FrightFest – Thursday 2009

And so it begins. I landed at the pub at about 4:30pm and hooked up with some forum folk and a few twitter types; excitement levels were visibly high, not least from me. At around 6pm we made our way over to the Empire to prepare for Triangle. I enjoyed a bit of mingling: Andy Nyman (Dead Set, Severance) turned up looking a bit like an eccentric billionaire, Melissa George (Triangle) arrived in a paparazzi style furore complete with massive scary bodyguard types (or type, I think there was just one. He was huge though. Huge!), terrible twosome Adam Green and Joe Lynch were milling around being super approachable, all was as it should be for FrightFest’s tenth anniversary.

As I deftly avoided being filmed for a podcast, people started ambling in and I followed the herd. Picking up my goody bag wasn’t the big slog I had been expecting although getting to my seat was a bit of an issue. If you haven’t been before, you should know that there are 500 more seats in the Empire in comparison to the previous home of FrightFest; the Odeon West End, so there is a tonne more people to deal with. I nosied into the goody bag; decent DVD haul and a few cool tees (which were nowhere near my size) and a few other bits of cool stuff. Nice bag too, not quite up to last years standard but nice enough.

The event kicked off with one of Adam Green and Joe Lynch’s FrightFest shorts, which nicely referenced the shorts from last year. Some of it was a bit in-jokey, I mean I get that they are pretty much for the regulars but if I was newer I might think it was all a bit cliquey. Following that, The Boys took to the rostrum to say hello and introduce everything. Pretty soon after, Chris Smith and Melissa George joined Alan on stage to introduce Triangle.


Triangle was a pretty strong flick marred only by the fact that I saw an incredibly similar film at last years’ fest by the name of Time Crimes. Melissa George was pretty great and the cinematography was beautiful, a few ropey incidences of CGI and some liberal use of fuzzy logic turned what could have been an excellent (if not, wholly original) movie into an alright movie. The was lots of interesting stuff going on and some real WTF moments that made me feel like I was getting something a little bit deeper than your average popcorn flick. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any real subtext. I don’t know what was bubbling under the surface but I’m sure there was something there. Also, CGI blood needs to go. Seriously.

When Triangle was over, Chris and Melissa resumed their on-stage position during which time Alan asked them a few questions. Nothing too taxing and unfortunately there was no time to throw it over to the audience.

I was psyched for The Hills Run Red. The poster made it look a bit crappy but a lot of fun. It was a twisty thrill ride through post-modern, meta-horror for the Scream generation. Centering on a horror movie obsessive, searching for a lost film only viewed by a few people back in the 80s, who is drawn into a world where people are dying for the things they want. It was a nice homage to all the old school movies I grew up watching and stands up pretty well as a straight to DVD flick. The dialogue seemed a bit forced in places and some parts seemed to happen just to wind on the plot. How big is the screen in the Empire? It is pretty damn big. Well, imagine that screen full of a close up of a set of jugs. That’s right, the largest boobs I have ever seen on the big screen. Like 20 feet wide. Jesus, it’s not a visual I’ll forget in a hurry.


The director; Dave Parker answered a few questions, along with composer; Frederick Wiedmann. Stars Alex Wyndham and Janet Montgomery looked bored as they were asked, and answered, questions from the audience.

A quick break was followed by a short called Deadwalkers, which was a fun, if flawed, 13 minute zombie western. The director Spencer Estabrooks clearly has talent and will hopefully tap that mine fairly soon if involved with some bigger projects.

The last movie of the night was Infestation; a bit like Eight Legged Freaks but funnier and more relevant. Lovable loser Cooper loses his job only to wake up in a web, after vomiting he wakes up some other folks and they form a resistance against giant beetles. Using practical effects is probably the quickest way to win my heart, even if it is used alongside CGI. The movie was really dumb and really fun, with some wittier, intelligent stuff chucked in for good measure. Without doubt, the best movie of the day.

Right folks, it is 3am and I am off to get five hours sleep before tomorrows kick off.

2 Comments on “FrightFest – Thursday 2009”

  1. Dedication; getting stuff up already :)

    I would but I’m now ill :( Not managed to bump into you again, though did see that girl whose name I instantly forgot and have been too embarrassed to admit it, lol.

    Will try and search you out tomorrow assuming illness gets no worse (and then ahppily pass it on to you guys).

  2. Jamie Carruthers says:

    I somehow managed to make Dave Parker and Alex Wyndham look like some sort of boyband.

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