Fright Fest 2015

T.W. Maplass Covering Fright Fest UK 2015 – Days 3-5

Film, Guest posts, Halloween

DAY THREE

My most anticipated film of the festival was FUTURE SHOCK! THE STORY OF 2000AD. If you know your comics, you will understand how crucial this title was in the shaping of Marvel and DC. Paul Goodwin and Sean Hogan teamed up to deliver a funny and insightful talking heads retrospective documentary about the rise, fall, and rise again of the cult sci-fi and fantasy comic. Hogan and co managed to gather the vast majority of important players, past and present – Alan Moore (WATCHMEN) being the most notable absentee.

Many of the supremely talented artists from the 2000AD stable went on to write and illustrate some of the most seminal stories in the superhero multiverse and much besides. As one commentator from the documentary stated, ‘Without 2000AD, there would be no Vertigo.’

The main slot on Saturday evening certainly justified its position. RABID DOGS is a fast and loose remake of Mario Bava’s 1974 project (which was actually completed by his son after Bava’s death). Eric Hannezo directs this brutal French thriller about a bank heist gone awry, where the armed robbers are forced to take hostages. A delightful sting in the tale will leave audiences reeling long after the final credits.

Rabid Dogs

Rabid Dogs

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Fright Fest 2015

Covering “Frightfest UK 2015” – Days 1 and 2

Film, Halloween

For those of you unfamiliar with the name, Film4 Frightfest is the UK’s largest horror and genre film festival, held annually in London at the end of August.

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Although I would consider myself somewhat of a veteran now (this being my sixth year in attendance) the festival in its current iteration was actually celebrating its sweet sixteenth birthday this year.

It serves as the focal point for every horror fan, and hosts various world and European premieres, showcasing the best talent, both at home and internationally. It also gives fans and everyone involved in the making of the movies a chance to interact in a unique way that is rarely observed during most festivals or conventions. Frightfest is about family. If you come to show your film and behave like a diva, you will be roundly ignored.

The festival seems to grow year-on-year, with over seventy films screening this time around. I was fortunate to see twenty of them, so I wanted to give you a brief overview of my experiences on each of the five glorious days of blood, guts, satirical humour, and psychological torment.

DAY ONE

The opener this year was the occult thriller CHERRY TREE, directed by David Keating (WAKE WOOD).

Sadly, the audience was not treated to the brilliance of last year’s THE GUEST to kick things off. Instead, we got a ham-fisted take on urban witchcraft, where our schoolgirl heroine is fooled into carrying an evil seed in return for the restoration of her terminally ill father. The cast did their best with some extremely clunky dialogue and uneven plotting, and the climax was nothing short of ridiculous.

Thankfully, the evening significantly improved with TURBO KID. François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell (the team behind the fantastic mock trailer, DEMONITRON) introduce us to a post-apocalyptic 1997, where the grinding metal of MAD MAX is replaced with BMX bikers, and a plucky kid (Munro Chambers) sets out to save his friend from the tyrannical Zeus (Michael Ironside) while trying to emulate his comic book hero, Turbo Man.

turbo-kid-day1My one and only criticism would be that without the character of Apple, played with effervescent charm by Laurence Leboeuf, this would have been exposed for what it was (a popular short that was stretched out into a feature). Fortunately, Apple was present throughout, illuminating every scene, making Turbo Kid a joyous flirtation with 80’s Sci-Fi.

For the late film on opening night, we got Benni Diez’s romcom/B-movie mash-up STUNG. Two caterers take the job from hell when they are attacked by a swarm of genetically mutated wasps at a garden party. Even though the leads (Matt O’Leary and Jessica Cook) were charismatic enough, the romantic chemistry between them never truly caught fire. In addition, the final act was ruined by some badly rendered CGI. A big shout out has to go to Lance Henricksen. He seems to appear in everything these days, which is no bad thing.

