Category Archives: FrightFest
Horror Channel FrightFest has unleashed Graham Humphrey’s spooktacular new artwork for this year’s annual Bank Holiday event taking place at Cineworld Leicester Square and The Prince Charles Cinema from 24 to 28 August 2017.
Drawing on the revivals of genre icons Chucky, Victor Crowley and Leatherface and paying homage to the annual event’s return to the Empire (aka Cineworld Leicester Square), Graham has created the FrightFest Phantom…
‘My image is an attempt to amalgamate the Gothic roots of horror with the 70s Monster revival that saturated the US and UK, inspiring generations of filmmakers that created some of the most successful film franchises and oddities of the last 40 years,’ says Humphreys. ‘Universal monsters meets 70s bubble gum pop. I also thought it would be fun to play with the idea of a FrightFest Phantom, the face behind the best in horror and added the scratches and dirt to make it look like old damaged film stock.’
Festival Passes and day tickets for Friday and Monday are still available.
Fantastic news frightfans – CULT OF CHUCKY will get its world premiere and open this year’s Horror Channel Frightfest which is also heading back to London’s West End from 24-28 August. Writer and director Don Mancini and stars Jennifer Tilly and Fiona Dourif will be in attendance, alongside Chucky the deadly doll.
Mancini said today: “It’s a true pleasure to be hosting the world premiere of CULT OF CHUCKY at FrightFest. I have fond memories of unveiling Curse of Chucky there in 2013 so it’s great to be returning to the UK’s acknowledged home of horror – especially as this film picks up from where Curse…left off”.
Two more of the horror genre’s most popular and beloved franchises are given their World Premieres: To celebrate a decade of his cursed Victor Crowley creation, writer/director Adam Green is returning to FrightFest with a version of HATCHET never seen before. Plus, there is a presentation of Julien Maury and Alexandre Bustillo’s LEATHERFACE, the stunning prequel to the terror classic THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE.
AND NOW THE SCREAMING STARTS…
FrightFest unveiled a bright new directorial talent when it screened Tyler McIntyre’s PATCHWORK at the Glasgow Film Festival and the closing night film is the UK Premiere of his amazing TRAGEDY GIRLS, where HEATHERS meets SCREAM in a dream combo. It stars super-powered heroines Alexandra Shipp and Brianna Hildebrand.
FrightFest also welcomes back Adam Wingard with the European Premiere of his supernatural manga DEATH NOTE, Joe Lynch with the European Premiere of his highly infectious action thriller MAYHEM, Mickey Keating with the European Premiere of his eye-shattering PSYCHOPATHS, Graham Skipper with the European Premiere of his surreal sci-fi romance SEQUENCE BREAK and genre favourite Barbara Crampton, who stars in Norbert Kell’s skin-crawler REPLACE, receiving its UK Premiere.
In a programme packed with innovation, uniqueness and individuality, other tips of the ice-pick are Ryan Prows’ powerful cult-in-waiting LOWLIFE, Trent Haaga’s stunning 68 KILL, high voltage THE VILLAINESS hot from Cannes, Alex de la Iglesia’s bleakly comic THE BAR, Miguel Angel Vivas’ remake of the French extreme thriller INSIDE, Daniele Misischia’s undead Romageddon THE END? Todd Tuckers’ affectionately creepy THE TERROR OF HALLOWS EVE, Brandon Christensen’s terrifying STILL/BORN, Sebastien Landry & Laurence Morais-Lagace’s head-exploding GAME OF DEATH, Kurtis David Harder’s provocative sci-fi horror INCONTROL and Royce Gorsuch’s kaleidoscopic mindbender MINDHACK.
Continuing the festival’s important and vital commitment to highlighting the cream of the homegrown crop, our British strand is well-populated with World Premieres for Dominic Brunt’s perverted shocker ATTACK OF THE ADULT BABIES, Christian James’ prison-set vampire comedy FANGED UP and Matthew Heaven’s scorching revenge study ACCOUNTABLE. There are also European Premieres for Dominic Bridge’s debut dark morality tale FREEHOLD, Tom Paton’s nerve-shredding REDWOOD and Benjamin Barfoot’s hilariously blood-soaked DOUBLE DATE. And the ‘First Blood’ strand Is back on the menu with five tasty titles: actor Jason Flemyng’s blood-sucking feature debut EAT LOCALS, Louis Melville’s squaddie shocker BOOTS ON THE GROUND, Hendrik Faller’s ice-cold thriller MOUNTAIN FEVER, Michaël Boucherie’s tattoo-terror WHERE THE SKIN LIES and Peter Stray’s alien-invading black comedy CANARIES.
