Monday, 3 October 2011


Frightfest, sponsored by FILM4, is a 5-day Horror and Fantasy festival screening UK, European and Worldwide premieres by directors from all over the world. Holding its first major event in 2000, Frightfest has since developed into a successful and highly anticipated, not-to-be-missed annual event for fans of the genre. With directors, producers, casts and fans from all over the world, this festival holds a buzzing atmosphere from start to finish, revealing a unique mixture of talent from all enthusiasts across the industry.

Having just attended my second consecutive Frightfest I was pleased to finally be back amongst the real buffs of the genre and immersed in gore galore! The festival followed its standard routine of screening 5-6 films a day back-to-back and throwing in some trivial, fan-involved competitions/quizzes etc. Being exposed to so many disturbing films in one day really is like going on a thrill-ride and forgetting to get off. From the opening credits of the first film on the morning of day 1, the audience are instantly catapulted into a whirlwind of genius plots from masterminds of the genre. The sheer amount of thrills and scares a person is subjected to can only be likened to being on-board a mental rollercoaster…for the best of 5 days. One minute you can be laughing along to the comedic atrocities of Tucker and Dale in Tucker and Dale vs Evil, and the next wincing away from the screen waiting for the Grim Reaper to carry out his sinister agenda in Final Destination 5. But I guess what ultimately tests whether you’re a true horror film fanatic or not is whether you can sit in a cinema for 11 hours a day- I have to say, that in itself can be rather distressing!

Whereas last year’s Frightfest was largely dominated by the works of European and Asian directors (actually my forte!) this years festival took a slightly different direction and pushed to uncover the talents of the UK and USA Horror Film industry. The somewhat originator of the franchise in the early 20th century, but arguably showing a recent decline in quality, it was interesting to see so much produce of horror from the western world included in the five days. Although I did find this limited the variety and the originality I had seen the previous year across the array of films, it was a pleasant surprise to witness some raw talent from the much-missed quality of American directors. Despite a considerable percentage of the films shown being continuations in a blockbuster franchise or ones that followed the comedic path (which, in my opinion, are being made in too higher frequency since the 2005 release of Shaun of the Dead- and to add, not to the same quality,) there were some real nail-biting and chilling premieres that really grasped my attention…

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