Please note this is a first impression only. My ones to watch will be announced in due course
This August bank holiday weekend, Arrow Video FrightFest (the UK’s biggest horror and fantasy film festival) turns a fifth of a century. To celebrate, the four horsemen (Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray and Greg Day) have come up with a programme that promises to be their best yet. Once again making Cineworld Leicester Square the dark heart of cinema, they offer a record-breaking seventy-eight of tomorrow’s top genre films, from fourteen countries across six continents. This line-up includes 20 World, 20 International / European and 28 UK Premieres. So there’s way too much to include in any meaningful detail here. However, to wet the appetite I thought I’d list those that leapt out at me.
On the main screen, Ant Timpson’s new feature Come to Daddy, starring Elijah Wood, draws first blood. It’ll be followed by Sam Raimi and director Alexandre Aja’s ‘gator creature-feature feature Crawl and Guillermo del Toro and director André Øvredal’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. And that’s only the first night! Other attractions on the main screens include Radio Silence’s latest Ready or Not, Lucky McKee’s Kindred Spirits, the remake of Rabid by American Mary helmers The Soska Sisters and the final onscreen cameo of Spike Lee in Jason Mewes’ Madness in the Method. Fresh from the excellent What Keeps You Alive, director Kurtis David Harder returns with Spiral, and Malcolm in the Middle Frankie Munz goes dark with The Black String. Some Kind of Hate director Adam Egypt Mortimer returns with his similarly intense sounding Daniel Isn’t Real. If all this sounds too much, you can laugh with Jordan ‘Zombeavers’ Rubin new tech-gone-wrong horror comedy The Drone and Level 16 director Danishka Esterhazy show her fun side with the nuts sounding The Banana Splits. The festival reaches its nasty conclusion with the World premiere of Abner Pastoll’s revenge flick A Good Woman is Hard to Find.
Discovery screens also have a lot on. Along with with the usual short film showcases, and The Duke Mitchell party, there are some cool sounding titles including stalk and slash with The Furies, a new Critters film, Pollyanna McIntosh’s Darlin (a sequel to The Woman) plus special screenings of Tenebrae and the original Cronenberg version of Rabid. Elsewhere, life coaches also become dead coaches in Staten Cousins-Poe’s feature debut A Serial Killer’s Guide to Life. And there’s a great sounding documentary: The Magnificent Obsession of Michael Reeves about the Witchfinder General’s director’s tragically short career. Rosie Fletcher, editor at Den of Geek, will also host a panel discussion from Page to Scream. Some of the top horror authors whose work has been adapted or optioned for the screen will be there to talk about the process. And as a special treat for those who couldn’t get to Glasgow, Here Comes Hell is back – you’re gonna want to see it.
More special guests will be announced nearer the time. But for now, we know that cult heroines The Soska Sisters will attend, along with the legendary Dario Argento.
Arrow Film FrightFest takes place Aug 22 – Aug 26. Festival passes will go on sale Sat 6 July at noon and will only be available to buy online while single tickets will go on sale on Sat 20 July from 9am. For information on securing yours, plus scheduling and a complete line-up, check out the official FrightFest site