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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 Arrow Video FrightFest announces August 2020 Short Film Programme
Posted on Saturday 8th August 2020
The films may be short, but there is no shortage of scares as Arrow Video FrightFest 2020 showcases the best new short films from the UK and around the world, with six countries representing three continents. From under-the-bed monsters to monsters in front of your eyes, from the sinister and the creepy to the wickedly human and the not-so-human, this year's selection shines a spotlight on upcoming filmmakers.
The UK is represented with a record eleven entries. There are world premiere screenings for Werewolf, where game night just got dangerous, A Bit Of Fun, where a girls' night in brings out the dead and The Beholder, in which you'd be wise to ...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Airell Hayles writer and co-director of They're Outside
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to Airell Hayles whose movie They're Outside mixes found footage and pagan horror genres to great effect.
HC: Where did the idea for They're Outside come from?
AH: This idea for They're Outside came from a couple of things. I remember as a kid hearing that my uncle suffered mild agoraphobia, and when I learned what it was, I was fascinated by this idea of some people being kind of scared to leave their homes. Of course, the recent Covid-19 events h...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Fionn and Toby Watts, directors of Playhouse
Posted on Saturday 1st August 2020
FrightFest is once again on the horizon but this time, due to global events the event has become a virtual experience with all films being accessed online. Horror is once again sponsoring the First Blood strand of the event. Here we chat to talented brothers Fionn and Toby Watts who have delivered a gothic, creepy piece named Playhouse.
HC: Was there one film or person who influenced or inspired you to become film makers?
FW: As a young boy I remember being absolutely blown away by the image of The Terminator's exo-skeleton rising from the flames. Around the same time I saw Candyman at a sleepover (rented by my friend's 'older' brother...) and it was such an i...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest announces August Digital Edition line-up and Horror Channel sponsors talent-seeking First Blood strand
Posted on Tuesday 28th July 2020
The UK's most popular horror and fantasy film festival celebrates its 21st bloody year with a special Digital edition, showcasing twenty-five films, from Thursday 27th August to Monday 31st August, including seven world premieres and sixteen UK premieres. Ten countries are represented from four continents in a deadly, daring and diverse programme exclusively presented to UK audiences.
Passes and tickets will go on sale Saturday 1 August and details on how to access the event and choose which films to watch are on the FrightFest website. All film screenings will be geo-locked to UK audiences and only accessible from within the United Kingdom.
The men...SHARE: READ MORE Horror Channel highlights six summer weekend shockers in its August premiere line-up
Posted on Thursday 16th July 2020
August is a wicked month on Horror Channel, as the UK's most popular small-screen destination for genre fans presents six summer weekend shockers, five FrightFest hits including the UK TV premieres of Julian Richards, Reborn, a Carrie for the Z Generation, starring horror icon Barbara Crampton, Jordan Barker's Witches In The Woods, an unrelenting assault of pure terror, Alistair Legrand's highly unusual genre-blending chiller, The Diabolical and Milan Todorovic's sharp-teethed, seductive Killer Mermaids. All these films received FrightFest premiere screenings.
There is also a channel premiere for another FrightFest title, The Windmill Massacre, where Friday The 13th...SHARE: READ MORE Interview with Tony and Ryan Smith co-writers of Volition.
Posted on Tuesday 7th July 2020
FrightFest 2019 delivered some amazing movies and one of the best was Volition from the talented brothers Tony and Ryan Smith. Now that the movie has been unleashed onto Apple TV, Prime Video and other Digital Platforms we chatted to them about this acclaimed movie and their plans for the future.
HC: You both hail from South Africa, what's the movie industry like in that country at the moment?
TDS: I believe the South African film industry is very healthy and it's a place Ryan and I would love to revisit and make a movie about. I have a number of filmmaker friends who film there and absolutely love the people, the scenery and the incredible crews.
HC: Did you know from an...SHARE: READ MORE Arrow Video FrightFest to present August digital edition
Posted on Wednesday 24th June 2020
Arrow Video FrightFest will go virtual over the August Bank Holiday, presenting up to twenty-five films from Friday 28th August to Monday 31st August inclusive.
There will also be additional online content including special guest intros, Q and As, and a short film showcase. Plus, some free Live events are at the planning stage. Passes and individual tickets will be available and go on sale early August. The films will be geo-blocked for viewers in the UK.
More details will be announced in the coming weeks, alongside the line-up of films.
Ian Rattray, FrightFest co-director said today: "Although we can't recreate the special atmosphere of our public gat...SHARE: READ MORE Important news from team FrightFest
Posted on Tuesday 2nd June 2020
Due to the continuing Covid-19 restrictions on social distancing, Arrow FrightFest's traditional five day event in August has been regretfully put on hold. Instead, the organisers are planning to expand their traditional all-day Halloween event at the end of October.
Alan Jones, co-director, said today: "Sadly, we won't be able to come together and celebrate our 21st year in the summer but rest assured, we will make our London Halloween event one to remember. FrightFest has always been about the genre community joining together, not just to embrace films but to demonstrate our unique spirit of supportive closeness".
Details on dates, venues, films and tick...SHARE: READ MORE 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 Frightfest Archive: 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 PICK OF THE WEEK
Tuesday 11th August
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