Instead of watching films on the big screen first thing on the second day of the festival, I made my acting debut in an independent short shot down on Aberystwyth’s iconic sea front. Widower, directed by South Wales based filmmaker Tom Hughes will be available online by December the 12th.
The film is a non-budget, dialogue-free gothic ghost story, starring musician Fan Octo in the leading role. Working on the film was a positive and professional experience and an interesting learning process. We shot several takes from different angles in order to convey the core storyline. The direction was precise and efficient meaning we achieved a great deal within a few hours. We struck lucky with the weather too, the mistiness and grey colour allowed for an eerie tone and melancholic atmosphere.
As well as appearing in the film, I had professional make up applied to transform me into my ghostly character and took part in my first photo shoot down on the beach. My image is displayed on the main poster, which is very exciting. There will be plenty of behind the scenes footage from the shoot in my upcoming Abertoir vlog as making this film was an imperative part of this year’s festival for me.
I also have an interview available on YouTube with Tom Hughes, discussing the movie and low budget filmmaking in general. Tom has some excellent advice for prospective filmmakers in terms of utilizing the equipment and locations that are accessible to them. Movie making is possible for anyone and without a doubt, it is a fun world to be a part of.
Link to Tom Hughes Interview:
Following the film shoot, it was then time to indulge in the ultimate giallo movie, Mario Bava’s ‘Blood and Black Lace’. Considered one of the most influential films of the sub-genre, ‘Blood and Black Lace’ laid the groundwork and inspired a slew of iconic directors from Dario Argento with his use of vivid colour to Quentin Tarantino with his implementation of stylized violence. Bava’s classic is a traditional giallo through and through, however, it is his inventive style and lurid cinematography that has lingered in the minds of audiences. He established that a violent plot can appear beautiful to the eye which leads to the argument of high culture vs. low culture surrounding giallo films as discussed in Russ Hunter talk, “All the Colours of the Giallo”. Screening ‘Blood and Black Lace’ is highly integral when showcasing the history of giallo as without it we wouldn’t have experienced the stylish, experimental films that superseded it.
Abertoir is noted for its love of Asian horror and frequently screens a bunch of the most compelling entries within the genre. 2017 was no exception as Abertoir featured the well-regraded, Mon Mon Mon Monsters, directed by Giddens Ko. This Taiwanese scare-fest is both engaging and challenging as it blurs the lines between good and evil and puts forward the notion of, who are the real monsters? There is nothing crueller than kids and the film does not shy away from the subject as it tackles bullying and nihilistic behaviour head on. The film pushes the envelope and continually goads the audience in terms of which direction it will head into next. On the most part, it is highly uncomfortable viewing as the kids take disturbing matters into their own hands however it cleverly subverts the expected convention in horror that monsters are all evil and the humans are the instantaneous heroes.
Mon Mon Mon Monsters is about survival regardless of species and the lengths that will be taken in order to do so. The cinematography is pristine and is truly flaunted during the set piece revolving around a school bus attack. That scene is in fact one of the most striking pieces of visual film seen in a recent horror movie. Mon Mon Mon Monsters went down a storm with the Abertoir audience coming in at second place in the ‘New Features’ category during the festival’s closing ceremony.
The Pub Quiz is always a massive highlight at Abertoir. Pass holders are keen to compete their horror knowledge in a quiz that is renowned for its unapologetically tough questions. There’s anagrams, the music round, contemporary horror questions and of course a few giallo rounds for good measure. The pub quiz is the ideal opportunity for pass holders to socialize while receiving a well-earned break from continual film watching. The key ingredient of the pub quiz is of course fun, experienced amongst likeminded fans while indulging in the traditional Abertoir cocktails!
Closing off the second day of Abertoir was some Troma trash in the shape of Return to Nuke’ Em High: AKA. Volume 2. Granted, Troma isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea and is very much an acquired taste. That said, what stands out about Lloyd Kaufman’s brand of weirdness is that he doesn’t play by the rules and goes all out to be as offensive and unusual as he likes. The movie works well in the late-night slot for some midnight style delirium. While Return to Nuke Em’ High didn’t hold appeal for me it certainly demonstrates the variety the Abertoir programme has to offer, containing different types of films to satisfy all audience members.
Part 3…Coming Soon…and if you missed it Part 1 is HERE