Finally, after months of speculation, anticipation and salivation, the moment every horror fan has been waiting for has arrived: Frightfest has announced its full line-up for 2015. And needless to say, it’s a (bloody) doozy.
The big seller this year is the hugely-anticipated horror anthology Tales Of Halloween, which features shorts all about our favourite holiday, from genre stalwarts including Darren Lynn Bousman and Lucky McKee, and which stars icons of the genre such as Lin Shaye, John Landis and Adrienne Barbeau.
However, the Main Screen is awash with terrific offerings from all corners of the genre, and the globe, including the intriguing Demonic, a paranormal-activity-themed chiller described as a “super-shock supernatural mystery”. The flick comes to us courtesy of producer and horror wunderkind James Wan, and features Maria Bello as a psychologist seeking answers from the lone survivor of a ghost-hunting exercise gone horribly wrong.
Elsewhere, the much-hyped killer wasp creature feature Stung makes its UK premiere; along with the Ted Geoghegan-directed We Are Still Here, which is produced by the guys behind the Frightfest breakout Cheap Thrills and stars the legendary Barbara Crampton (who also features in Abner Pastoll’s Road Games); the Halloween-themed Hellions, from the director of cult classic Pontypool, and Candyman helmer Bernard Rose’s stylish modern take on a much-loved tale, Frankenstein.There are three Discovery Screens in operation this year, loaded with features from the best and brightest the indie scene has to offer, including; vampire horror-comedy Bloodsucking Bastards, from the LA-based Dr. God comedy troupe, which stars The Cabin In The Woods‘ favourite Fran Kanz; the highly-anticipated, Irish Evil Dead-esque The Hallow; Tyler Shields’s controversial Final Girl, which sees child star Abigail Breslin take on her first meaty, adult leading role, Adam Mason’s “found footage Funny Games” Hangman; David Gelb’s sci-fi shocker The Lazarus Effect, rom-zom-com Night Of The Living Deb; Hostile, from much-hyped 14-year-old(!) French director Nathan Ambrosioni and the legendary Takashi Miike’s super-weird Over Your Dead Body. There are also several, notable flicks from Frightfest alumni, such as Missionary director Anthony Di Blasi’s Most Likely To Die and Late Phases visionary Adrián García Bogliano’s Scherzo Diabolico, which also stars Francisco Barreiro, of the well-received We Are What We Are–another festival breakthrough.
The UK is well-represented as always with Aaaaaaah!, the long-awaited directorial debut from Sightseers’ Steve Oram (which the Frightfest organisers reckon is going to be the cult hit of the year) a particular stand-out. Elsewhere, there’s Never Let Me Go, from Ford brother and Frightfest regular Howard J.; family shocker Estranged; art-house horror The Lesson (tantalisingly described as the “love child of Ben Wheatley, Harmony Korine, Ken Loach and Fritz Lang”); the London-set Howl, from Paul Hyett, director of the popular The Seasoning House; the British talent-stuffed Another Me, which is an adaptation of the popular YA novel Cathy Mc Phail, and features the likes of Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Rhys Ifans; and Banjo, from young, up-and-coming director Liam Regan, which made a significant impact at Cannes.
Although the USA and UK are the real heavy-hitters this year, the Frightfest schedule is loaded, as per usual with fascinating offerings from all corners of the globe, including Hong Kong (Zombie Fight Club), Canada (The Shelter), Argentina (The Rotten Link), Germany (Tenderness Of The Wolves), France (Hostile) and Peru (The Entity).
There are some cool documentaries on offer, too; such as The Nightmare, from Rodney Ascher, director of Room 237, which focuses on those plagued by sleep paralysis, and Paul Goodwin’s Future Shock! The Story Of 2000AD, which tells the fascinating tale of the titular, UK-based sci-fi comic that’s still making waves nearly 40 years after its inception.
The retrospectives chosen for this year’s festival are particularly impressive and varied. Classic movies being screened over the long weekend include Clive Barker’s incomparable Hellraiser, 80s exploitationer Madman, Buddy Cooper’s The Mutilator, cult Hammer swashbuckler Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, the John Terry-starring Hawk The Slayer, Giallo masterpiece Your Vice Is A Locked Room And Only I Have The Key, and German oddity Tenderness Of The Wolves.
There are three short film showcases spread out over the weekend, along with two as-yet unknown special events scheduled for Sunday. The popular Duke Mitchell Film Club is dedicated this year to Turkish cinema, with the return of the popular Duke film party scheduled for Saturday night. A panel discussion on DIY film-making is set for that morning, featuring producer Catherine Bray (Beyond Clueless), directors Ben and Chris Blaine (Nina Forever, which is screening at the festival) and Film4’s Creepy Pasta personnel.
Whatever you’re into, we’re set for a pretty wicked weekend. Alan Jones, co-director of Frightfest, summed up its appeal by stating that the core mission of the festival is: “to bring the finest in home grown and international fear to the dark heart of London’s West End. Embracing everything outstanding about the horror fantasy genre, whether it be from mainstream mayhem or director’s daydream to quirky independents and major talent detection.”
Special guests have yet to be announced but, even taking a cursory look at the unbelievably well-stocked line-up (which you can drool over in full here), this year’s Frightfest is sure to be unmissable. Roll on August.
Frightfest takes place from August 27th – 31st at the Vue cinema, Leicester Square. Tickets will be available from the festival website from July 4th, priced at £185, where you can also check out the full line-up in all its glory. Wicked Horror will be there in August to bring you all the need-to-know reviews, news and interviews direct from the festival.