The festival’s accent on rising talent is further enriched with Preston DeFrancis’ extreme slasher RUIN ME, Natasha Kermani’s sci-fi fantasy IMITATION GIRL, Clay Staub’s supernatural detective thriller DEVIL’S GATE, Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard’s mesmerising RADIUS, Samuel Galli’s devilishly shocking OUR EVIL, Andrés Goteira’s dazzling DHOGS, David Chirchirillo’s Tinder Terror GOOD MATCH, Tini Tuellman’s spine-chilling psycho suspense thriller FREDDY/EDDY, Haritz Zubillaga’s car-killing giallo THE GLASS COFFIN, Scott Poiley’s hard-edged chiller EXHUME, Adam Graveley’s Aussie outback shocker 3RD NIGHT, Michael Mongillo’s audacious and haunting DIANE, Peter Ricq’s stark comedy DEAD SHACK and Carlos Algara and Alejandro Martinez-Beltran’s gripping psychological twister VERONICA.Three documentaries will receive their eagerly awaited premieres at FrightFest this year. KING COHEN: THE WILD WORLD OF FILMMAKER LARRY COHEN is a dazzling career overview of the maverick director behind such classic horrors as IT’S ALIVE, Q THE WINGED SERPENT, fantasy television series like ‘The Invaders’, HELL UP IN HARLEM Blaxploitation, recent releases CELLULAR and soon the MANIAC COP remake. We welcome back on screen Kane Hodder, everyone’s favourite Jason Voorhees in the FRIDAY THE 13th series, with his moving and eye-opening TO HELL AND BACK: THE KANE HODDER STORY. Finally there’s the extraordinary MANSFIELD 66/67, a super Hollywood Babylon-style whisk through the final years of movie goddess Jayne Mansfield’s life and untimely, possibly Satanic, death.
Other attractions include Emilia Clarke in VOICE FROM THE STONE, Robert Englund in NIGHTWORLD, the French graphic novel adaptation ALONE, the outrageous gore-fest MEATBALL MACHINE KODOKU, the Aussie chiller KILLING GROUND, the hilarious TOP KNOT DETECTIVE and Episodes 1 & 2 of the amazing Japanese TV series CROW‘S BLOOD. Plus two FrightFest Glasgow hits are being rescreened: Simon Rumley’s FASHIONISTA and Colin Minihan’s IT STAINS THE SANDS RED.
This year’s retrospective restoration strand highlights the underrated British horror DREAM DEMON, RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD III, two classic Hammers, BLOOD FROM THE MUMMY’S TOMB and DEMONS OF THE MIND, plus the longest version found of the seminal proto-giallo DEATH LAID AN EGG, lovingly restored by Nucleus Films’ Jake West and Marc Morris.
The Duke Mitchell Film Club is back with a hosted presentation of the UK premiere of Stefan Ruzowsky’s COLD HELL, a gripping serial killer thriller. This is followed by the not-to-be missed DUKE MITCHELL PARTY, where the audience and invited special guests can expect all manner of madness guaranteed to kick off your Saturday late night in style.
Alan Jones, co-director of FrightFest, said today: “The whole cinema landscape is changing and Horror Channel FrightFest is listening. We know the fans want to see the films first, see them fast and see them in an environment that is second to none. That’s why we have what we believe is the finest line-up ever assembled and are showcasing the superlative selection in premium surroundings. So, the West End becomes the Dark Heart of London once again. And we’ve made it to our 18th birthday. It’s going to be quite some party”.
Festival passes will go on sale tomorrow (Saturday 1 July) at noon and will only be available to buy online: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html
Single tickets will go on sale on Sat 29 July from 9am.
The Love Witch (2016) | Prepare to be seduced, bewitched and beguiled – just watch out for the jimsonweed!
A deliciously visual confection that pays loving homage to vintage Hollywood glamour, melodrama and Technicolor, Anna Biller’s The Love Witch is a beguiling and bewitching feminist exploration of pathological love, desire and narcissism.
She Loved Men… To Death
Wiccan convert Elaine (Samantha Robinson) is determined to find a man to love her entirely. Fleeing San Francisco after the death of a lover, she takes up residence in a gothic Victorian apartment in a quaint town northern Californian, where she begins her search for the man of her dreams.
But her sex magic – which requires the use of the hallucinogenic jimsonweed – is so powerful it sends her suitors to an early grave, and when she does meet her perfect match in a detective (Gian Keys) who is investigating her, Elaine’s desperation to be loved sends her over the edge…
With its purposefully stylised look, drenched in a ultra vivid colour palette, Anna Biller’s The Love Witch certainly took my breathe away and reminded me of how excited I felt when I first laid eyes on the hyper-real styling’s of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Querelle, James Bidgood’s Pink Narcissus and Todd Haynes’ Poison and Velvet Goldmine.
