Taking my seat in the cinema I surveyed the crowd and saw Adam Green a few rows in front chatting to a fan. Ian took to the stage and after telling off people for queue jumping and holing places for their mates – naughty naughty – he also mentioned that it was unacceptable for people to take their shoes and socks off in the cinema, a warning obviously aimed at one particular FrightFester that I was more than glad not to be sitting next to.
Director Anthony DiBlasi came on first to introduce his movie – Missionary – the opening movie of the day. He made a point of saying how appropriate it was for a horror film about a Mormon to be shown on Sunday morning.
Assuming my position I got ready for Missionary, a thriller about a Mormon missionary who becomes obsessed with a woman he starts having a relationship with. When things go wrong it breaks his fragile mind and he vows that if he can’t have her and her son then no one will.
A little bit too much of a romantic religious drama and not enough of a horror for me in the Q&A afterwards DiBlasi and writer Scott Poiley discussed how accurate and respectful they had tried to make the movie to the Mormon lifestyle. This seemed odd as the only thing that the religious bits did was provoke laughter in the audience. They also said the original idea had been to make a Mormon slasher movie, as you would probably let a missionary in your home. This sounded like it would have made a much better film.
Next up Film4.com editor Catherine Bray came on to give us all an exclusive look at 2 minutes footage from Jonathon Glazer’s new movie Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johanson as an alien. The trippy trailer made it look very interesting indeed but we will have to wait a while to see more.
The film Bray was there to introduce was the Film4 production In Fear, a low budget British horror that more than lived up to its name. The simple story saw a couple in Ireland heading off to a remote hotel to spend a romantic night. However, when they start to get horrendously lost on the way it’s the beginning of a night of utter terror as someone plays a game of fear with them, pushing them both physically and psychologically to the edge, and over it.
Director Jeremy Lovering and two of the actors Alice Englert and Allen Leech came up afterwards to talk about this brilliant movie and how it was made. During production the actors had known very little about what would happen to them as the story and shot progressed meaning the fear you see is even more real.
A break from the endless horror next with the always fun and always insanely hard ‘Andy Nyman’s Quiz From Hell 4’. I bowed out this year knowing that I would have no chance and headed out for some fresh air and a break before the next movie.
Originally (and better) titled as Grief Tourist Dark Tourist as it is now known stars Michael Cudlitz as Jim, a man who once a year takes a vacation to track and document the important locations in the life of a serial killer.
This year’s journey takes him to California on the hunt for a serial killing arsonist and as Jim learns more about the life of the murderer, visiting the locations of the murders he begins to feel a dark affinity for him that unlocks something inside Jim himself.
With a great lead performance this nasty, shocking and interesting movie challenges the audience in discussing ‘what makes a man into a murderer?’ and ‘why is our world so obsessed with the killers rather than the victims?’ who often times become killers themselves.
With a great Q&A afterwards with Cudlitz himself and director Suri Krishnamma there were plenty of audience questions. The pair discussed the thinking behind the film and the fact that it was made on such a tight budget that the only evening off Cudlitz got was when he broke his hand and had to go to A & E. And even then he started shooting again the next day.
As Andy Nyman’s announced the answers and winners from the Quiz From Hell 4 and my seat buddy Rick from the awesome Space Monsters Magazine discovered that he had done much better than he thought, the Discovery Screen 2 played the horror classic The Fall Of The House of Usher. Meanwhile, I awaited the 666 Short Film Awards.
This great competition, set up by Horror Channel, had lots of cool restrictions – all related to the number ‘6’ including a maximum of 6 lines of dialogue, a maximum of 6 cast of and crew members and a maximum budget of £666. It attracted masses of entries and the final 6 were shown ahead of the winner being announced.
With all the finalists in attendance (including Inbreds director Alex Chandon, who had entered under an assumed name) the panel of judges came on stage, including Seasoning House director Paul Hyett, Total Film’s Rosie Fletcher, Movie Mogul’s John Shackleton, Horror Channel presenter Emily Booth and FrightFest’s own Paul McEvoy. The only member missing was Human Centipede director Tom Six who had sent actor Laurence R. Harvey in his stead.
All 6 films where excellent but my favourite proved to be the winner. 6 Feet Under, directed by Weronika Tofilska is a touching take of necrophilia and a deserved winner of a massive cheque – for £6,666 courtesy of Horror Channel.
The next film to light up the main screen at Empire Leicester Square was the inventive and extremely engaging faux documentary The Conspiracy.
Masquerading as a real movie about a conspiracy theory nut who a camera crew follow and interview, the story takes a dark turn when their subject disappears and the directors themselves begin to get horribly obsessed with conspiracies, secret societies and finding out the truth whatever that may be.
Packed with paranoia and real life events and ideas on who actually instigated them, it has an amazing ending that will leave you utterly freaked out. It was most definitely one of the most thought provoking and effective movies of the festival.
The Last Days & I Spit on Your Grave 2
Director Christopher MacBride came up afterwards for a fascinating Q&A on conspiracy theories which had the whole audience talking. Then it was onto the final two films of Day 4: The Last Days and the World Premiere of I Spit On Your Grave 2.
A Spanish science fiction fantasy adventure The Last Days was packed with effects and excitement. It was a great and grandiose starter for the nasty rape revenge sequel to the remake of I Spit on Your Grave.
Day 4 was over and as I headed home amidst the idiots who had spent the day at carnival and not at FrightFest I couldn’t help but feel a bit sad that there was only one day left of this fantastic festival.