On the morning of Saturday 24th I awoke full of the joyous feelings instilled after a night of nightmares, brought on by all the brilliant films I had already seen at FrightFest 2013.
It was the perfect start to Day 3, as while my wonderful wife made me breakfast I perused the bag of goodies given to me as a weekend pass holder, packed full of DVD’s, magazines and more. Today would be another great day of horror movies and nothing it seemed could change my wondrous mood.
That was until I stepped outside my flat to be greeted by torrential rain and infuriating tube closures that made my journey into town seem almost impossible. Feeling my happy horror mood starting to fade, I made a deal with myself that these mundane misdemeanours would not stop me getting to Empire Leicester square for the first film, because like all truly committed FrightFesters, nothing would stop me watching horror.
Amazingly I arrived on time, just as Alan Jones took to the stage to introduce the first film and tell the crowd that the ‘weather was terrible and there was nothing better going on in London, so FrightFest was the best place to be’. I couldn’t agree with him more.
The opening movie of the day, after a new Wicker Man trailer, was Nordic Noir and best selling novel adaptation The Hypnotist. It’s a Swedish murder mystery that sees the police investigating a bloody triple murder with only one witness left alive and in a coma.
All seems lost in the investigation until disgraced hypnotist Erik is called in to try and discover what really went on. His involvement moves the case forward but also puts him in the sights of the killer taking him and his family on a terrible trip into terror.
Although not as good as Dragon Tattoo or Headhunters, The Hypnotist was a well-made and well acted movie that kept the audience entertained. It will surely do well with all the Scandi obsessives out there.
Taking a break to journey outside while the weather still held, I noticed a large commotion outside the cinema. A crowd had gathered around what appeared to be an Indian film crew, and as the cameras rolled and the actress at the centre of the gathering onlookers started lip-synching to a sound track, it appeared they where making a Bollywood movie right in front of FrightFest.
Lets hope it’s an all singing, all dancing horror or else the crowds and the backdrop may seem somewhat incongruous to the Indian audiences.
Back inside the cinema, and after a violent cops vs. robbers short by Will Gilby called Turncoat, director Richard Raaphorst came on to introduce his insane WW2 found footage film Frankenstein’s Army. After making the crowd pretend to be monsters for a photo he told them all to have fun and the film began.
Following a small group of Russian soldiers charged with documenting their time fighting Nazis, this film takes a turn towards monster movie madness when they find an abandoned church-turned-lab where a Nazi doctor has been creating human robot animal hybrid undead killing machines. They look as crazy and brilliant as they sound.
Featuring some amazing monster design and sets, the film is a non-stop thrill ride that makes you feel like you’re living inside a survival horror computer game in all the best ways. Returning to the stage afterwards with actors Alexander Mercury and Andrei Zayats, Raaphorst chatted to the crowd. He talked about how his love of action figures had not only inspired the creature design, but also helped fund the original trailer when he sold all his Star Wars toys.
Hammer of the Gods
After that it was time for something completely different with Viking violence in fantasy action film Hammer of the Gods. As foul mouthed and violent as Game of Thrones, the movie sees Viking’s go sword to sword against Saxons in a fight for control of Britain circa 871AD.
Blending disparate elements such as Beowulf and Apocalypse Now with axe wielding action, it was a fun romp. And with three cast members in attendance the Q&A looked set to be just as good but sadly I had to rush off for a prior appointment.
Israeli zombie action movie Cannon Fodder was playing in the Discovery Screen 1 and I had been lucky enough to bag an interview with director and writer Eitan Gafni and lead actress Yafit Shalev.
Heading out to a bar for a beer we sat outside in the torrential rain and I felt happy to have treated them to two decidedly British experiences. We talked for ages about the trials tribulations and fun they had making their brilliant movie and in depth about horror films past and present as Eitan is a massive movie fan with lots of interesting insights on the subject and you can read everything they had to say very soon when we publish the full interview.
Both he and Yafit were loving FrightFest and couldn’t wait to watch horror movies all weekend – as well as do a bit of sightseeing of course. I left them with some time to spare before their Q&A started.
Before the first evening movie No One Lives we were treated to a guest appearance by Italian horror movie composing legend Fabio Frizzi, who came on stage and ended up judging a very strange and very FrightFest competition for the best Fulci tattoo.
No One Lives
No One Lives (directed by the man behind the totally underrated Midnight Meat Train, Ryuhei Kitamura) was a thrilling splatter horror packed with surprises. It’ll be well worth a watch when it comes out very soon.
To end Day 3 there were two very different films. First, the big budget Hollywood 3D action comic adaptation R.I.P.D. starring Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon and Jeff Bridges. It plays out like Men in Black meets Ghostbusters and was just as fun.
Last but not least E.L Katz Cheap Thrills, which wasn’t so high budget and most definitely wasn’t in 3D, but did prove to be fun in a disturbing and unsettling way.
Another day was done and I headed home to bed to dream of monsters, maniacs and many more fun fear filled films to come.