Praise be Biller for taking over seven years to bring her feminist opus to cinematic life – and doing all the writing, direction and editing herself (as well as the sets, songs and paintings), while also working closely with cinematographer, M David Mullen (Jennifer’s Body and TV’s Extant), to achieve her desire to create a fun movie that uses her own cinema fantasies to ‘penetrate the visual world of an iconic witch’.
It’s certainly exciting for cinephiles like myself to catch all the references that Biller channels into the film: like the opening sequence that’s an intentional nod to Hitchcock’s The Birds – complete with retro rear-screen projection; Douglas Sirk’s soapy 1950s melodramas; and female-driven pictures like Mildred Pierce and Leave Her To Heaven.
And when it comes to the borrowed music, Biller cleverly chooses some evocative 1960s giallo scores by Ennio Morricone. Now I might be mistaken, but I think I also heard a mock-medieval melody from David Lee’s Masque of the Red Death score from Roger Corman’s 1964 Pathecolor horror classic – another film that made masterful use of a primary colour palette courtesy of Nicolas Roeg.
For me, the heavy use of reds, purples and blacks and the witches’ coven sequences reminded me of some other psychedelic American International Pictures-produced horrors like Count Yorga, Vampire and The Dunwich Horror. But Biller has gone on record to say that she was never influenced by what she calls these ‘exploitation movies’ as they were made purely for ‘male pleasure’.
Playing the deluded femme fatale, Samantha Robinson is totally bewitching as Elaine, who is part Stepford wife, part Samantha from Bewitched, but with the darker shades of Sandy Dennis in That Cold Day in the Park and a couple of Hitchcock heroines lurking behind inviting deep hazel eyes that stare directly at the camera in almost every shot. It’s a clever technique that effectively seduces the viewer into being drawn into Elaine’s deluded candy-coloured world.
Here’s how Biller viewed her intentions: ‘I wanted to make a movie about a witch, because I think that every woman is made to feel like a witch by the men who don’t understand her: that is, mysterious, dangerous, different, abnormal. Elaine is monstrous, wreaking havoc wherever she goes, but she is also sympathetic, because she has essentially been driven mad by being a woman, and is struggling to find love and acceptance in a world that has disappointed her at every turn.’
The gender politics of Biller’s The Love Witch is certainly ripe for closer examination and comment, and I look forward to revisiting the film when it gets its UK Blu-ray release on 13 March from ICON Entertainment. In the meantime, do yourself a favour and catch this on the big screen – you NEED to see it in all its 35mm glory.
Oh and for those of you who are film location fanatics (like me), Elaine’s Munsters-like Victorian mansion can be found at 916 13th St, Arcata, CA 95521.
The Love Witch is out in selected UK cinemas now.
Now it its 17th year, FrightFest will see 62 new features screening at its new home at the Vue Cinema at Shepherd’s Bush, West London, next week (25-29 August). I’ll be there throughout the weekend not only to see as much as I can (and get my retinas burned in the attempt), but also to promote the first officially licensed Vincent Price Ale in the UK – Black Cat, which is sponsoring FrightFest’s big director’s lunch, and whose label has been designed by FrightFest’s resident poster artist Graham Humphreys. I’ll also be posting my thoughts of each day’s offerings here each day.
Here’s what’s on offer….
The opening night attraction is the European Premiere of MY FATHER DIE, Sean Brosnan’s brutal and beautiful feature debut – an ultra-stylish, über violent revenge thriller that’s a calling card for Brosnan’s brilliant talents. And our closing night film is another breakneck paced masterpiece – the UK Premiere of TRAIN TO BUSAN, so join ‘The Commuting Dead’ as director Sang-ho Yeon takes you on a first class horror action thrill-ride, mixing slaughter, suspense and splatter with incredible visual élan.
In between these two banner titles are the scream of the crop from all over the globe, strongly represented in our line-up of World Premieres by the incredible Italian supercar tension-ratcheting MONOLITH, the gory Dutch treat THE WINDMILL MASSACRE, the stunning South African nightmare FROM A HOUSE ON WILLOW STREET, Tricia Lee’s creepy Canadian chiller BLOOD HUNTERS and three American shock absorbers KNUCKLEBONES, ENCLOSURE and the Eurotrashy radical BLOOD FEAST remake.
