And so it came to pass that on Day 4 of FrightFest I queued.
Arriving before the Empire opened I was greeted by FrightFest fans all in a line holding on for the opening of the glass doors which lead to the realm of horrors awaiting us all on this sunny Sunday morning 28th of August
The queuing turned out to be quite fun in fact as I chatted to my fellow FrightFesters about what they had seen and what was still to come. Soon the doors opened and I hurried in noting along the way as I passed the busy box office that several of the films had sold out including tonight’s much-hyped main event Kill List.
Taking my seat the day began with the end of the world courtesy of the opening of The Divide. A sci-fi horror set after the apocalypse where a group of random people are thrown together after escaping to the basement of their New York apartment building after a nuclear bomb goes off.
As time passes and the reality of their fate dawns on them the tensions and fractions in the group rise to unbearable levels as they fight with each other over food and power each person pushed to the very limits of their own humanity and beyond. Disturbing and powerful this post-apocalyptic horror staring Rosanna Arquette and Michael Biehn acts is a mirror on humanity reflecting the worst of us when we are forced to fight for survival.
On a lighter note it was then time for Andy Nyman’s Quiz From Hell which I attempted this year and ended up finding that my horror knowledge was not all it should be as the rock hard questions kept coming through five rounds covering all sorts of subjects from horror soundtracks to mash-up posters to how many types of pussy are on offer at the Titty Twister (its 17 and no I wont list them all for you!)
The short film showcase is a great way to see some terrifying talent and this year was no exception with shorts from all over the world featured. The collection included the return of the people behind Papa Wrestling who brought us the equally entertaining Banana Motherfucker, an animated cowboy versus vampires in Bats in the Belfry and a Christmas child chiller named Little Munchkin from director Ryan Andrews the man behind Elfie Hopkins. Best of all I thought was Brutal Relax a Spanish short packed full of gore and action which had the audience laughing and cheering along all the way through.
As another one of our reviewers check out Blood Runs Cold in the Discovery screen and after I watched some old school trailers including Schizoid and Nazi Love Camp 27 we where treated to the old school ghost story that is Ti West’s The Innkeepers. Introduced by the man himself the movie is set in an allegedly haunted hotel which is about to close down after one last weekend open.
With only a couple of guests and the boss out of sight the last two remaining employees Claire and Luke decide it’s the perfect time to try and capture proper evidence of the supernatural for Luke’s ghost website. But as things really do start to go bump in the night and the tension and terror raises the amateur ghostbusters start to regret ever attempting to contact the other side.
Funny, frightening and brilliantly directed with a great performance from leading lady Sara Paxton The Innkeepers was one of the highlights of the festival and well worth seeing. In the Q and A afterwards Ti West explained that the hotel the story is set and filmed in is in fact a real place which many including his own crew believe to really be haunted.
Just before the next film Andy Nyman returned to the stage to announce the winner of the competition which was obviously not me. As the horror head who scored highest ran up to the stage to collect his prize Nyman exclaimed “you almost look human” much to the entertainment of the rest of the crowd.
They Live was parodied next by Colin director Marc Price who took the iconic fight scene as inspiration except instead of brainwashing sunglasses this time the fight was over a pair of 3D glasses which in many cases is actually just as bad.
Christmas came early to FrightFest as Dick Maas introduced his twisted take on Father Christmas entitled Saint a horror where Santa Claus only has one list and everyone on it has been naughty.
Cheesy and gory it was a well made schlocky horror which entertained the crowd although offered nothing new except perhaps giving us horror fans another film to watch over the festive period that is.
As I looked around in the next break I noticed the cinema slowly starting to fill up and the reason was that Kill List was about to be shown. Hyped up beyond belief already Ben Wheatley’s British horror was one of the most eagerly anticipated films of the festival but would it and could it live up to expectations? There was only one way to find out.
Preceded by an excellent sci-fi horror short by Ben Parker entitled Shifter and a brief introduction by the funny and likable Ben Wheatley himself who jokingly told the masses “if you’ve got any questions about what’s going on afterwards I wont answer them” Kill List finally began.
Telling the tale of ex-solider turned paid hit man Jay who is unwillingly brought back into the blood work he has lost the taste for by his best friend in an attempt to save his marriage and family this brutal, uncompromising horror is full to the brim with tension and terror as the pair work through their mysterious clients Kill List each hit providing them with as many new questions as answers to what is really going on.
With pitch perfect performances from the all British cast which includes Neil Maskell, MyAnna Buring and Michael Smiley and a excellent script and story which builds brilliantly developing the characters along the way Kill List does indeed live up to its hype delivering a visceral punch that will have you reeling and thinking about it for days afterwards. Another highlight of FrightFest and possibly one of the best British films of the year this is a must see movie.
After such an amazing film and a brilliant Q and A with Ben Wheatley and the cast I decided to head home for the night missing out on Detention but ending Day 4 on a massive high. It had been a day of excellent movies at FrightFest but all good things must come to an end and there was only one more day left to go.
LoveHorror at FrightFest 2011 Day 5 Here