On Tuesday, 15th April the Abertoir Horror Festival which takes place at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre every November hosted a special screening of the 1954 Universal classic monster movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon.
Also in association with Aberystwyth University’s Film and Television department cult cinema and technological conference, the screening gave Wales’s number one horror festival the opportunity to provide a taster of what the festival is all about.
The Creature From the Black Lagoon was presented in the 3D format as upon its initial release it was part of the 1950’s 3D craze which has since re-emerged in cinema during recent years. Viewing this well-known, monster movie in its original form was a real treat; the 3D effects were phenomenal and far superior to the gimmicky 3D that we have today.
The underwater sequences were spectacular showcasing an authentic feel. The scene in which the character of Kay explores the river was breath-taking. It was also a real spectacle having the Gill-Man’s webbed hand emerge from the screen as if to grab the audience, creating an interactive experience.
Directed by Jack Arnold, The Creature from the Black Lagoon tells the tale of a group of geologists on a scientific expedition along the Amazon River in the search for fossils. Little do they know that something far more sinister lurks beneath the murky waters. That creature is known as the Gill-man who has set his sights upon damsel-in-distress, Kay (Julie Adams), the fiancée of one of the geologists whom he is fascinated by. Once the group manage to capture him all hell breaks loose as the Gill-man breaks free and continues to terrorize the team, will they defeat the mysterious creature before it’s too late?
Accompanied with a dramatic score that created atmosphere and tension; the film most likely provided inspiration for Spielberg’s Jaws (1975) and acts as an introduction to the conventions of the creature feature. Gill-Man is one of Universal’s most intriguing monsters due to his curious nature. With a startling screen presence; there’s no surprise that he’s up there with the rest of the classic monsters including, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Wolf Man.
Screening a well-loved horror movie is just one aspect of what Abertoir has to offer. 2014’s upcoming festival will run from the 11th-16th November and some eagerly-anticipated events have already been announced. Gaz Bailey (festival director) and his team have planned a running theme of the 1980’s co-inciding with the 30th anniversary of the Video Recordings Act that turned several horror films into video nasties and brought in the classification system into home videos.
Accompanying the 1980’s theme will be a presentation from Professor Martin Barker who fought the moral panic of the nasties first hand, taking on the government and Mary Whitehouse herself. Gavin Baddeley, a regular speaker at Abertoir is providing a talk titled ‘Likely to Deprave and Corrupt – A Celebration of Three Centuries of Wrongness’ which delves into the history of moral panics pre-80’s, demonstrating that the most-well remembered media intrusion into the ‘corruption’ of horror was far from the first.
There’s going to be a full on 80’s disco with a DJ set from The Leisure Hive Presents, “Last Night a DJ Took My Life”, bringing in an eclectic mix of genres from remixes of classic horror themes as well as popular music that would be heard on the dance floors back in 1984! The annual Abertoir live Theatre performance this year is an adaptation of H.P Lovecraft’s ‘The Temple’ performed by actor Michael Sabbaton.
But, the big special event which has never been done before at the festival is a train ride on Aberystwyth’s Vale of Rheidol steam train, with the promise of plenty of atmosphere and of course drinks, festival attendees will be treated to a screening of the Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee classic, Horror Express (1972), a film that alludes the style of the beloved Hammer movies in which the festival regularly screens.
With such a variety on offer what better way to spend those dark, long days and nights in November than celebrating the best in horror. Entering into its ninth year, Abertoir are always looking for the best and new talents in filmmaking, submissions are open from April 28th and close on July 28th.
With an amazing line-up ahead, 2014 looks to be the most fang-tastic Abertoir to date!
For more information visit the website: http://www.abertoir.co.uk