FrightFest 2010: Uneasy E-zine launched
Posted on Friday July 16, 2010, 12:02 by Empire Workie in Under The Radar
Eleven years ago, after the whole horror genre appeared to have disappeared Scream-ing up its own postmodern fundament in the Nineties, along came FrightFest, a then-marginal festival catering to rarefied tastes that those attending barely remembered they still had.
That was then, this is now. The Noughties have introduced J-horror and 'torture porn', reintroduced zombies, and reimagined the whole back catalogue of 70s (and latterly 80s) shockers – and as horror has spread through the decade like a virus, the Film4 FrightFest has expanded along with it, moving from the bijou, blood-red interior of the Prince Charles off Leicester Square to the bigger, if less sleazily soulful, Odeon West End, before last year celebrating its tenth anniversary by splitting its evil residency between screens One and Four of the mighty Empire (no relation).
This year, from Thursday 26th to Monday 30th August, the Empire will once again play host to twenty-five features in the main programme, and a further eleven in the 'Discovery' programme. That line-up including eight world premieres, twenty UK and European premieres and, if it's anything like last year, lots of characters finding themselves tied to a chair and tortured. In this selection of new horror from 14 countries, expect cannibals (We Are What We Are), vampires (Dead Cert, Higanjima: Escape From Vampire Island), crazed torturers (The Loved Ones), brutal avengers (Red Hill, The Tortured, Bedevilled), werewolves (13 Hours), ravenous tigers (Burning Bright), zombies (The Dead), extra-terrestrials (Monsters, Alien Vs. Ninja - surely one of the greatest titles ever), violent youth (Cherry Tree Lane, F), vengeful revenants (Wound), murderous gangsters (Isle of Dogs), malicious mother nature (The Pack, Primal), demons (The Last Exorcism), Celtic fairy people (Outcast), sexual apocalypse (Kaboom), or that most up-to-date of bogeymen, the credit-crunched yuppie (Dream Home) – and what contemporary showcase of horror could do without the odd sequel (Hatchet II) or remake (I Spit On Your Grave)?
Not that this year's festival ignores the classics. On Saturday, horror icon Tobe Hooper will be making his first UK appearance in 18 years and presenting his masterwork The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) as well as a restored and remastered print of his rarely-screened freakout debut Eggshells (1969). On Monday morning, Jake West's documentary Video Nasties: Moral Panic, Censorship and Videotape will be followed by a horror celebrity panel discussion on this 80s phenomenon and its relevance today.
One hot tip for the festival is Red, White and Blue, written and directed by the same Simon Rumley whose unforgettable feature debut The Living and the Dead had its UK premiere at FrightFest 2006. Apart, however, from I Spit On Your Grave, the coveted title of this year's most controversial film seems likely to go to Srdjan Spasojevic's abject blend of porn and snuff, A Serbian Film. If you want a taste of it in advance of the August Bank Holiday weekend, check out the interview (in text and video form) with Spasojevich himself in FrightFest's new bi-monthly E-zine, come to quivering life this Friday. That'll also have an interview with Eli Roth; not only a producer on this year's closing film, The Last Exorcism, but also, as writer/director of Hostel, one of the founders of the torture porn genre. Nice guy, though, honest.
For this year's full FrightFest programme, check out the official site.