes to show the diversity of our fan base.
HC: Do you take time off to relax after FrightFest or do you start planning the next event straight away?
AJ: What do you mean, we've been planning our Halloween event for weeks now. We've been watching movies, already have some fantastic titles, and it's going to be really special this year because we're doing something that has never been done before ever and that's......... my lips are sealed. For now. The Horror Channel will get an exclusive, promise.
HC: What other projects are you working on at the moment?
AJ: Well aside from my horror career (and yes, my Guillermo del Toro book is still happening despite The Hobbit setback), I have two parallel others. Disco and Punk. I wrote the definitive history of Disco music, Saturday Night Forever and once FrightFest is finished I start advising and writing the next 4 CD set of the Disco: Discharge collection. Eight have already been released to great acclaim and I'm looking forward to working on compiling those. On the Punk front (I worked with the Sex Pistols during the height of their career) I may consult on a new untitled movie set during the band's Anarchy in the UK tour that will start shooting in November.
HC: Alan Jones, thank you very much
MORE FRIGHTFEST Interview with Julien Seri, director of Anderson Falls
Posted on Tuesday 18th February 2020
Ahead of the UK premiere of serial killer thriller Anderson Falls at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Julien Seri reflects on this, his first 'American' experience, challenging fight scenes and the importance of personal vision.
It has been five years since we premiered Night Fare at FrightFest London, what have you been up to since then?
JS: I worked on two, very singular, projects as a producer and/or director. I signed for both with Wild Bunch, but we've failed to produce them yet. So I keep fighting. And I did a lot of commercials, TV series and music videos.
When did you first hear about the Anderson Falls script and why did you think it was perfect for yo...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Adam Stovall, director of A Ghost Waits
Posted on Sunday 9th February 2020
Ahead of the World premiere of A Ghost Waits at Arrow Video FrightFest Glasgow 2020, director Adam Stovall reflects on getting through depression, creating paranormal romance and the influence of Tom Waits...
You have an interesting CV - from comedy theatre and film journalism to writing for The Hollywood Reporter and second assistant directing. Was all this a game plan to becoming a fully-fledged director?
AS: I've known since I was a little kid sitting in the basement watching the network TV premiere of Back To The Future while holding my Back To The Future storybook and waiting for them to premiere the first footage from Back To The Future 2 during a commercial br...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest announces Glasgow Film Festival 2020 line-up
Posted on Thursday 16th January 2020
Welcome the transgressive, the traumatic and the terrifying as Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK's favourite horror fantasy event, returns to Glasgow Film Festival for a 15th fantastic year, from Thursday 5 March to Saturday 7 March, 2020.
Thirteen is lucky for some as that's the number of new films being presented at the iconic Glasgow Film Theatre, embracing the latest genre discoveries from around the globe, spanning four continents, including one world, two European and seven UK premieres.
Alan Jones, FrightFest co-director, commented: "Welcome to another banner FrightFest and another invitation to explore the horror fantasy genre's fertile harvest bursting with creativity, ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Cameron Macgowan, director of Red Letter Day
Posted on Friday 1st November 2019
FrightFest 2019 exposed a lot of new talent in the movie industry and one of the stand-out pieces was Red Letter Day from Cameron Macgowan.
HC: Where did the idea for Red Letter Day come from and did it take long to write?
CM: I have long been a fan of the 'Humans Hunting Humans' subgenre of film (Battle Royale, The Running Man, Hard Target, etc.) and was inspired to set one of these films in what many people consider the 'safe' location of the suburbs. Suburban communities feel like the perfect setting for a horror film as you can walk for miles without seeing a single soul all while knowing that you are surrounded by many people. This mixed with a desire to satirise the current socio-political climate ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Carlo Mirabella-Davis, director of Swallow
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2019
Ahead of the UK premiere of Swallow at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween, director Carlo Mirabella-Davis reflects on the personal inspiration behind his feature debut, healing psychological wounds and his empathy for the genre.
HC: Swallow is your directorial debut. How difficult was it to get the project off the ground?
CMD: Getting a film made is a fascinating process. My late, great teacher at NYU, Bill Reilly, would always say "script is coin of the realm". The early stages involved perfecting the screenplay as much as I could, writing and rewriting until I felt confident sending it out. The sacred bond between the producer and the director is the catalyst that brings a film into being. I ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Paul Davis, director of Uncanny Annie
Posted on Wednesday 16th October 2019
Ahead of the International premiere of Uncanny Annie at Arrow Video FrightFest Halloween 2019, director Paul Davis reflects on working for Blumhouse, bemoans attitudes to British genre film funding and reveals the movies that inspire him the most...
HC: Tell us how Uncanny Annie came about?
PD: Uncanny Annie is my second movie for Blumhouse as part of Hulu's Into The Dark movie series. I had the opportunity to actually kick off last October with a feature adaptation of my short film The Body (which had its world premiere at FF in 2013). The concept was to release a movie a month, for twelve months, with each revolving around a holiday or particular day for the month of its released. With The Bod...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest announces line-up for Halloween 2019 event
Posted on Thursday 3rd October 2019 Arrow Video FrightFest continues on its highly acclaimed and hugely successful Twenty Bloody Year rampage with a fear-packed journey through Halloween traditions, religious deviance, unstoppable maniacs, warped fairy tales, terrifying board games and the very rules of horror themselves.
The popular Halloween all-day event returns to the Cineworld Leicester Square on Saturday 3 November and the 12-hour monstrous marathon embraces four UK premieres, one European and one International premiere.
The day kicks off with the European Premiere of Josh Hasty's Candy Corn. With an impressive all-star genre cast (including Tony Todd, who exec-produces), an innovative iconic killer...SHARE: READ MORE FrightFest favourite A Good Woman is Hard to Find coming to cinemas and HD
Posted on Thursday 26th September 2019
Directed by Abner Pastoll and starring Sarah Bolger, Edward Hogg, Andrew Simpson and Jane Brennan the superb thriller A Good Woman is Hard to Find will be released in Cinemas and Digital HD on 25th October.
Written by Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Ronan Blaney, the movie closed FrightFest 2019 to much acclaim this crowd-pleasing and violent kitchen-sink revenge thriller is a dark and daring journey through Northern Ireland's criminal underbelly.
Recently widowed mother of two Sarah (a tour-de-force Sarah Bolger) is desperate to know who m...SHARE: READ MORE 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 Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 3rd March
Tuesday 25th February
Thursday 5th March