LATEST | FEATURES | INTERVIEWS | NEWS | FRIGHTFEST | REVIEWS

Interview with Chris Collier, director of FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema
By James Whittington, Saturday 25th August 2018
Chris Collier director of FrightFest doc

FrightFest is one of the most famous festivals in the world. The team of Alan Jones, Ian Rattray, Paul McEvoy and Greg Day ensure that everyone who attends, from guests to punters get the best experience they can from it.

But what do they really think of each other and what really goes on behind the scenes? A new documentary from Chris Collier has given the team the chance to talk candidly about the festival and each other. Here he tells us how FrightFest: Beneath the Dark Heart of Cinema came together.

HC: Can you recall what it was like at your first FrightFest and what attracted you to attend in the first place?

CC: Back in 2009 I recorded a podcast with my friend Phil Newton - he's been coming to FrightFest since year one. He introduced me to Ian Rattray at a screening in London and it's through those two that I was drawn in to attending that first year.

HC: What inspired you to make a documentary about FrightFest?

CC: The initial inspiration was not mine. It's something that's been talked about as far back as 2012, though I was never involved in that. My only knowledge of that is through having produced their video content at the festival since 2011. In that time I've witnessed first hand what happens before the doors are opened to the public, and after they're closed. I'd discussed it with my production partner Craig Ennis over the years, but it was never more than that. Then, in 2016, we were working on a music doc that fell through part way through shooting. So, we went from one day making a film to the next day not making a film. With time on my hands I was drawn down the YouTube recommendations whirlpool, and ended up watching a punk documentary that featured Alan Jones. I'm sure that's the point I started to really think about it. Soon after that I met with Ian to discuss the festival moving to Shepard's Bush. Over the years I've got to know Ian well, and we end up talking about general life stuff. At some point during that conversation, without any plan to, I ended up pitching the idea of how I would make a documentary about FrightFest. He liked it and said, lets arranged to meet the others. I then had to pitch it to Craig, who fortunately didn't think it was a terrible idea.

HC: How long did it take to make from the first shot till the final edit?

CC: Our first actual shot for the documentary was shot on Thursday 25th August 2016, and we locked the film around 1st June 2018.

HC: Was it difficult getting the archive material together?

CC: Fortunately, FrightFest have been shooting at the festival since 2009. All we needed to do is look at it all. That's were Craig is invaluable. I edit other people work on a daily basis. However, on a film I always work with Craig. He's a great editor, very creative and the perfect person to work with. Especially, when you have hard drive after hard drive of footage. He's also not afraid to tell me when I'm wrong. We worked through all the many, many hours of archive footage together. We also got given footage and I tracked some down via the web.

HC: Were you surprised by the honesty from the FrightFest team as they talked themselves, each other and the event?

CC: Knowing the guys well before hand was helpful. The more honest material came from me witnessing some of those events. So, I knew what I wanted to ask and what I wanted them to talk about. I hoped they would be open with me, so I'm not sure I was surprised, but I was certainly pleased.

HC: The infamous Giallo and Tulpa movies are covered, can you recall these showing and what's the worst film, in your opinion that's been shown at FrightFest?

CC: Having worked at the festival for years now, I've not seen a full film there for a long time. I did see Giallo as part of the festival, surrounded by many other films of all different types, and without doubt it's one of my favourite screenings. I can't pick a worst film because in the context of the festival, films like Giallo and Tulpa are magic times.

HC: The piece conjures up many happy memories of past events, what's your favourite FrightFest moment?

CC: I've been very lucky, as we've interviewed a lot of great guests at the festival and met some amazing people. However, looking back to 2009 and meeting people I'd spoken to online in person and experiencing the festival for the first time can't be beaten.

HC: Are there any movies that have been shown at FrightFest that you liked that have yet to get a commercial release?

CC: Tulpa is available. However, I'd like to see the original cut released.

HC: It's clear that the FrightFest team had no input into this but did any of them ask for a preview before you'd locked the documentary?

CC: No, I let them know it was nearly done and that I'd like to show them it. We arranged a screening and I sat behind them, desperately trying to work out their reactions. That was it. They didn't ask me to change anything at all. That says something about them; it must be very difficult when the film is about you.

HC: Would you like to do a follow up doc in say ten years time?

CC: It would be interesting to see how the festival and film has progress over that time. It would be nice if someone new to FrightFest, who maybe walked in the door this year, makes that film from his or her perspective in ten years time. I'd like to see that.

HC: So, what are you working on next?

