Abertoir’s weekend line-up was jam-packed with an array of eclectic events and films which rounded off 2018’s festival in style! Sean S. Cunningham provided a filmmaking masterclass accessible for the Aberystwyth University’s film students, enthusiastic budding filmmakers and Abertoir’s attendees. There was a screening of his documentary surrounding hospice care titled, “The Nurse with the Purple Hair” which preceded his Masterclass. While not associated with the horror genre, the documentary was a subject close to the Director’s heart and the festival honoured this by screening this proud piece of work.
Other events which took place during the latter stages of the festival included the return of Paul Shallcross’s Silent Shorts Vol IV, a talk surrounding Scala Cinema presented by Jane Giles as well as a screening of current popular genre films, the highly acclaimed, One Cut of the Dead (2017) and the brutal Assassination Nation (2018).
Personal highlights included, Nicko and Joe’s side-splittingly hilarious Bad Film Club, the concept of which sees the Welsh based comedians delve into the annals of the ‘how ever did that get made’ archive to entertain us with a live commentary over a terrible piece of cinema! 2018’s offering was The Demons of Ludlow (1983), a film that needs to be seen to be believed! The cinematography is grainy and not in a good way, the less said about the “acting” the better and how could we forget that piano! Nicko and Joe’s hilarious ‘Bad Film Club’ is a staple of the festival and it wouldn’t be Abertoir without it! Without these annual cinema experiences into the bizarre I would not have been introduced to such cinematic delights such as Night Train to Terror (1985), Rats: Night of Terror (1984), Uninvited (1988) (which spectacularly featured a mutant cat offing unsavoury victims on a boat!) and of course Aerobicide (1987) AKA. Killer Workout, AKA. Death by safety pin!!
Abertoir is first and foremost a community festival with plenty of opportunities to socialise outside of the film screenings. Each year, Gaz, Nia and the team pull out all the stops to give us a party night to remember and with this year’s slasher theme, we attended the Valentine’s Day Prom Night Slasher Ball. Featuring the best of the 1980’s disco classics alongside well known horror themes, DJ Dellamorte supplied one hell of a playlist for us to dance the night away to. Only at Abertoir would the festival attendees form a conga line to Goblin’s iconic, ‘Tenebrae’ theme and that’s exactly what happened! Prom Night will go down in history as one of Abertoir’s most unforgettable themed parties, so much so that I hope the Tenebrae Congo line is recreated at my upcoming wedding!
The festival closed on a high note, with the final film screening, Anna and the Apocalypse (2017), an infectious yet poignant Zombie Musical that brings the feel-good factor into the horror genre. Adapted from the late Ryan McHenry’s 2011 short ‘Zombie Musical’, ‘Anna’ is genre-blending awesomeness that will hold appeal across the horror community and beyond. Ella Hunt delivers a stunning performance as heroine Anna, an ambitious school girl whose world turns upside down once a zombie epidemic affects her small sleepy village of Little Haven. Amongst the catchy musical numbers is a story with a huge beating bloody heart and a relatable coming of age plot. Anna and her relationships with her core friendship group and father (Mark Benton) take the viewer on an emotional rollercoaster, with the characterisations well developed and believable. Anna and the Apocalypse is a sure-fire cult hit and one of the best horror musicals and festive films of the last decade.
Anna and the Apocalypse set the tone for 2018’s final special event which took the audience to the newly refurbished Theatre-Y-Werin for some Chainsaw-wielding mayhem!
Abertoir took a different trajectory this year with its closing event. Instead of a film screening, Abertoir 2018 ended with the inventively funny, The Elvis Dead, a comedy show presented by Rob Kemp. The ingenious one man show sees Rob impersonate Elvis in the vein of Ash from The Evil Dead. Expect blood, chainsaws and plenty of laughs as Rob sings through the plot of cult classic Evil Dead 2 (1987) to the music of The King! Incorporating audience participation, The Elvis Dead is a highly energetic, comedic show and a real crowd pleaser, complimenting Abertoir’s tongue in cheek side perfectly.
As Abertoir’s six days of slasher mayhem was finally at a close, the obligatory group photo was taken, prizes were given out and special thanks were said. Abertoir will return in 2019 with a date announcement coming in the near future…
For the Official Abertoir Photography Visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/abertoir/albums/72157704030889471