Summers almost over and what better way to welcome in the spooky season than by hiding from the heat in a darkened room, with five days of wall-to-wall horror? Yep, its August Bank Holiday and that means the 18th annual London Horror Channel FrightFest is upon us. For some, this is a familiar pilgrimage. Veterans will be used to bloodshot eyes, numbness in the spine, a lack of nutrition and an acute anxiousness every time theres a loud noise. For others, it may be their first visit and these are things to look forward to. Either way, FrightFest promises probably the biggest, purest, uncut dose of horror you can endure without going insane, complete with special guests, world premieres, live events and at least a couple of parties. So, of course, were well up for it.
Since the festival expanded across multiple screens in 2009, the number of films on offer has risen like a Lovecraftian God. This year offers 64 of them and making the right choices can be an exercise in abject terror and suspense in itself. Inevitably, you cant win them all (and arguably its the ones you least expect that are the best experiences) but going in with a plan or, if youre like us, a detailed, neatly-rendered, colour-coded spreadsheet is key to surviving the weekend.
Everyones taste varies and the festival offers movies from many subgenres, from horror-adjacent thrillers and black comedies to monstertastic splatterfests. Weve not seen any of them yet because we like surprises, but heres a selection of what were most excited about, that you might want to keep your eye out for. Don’t forget you can find ticket details at http://www.frightfest.co.uk.
The zombie movie may be having a rest in 2017 but it wouldnt beFrightFest without at least one. It Stains The Sands Red a movie about a woman (US soap star Brittany Allen) chased through the Nevada desert by a brain-hungry ghoul – is written and directed by The Vicious Brothers. Eagle-eyed genre fans whove seen their previous films, Grave Encounters and Extra-Terrestrial, will know to expect some bonkers twists, a maximalist approach to storytelling and a tongue firmly in (maggoty) cheek. This ones on first thing in the morning after the opening night so should be a great way to lose the hangover (and possibly your breakfast).
Were hoping to swipe right on this internet dating horror about an online playboy whose life goes awry when he connects with a mysterious, dangerous woman. Its written and directed by David Chirchirillo (of Cheap Thrills fame) so promises a twisty-turny plot full of pitch-black humour and gritty shocks, but the main appeal is the sheer potential of the subject matter. Anyone whos used Tinder for even a minute will understand its special kind of horror and online dating is a topic thats not been explored anywhere near enough in the genre, considering the role it plays in modern life.
If you need to lower your heart rate and calm down for a bit, Steve Mitchells documentary film King Cohen looks like a good way to take a breather. Its educational too, as it takes an in-depth look back at the career of genre legend Larry Cohen. This is a guy whose work includes blaxploitation (Bone, Black Caesar, Original Gangstas), horror (the Its Alive trilogy, Q The Winged Serpent, The Stuff, Maniac Cop), action thrillers (Special Effects, Phone Booth, Cellular) and comedy (Full Moon High), and whose provocative but frugal approach to filmmaking proved hugely influential on indie genre cinema. King Cohen tells his maverick story and interviews collaborators from Martin Scorsese to Traci Lords, so should be a whole heap of fun.
Yeah. We know. No one likes an origin story. Defenders of Rob Zombies Halloween may try to argue otherwise but really, were not sure there are many whove been crying out to know exactly why The Texas Chainsaw Massacres iconic villain decided to one day strap on a mask of human skin and start slicing up teenagers. We just want him to get on and do it, right? Well, if Leatherface has any chance of being good, it is at least in capable hands. Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury, directors of French extreme classic Inside (whose remake is also playing FrightFest this year), are at the helm and they know how to hold a camera and deliver the gore, so expect stylish shocks. It also stars Finn Jones and, for any Marvel fans whose patience has been stretched by Danny Rand, this could be cathartic if he meets a suitably sticky end!
Alex de la Iglesia is a phenomenally underrated director. From his anarchic debut Accion Mutante (a sci-fi splatterfest about a group of mutants rebelling against ‘the beautiful people’) to Day Of The Beast (a black comedy about the coming of the Antichrist) to 800 Bullets (a moving father/son story set in the world of madcap stuntmen), his movies have a distinctive tone and great vibe. El Bar is his latest offering and centres on a group of people trapped in a bar when all manner of mayhem kicks off outside. If that doesnt sound too inspiring, just remember that de la Iglesias previous film started out as a heist thriller and finished with a giant vagina monster. Were sure he has some tricks up his sleeve here too
No, not the Bruce Lee classic. No, not the Wesley Snipes DTV fare. No, not the Oh, you know what its not. But what you might not know is that this ones described in the Horror Channel FrightFest programme as JUMANJI MEETS BATTLE ROYALE! and if that doesnt push your buttons, you need a rewiring. This looks like a crowd-pleasing slice of madness, as a group of unsuspecting millennials find an electronic board game with fatal consequences
If youre a fan of haunted house attractions, youll be excited about Ruin Me, a stylized teen horror in which a group of kids go to ‘Slasher Sleepout: The Ultimate Horror Movie Experience’. Its a camping experience, a haunted house and an escape room all in one but a knowledge of horror movies is all thatll get you out. This looks very much in line with the post-modern horror style of recent years that gave us Cabin In The Woods, Final Girl (with the perennially unsung Abigail Breslin), Found Footage 3D and Stage Fright, to name a handful, and should please anyone who thinks meta is better!
