FrightFest 2014 - The Ultimate Round Up
By James Whittington, Saturday 30th August 2014

FrightFest2014-poster-LR-Final MediumFrightFest 2014 is just a distant memory even though it only ended a few days ago and only now am I adjusting to being in daylight!

The five days brought us over 60 features and several shorts which combined to make this year’s programme one of the most varied for a long time. The new venue gave the festival a new feeling and a main screen running order that took a bit of time to adjust to. This actually helped with congestion problems of the past and made the simple things such as using the toilets and grabbing a bite to eat much easier.

The event started off with the crowd pleasing UK premiere of Adam Wingard’s The Guest but for me the most fun was in the last film of the first night, the way over the top Zombeavers. This is one movie to watch late night with a bunch of mates.

Friday had a mixed start, Shockwave Darkside3D and Eli Roth’s The Green Inferno got mixed reactions from the crowds coming from the main screens but one movie really did get the seal of approval, Late Phases. This smart take on the werewolf genre from the director of Penumbra and Here Comes The Devil has a stunning central performance from Nick Damici playing a blinded veteran living in a gated retirement village.

More smart horror in Housebound a Kiwi comedy from Gerard Johnstone. Again this took a well known theme (a possibly haunted house with secrets in the walls) and gave it a refreshing twist with plenty of humour. Taking humour to its darkest but crowd pleasing place was the superb sequel, Dead Snow 2: Red Vs Dead. Original director Tommy Wirkola took is Nazi zombie army to new levels of grossness in a film that surpasses the gore of the first.

Saturday too had a real mixed bag of movies, from the all-out and ghoulish All Cheerleaders Die from Lucky McKee and Chris Sivertson to the psychological chills of John McNaughton’s The Harvest, both delivered on very different levels. Talk of the day was The Babadook which has got many festival goers checking their cupboards in their homes as I type, whilst I Survived A Zombie Holocaust made for perfect late night guffaws and gratuitous gore-shots. Zombies were in high supply this day as the rather smart Life After Beth proved that the rom-zom-com genre wasn’t dead (so to speak) yet!

One of the stand out days of the festival for the main screens was Sunday which had the strongest line ups of the whole event. Faults from Riley Stearns is simply outstanding with performances from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Leland Orser that are just begging to be seen. This story of a lost man trying to un-brainwash a victim of a cult is just incredible. Same can be said for Nicholas McCarthy’s Home which takes the idea of demonic possession to a more real place. With a sound mix that takes the tension right up to 11 this had most of the audience, as well as myself, jumping around as it delivered jump after jump. The Samurai from Germany’s Till Kleinert had the crowds chatting for ours about its stylish mix of mania and violence.

Minnie Driver and Meat Loaf (yes, you read that right) popped up in Stage Fright which is surely the next big must see midnight movie. A mix of Glee, Friday The 13th and Rocky Horror Picture Show, it’s a celebration of invention mixing rock tunes and melody to high end hack and slash.

The weather took a turn for the worse on Monday but didn’t dampen the crowd’s spirit as they sat down for four UK premieres and a world premiere. Nymph gave us an original slasher movie, that of a killer mermaid which was a great piece that utilised some amazing locations coupled with a tight script. V/H/S: Viral took the series onward and upward with five more cutting edge stories whilst The Signal gave big screen thrills to end the main screen movies.

The Discovery Screens had more than their fair share of must-see movies too. The Forgotten gave Urban Horror genre the originality it so craves whilst The Canal was a dark exploration of psychological horror that will stay with me for some time. You want cult hits of the future look no further than Lowell Dean’s Wolf Cop which really had to be seen to be believed. Simeon Halligan’s White Settlers is a superb twist on the home invasion horror which gave us some of the smartest shocks of the whole festival.

If you wanted more originality you needed to be at the Show Pieces screening. This anthology from the legendary writer Alan Moore is brimming with inventiveness and originality. For me The House At The End Of Time takes the prize for the most emotional piece of the whole event. Directed by Alejandro Hidalgo it’s the first horror film produced in Venezuela to reach an international audience and is a superbly plotted science fiction themed feature that is as emotionally engaging as it is intelligent. A real highlight.

