Wednesday, 25 August 2010
Fright nights (and days)
It’s Fright Fest time again.
Like many of the regulars who make the yearly pilgrimage to Leicester Square every August Bank Holiday I have my own deeply personal connections to this amazing horror festival, which I’ve attended in some form every year since 2001.
When I moved to London one of my first journalistic duties was to interview festival founder and horror legend Alan Jones for the Camden New Journal. It was extremely exciting for me as I grew up reading Jones’ inspirational writing on horror and science fiction cinema for Starburst, the favourite film magazine of my youth and the man was a charming, hilarious delight.
I’ve met many good friends through the fest, and two short films I worked on - Grindhouse trailer tribute Slash Hive which I co wrote and starred in, and The Initiation which I directed - played at the Glasgow and Leicester Square fests respectively. Those were amazing moments, never to be forgotten and I'll always be grateful to the organisers - especially Paul McEvoy and Ian Rattray for selecting us.
Make no mistake, this is a remarkable place to be for any genre fan, with an incredible track record of breaking horror classics, and the most committed fans and passionate, witty, erudite organisers you are likely to encounter at any festival in the world.
I'm not always able to make the whole trip, but even the years when I haven’t been there for the duration, I’ve always popped along to take in a couple of flicks and soak up the atmosphere. One thing that has become clearer over the years is just what a seismic event the fest is for those whose films are selected. Adam Green's Hatchet received a rapturous response in 2006, and he's back this year with the sequel. When I interviewed Green on his second visit to Fright Fest in 2007 it was clear how much the love and support of the festival meant to him, describing it as an 'amazing, amazing experience'. Green is now a firm friend of the fest - as are Guillermo Del Toro, Chris Smith, Neil Marshall, John Landis and many others.
I’ll be there for the whole of Saturday this year, where I can't wait to take in Monsters, the film that already has everyone taking, and briefly on Sunday to see what all the A Serbian Film fuss is all about. I’m already buzzed about it.
I’ve already seen four of the films playing at the festival this year - Aussie sensation The Loved Ones, lovingly forensic giallo tribute Amer, nutso tiger-on-the-loose pic Burning Bright and the big closing film, The Last Exorcism. Each of these films is interesting and unique and a couple are quite superb. The quality of those four is an indication this could be a vintage year for the festival, especially given how strong the rest of the line up looks.
So - to everyone who will be there over the next five days, have a truly great festival and I'll hope to see some of you there over the weekend. And in the words of George A Romero - another horror legend who I had the great privilege of meeting through the fest - stay scared!