A fantastic opportunity for fans new and old to see an HD restoration of Giulo Questis eye-popping proto-giallo. This surrealistic, satirical classic stars the astonishing Ewa Aulin and is set in a high-tech poultry farm. Theres a love triangle, mutant headless chickens, radiation poisoning and the obligatory dude in black leather gloves walking around killing women in lingerie. Its ahead of the giallo curve by a few years and rich with symbolism. The stylish sets, costumes and photography (by Fellini collaborator Dario di Palma) make it play like an episode of Mad Men gone horribly wrong. A must-see for anyone who likes leftfield cinema.
This debut feature from Brazilian director Samuel Galli has gained a lot of buzz already. Its an exorcism thriller that takes place in the gritty underbelly of Sao Paolo, as a spiritualist gets told that a demonic power is coming for his daughter and takes drastic measures to prevent this. From what we hear, this ones pretty shocking and far out, so should please fans of the darker, more extreme side of horror.
Another debut feature, this comedy-horror from Devonian first-timer Benjamin Barfoot looks set to be a hoot. Danny Morgan (who also wrote the screenplay) plays a guy whos terrified of girls and determined to (at age 29) lose his virginity. Unfortunately, he and his mate Alex pick the wrong girls and bloodshed ensues. The poster art for this one and its amusingly blunt Paint the town red tagline has got us hoping for a gory, laugh-out-loud battle of the sexes like (the far-better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be) Doghouse.
Horror Channel FrightFest favourite Joe Lynch (Wrong Turn 2) returns to the festival with Mayhem, a hyperactive gorefest in which a virus breaks out in an office building and a recently redundant consultant has to battle his way through the infected to the ‘executive level’. Hopefully this will give us the kind of satire of toxic office politics that this years Belko Experiment promised and failed to deliver. Considering the first class cast (including Steven Yeun, Caroline Chikezie and Kerry Fox) and Lynchs own pedigree when it comes to horror-comedy, this should do the job.
This gruesome Korean crime epic from Byung-gil Jung (Confession Of Murder) comes hot from an airing at Cannes, where it mortified unsuspecting audiences with its blood-soaked opening scenes. Ok-bin Kim (Over My Dead Body) plays an assassin, trained to kill since childhood, whos given a chance to start a new life as a theatre actress. These things never go well and, sure enough, her dark past resurfaces in a hail of bullets, blades and blood. This is one for fans of Asian extreme cinema but should dazzle even newcomers to the genre with its visceral choreography and slick visuals.
If you dont remember this Palace Horror Britflick from 1986, this is a rare opportunity to catch it on the big screen. Jemma Redgrave plays Diana, a young virgin due to marry a decorated war hero. She’s haunted by nightmares borne from sexual frustration that soon blur into her reality. Its a stylish, serious and disturbing film and worth seeing for Timothy Spall and Jimmy Nail alone, who steal the show not just as the comic relief (a pair of muck-racking gutter press journos) but also as the horrific manifestations of Diana’s nightmares. Considering its quality, its a great shame that Dream Demon hasnt really been seen much since the VHS era. The renaissance starts here?
If you follow any of the people behind Lowlife on Twitter, youll probably have got the idea that this is one that people will be talking about for a while. A disgraced Mexican wrestler, a recovering addict and a convict with a full-face swastika tattoo come together to save a pregnant woman in this outrageous horror-thriller that leaves good taste at the door and dives headlong into the dirt. The amazing Nicki Micheaux (Karla from Six Feet Under, for those with long memories) leads the cast, despite being initially worried that the role was too crazy, and is even making a personal appearance at the festival, making this one pretty unmissable.
Top Knot Detectives a contender for the weirdest concept at this years FrightFest. Its a Darkplace-style mockumentary about a (completely fictional) Japanese samurai show from the 90s that gained a cult following in Australia. For us, one of the highlights of last years festival was Fury Of The Demon (Fabien Delages stunning mockumentary about a lost film that sends its viewers mad) and this looks like its cut from the same mischievous cloth. Plus, that artwork is stunning.
Lets face it. They had us at Doug Jones as the evil spirit of a hideous scarecrow. And they should have you with that too.