Guest wise there were plenty of directors and actors to say hello to but the stand out has to be Robert Englund who was here for his new movie The Last Showing and for an anniversary screening of A Nightmare On Elm Street. This true gentleman of horror was charming to speak to and gave us a cracking interview which you can see soon on the Horror Channel along with many of the other talent that attended FrightFest.

Facebook and Twitter played a big part in my blogs this year so if you missed any updates go and check the exclusive pictures taken as the festival unfolded. All the blogs I wrote for the Horror Channel website will remain live so if you need reminding just how good this year or past festivals have been then check them out. There are more interviews to come over the next few weeks so look out for those too.

So, all that remains for me to say is from all of the Horror Channel crew Ivo, Giovanna, Rich, Jolon and myself, we say an emotional farewell to FrightFest 2014 and are already looking forward to teaming up again for FrightFest 2015.

Interview with Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020

Butchers is a superb piece of horror cinema from Adrian Langley. Here he chats about this grim and gruesome piece and his plans for the future.

HC: Where did the idea for Butchers come from?

AL: Butchers came from two of Daniel Weissenberger's old screenplays - he writes a lot - and I remixed them with some ideas that had been kicking around in my head after having read those scripts a long time ago.

HC: Did it take long to write?

AL: Not at all. Because Dan's scripts were so full already, the initial working draft only took about two weeks to put together and then I did a lot of rewriting during the prep process to streamline it to what...

Interview with Andrew Thomas Hunt, director of Spare Parts.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
Spare Parts

FrightFest is all about the diversity of movies, none more so than Spare Parts from director Andrew Thomas Hunt. This superb mash-up of gladiator-style fighting and a scorching soundtrack is desitined to become a cult classic so we chatted to Andrew about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

AH: I did - from the age of 16. I was a huge fan of David Cronenberg's films, and when I discovered that he was not only from Toronto, but made his films here, it made me realize you didn't have to be from Hollywood to make movies.

HC: How did you become attached to this wild project?

AH: It was pitched to me at TIFF (Toronto Int'l ...

And the winner is... Benny Loves You!
Posted on Monday 26th October 2020

The winner of the FrightFest Horror Channel First Blood Award 2020 is... Benny Loves You!

Here, Channel Manager Stewart Bridle chats to its very talented director, Karl Holt.

Interview with Liam O'Donnell director of SKYLIN3S
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020

FrightFest Digital Edition 2 concludes tonight with an out-of-this-world premiere, SKYLIN3S. Here its writer and director Liam O'Donnell talks about this and the other entries in this sci-fi series.

HC: You've been involved with the Skyline series of movies from the start, where did the initial idea come from?

LD: Initially the idea just came from, we were sort of do it ourselves film makers and I had been living in the building we ended up shooting in. We had already been illegally shooting on the rooftop helipad for a pitch that we were developing and when Greg's (Greg Strause, director of Skyline) unit on the top floor and he walked in and saw this big, expansive view of LA...

Interview with Paul Tanter director and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Prolific creative Paul Tanter has delivered a real treat for FrightFest pass holders today, the blood-splattered shocker, The Nights Before Christmas. Here he chats about this cracker of a movie.

HC: Have you always been a fan of the horror genre?

PT: Absolutely. One of my first cinema memories is my dad taking me to see Fright Night in 1985 and there being a promotional pack of vampire teeth on every seat. I was five at the time so I'm not sure how he snuck me in there, considering it's rated 18. I grew up watching The Omen films, in parts enthralled and terrified by them. I still can't pass that church in Fulham without keeping an eye on ...

Interview with Simon Phillips, star and co-writer of The Nights Before Christmas
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
The Nights Before Christmas-poster

Seasonal slashers are once again coming into vogue but none as brutal as The Nights Before Christmas. Here, its star and co-writer Simon Phillips tells all about this movie.

HC: Did you know from a young age that you wanted to work in the film industry?

SP: I don't know if I ever was sure I was going to be in the film industry but as a child I sure liked talking a lot and my teacher once shouted at me "They'd better pay you to talk when you grow up, because you sure like the sound of your own voice"... So perhaps it was always on the cards!

HC: Are you a fan of horror movies?

SP: To be honest they terrify me... not the o...

