You may not have the time, money or stomach for five days of horror and fantasy film previews and premieres, but even if you skipped over the weekend and day passes, there’s always the single film tickets for Frightfest.
These will go on sale at 11am on Monday August 1st, in person at the Empire Leicester Square, through their website or via their box office phone line – 08 714 714 714.
I’m a marathon man, ready to settle in for the full five days, but even still, I can see that there will be some particular highlights on the schedule.
The program runs from Thursday 25th of August until Bank Holiday Monday 29th August, across two screens. In total, there will be 37 films, including 7 world premieres and 20 European premieres. Of that little lot, here are my top ten picks – in no particular order.
1. The Theatre Bizarre
A compendium film with Tom Savini and Richard Stanley listed amongst its seven credited directors, The Theatre Bizarre offers up a quick-rotating platter of grand guignol snacks. Chances of some being really tasty are high and, frankly, Richard Stanley has been so quiet for so long that he could put dog droppings on the menu and I’d start tucking in my napkin. Also: Udo Kier is in this, and he’s always good value.
2. Troll Hunter
Little Bleeders insist time and again, via our forum or by e-mail, that this is one for me to look forward to. So I will. I’m quite sceptical about mock-documentaries, but I can see that the format has some unique applications, and this film apparently has great fun with the conventions. The CG effects that create the giant trolls romping across the Norwegian landscape seem smooth and glitch-light, even while the trolls they portray are intriguingly stylised.
3. The Woman
Lucky McKee and Jack Ketchum run head-on at some big ideas, and upset the lily-livered in the process. A study of gender politics in conservative society, this looks to be a serious film about serious things, but bloody scary with it. A man entraps the feral “woman” of the title and proceeds to attempt to domesticate her, setting the stage for a horrendous final clash between these characters and the ideologies they represent.
Probably my number one pick of the whole fest. I’ve been looking forward to this since it was announced.
Another compendium, this time featuring Frightfest’s favourite sons Adam Green and Joe Lynch on the directors’ roster. I saw an 85% complete version of the film during Comic-Con, and will be coming back for that last 15% of spit and polish (and various other sticky substances). A loud, brash and excitable film with a real, deep love for cinema, Chillerama blends film buffs’ affection and a gore hound’s hankering for things that go splat in the night.
5. Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark
This year’s horror remake that it’s alright to like, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark sees Troy Nixey make his feature length debut for mentor-producer, not mention co-writer, Guillermo Del Toro. What’s more, I think horror films with child protagonists are always interesting – the best nightmare movies make trembling kiddies of us all.
6. Tucker And Dale Vs. Evil
Stars Alan Tudyk and Tyler Labine are dab hands at a certain sort of broad goofing around (when they’re not busy playing characters “properly” in more grounded fare) and here that larking is blended with schlock for a kind of tender spoof of “Killer Hillbilly” fare such as Texas Chainsaw and Wrong Turn. I hope this lives up to its reviews, where it’s often mentioned in the same breath as Shaun of the Dead.
7. Kill List
Ben Wheatley directed a series of Ideal, so his movie is on this list for Rich as much as anything. Wheatley’s first feature, Down Terrace, marked him out as a star in the ascendancy, and now his second picture, Kill List will be something of a proving ground. It’s also likely to be the “Why’s this on the list?” film on the program, the picture that doesn’t quite belong in the horror genre. Last year that slot was taken by Red Hill, which turned out to be one of the very best films not just of the fest, but of the year. It seems like they’ll bend the rules for real gems at Frightfest.
8. The Man Who Saw Frankenstein Cry
A documentary about Paul Naschy, aka Jacinto Molina Álvarez, the king of Spanish genre acting. This documentary features contributions from Joe Dante, John Landis and Caroline Munro, and is hosted by Mick Garris, and really, it’s no surprise that they all love Naschy. If the film does him justice, it will be an absolute must.
9. My Sucky Teen Romance
The third feature from Emily Hagins, part of the Austin-Alamo cool scene. Worth watching just to see what all of the fuss is about, though it’s probably best to remember this will be painfully hip and perhaps a little bit rough around the edges. I’m almost expecting it to be one of the lesser films on the Frightfest program, but I’m still powerfully drawn to it.
10. A Night In The Woods
A late addition to the program, this low-budget picture from Monsters’ producers Vertigo will star that film’s Scoot McNairy. That’s probably enough to get me interested, but advance word is also very, very strong with test screening audiences apparently left quaking in their seats. Not bad for a humble little campers-go-pfft body count picture.
What no room for Final Destination 5? Or Stormhouse? Or A Lonely Place Tio Die? Well, I’ll certainly be trying to sit down for them all, and I’ll be reporting back on everything I see. Unpredictable gems are part of the Frightfest tradition, and I just know that something I haven’t put on this list is going to blindside me then blow me over.
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