FrightFest – Sunday 2009

Its day four in the big horror house, and I am starting to look like an extra from La Horde. I’ve been flagging for a few days but Jesus, this is looking ropey. I swear I won’t fall asleep during any more movies. I really, really won’t. I’ll just go home before they start instead…

I had already seen Dead Snow, so I did a bit of a saunter round in order to get a proper breakfast in me and strolled into the cinema a little bit late. Dead Snow was great on the big screen, still just as funny and fresh as the first time. One of the best tongue-in-cheek, reference-soaked flicks straight from the school of mid-90s zombie renaissance. Its fast and frenetic and does its job perfectly. It’s unashamedly unoriginal in both its premise and it approach; just Nazi zombies running around killing teens. Great stuff.

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Director, Tommy Wirkola hit the stage after for some questions. He talked a bit about the new trend of fast zombies, and why he decided his undead hordes should run (it was simply because they were Nazis). There was talk of a sequel, which would obviously be rad.

A quick break and an even quicker coffee later, and it is time for The Human Centipede. This was the movie I was most looking forward to all weekend. Pitched as a 100% medically accurate movie, The Human Centipede is a low budget, mildly violent trip in weird body horror the likes of which you have probably never seen before. There was a weird blocky Youtube type thing going on, which bugged me a bunch but didn’t detract from the events on screen too much. The story follows three abductees who become involved with a deranged surgeon who spent too long separating conjoined twins; it’s a dark and twisted yarn that confounds at every turn. This is destined to be massive on DVD.

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Dutch director, Tom Six, was joined by actors Akihiro Kitamura and Ashley Williams where they discussed the possibility of a sequel which would also be a slasher movie and would involve fifteen people in the centipede chain. Isn’t that an exciting prospect? Yes, it is.

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Coffin Rock was introduced by star, Sam Parsonson who was in character which was odd. Before seeing the movie I just thought he was kind of a jerk, turns out he is just a good actor. Coffin Rock wasn’t a bad movie at all; it was well made and competently acted by all. Really though, it was just your standard killer obsession movie with nothing new to bring to the table. Basic plot is; dude obsesses over married chick, married chick and husband can’t conceive, chick sleeps with dude and gets pregnant, drama ensues. It was enjoyable enough but didn’t stand out at all.
Parsonson answered a few questions from Alan Jones, and I went off to get a massive vat of Coca Cola.

Last year, my favourite movie was Autopsy. It was amazing fun and gory as heck to boot. From the folks behind Autopsy; Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson, comes Night Of The Demons. A great big and brash, boobs-out, gore comedy with a soundtrack that kicks harder than a mule with a pink Mohawk. The movie is super silly with a few great nods to the original and a few scenes of awesome gory shock. It had a tendency to get a bit silly at times, but made up for it in spades, with a lot of fun. Demons is a total party movie, aimed squarely at the male audience members. There was a pointless, but fun, cameo from Linnea Quigley where she essentially showed her ass for the camera. Ed Furlong is looking a bit rough these days, and he is cast wonderfully as a drug dealer. Shannon Elizabeth plays the only character imported from the original, Angela, and I didn’t buy her as a goth. She just looked too happy, I guess. The rest of the cast are just there to make up the numbers for either the big boobs team, or the comic relief team. There is no middle ground. I really like Adam Gierasch as director, I think he is a dab hand at making funny, gory flicks and I can’t wait to see what he has next.

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In the Q&A section, when asked about what it was like to remake a classic, he answered “Well, last year I was here with Autopsy and most of you liked it. A few of you didn’t, and a criticism I got a lot was that it wasn’t very original. So I took that criticism to heart. And made a remake. Fuck you”. Gierasch was joined on stage by his new wife, Jace Anderson, actors Bobbie Sue Luther and John Beach, and Joe Bishara, who co-ordinated the soundtrack. They told a nice story about how they wanted to put some Misfits on the soundtrack but got told to fuck off, essentially.

After a bit of a break and a huge pee (those large cokes are actually massive, woah!), I took my seat for the new adaptation from Clive Barker’s Books Of Blood series but instead was greeted with the Douche Bros logo, meaning it could only be the Adam Green and Joe Lynch short. Today’s was especially funny, as they used my favourite scene from American Werewolf. I really hope these shorts end up online like last years did.

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Hatchet director, Adam Green then went on to introduce a bit of a scene from his new movie, Frozen. He made us repeat an oath that we wouldn’t film it or the studio would face-rape us or something. The footage looked great. It was really grim looking with some decent gore. I really look forward to this. Adam Green is a top guy and Hatchet was a great homage type movie, so I have pretty high hopes for this sucker. After the footage had played out, he also gave away one of the only fifteen Frozen crew t-shirts that had been made. I didn’t win it, but it looked like it would be too small anyway.

I can’t really decide how I feel about Clive Barker movies. Sure Hellraiser is great, Candyman is sweet and Nightbreed owns a very special chunk of my heart but the bulk of the output in his name is ropey to say the least. At one of the smaller events last year, FrightFest showed Book Of Blood, which I thought was essentially nonsense. Dread, however, was an interesting and exciting trip into fear. I don’t think I would be so bold as to call it a horror movie, but as a psychological thriller it shines. It’s the story of Stephen Grace, a film student who meets Quaid. Quaid is a painter and expert manipulator who convinces Stephen to direct his thesis on fear. What follows is an interesting trip into the fears of others, as well as journey into the necessity for control.

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I have never read a Clive Barker novel or short story, but I find it difficult that this story came from the creator of the Cenobites, and all that subtle-as-a-brick demonic horror. The movie is real slick and paced perfectly, and the ending is a doozy! I really dug it, way more than I had expected to.

Anthony DiBlasi brought three of his cast up for the Q&A, including Shaun Evans (Quaid), Laura Donnelly (Abby) and a peripheral character whose name escapes me! I was surprised to learn that most of the cast was English, and especially that the actor who wowed me as Quaid was in fact a scouser! Excellent accents all round.

After Dread, I went home conscious of the fact that I would be missing John Landis introduce a brand new Making Of Thriller documentary, as well as the last movie of the night, Black. I was pretty sad to have to miss both of these, but FrightFest Mondays are the biggest of the lot and I needed to have some real sleep if I was to be drinking and schmoozing in the Phoenix the next day. By all accounts, I am pretty glad I jetted off early as word on the street was that Black didn’t finish until sometime approaching 3 am. Phew!

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