Interview with Elza Kephart, director and co-writer of Slaxx
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
SLAXX_Elza_(C)photoB-Calmeau_0125FrightFest is all about originality and new talent and 2020 has been a belter of a year for such things. Slaxx from Elza Kephart is a prime example of the new and exciting creative talent that's out there at the moment. We chatted to Elza about this superb shocker.

HC: Are you a big horror movie fan?

EK: Yes, huge! I started my horror adventure when I was a pre-teen, reading Agatha Christie, R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, Anne Rice. If there wasn't a death I wasn't interested. From that, I migrated to horror films; when I was about ten, I watched Aliens, the Fearless Vampire Hunters, Exorcist 2. I might have been a little too young, I remember being re...

Hair scares, killer jeans, Santa slays and an invasion from above. Day 5 of FrightFest Digital Edition 2
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020

We reach the final day of FrightFest but what awaits us will ensure that the event ends not with a bang but with an alien invasion!

It's always exciting when new creatives release work and The Stylist from Jill Gervargizian is no exception. Everyone dreams of being someone else... but for Claire that dream goes from an obsession to a living nightmare. Her job as a hairstylist allows her to move through other people's worlds, but when the right target sits in her chair, she does more than observe the client's life - she ends it, and keeps a permanent souvenir. Her lonely life, meticulous method and shocking secrets are suddenly thrown into turmoil when her regular client, Olivia, asks her to s...

Interview with Adam Leader and Richard Oakes, co-directors of Hosts
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020

Hosts is a dark, brooding and sinister movie from two very talented creatives, Adam Leader and Richard Oakes. Here they chat about this outstanding movie.

HC: Have you always been fans of this genre?

AL: Yes, the first film I ever watched was the original Nightmare on Elm Street when I was eight years old. That turned me on to the horror genre, and since then I became absolutely horror obsessed. Every weekend, my dad would take me to the video store, and I'd choose the most messed up movie I could find for him to rent for me.

RO: Yes, coming from a family with a sister 7 years older than me, I was always fascinated by the films her and her friends used to watch. I walked in...

Interview with Barry Keating, writer of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Barry Keating at NIGHTWORLD on 25/08/2017Barry Keating is a scriptwriter who has had quite a number of movies at FrightFest over the years. He's back with another shocker for 2020, this time the truth might be out there in Embryo. We chatted to him about this sci-fi chiller.

HC: We show another of your movies on Horror, Nightworld, what's it like writing a script, which has horror legend Robert Englund in it?

BK: When I found out they'd cast Robert in the role that was a very surreal day. At first I didn't quite believe it, but when the producer forwarded a message from Robert to me saying that he really dug the script I completely geeked out. I'm a hug...

Interview with Patricio Valladares, director of Embryo
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020
Embryo image 1

Chilean director Patricio Valladares is back at FrightFest and this time he's taking us into the science fiction zone with Embryo. Here he chats about working with Robert Englund on Nightworld and this sci-fi shocker.

HC: Have you always been a fan of horror and sci-fi movies?

PV: Yes, from my childhood, my old brother watched Jason Voorhees and A Nightmare on Elm Street film series at home with a couple friends in the 80s. So, I always went from the bathroom to the living room at night to watch from behind the sofa with them. I Loved it! I liked the ultraviolence and gore from Robocop. When I was 14 or 15 I was a metalhead, so I had lots of tapes of death metal and a lot of low ...

Interview with Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer, directors of Alien on Stage
Posted on Saturday 24th October 2020

FrightFest always has a fine selection of documentaries showing, but none have touched hearts like Alien on Stage. This warm and loving look at an amateur stage production of the classic movie Alien has been placed in the running for the Horror Channel sponsored First Blood award so we chatted to directors Lucy Harvey and Danielle Kummer about this wonderful project.

HC: How long have you worked together and are you fans of the film, Alien?

We met working on a no budget British indie film in 2006 (I think) both working for free. Danielle was a camera trainee, I was the costume stylist. It was like going through a war together, it cemented our friendship and Danille...

Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth
Monday 24th May
10.50 PM
Star Trek: Voyager
Friday 28th May
7.00 PM
Tales From The Darkside
Sunday 23rd May
8.30 PM