It’s that time of year when the fear-famished and blood hungry descend on the Vue Leicester Square, as the UK’s number 1 horror film festival, FrightFest, returns for its fifteenth outing. Since its first appearance in 2000, the legendary festival has expanded in size, reputation and prowess and 2015’s splatter palette boasts a fantastic collection of new work from genre legends as well as shorts and debut features from exciting new talent.
In the past, FrightFest has attracted renowned figures such as Dario Argento, George Romero, Rob Zombie, Brad Anderson, and Robert Englund and is a must for genre lovers, film fanatics and the general public alike. The eager eyed regulars and hospitable organisers revel in their element while also welcoming newcomers into their dark domain like debonair demons with ulterior motives.
Now kicking off on Wednesday the 26th of August with special pre-festival event; a re-scored screening of Plan 9 From Outer Space at the Prince Charles Cinema. During it’s further five day run at the Vue Leicester Square, FrightFest 2015 also has scheduled guest appearances from the likes of Barbara Crampton, Steve Oram, Noel Fielding, Toyah Wilcox, Caroline Monroe, Bernard Rose and many other directors and stars showcasing their work.
Aside from new films there is also the FrightFest Quiz from hell (Wednesday night at the Phoenix Artist Club) along with merchandise stalls from the Cinema Store, Karaoke parties and the usual macabre surprises. All catered specifically for the wild-eyed fan with an appetite for the blood-soaked and bizarre. In the latter half when the weekend pass-holders are reduced to jabbering wrecks with bleeding eyes, the fun doesn’t stop until the final reel rolls and then it’s on to the Phoenix Artist Club for the closing party.
As HeyUGuys readies for the monster marathon, below is a breakdown of our top ten most anticipated films showing at this year’s event.
10) Turbo Kid
This post-apocalyptic Canadian indie is a caustic nod to 80s/ 90s dystopian b-movies such as: Mad Max, Prayer Of The Roller Boys and Arcade. Set in a ravaged wilderness, the story centres around a young comic book fan known as The Kid. Armed with nothing but an antediluvian super weapon, The Kid embarks on a mission to save the girl he loves from the clutches of an evil dictator who rules the Wasteland.
Turbo Kid also features sci-fi/ horror legend Michael Ironside (Scanners, Total Recall, Starship Troopers), is directed by François Simard and looks to be a hyper-boiled throwback to the cyberpunk sub-culture.
Giving Irwin Allen’s 70s killer bee “classic” The Swarm a run for its money, Benni Diez’s Sting looks like a melding of modern effects loaded horror with Roger Corman magnetism/ 50s b movie charm, garnished with a romantic subplot.
Giant, genetically modified wasps mutate after exposure to an imported plant fertiliser and terrorise small town America at the time when an old affluent lady called Mrs Perch, holds a party at her country home. Two young caterers endeavour to conquer the monster wasp colony with the help of Lance Henriksen. Death and destruction will hopefully unfurl while partygoers panic, scream and get stung in the face.
Sightseers star Steve Oram takes the director’s chair for this dark, daring and hilarious horror comedy. Set in an alternative, partly-evolved reality where mankind communicates using ape-like grunting but in an age of LED tellies, gaming consoles and Battenberg cake.
The story centres around the tribulations within a group of middle-class friends who resort to primal instincts to resolve a rift in their clan. Obviously, bloodshed and mayhem ensue (or it probably wouldn’t be here). Director Oram delivers a debut feature that is subversive comedy genius and festers in the brain like a psychoactive cabbage.
Toyah Wilcox and Julian Barrett also star (along with Noel Fielding in a supporting role) in this weirdo festival entry.
Brit director Iain Softley’s road-rage, psycho horror stars Julianne Hough as bride to be Malory, who picks up a shifty hitchhiker with a glint in his eye and a hidden agenda. After taking drastic measures to get him out of her vehicle, Malory finds herself locked in a gruelling battle for survival after becoming trapped in her car with the maniac.
Also starring Lee Patterson as the passenger, Curve looks to be a tension loaded thriller from the director of The Skeleton Key, K PAX and Hackers.
6) The Nightmare
Following his excellent documentary Room 237, which explored the mythology of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, director Rodney Ascher returns with The Nightmare: an absorbing, totally terrifying study of sleep paralysis and the devastating effects it can have on sufferers.
The Nightmare addresses the possibilities of demonic possession as the cause for the phenomena along with ghosts and UFO abduction. Ascher ingeniously combines interview footage with striking visuals and fictional sequences to bring nightmare scenarios to life. The Nightmare is a terror drenched, genre-melding brain dweller, that will rivet, inform and totally jelly your nerves.