Reflecting a productive year for British horror, there are twelve UK World Premieres, including Shaun Robert Smith’s intensely powerful BROKEN, Jon Ford’s visceral revenge thriller OFFENSIVE, Wyndham Price’s dark fantasy CROW, Kate Shenton’s auto-satire EGOMANIAC, Ben Parker’s claustrophobic THE CHAMBER, Marty Stalker’s shock-doc HOSTAGE TO THE DEVIL and Andy Edward’s sun, sea and sex gore-fest IBIZA UNDEAD.
Five of the UK World Premieres make up the ‘First Blood’ strand, in which home-based directors are given a chance to shine with their debut efforts. These are: Phillip Escott’s harrowing CRUEL SUMMER, Brad Watson’s urban gang shocker HALLOW’S EVE, James Crow’s deadly HOUSE OF SALEM, Stewart Spark’s 666 Short Cuts To Hell entry THE CREATURE BELOW and Lawrie Brewster’s PTSD-inspired THE UNKINDNESS OF RAVENS.
Other festival highlights in the Main Screen strand include the European Premiere of Adam Wingard’s intense chiller of the moment, THE WOODS. destined to be one of the key horrors of 2016. We also have this year’s most ferocious possession movie in Cody Calahan’s LET HER OUT, as well as Todd William’s superb Stephen King adaptation CELL, starring John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson. Then there is the top box office Italian sensation THEY CALL ME JEEG ROBOT, Adam Rifkin’s tour-de-force DIRECTOR’S CUT, starring Penn Jillette, Rob Zombie’s ultra-violent grindhouse slasher 31, ‘Saw’ man Darren Lynn Bousman’s graphic novel inspired ABBATOIR, Simon Rumley’s latest visionary masterpiece JOHNNY FRANK GARRETT’S LAST WORD, Jackson Stewart’s supernatural switcheroo BEYOND THE GATES, the zombie theme park hell ride THE REZORT, the full-blooded cracker RED CHRISTMAS, the cryogenic chiller REALIVE, the home invasion twister MERCY, the darkly unpredictable PET, starring Dominic Monaghan and the beguilling THE MASTER CLEANSE, with The Big Bang Theory’s Jonny Galecki and Anna Friel.
South America is rapidly becoming a major genre player and FrightFest is proud to be presenting seven specialities from Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Mexico. Daniel de la Vega’s WHITE COFFIN is co-written by FrightFest favourite Adrian Garcia Bogliano, Laura Casbe’s BENAVIDEZ’S CASE stretches surrealist boundaries, Patricio Valladares’ DOWNHILL mines H. P. Lovecraft for inspiration, THROUGH THE SHADOW puts Henry James’ classic tale of terror ‘The Turn of the Screw’ through a south of the border filter, THE SIMILARS is pure ‘Twilight Zone’ inspiration, FRANCESCA a thrilling Buenos Aires take on giallo and WE ARE THE FLESH comes with serious artistic endorsements from fellow Mexican filmmakers Alfonso Cuaron and Alejandro G. Iñárritu.
The Discovery Screen strand is as bold as ever and includes a restored version of Shelden Renan’s controversial documentary THE KILLING OF AMERICA, Anna Biller’s gloriously art-directed THE LOVE WITCH, the cursed silent movie FURY OF THE DEMON, the Berlin Film Festival break-out, SHELLEY, the visionary sci-fi fantasy LOST SOLACE and the darkly hilarious ghost-busting ANOTHER EVIL. Then there’s Julian T. Pinder’s chilling murder investigation POPULATION ZERO, Martin Owen’s High-tec underground thriller terror LET’S BE EVIL, Tim Reis’ slimy creature feature BAD BLOOD: THE MOVIE and Michael Boroweic’s acute study of alien paranoia, MAN UNDERGROUND.
Plus, you can witness the stag party from hell in THE UNRAVELLING, the bad taste shenanigans of NIGHT OF SOMETHING STRANGE, , the viral thrills of THE EVIL IN US, the vehicular chills of PARANORMAL DRIVE, the die-hard dystopia of HERE ALONE, the eye-popping shocks of FOUND FOOTAGE 3D, and the ‘goriously’ insane ATTACK OF THE LEDERHOSEN ZOMBIES.
Ahead of its FrightFest Presents DVD release, there is an encore airing for ROAD GAMES, this time with a live interactive commentary with director Abner Pastoll and a London premiere for one of the most popular movies shown earlier this year at FrightFest Glasgow, Sean Byrne’s THE DEVIL’S CANDY.
The Duke Mitchell Film Club is also back with the UK premiere of Kim Sang-Chan’s outrageously infectious KARAOKE CRAZIES and a first showing of all three episodes of the mesmerising French TV mini-series BEYOND THE WALLS.
For passes and tickets, check out: http://frightfest.nutickets.com
For the full schedule: http://www.frightfest.co.uk/2016films/schedule.html