Like Vanessa Williams, FrightFest often saves the best for last and it looks like this years closing film is another winner. Tyler MacIntyres school slasher satire sees a pair of teenage true crime bloggers entrap a serial killer in an effort to boost their social media presence, exchanging hits for victims. By all accounts, this ones a hysterical roof-raiser and the cast of teen faves like Brianna Hildebrand (Deadpool) and Josh Hutcherson (Hunger Games) make it feel like a red hot ticket.
And if you dont fancy any of those, theres plenty more deadly fish in the sea. The full Horro Channel FrightFest programme is available on their website. Passes and individual tickets can be bought here.
If youre going, let us know what you see and what you think of it!
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17 films to catch at Horror Channel FrightFest 2017 – Den of Geek UK
- 20 Funniest Things About Horror Movies That Make No Sense - May 21st, 2019
- Horror Movie Podcast | Reviewing the Hell Out of Horror Movies - April 29th, 2019
- 'The Curse of La Llorona' horror movie is a box-office hit ... - April 25th, 2019
- Body at Brighton Rock Review: A Survival Movie with a ... - April 25th, 2019
- Terror TV: 5 horror films that would make great television - April 17th, 2019
- Why People Read Wikipedia Pages for Horror Movies - April 2nd, 2019
- 'Us': Jordan Peele switches horror spotlight to a black family - March 22nd, 2019
- 1980s horror movie poster logos and typography. - March 13th, 2019
- Aquaman Spinoff Horror Movie The Trench Is In Development - March 9th, 2019
- The Best Scary Horror Movies On Netflix Now In 2019 - February 26th, 2019
- The Ape Man - Wikipedia - January 29th, 2019
- Top 15 Horror Movies to See in 2019! | Arrow in the Head - January 10th, 2019
- The 10 Best Horror Movies of 2018 - vulture.com - December 26th, 2018
- Best horror movies: scary films to stream or buy in 2018 ... - August 24th, 2018
- Amazon.com Horror Movies & Films on DVD and Blu-Ray - July 26th, 2018
- Box Office: 'It' Is Now The Highest-Grossing R-Rated ... - July 22nd, 2018
- | Reviewing the Hell Out of Horror Movies. - July 16th, 2018
- Arachnophobia (film) - Wikipedia - June 24th, 2018
- The Last Horror Movie - Wikipedia - June 19th, 2018
- Horror Domain | Horror Movie News, Trailers, Reviews ... - June 18th, 2018
- 100 Best Horror Movies of All Time - September 20th, 2017
- Sorensen: Horror movies don't deserve bad reputation - The Daily Iowan - September 7th, 2017
- 'It' is a waking nightmare, curated from a catalogue of horror-movie tropes - Washington Post - September 7th, 2017
- 'It was like something you see in a horror movie': Irma survivors tell of devastation - The Guardian - September 7th, 2017
- Rough flight 'like a horror movie': Etihad Airways passenger - The West Australian - September 7th, 2017
- /Answers: Our Favorite Horror Movie Villains - /FILM - September 6th, 2017
- Review: 'It' doesn't clown around with horror-movie clichs - Seattle Times - September 6th, 2017
- Horror Movie Magic: The CGI that has made films even scarier - SYFY WIRE (blog) - September 6th, 2017
- Letter: Don't star in a (traffic) horror movie - Mountain Xpress - September 6th, 2017
- Thelma Trailer: Norway's Oscar Submission is a Horror Movie - /FILM - September 6th, 2017
- Stephen King's 'It' Arrives at a Terrifying Time for the Movie Business - Variety - September 6th, 2017
- Darren Aronofsky's 'mother!' Early Buzz: A Delirious, Divisive Horror Movie Designed to Attack Its Audience - /FILM - September 6th, 2017
- Can 'It' Reverse the Trend of Terrible September Horror Films? - Film School Rejects - September 6th, 2017
- Annabelle 2 Beats Get Out as 2017's Biggest Horror Movie - MovieWeb - September 5th, 2017
- Police warning over 'killer clown' craze set to return after horror movie IT released - Coventry Telegraph - September 5th, 2017
- Beautiful Diana, trapped in a horror movie: Mallick - Toronto Star - September 5th, 2017
- Sequels and Lies: What Hollywood's Disastrous Summer Really Means for the Future of Movies - The Ringer (blog) - September 5th, 2017
- 'Killer clown' craze set to return as remake of horror movie IT is released in UK - Metro - September 3rd, 2017
- It movie early reviews: This clown horror film is frighteningly good - The Indian Express - September 3rd, 2017
- 'The bedroom was like a scene from a horror movie' - Mum speaks about terrifying condition that almost killed her ... - Independent.ie - September 3rd, 2017
