Filmwerk were in attendance bright and early this year. Having dropped our name at the media desk we scouted out the main foyer of the Empire Leicester Square where the FrightFest crew were hard at work preparing the media wall, setting up the shop and piling up the FrightFest goodie bags (with Sinister plastered on them and full of books and movie goodness).
It was then our duty to report directly to the Captain’s Cabin pub, where the majority of the regulars frequent on opening night to mingle and talk up the festival. After an few random Q&A’s we quickly discovered that most people were excited about the Friday morning screening of Clive Barker’s “Cabal Cut” of Nightbreed (which we can’t blame them for, as it was top of our list as well).
It hit the 6pm mark and suddenly a whole year of anticipation finally dissipates when the doors open for the opening night of FrightFest the 13th! We got a surprise guest host in the form of Ross Noble who opened proceedings and were then treated to a bit of comic genius from FrightFest organiser, Ian Rattray, who appeared in his own little short film advising viewers to turn their phones off or he would find them!
So how did it go? Join us now as we start our 5 day journey deep into the bowels of FrightFest. The crowd, the talent, the organisers are all there, ready to start another glorious journey into the dark, depraved, controversial and all too often hilarious trip that is FrightFest
Opening Film: The Seasoning House
All joking aside for the opening feature. The setting is Eastern Europe. A group of young beautiful women are ripped from their homes amid modern warfare and taken to a remote location to be used as part of the sex trade. The film focuses on a young mute girl who is put in the position of cleaning and doping each of the girls on a daily basis as the house of depravity welcomes in their customers to make use of them.
The Seasoning House is a beautifully lensed film of such an ugly subject and for, at least, the first half of the running time any hope is ripped from the viewer’s mind as we see the day to day running of the facility. It’s dirty, it’s bloody and often violent.
The dirt itself is perhaps a laid on a little too thickly in order to get the repulsiveness of the house across (seriously, they seem to just leave the blood on the girls without any regard to how a customer may react). Throw in a few Eastern European villains going by the name of Victor and Ivan (Nicolai and Dmitri must not have been available for this one) and you have a decent, if flawed, film on a subject not often broached. A decent start to the festivities then.
Cockney’s Vs Zombies
The only sad thing about screening CvZ so early is that it has set a high bench mark for comedy relief for the rest of the festival. To cut to the chase – yes, another zombie outbreak has occurred, but you’ve not seen it this funny. Especially when you throw into the mix a bunch of old codgers ready to step up, guns in hand, to take a few of them down.
Clearly the man of the match for this one is Alan Ford’s potty mouthed granddad who steals every moment he gets on film. The likes of Richard Briers and Honor Blackman do their bit for sure and you can be guaranteed that there is going to be plenty of slang, blood and OTT violence along the way. A cult comedy classic for sure!
Oddly enough, we get another comedy straight away. We were a bit nervous about getting two comedies in a row. Were the organisers purposely getting the laughs out of the way early on, or did they have an over abundance of the stuff still yet to come? Yet Grabbers isn’t without its appeal. The basic premise of the film helps to sell it. The more drunk you are, the safer you are! There’s an alien invasion in Ireland, but these beasties are a little bit put off by alcohol!
With that was the end of day one. We decided to check out the Phoenix Bar quickly (the main sponsored water hole for FrightFesters, in case you didn’t know) but didn’t stay out too late as we needed to be up early for day two!