Film 4 Frightfest 2013

Film4 Frightfest 2013


Thursday August 22, and London saw a muggy Thursday morning cool into an overcast afternoon.
Glamming up as has become a tradition, the meeting point for many was nearby pub the Captain’s Cabin for a couple of drinks before migrating to the Empire. There was a slight sense of poignancy after hearing the Cabin was going to be closed and turned into flats, but the overriding feel was one of excitement and anticipation.
Soon enough it was time to head into the Empire itself, and to squeeze into the seat that would be a second home for the next few days…

Film4 Frightfest is a movie festival that’s a bit different from many others – inspired by the likes of Shock Around The Clock at the Scala and sharing a common organiser in critic Alan Jones, it centres around horror but frequently shows films that push genre boundaries. One of the unique aspects is its family feel with a strong sense of community – many guests stay for the whole weekend and come back in subsequent years for the atmosphere, and there have been Frightfest couples, marriages and even babies (one case even involving having to leave mid-film to go give birth!).
The festival started with 17 films in 2000, and in the years since has added in a Halloween All-Nighter and a March Weekender in Glasgow plus several one-off events. From the start in the Prince Charles Cinema the increasing demand led to relocation to the Odeon West End, and then to its current home at the Empire Leicester Square. Personally, I have managed to attend all bar 2006 of the London August Bank Holiday festivals, and love it – it’s like meeting your mates for a cinema-based holiday!

2013’s fest was introduced by director of Willow Creek, actor and stand-up comic Bobcat Goldthwait – if he doesn’t look so familiar, then as he said “you looked different in the 80s too” 😉 Highlights included him laying into “real horror” film Grown Ups 2 (“a film so bad I’m surprised I wasn’t asked to be in it”), the bible as the first zombie story yet rarely showing any violence when put onscreen (barring Mel Gibson working through his feelings) and the revelation of an upcoming remake of Police Academy being a comedy this time, and his energy was a great set up for the features to come.

Huge thanks must go to organisers Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray, Alan Jones and Greg James, the staff of the Empire and the Phoenix, the patience and friendliness of seat neighbours Steve, Martin and David and all the Frightfesters who make the event such a great one.


The Movies (all scores are out of 5 stars):

The Dead 2: India ***

Curse of Chucky ****

You’re Next ****

The Dyatlov Pass Incident ***1/2

Dementamania ***1/2

Short: Crazy for You ****

Hatchet III ****

Haunter ***1/2

V/H/S 2 ***1/2

100 Bloody Acres ***

Frankenstein’s Army ***1/2

Hammer of the Gods **1/2

No One Lives ****1/2

Short: Chuck Steel – Raging Balls of Steel Justice *****

R.I.P.D. 3D ***1/2

Cheap Thrills ***1/2

Missionary ***

In Fear ***

Dark Tourist ***1/2

The Conspiracy ***1/2

The Last Days ****

I Spit On Your Grave 2 **

Dark Touch **1/2

Banshee Chapter 3D ****

Short: The Body ****

Odd Thomas ****

We Are What We Are ***1/2

Big Bad Wolves *****

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