- Horror News Network's Fall 2017 Horror Movie Preview - Horror News Network - September 3rd, 2017
- 'Friend Request' Trailer: Witches and Social Media Team Up for a Horror Movie - /FILM - September 3rd, 2017
- 'The bedroom was like a scene from a horror movie' - Mum speaks about terrifying incident that almost killed her ... - Independent.ie - September 2nd, 2017
- Netflix's Little Evil puts a new comic spin on the evil-kid trope - The Verge - September 2nd, 2017
- Horror on Netflix: September 2017 Additions - 1428 Elm - September 2nd, 2017
- Horror Movies and Video Games Get the Goosebumps Cover Treatment - Dread Central - September 2nd, 2017
- How They Did It: Shooting a Flashlit Prison Horror Movie, Against the Night, on the Sony a7S - MovieMaker Magazine - September 1st, 2017
- Why Are Horror Movie Characters So Dumb? | Screen Rant - Screen Rant - September 1st, 2017
- Couple produces horror film for festival - Newnan Times-Herald - September 1st, 2017
- Reading Stephen King's It is an exhausting way to spend a summer - The Verge - September 1st, 2017
- Run-of-the-mill horror film 'Temple' delivers the same old evil spirits - Los Angeles Times - August 31st, 2017
- 'It' horror movie can't scare real-life clowns - Fox News - August 31st, 2017
- Brooklyn Horror Film Festival screening Kane Hodder documentary, Steven Yeun-starring Mayhem - EW.com - August 31st, 2017
- With 'The Shape of Water,' Guillermo del Toro Realizes a Lifelong Monster Dream - Variety - August 31st, 2017
- It's like something out of a horror movie - Crowborough Life - August 31st, 2017
- It took four years to restore horror classic Suspiria watch an exclusive clip - EW.com (blog) - August 31st, 2017
- Fall Movie Guide: 35 Superhero, Scifi, and Fantasy Movies to Look Out For - Gizmodo - August 31st, 2017
- The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988) - IMDb - August 30th, 2017
- 7 scary Irish horror movies - IrishCentral - August 30th, 2017
- 'mother!' TV Spots & Viral Site Offer New Clues to Darren Aronofsky's Mysterious Horror Movie - Collider.com - August 30th, 2017
- Stephen King 'Bans' Trump from Seeing His New Horror Flick - Fox News Insider - August 29th, 2017
- 10 Feminist Horror Movies That Will Make You Appreciate the Genre in a Whole New Way - MarieClaire.com - August 28th, 2017
- Hudson Valley Won't Be 'Quiet Place' During Horror Movie Production - Greenburgh Daily Voice - August 28th, 2017
- A Tribute to Tobe Hooper, Whose 'Texas Chain Saw Massacre' Was, and Is, the Horror Film of Its Time - Variety - August 28th, 2017
- Purga, the new Mexican Netflix for horror movie lovers - Vallarta Daily - August 28th, 2017
- It remake tipped to make 38million in biggest September opening weekend of all time after critics hail the horror ... - The Sun - August 28th, 2017
- All of the Clues that 'AHS: Cult' Features Your Favorite Horror Movie Villains - HarpersBAZAAR.com - August 28th, 2017
- Only Clowns Can Attend This Special Screening Of Horror Film 'It' - HuffPost - August 26th, 2017
- 'Red Christmas' Review: Australia's Latest Horror Export Isn't Much of a Present - IndieWire - August 26th, 2017
- This Is a Golden Age of Low-Budget Horror - WIRED - August 26th, 2017
- IT movie: BIG NEWS on Stephen King horror's box office - how many people will it terrify? - Express.co.uk - August 25th, 2017
- Mother!: everything we know about Jennifer Lawrence's insane, top secret horror movie - Telegraph.co.uk - August 24th, 2017
- Exclusive: Spooky 'Temple' Clip Teases a Paranormal Predicament - Collider.com - August 24th, 2017
- Thai-set horror film 'Ghost House' adroitly keeps the audience on edge - Los Angeles Times - August 24th, 2017
- Todd Tucker: The Terror of Hallow's Eve is a horror movie with a message - 1428 Elm - August 24th, 2017
- Horror movie fans connect at Peter Vullo's 'Thursday Night Terrors' - Buffalo News - August 24th, 2017
- Brutal Beauty: 10 Visually Stunning Horror Movies You Can't Unsee - Collider.com - August 24th, 2017
- 'One of the best horror films of recent years' is showing on TV on Wednesday night - JOE - August 24th, 2017
- How to Become a Horror Movie-Worthy Exorcist IRL - Inverse - August 22nd, 2017
- 10 sci-fi, fantasy and horror films featuring a total eclipse - SYFY WIRE (blog) - August 22nd, 2017
Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero