This year marks the twentieth anniversary of FrightFest, the best-known horror film festival on earth.
The festival is the brainchild of four people: film producer Paul McEvoy, film distributor Ian Rattray, journalist Alan Jones and film and television PR specialist, Greg Day. Together they managed to organise the first fest in 2000, screening a selection of films over the bank holiday weekend in August at the Prince Charles cinema, London.
Since then, FrightFest has evolved rapidly, switching its London location to accommodate the changes, extending to additional events and venues across the country and most importantly, delivering increasing amounts of horror content for its blood-thirsty audience.
Of course, this year the festival has had to take a huge evolutionary leap to account for the uncertainty and restrictions brought on by the pandemic. The fact that the FrightFest show will still go on in the current situation further highlights the devotion of the team that delivers it. They have proved once again that they put their love of horror and their followers at the forefront.
Five questions for the founders
To mark this twenty year milestone, we were keen to talk to the four founding fathers of FrightFest as they apply the finishing touches to this year’s event.
To kick-off, talked to Greg Day the PR mastermind behind FrightFest and Clout Communications.
How will the four founders celebrate reaching 20 fantastic years of FrightFest?
Well, for the August digital event we’ll be all be in different places. I’m planning a little drinks thing with some friends.
Come October though, I’m sure we’ll find time to celebrate with all the fans who can make it to the Cineworld Leicester Square. Can’t wait!
Did you guys ever doubt that you could keep FrightFest going?
We’ve had our ‘wobble’ moments, as was vividly recounted in the documentary FrightFest: Behind the Dark Heart of Cinema. As we’ve gotten bigger (not just waistlines), the pressure to continually put on a bigger and better show has been very stressful at times.
But, at the end of the day, what has kept us going is the love and support of the FrightFest family. The loyalty of the fans has been amazing. Without them willing us on, we may very well have come apart at the wheels.
What are they key lessons you have learnt after delivering a superior horror festival for 20 years?
Trust others. Keep things simple. Listen. Learn. Stick to what you do best.
What have been the most terrifying films to grace the FrightFest screens?
For me, Switchblade Romance (high tension), The Girl Next Door and Martyrs.
And what is your most memorable FF moment from the last 20 years?
The first time I went on stage with Paul, Alan and Ian. I was nervous as I didn’t really feel I belonged there. The reception was wonderful though and made me feel that I’d truly been accepted. Acceptance. That’s the feeling the FrightFest crowd give you. It’s priceless.