Opening with the Guillermo Del Toro-produced Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark and closing up with Julian Gilbey’s A Lonely Place to Die there are plenty of thrillers, shockers and gore-fuelled splattefests, with premieres of some big genre films.
Robin Hardy’s The Wicker Tree, the companion piece to his classic The Wicker Man, is having its European premiere and Andy Nyman’s dark thriller The Glass Man goes before an audience for the first time.
Chillerama, a horror anthology from directors Adam Rifkin, Tim Sullivan, Adam Green, and Joe Lynch, was hinted at last year’s festival and now comes before the FrightFest faithful with ludicrous and brilliant titles such as The Diary Of Anne Frankenstein, I Was A Teenage Werebear and Zom-B-Movie on offer.
The full line up is here on Film4’s FrightFest page or at the FrightFest homepage (which as you can imagine is suffering under the strain of thousands of horror hungry fans right now), but here are our picks.
THURSDAY AUGUST 25th
6.30pm DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK (UK Premiere)
Your worst bedtime nightmares are about to come true thanks to producer/co-writer Guillermo del Toro. Young Sally moves to Rhode Island to live with her architect father and his new girlfriend in the 19th-century mansion they are restoring. But the foreboding edifice has a dark past… Based on the acclaimed 1973 US TV movie and bearing del Toro’s distinct touch of class, director Troy Nixey explores the demonic tooth fairy myth in a tense flight of terrifying fantasy orchestrated with stylish verve, commanding atmosphere and stunning sound design.
9.15pm FINAL DESTINATION 5: 3D (UK Premiere)
This is the latest chapter in the top-grossing horror thriller franchise first. In this fifth instalment, written by Eric Heisserer, scripter of the up-coming The Thing remake, Death is just as omnipresent as ever, and is unleashed after one man’s premonition saves a group of co-workers from a terrifying suspension bridge collapse. But they were never supposed to survive, and, in a terrifying race against time, the ill-fated assembly frantically to discover a way to escape the Grim Reaper’s sinister agenda. You can run, but no matter where you hide, you can’t cheat Death – even in 3D!
FRIDAY AUGUST 26th
12.45 midday THE HOLDING (World Premiere)
A heart-pounding suspense thriller set in the rugged and atmospheric landscape of the English countryside. Cassie Naylor’s husband Dean has mysteriously disappeared and now she’s desperately trying to run their isolated farm alone with her two girls. Then an enigmatic stranger arrives at the smallholding, claiming to be an old friend of her husband and soon charms his way into their lives. But unknown to Cassie, Aden’s altruistic motivation has a sinister edge and when the truth about Dean’s vanishing finally comes to light, Cassie and her girls must fight for their survival like never before.
3.05pm The Total Film Interview: Larry Fessenden in conversation with Jamie Graham
Larry Fessenden is the most underrated American filmmaker working in horror today. His four features (No Telling, Habit, Wendigo, The Last Winter) have established the 48-year-old New Yorker’s inimitable brand of low-key, naturalistic scares, and his haunting work often exhibits heartfelt ecological concerns while featuring real people in recognisable surroundings – even when his protagonists are vampires. Larry has also acted in nearly 50 films and produced 40-odd titles, including Ti West’s The Roost, The House Of The Devil and, at FrightFest this year, The Innkeepers. Total Film looks forward to introducing the mysterious maven of mayhem to the FrightFest stage.
Plus – American Horror: A Panel Discussion
Total Film and Larry Fessenden will be joined on stage by Ti West, Lucky McKee, Adam Green, Joe Lynch and Andrew van den Houten to discuss the US scare scene. This is your chance to get the inside track on where American horror is at, right here, right now!
7.05pm THE GLASS MAN (World Premiere)
Martin Pyrite has lost his job. But instead of telling his wife he continues his work routine and gets into enormous monetary difficulties. Then late one night a sinister debt collector bangs on his door with an offer – if Martin helps him carry out an important task he’ll wipe the financial slate clean. In accepting, Martin goes on a journey through his own private hell where he’s forced to confront his worst dreads in a mesmerizing vortex of soul-destroying madness. Director Cristian Solimeno’s compact psychological horror chiller is the indie Brit discovery of the year.
