FrightFest, punch-ups & no sleep

So, I boarded the train on Friday afternoon, with Steel Panther blaring in my ears (as it so often is), I could tell by the smirk of the girl opposite me that she dug it. A quick change at Preston got me well on my way to Glasgow… I felt a little bit guilty asking a girl to move out of my seat, and then getting bumped up to first class by a fellow festival goer who just happens to work on the trains (Big props to Krispy, I appreciate it).

I arrived in Glasgow shortly after 4pm, met up with my old Dad for some fish and chips and then headed up to the GFT to hook up with the other fest goers. I was there for less than five minutes when some of the regulars showed up. It was dead good to catch up with some of the folks that I haven’t seen since last August.
I had to deal with some GoreZone related ribbing, but it was all good. I tried to avoid saying anything that might get me in trouble. I think I just about managed it. Throughout the weekend people were asking me if I was me (which I am) and congratulating me on being a man, sticking it to the man, and not bowing down to the man. I tried in general to not talk about it too much, but thanked everyone who gave me messages of support because I really do appreciate it.

So I saw a bunch of movies, some of which I will review, some I won’t. I’ve got to be honest; there will be no Amer review. I fell asleep, and I fell hard. I kept waking up and seeing how amazingly beautiful it was, but just couldn’t keep my eyes open. From what I saw, it was a giallo through the eyes of Gaspar Noe as a film student. The directors and producer, Helene Cattet, Bruno Forzani, and Francois Cognard, gave an interesting Q&A, and I will have to make sure I track down the movie to watch it again when I wasn’t up until 7am drinking beers and debating racism with my family.

Helene Cattet & Bruno Forzani

I was a bit gutted that the uncut, fully restored showing of A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin was neither fully restored nor uncut, but either way, it’s always good to see Fulci on the big screen. Always. I can’t wait until the promised version hits DVD, which should be very soon.

Frozen director, Adam Green, didn’t manage to make it over. If you follow him on Twitter, you will know how gutted he was to be stuck on a static plane in the snow. So in his absence, 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams director, Tim Sullivan, read out an email from Green to introduce the film, complete with a rant about Avatar. Frozen played really well, and was easily my favourite of the festival. Also, Sullivan is one charismatic dude, and funny to boot. Especially in the 2001 Maniacs Q&A session, I didn’t get to interview him but I did get to ask a question during the Q&A. Obviously, I asked him about how Miles Dougal (Brian from Psychocop Returns!) got involved. He seemed pretty impressed that I even knew who Miles Dougal was, I felt good about myself all day.

There was a pretty fun short called Deadspiel, obviously Canadian, about a curling match between zombies and humans. Nicely put together, if a little slow, which is a pretty great punchline. Also they showed some excellent trailers, especially Stoner, which has made it onto my ‘Oh Shit, I Gotta Watch That’ list. George Lazenby and Kung Fu together, the idea just makes me so happy.
[REC] 2 blew me away, I really like where they went with the story. I may have preferred it to the original. Splice didn’t fulfil its promise but was still an admirable science gone wild movie, and yes, I would (when you see the movie, you will understand). It got pretty icky in parts too. Harpoon: Reykjavik Whale Watching Massacre was a stand out, played straight with a few notes of comedy, it really worked for me. A couple of members of the young, pretty cast were about to introduce it, but didn’t come back for a Q&A.

Stag Night was a decent enough The Hills Have Eyes-style backwoods slasher type movie, but more interesting than the movie was the punch up that kicked off in the second row. You know you’re in Glasgow when a fight breaks out in the cinema. I don’t really know what happened; apparently a guy was being drunk and annoying enough to make some guy start wailing on him. He got about ten or fifteen punches in before security came, and kicked the pummelled dude out (which prompted a few quick people to dub the event “FightFest”). It was exciting viewing. Director, Peter Dowing, chatted a little bit about the fight after, and imparted the tidbit that he was an assistant animator on Raggy Dolls. I remember loving that cartoon when I was a kid, but don’t remember why.

Pete Dowing

Jake West popped up to show us some of the stuff cut from Doghouse, which apparently included more symbolism, some of which I caught and some that passed me by. Neil Marshall and his lovely partner in crime, Axelle Carolyn, also turned up with the first five minutes of Centurion. Anything with Fassbender and tonnes of gore will get me salivating good and proper. Also Chris Smith showed up to give us a taster of The Black Death, which didn’t hit me too hard, but I will definitely check it out when it hits cinemas.

I didn’t fancy queuing up for any of the freebies, so didn’t get any of the copies of Dr. Chopper or Mr. Halloween they were doling out like sweets in October, although my good buddy Frank did give me a copy of Sergio Martino’s The Violent Professionals. I didn’t get any of the t-shirts they were handing out either, mainly because I didn’t want a certain section of the horror community thinking I was under the employ of the FrightFest fellas (which I’m not, although I do throw the odd review their way for their site. I can think of worse things than working for living legend Alan Jones).

So I am now on the train home, after a massive Subway and my body weight in coffee, to sleep through until next week. Reviews of everything I actually watched coming soon, but until then don’t let the bed-bugs bite.


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