CC: We've just started planning for a new music documentary which we plan to start shooting just a soon as enough of the pieces fall into place. Not a narrative horror I'm afraid, but who knows - if the right idea comes along.

HC: Chris Collier, thank you very much.


MORE FRIGHTFEST
See how music can kill in Sound of Violence
Posted on Friday 23rd July 2021
Sound of Violence Cover

In thrilling new horror Sound of Violence, a young girl recovers her hearing and gains synthetic abilities during the brutal murder of her family. Finding solace in the sounds of bodily harm, as an adult she pursues a career in music composing her masterpieces through gruesome murders.

From the mind of talented new writer-director Alex Noyer and featuring a stunning lead performance from Jasmin Savoy Brown (2022's Scream, The Leftovers), Sound of Violence is being billed as one of the most original and shocking horrors of the year.

After its UK premiere at Arrow Frightfest, Sound of Violence on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital from 30th August than...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces second wave of films for August Cineworld event
Posted on Thursday 22nd July 2021
Bloodthirsty-WEB3

It's full scream ahead as Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 announces its second wave of hugely anticipated Discovery Screen and First Blood titles - a summer collection of provocative, edgy and transgressive entertainment to die for. There are fourteen World and ten European/International premieres amongst the thirty-four films on offer.

Eleven countries are represented, with titles ranging from Canadian entries Bloodthirsty, Amelia Moses' simmering LGBQT+ werewolf movie and sinister isolation thriller Motherly to Francesco Erba's As In Heaven, So On Earth, a stunning Italian blend of live action and Gothic puppet animation. Then there's Peter Bergendy's sumptuous Post Mortem, an epic Hu...

SHARE: READ MORE
FrightFest resurrects its New Blood quest for new writers
Posted on Tuesday 13th July 2021
New Blood 2021 - logo

As Arrow Video FrightFest stalks the dark recesses of the big screen again, the search resumes for new writers in the horror genre through its New Blood initiative. New Blood reunites FrightFest with Giles Edwards of Queensbury Pictures with its mission to find emerging UK-based writers dedicated to the genre and nurture their projects from script to screen. Queensbury is ultimately interested in buying the finished script rather than the idea, and so, this year all successful final candidates if selected should be able to send even a rough draft of the first ten pages of their script through with their acceptance.

Already the scheme has delivered two new projects: Broadcast ...

SHARE: READ MORE
Arrow Video FrightFest unveils first wave of twenty-five films for August 2021 Cineworld event
Posted on Thursday 8th July 2021
FrightFest 2021 - Poster art-1

Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK's biggest horror and fantasy film festival, is back at the Cineworld Leicester Square from Thursday August 26 - Monday 30 August for five days of the very best of global genre cinema.

The internationally renowned event leads the way in attesting to the versatility of the genre and, despite the interruptions caused by the pandemic, this year is no exception as the twenty-five films to be presented in the main screens are revealed. They include four world premieres and eight International/European premieres.

Global events over the past eighteen months have not only altered most people's lives but have had a profoundly i...

SHARE: READ MORE
Graham Humphreys' stunning artwork for Arrow Video FrightFest 2021 celebrates the festival's cinematic return.
Posted on Friday 2nd July 2021
FrightFest 2021 - Poster art-1

Arrow Video FrightFest is proud to present Graham Humphreys' stand-out poster design for 2021, which marks the 13th appearance for his iconic Monster.

Graham revealed today: "We have a happy monster this year. Though how happy a monster should be in a horror film festival raised the question, what would make the monster happy? Last year's event was not 'live'. This year, with a return to the social interaction that makes the festival such an important event in the annual calendar, it's as if we have bypassed 2020 in a time machine, full throttle, into 2021. To celebrate - a bottle of champagne! Although the monster would probably prefer a full-blooded vinta...

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Adrian Langley, director of Butchers.
Posted on Tuesday 27th October 2020
FrightFest-Halloween-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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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 ...

SHARE: READ MORE
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.

SHARE: READ MORE
Interview with Liam O'Donnell director of SKYLIN3S
Posted on Sunday 25th October 2020
skylin3s-poster

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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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 ...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
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...

SHARE: READ MORE
Frightfest Archive: 2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
PICK OF THE WEEK
John Carpenter's Vampires
JOHN CARPENTER'S VAMPIRES
Friday 6th August
10.45 PM
Eat Locals
EAT LOCALS
Sunday 15th August
10.55 PM
The Prince
THE PRINCE
Saturday 7th August
9.00 PM