After a great start to Saturday and the rest of the fest (Read all about it HERE) the evening went just as well. Most famous for his role in Emmerdale Dominic Brunt’s impressive second feature Bait takes on the hard time faced by small businesses in modern England in a northern town as two women take out a loan they can’t repay with terrifying consequences.
Deathgasm wins the award for one of the best titles of FrightFest 2015 and the movie was just as ridiculous as a heavy metal band do battle with demonic forces in a splat-stick shocker full of brutal, bloody, fanatical fun.
Director Adam Egypt Mortimer calls his payback body counter “A feminist slasher movie” and Some Kind of Hate definitely got the audiences talking with its vengeful tale of high school hang ups, brutal bullies and suicidal tendencies.
Last movie of the night was an interesting one, Éric Hannezo’s remake of Mario Bava’s Rabid Dogs a brilliant kidnap thriller made in 1974 but never finished. Although finally released pieced together by Bava’s son Lamberto in 1996 it is still as shocking today as it was when it was originally shot. First-time director Éric Hannezo and The Horde co-writer/director Yannick Dahan take Bava’s template and amp it up a level with varying degrees of success.
Sunday bloody Sunday a great day to spend in the cinema watching horror. Up early and back in the Arrow Screen Australian shocker Inner Demon was the first film of the day from female director Ursula Dabrowsky.
Playing out as a very gritty almost real time abduction movie the film takes a genre jump in the very last act which sadly for me just didn’t work ruining all that had come before despite the great performance from lead Sarah Jeavons. It was a real shame as the story had potential but the ending felt like a whole other film nowhere near as original or intense as the opening.
Next up was Slumlord not a film about the owner of my last flat but a creative home invasion horror where the killer has the keys. When a newlywed pregnant couple move into a new home they think they have found the perfect place to raise their unborn child. Sure the landlord seems a little odd but what’s the worst that could happen?
Little do they know the house is rigged with cameras and every moment and move they make is being watched by their ultra-creepy land lord. When the couple start having problems their stalker decides to get more involved moving from watching to coming inside their home and more. A horror take on the Lives of Others Slumlord was highly entertaining helped by a great turn from Neville Archambault as the titulature twitching psychopath.
Director Abner Pastoll’s Road Games offered up an amazing cast all in attendance for the screening and Q&A including Barbara Crampton, Frédéric Pierrot and Joséphine de La Baume in a thrilling horror drama where as Frédéric Pierrot said before the film “Everyone is guilty!”
With a hitchhiking serial killer on the loose two strangers come together both with hidden pasts heading for a bloody and unexpected journey that leads them to an extravagant mansion which is the home of an eccentric couple also holding onto their own dark secrets. Mixing Hitchcock with And Soon the Darkness this tense movie will keep you guessing till the very end.
Late Phases was one of my surprise favourite films of last year’s FrightFest and this year Adrián García Bogliano brings Scherzo Diabolico a twisted black comedy thriller involving a frustrated accountant kidnapping a teenage girl and the insanity that ensues.
Last up and although it’s only August was the anthology horror A Christmas Horror Story blending Tales from the Crypt with Silent Night Deadly Night as high school students investigate a mysterious homicide that occurred the prior holiday season, a couple notices their young son is acting strangely after a snowy forest trip to cut down a traditional tree and one family are stalked through a winter wonderland by Krampus, the Xmas demon. Great fun for a late night movie!
Although the last day of FrightFest is always a sad one Monday 31st was made all the more tragic by the news of the passing of the legendary Wes Craven. I couldn’t think of a more fitting tribute to the horror master than to spend the day in the cinema watching terrifying movies so headed up to town in the rain and gloom for that last day of FrightFest 2015 which was dedicated to Craven by the organisers who also mourned the massive loss to horror.
The Blaine brother’s British black comedy horror Nina Forever opened the proceedings. Working in a supermarket as she studies to be a paramedic Holly is attracted to morose and suicidal Rob who has lost his lust for life since his girlfriend Nina died. Wanting to save him they end up seeing each other but on their first time together Nina appears bloodied and broken in their bed.
Literally haunted by the ex both Holly and Rob must try to deal with this strange and surreal situation in an attempt to make their relationship work and move on even when the past is laying in their bed making sarcastic comments. Definitely worth checking out although there seems to have been a raft of returning ex-girlfriend movies of late Nina Forever is an interesting and brave take somewhat spoiled by the comedy element which detracts from the drama and serious side of the film dealing with loss and grief.
Curve came next, a film which seemed to have been created by a computer mashing together popular horror movie concepts until it came up with a combination to appeal to the most number of people. Staring ballroom dancer turned actress Julianne Hough as a bride to be who picks up the wrong hitchhiker Curve was part survival horror, part psycho drama, part slasher but sadly none of these parts added up to anything interesting.
Much like Julianne Hough Diana Vickers is not someone you associate with horror as she is best known as a singer however her forays into acting have been reasonably interesting so far and her role in low budget British chiller Awaiting firmly cements her talents and determination as she plays the daughter of a serial killer who captures his latest victim and brings him back home to stay.
A dark film Diana Vickers gives a brave and convincing performance that elevates the movie above the predictability of the story and structure and Mark Murphy deliverers a very nasty climax to have the audience hiding behind their hands.
For the next film I headed over to the Prince Charles Cinema which was hosting screenings for FrightFest during the long weekend for Last Girl Standing which ended up being one of my favorite films of the entire festival this year. Starting at the end of most slasher movies it tells the tale of a girl who survives a brutal massacre by an insane mask wearing serial killer. Years later she is trying to rebuild her life but still haunted by the events it is hard for her to integrate intro normal society.
When she starts seeing the murderer stalking her and her new found friends she is unable to tell what is real and what is in her mind however as the sightings increase she becomes convinced that the killer is back from the dead to finish the bloody work he started. Amazingly original and excellently acted director Benjamin R. Moody has come up with a great concept that will thrill horror fans and novices alike playing with the genre and paying respects all at the same time. See this film as soon as you can!
Taking a break from movies I was lucky enough to get some time with Axelle Carolyn the force behind the closing movie of FrightFest 2015 the excellent Tales of Halloween. Meeting for a chat and a mojito with her and her husband Neil Marshall who is one of the directors from the anthology we discussed the film and how it came into being.
Telling me all about the filming it sounds as if it was constant fun with the various directors having free reign to create whatever warped story they wanted within the world of the movie. As we discussed Halloween traditions and the idea of a drinking game based around all the cameos in Tales of Halloween Axelle told me how happy she was to be the film that finished the festival.
And what a perfect closing film it is. With its 10 tales of devils, killers, witches, demons, kids and more all set on All Hallows Eve it has flown straight into my favourite Halloween movies the perfect blend of fun and fear to make any Halloween night go with a bump and a jump as well as a lot of laughs.
And so it was that FrightFest was over for another year but what a great time it had been with more movies than ever before. After all that I need a rest but look out on the site for all our reviews and interviews from the fest coming very soon.