Frightfest is set to enjoy a record-breaking 20th anniversary, with a stuffed lineup boasting 78 films from fourteen countries and six different continents including 20 World, 20 International/European and 28 U.K. premieres. Oh, and Dario Argento is going to be there as well as the Soska Sisters.
Ant Timpson’s edgy Come To Daddy, starring Elijah Wood, will kick off the festival, as previously announced, while Abner Pastoll’s superbly crafted crime thriller A Good Woman Is Hard To Find, featuring Sarah Bolger, will round things off on Monday night after a whopping five days of fright flicks.
The other massive news this year is that director André Øvredal’s hugely-anticipated Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, which of course boasts Guillermo Del Toro as its producer, will feature. Another high-profile producer, Sam Raimi’s, offering with director Alexandre Aja, the alligator shocker Crawl, is also set to show at Frightfest.
Radio Silence’s lethal thriller Ready Or Not, Kiah Roache-Turner’s futuristic Ozploitation classic Nekrotonic, the Eddie Marsan-starring Feedback, Kirill Sokolov’s splatter-punk action comedy Why Won’t You Just Die! and, excuse me while I nerd out, Jason Mewes’s directorial debut, Madness In The Method, which stars he and hetero life mate Kevin Smith, are all set to play the bumper 20th year.
The Soskas are, naturally, returning with the World Premiere of their remake of the Cronenberg classic Rabid. They’ll also be introducing a special retro screening of the original film. Meanwhile, the legendary Argento will be present for a special screening of his giallo masterpiece, Tenebrae.
Given this is the 20th anniversary of the world’s greatest horror festival (trademark pending), it’s only fitting 2019 sees the return of beloved vets including Adam Egypt Mortimer, with festival hit Daniel Isn’t Real, Lucky McKee with Kindred Spirits, Joe Begos with Bliss, Larry Fessenden with Depraved (the veteran actor also appears in Eric Pennycroft’s brooding Sadistic Intentions), the Eli Roth-produced Haunt, Zombeavers‘ maestro Jordan Rubin’s The Drone, Travis Stevens’ directorial debut The Girl on the Third Floor (starring CM Punk!), Level 16 director Danishka Esterhazy’s The Banana Splits, and Darlin‘, the directorial debut from Pollyanna McIntosh. There’s also the small matter of Critters Attack! with original star Dee Wallace.
Elsewhere, fans can look forward to Seann William Scott’s serial killer turn in Bloodline, Chelsea Stardust’s highly-anticipated Satanic Panic, the already infamous coming of age thriller Knives and Skin, Emma Tammi’s critically acclaimed The Wind, and what are being confidently billed as “the two craziest Midnight Movies you will ever see,” namely Valeri Milev’s fabulously inventive Bullets of Justice and Fabricio Bittar’s Brazilian gorefest Ghost Killers Vs. Bloody Mary.
Home-grown selections include the Euro premiere of Abigail Blackmore’s Tales From The Lodge, starring Mackenzie Crook and Johnny Vegas, Carl Strathe’s Dark Encounter, starring Laura Fraser and Alice Lowe, and producer/director Lawrie Brewster’s For We Are Many, which sees directors from around the world unleashing a legion of demons.
Canadian horror has been, well, killing it lately and as a result a special strand has been created just to showcase the best the Great White North has to offer, featuring Colin Minihan and Kurtis David Harder’s Spiral, Rob Grant’s festival darling Harpoon, Jordan Barker’s Witches In The Woods, Jay Dahl’s Halloween Party and lots more.
This is a particularly worldly year for Frightfest, with three movies representing Argentina; Javier Diment’s chilling chamber piece Rock, Paper and Scissors, Herman Finding’s Impossible Crimes, and Pablo Pares’ I Am Toxic. Tunisia is represented for the first time ever with U.K. premiere of Dachra, while my home country will be showcased in Paddy Murphy’s The Perished (we are bloody miserable, aren’t we?) Aussie horror The Furies is set to give us chase while Christmas horror I Trapped The Devil is sure to be a must-watch.
Documentary fans can check out Dima Balin’s The Magnificent Obsession of Michael Reeves, which charts the life and too-soon death of the man who gave us Witchfinder General, as well as two offerings from David Gregory with Master of Dark Shadows, an in-depth look at Dan Curtis, so-called King of TV horror, and Sick! Savage! Sensual! The Reel Life and Ghastly Death of Al Adamson, which charts the bizarre life and grim demise of Hollywood’s exploitation bad boys.
In a Frightfest first, the festival will this year also hold a special preview of Man of Medan, the first game in the Dark Pictures anthology, followed by a Q&A session with key developmental talent behind the game. Developed by Supermassive Games and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe, the interactive game brings supernatural horror on board a ghost-ship adrift in the South Pacific. It is set to be released for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One Aug 30, 2019.
Festival co-director Alan Jones is convinced this is the best year yet:
“Over the last two decades we have tirelessly introduced our committed audiences to every trend, every new talent and every innovation that has put horror back in the collective cinephile conscious. Even after 20 years. FrightFest’s August event remains a key destination to see the latest genre movies in the manner for which they were made – on the Big Screen surrounded by fellow fear-mongers. Remember, it’s our party and we’ll scream if we want to!”
This year’s guest list, special events and the Short Film Showcase entries will all be announced in the coming weeks.
Arrow Video FrightFest, the UK’s biggest genre film festival, runs from Thursday 22 August to Monday 26 August 2019 at the Empire Cinema, Leicester Square and the Prince Charles Cinema.
Festival and day passes for this year’s event go on sale Saturday, July 6 via their official site. Single tickets will go on sale from Saturday, 20 July. Wicked Horror will once again be there, to bring you all the must-read reviews and exclusive interviews from this year’s festival. So stay tuned.