9.55pm TUCKER & DALE VS. EVIL (London Preview)
An endearingly cheeky tribute to a diverse array of suspense and slasher classics (everything from Fargo and Friday The 13th to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Wrong Turn) this horror comedy finds best hillbilly buddies Tucker and Dale headed to their new vacation cabin in the West Virginia mountains. But when they have a nasty run-in with a group of college kids on a camping weekend a series of deranged misunderstandings begins that starts the body count setting in motion the bloodiest of shock deaths.
SATURDAY AUGUST 27th
11am TROLL HUNTER (Preview) (Read our review here)
After successfully redefining the vampire and thriller genres with Let The Right One In and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, the Scandinavians now turn their attention to the creature feature. The adorably weird result is the coolest monster movie import since The Host. This slyly compelling and dryly humorous hybrid details what happens when a group of documentary filmmakers attempt to expose an infamous bearskin poacher…who actually turns out to be Norway’s only living troll hunter. A silly, scary and sincere balance of horror, adventure and mockumentary that both reinvents and pays homage to the creature classics of old.
1.15pm THE WICKER TREE (European Premiere)
From the makers of the cult classic The Wicker Man, and based on director Robin Hardy’s own novel ‘Cowboys for Christ’, a Texas gospel singer and her boyfriend, both devout evangelical Christians, are sent to Scotland on a mission to spread the word of God. After a concert in Glasgow Cathedral the pair are invited by Sir Lachlan Morrison to preach in his remote border village, but soon the horrifying reality dawns on the couple as they learn the true significance of the Celtic pagan rites. Reuniting Hardy with legendary actor Christopher Lee for a story in the style of the 1973 landmark fantasy comes the most eagerly anticipated horror movie of the year.
6pm FRIGHT NIGHT 3D (Preview)
Based on the 1985 classic comes the year’s most anticipated remake; it’s fangs for the memory with a horror comedy you can really sink your teeth into. Is horror movie addict Charley Brewster’s suave new next-door-neighbour Jerry Dandridge really an evil vampire responsible for a string of recent deaths? No one believes the teenager of course so he recruits Peter Vincent, the host of his favourite TV horror show to help him prove the facts. A winning fusion of laughs and scares, this canny update of the much-loved Tom Holland original features an all-star cast including Colin Farrell, David Tennant and Toni Collette.
11.30pm CHILLERAMA (European Premiere)
From the depraved minds of Adam Rifkin (Detroit Rock City), Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs), Adam Green (Frozen), and Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2), a horror fantasy anthology in the classic spirit of Black Sabbath, Creepshow and Twilight Zone: The Movie. A celebration of the golden age of B movies, there’s something for everyone’s bad taste in this quartet of schlock featuring the monster mania rampage Wadzilla, the gay Beach Party musical I Was A Teenage Werebear, the black-and-white insanity The Diary Of Anne Frankenstein and the creeping fleshy Zom-B-Movie.
SUNDAY AUGUST 28th
4pm THE INNKEEPERS (UK Premiere)
The indie king of the slow-burn horro,r flick Ti West, returns to FrightFest with something akin to The Shining done slacker style After 100 years of silver service, The Yankee Pedlar Inn is shutting its doors for good. The last remaining employees – Claire and Luke – are determined to uncover proof that the hotel is haunted. As the Inn’s final days draw near, odd guests check in as the pair of amateur ghostbusters begins to experience strange and alarming events that may ultimately cause them to be mere footnotes in the establishment’s long unexplained history.
MONDAY AUGUST 29th
9pm A LONELY PLACE TO DIE (UK Premiere)
The tension never lets up in this ultimate British survival shocker featuring harrowing stunts and nerve-racking action. Five mountaineers are climbing in the Scottish Highlands when they stumble across an air pipe sticking out of the forest ground emitting panicked cries from a small girl speaking Serbian. Who buried her in the earth chamber? Why? The horrifying answers to all those questions will take the quintet to the death-defying Devil’s Drop. And in the deadliest game of cat-and-mouse predator becomes prey and vice versa in this top-flight terroriser laced with pulse-pounding thrills.