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FrightFest 2011 - The Ultimate Round Up
By James Whittington, Thursday 1st September 2011

FrightFest 2011 Small PosterWell FrightFest 2011 turned out to be one of the very best yet. Its programme was one of the most varied with plenty of horror genres touched upon and loads of special guests popping in to mingle with the attendees.

The event kicked off in style with the very polished shocks of Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark. This UK premiere got everyone in the mood for five days of fear, frights and full-on fun. From here on in it was a wild ride of slacker zombies, found footage frights and multi-story scares.

There were many notable movies such as Troll Hunter which does exactly what it says on the tin. One of the noisiest films of the festival its mix of creature feature and found footage genres really came together well. Saint was also an unusual movie, more comedy than horror it helped keep the festival out of the darkness and kept the humour levels high. Final Destination 5 proved that, if done well, 3D horror can be a thrilling and this delivered so many far out blood-splattered set-pieces that it had the crowd cheering.

The Woman, one of the most powerful pieces of the whole event was another memorable movie. Pollyanna McIntosh who plays the title role wowed the crowd and spent time chatting with the attendees. So did Andy Nyman who as Martin Pyrite delivered the strongest performance of the whole event in Cristian Solimeno's beautiful and moving movie The Glass Man. This stunning piece about a man desperately trying to cling onto everything he has is unforgettable for so many reasons. Martin's descent into a living hell totally moved me, much in the same way as Let The Right One did a few years back.

Rougue River, Panic Button and The Divide proved that raw horror was still alive and well delivering brutal set-pieces and gore drenched violence, but with decent story telling in very different situations. Let's not forget the amazing The Theatre Bizarre and Chillerama, two movies that reminded us of how much fun anthology movies are.

Diversity played a huge part of FrightFest 2011, Deadheads which was a heartfelt film about zombies on a road trip and Stromhouse a cracking and almost perfect paranormal piece from the pen of Jason Arnopp. For pure originality Joseph Kahn's superb Detention really made an impact. A clever blend of slasher, time travel and teen comedy it defies categorisation. Think of it as a smart mash-up of Back To The Future, Donnie Darko, Scream and Ferris Bueller and you're about half way there. You got to see this on the big screen.

The International Short Film Showcase which was sponsored by the Horror Channel was a huge success. This collection of ten of the very best short movies proved that there's a shed load of talented people out there and we can't wait to see what these artists do next.

A popular treat were the short tribute movies which celebrated the work of John Carpenter. Directed by Ben Wheatley, Jake West, Sean Hogan, Marc Price and James Moran they were affectionate and great fun with each one going down a storm with the audience.

And then, all too quickly FrightFest 2011 was over.

As usual I'd like to thank the gang of four; Alan, Paul, Ian and Greg for putting on such a fantastic 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 when filming. To 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. As usual the blogs will remain on this site so if you need a reminder of how amazing FrightFest 2011 was then pay this section a visit.

All it remains for me to say is from all of the Horror Channel crew Gillian, Ivo, Katlin, Emily, Rich, Barry, Zuzka, Joakim, Issac and myself, we say a very sad farewell to FrightFest 2011 and look forward to doing it all again in 2012 for the 13th FrightFest.


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