Blue My Mind opened the third day of the festival. A beautifully mesmerizing yet complex coming-of-age tale from Switzerland. Blue My Mind captured the hearts of the Abertoir audience coming in at fourth place in the audience vote for new feature films.
Steve Jones, a senior lecturer in Media at Northumbria University presented a talk titled, “Cut and Run: A Brief History of the Slasher”. While taking an academic approach to the subject, Jones’s talk was super interesting and extremely fun. He explored the traditional tropes that are renowned in the slasher genre however used more underrated film examples to illustrate them, that would be lesser known to a mainstream audience, including Friday the 13th Part V: A New Beginning (1985), Stage Fright (2014), Pieces (1982), The Dentist (1996) and Sleepaway Camp 2: Unhappy Campers (1988). Jones explored the evolution of slasher movie from its humble beginnings in the early sixties, to the gore-fuelled and humour laden eighties to a more straight-laced approach post-Scream in the late 90’s to the modern day with meta-narrative films such as, The Final Girls (2015). He also discussed the abundance of low budget, porn parodies which are a whole other category when it comes to the broad slasher genre! Highly informative and filled with humour, ‘Cut and Run’ was an excellent presentation and an essential trip down slasher movie memory lane.
During the festival, I had expressed over on my Twitter account how outstanding the short film entries had been for 2018. The submissions were of such a high professional standard that the festival’s team made the decision to split this year’s competition up into two parts so that the work of each filmmaker could be experienced and appreciated on the big screen. The short films featured all competed for the prestigious Melies D’Argent award through Abertoir’s inclusion in the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation with the competition’s overall winner earning a place in the final lineup of one of the major European festivals. The fate of the winner remains firmly in the hands of the Abertoir audience scoring each film individually out of 10. The competition was fierce, and it was no easy feat to distinguish between them.
Personal favourites included Spanish, sci-fi/drama Caronte for it’s out of this world production values and heart-warming story, Alberto Corredor Marina’s Baghead, which has a full review available on the site, the gradual creep-fest that is Santiago Menghini’s Milk, the surreal but brilliantly executed animation, Sunscapades, a snapshot of grief combined with emotional horror in Al Lougher’s The Dollmaker, the visually beautiful, La Noira, the genuinely unsettling, Post-Mortem Mary, the bonkers, Who’s That at the Back of the Bus by Philip Hardy and finally the winner of the Melies D’Argent award, the exceptionally gripping, Skickelsen.
Abertoir would not be Abertoir without celebrating one of the genre’s all-time greatest actors and the festival’s Patron Saint, the inimitable, Vincent Price. It has always been a festival tradition to screen one of Vincent Price’s iconic films and this years was The Last Man on Earth (1964). The film may be known to many as a precursor to, I Am Legend (2007) starring Will Smith. The screening received a live accompaniment from Dance/Electronic Musician duo, Animat who masterfully performed the score alongside the film, proving to be another special Abertoir experience.
On the eve of its official Netflix release, the next feature to screen was, psychological, cyber terror, Cam (2018), a film so modern and relevant, it deeply resonated with the eagle-eyed Abertoir viewers who were discussing it long after the credits had rolled. I had previously reviewed Cam, following it’s screening at the Celluloid Screams Horror Film Festival, my full thoughts can be read here: https://lovehorror.co.uk/horror-features/welsh-demonesss-top-5-films-of-celluloid-screams-2018/
Following Cam, was the UK Premiere of Brazilian frightmare, The Black Forest. This film certainly takes its audience on an unexpected adventure, with its slow burn beginning transforming into a gory spectacle layered with dark magic and brutal imagery. Comparisons could easily be drawn to ‘The Evil Dead’ in terms of its plot and the outlandish trajectories it takes. The Black Forest was surprisingly engaging as well as entertaining. It’s a film that should be taken as it comes, and one that draws its audience in through its epic madness. One word of advice though, do not eat eggs if you intend watching this film!
Lastly for Day Three, Jess Franco’s Bloody Moon (1981) closed the festivities off on a high note. An obscure slasher entry and a Spanish/West German co-production, Bloody Moon is arguably one of Franco’s more accessible movies and wow, it certainly is a treat! The plot revolves around a languages school located in Spain where beautiful women are picked off one by one by a sadistic maniac. With it’s hilarious English dubbing, suspension disbelieving scenarios and strange musical score, it’s the kind of film most appropriate to enjoy amongst like-minded fans and possibly alcohol! One thing can sure be said, you won’t look at Mickey Mouse in the same light again!
Coming Up: A Cruel Summer, An Unlucky Day to go Camping, A Horror Movie Legend and much more! Stay Tuned Horror Hounds!