 

DAY TWO

Friday morning brought with it the first real highlight of the festival for me. Previously, Bruce McDonald impressed with his inventive slant on the zombie apocalypse, PONTYPOOL. In HELLIONS, teenage Dora (played with panache by Chloe Rose) decides to ditch the Halloween festivities so she can come to terms with the unwanted news of her pregnancy. Alone in a house next to a pumpkin field, she is transported to a netherworld that mirrors her own, terrorised by a gang of demonic trick or treaters who resemble shrunken versions of Slipknot.

HellionsIf you are looking for plot and clever dialogue, you will be disappointed. Call me fickle, but sometimes style over substance is my bag, baby, and there’s certainly much deliciousness for the eyeballs here, in a pink filtered fever dream that will only look prettier on repeat viewings.

The next spike of a decent day came in the form of Ted Geoghegan’s Fulci-inspired haunted house tale, WE ARE STILL HERE. There was a great deal of buzz already surrounding this film. Most of it was completely justified too. The stark and cold reality of the New England countryside was beautifully captured, and the veteran actors who are front and centre play the material with conviction.

The only aspect that didn’t work for me was the tonal shift that takes place during the final act. I found it jarring, and I would have been happier with more of what this atmospheric creeper had served up before it climaxed and smothered itself in gore.

Check us out tomorrow for a continuation of T.W. Malpass’s Guest Blog series.

Fright Fest 2015

Guest Feature: T.W. Malpass Covers “Frightfest” – The UK’s #1 Horror Film Festival

Guest posts, Halloween

We here at Reading Other People are so thankful and grateful for T.W. Malpass’s guest blog series highlighting his adventures at Frightfest. With Halloween just days away, it’s a perfect time to to feature Malpass’s reviews and experiences of the festival.

T.W. Malpass resides in Staffordshire in the North of England and is an author of horror and dark  fantasy fiction. His work is often noted for its social commentary and references to popular culture.  His love for horror dominates his life, and he can often be seen prowling the grounds of his local cemetery at night, searching for any poor soul who will listen to him recite the complete works of H.P. Lovecraft. This guy’s a strange bird, but someone who instantly becomes your best friend when you need to win a movie quiz.

Currently, Malpass is due to release his prequel to the Fallen Gods trilogy, Fallen Gods: Origins, as well as a controversial, unnerving short story with a feminist tract, which combines FGM and reality TV.

He occasionally writes freelance articles and movie reviews and lives in his family home with his equally crazy dog, Biscuit.

When he’s not writing, you can find him here: https://www.facebook.com/T.W.Malpass

Or sometimes here: https://twitter.com/TW_Malpass

Check us out tomorrow when we feature Malpass’s first guest blog.

Malpass and Kane Hodder - that's right, Jason Voohrees himself.

Malpass and Kane Hodder – that’s right, Jason Voohrees himself.

Mondo Bohemiano

A Review of Quentin J. Parker’s “Mondo Bohemiano”

Book Reviews

Crisp and contemporary, Quentin J. Parker’s wholly original “Mondo Bohemiano” is a fun read through and through. Coming in at a relatively short 51,000 words, the novel reads like a modern treatise on the 21st century young person. The protagonist here is Nigel Q. Bunnytail, clearly an indicative name of his uniqueness and quickness. He makes the courageous decision to leave his comfort level of living in Philadelphia for the unknown terrain of Spokane. After suffering a relationship demise of massive proportions, Bunnytail is hell-bent on living his life to the fullest.

Mondo Bohemiano

It Follows

Reviewing The Polarizing “It Follows”

Movie Reviews

I’ll admit, I tried watching It Follows earlier this year but I had gotten so bored with it that I gave up. I figured since the film is now on Netflix, and Halloween is fast approaching, I thought I’d make the commitment to see the entire thing. While my first impression was not that far off from my final impression, there were certainly some good things in between.

The film is a horror flick through and through. There’s heavy industrial music following the many long tracking shots where the damsel in distress is constantly on the move. There are plenty of low angle shots demonstrating the vulnerability of our protagonist, Jay. Technically, the movie is a complete homage to John Carpenter and Wes Craven’s great flicks, but it has a certain awareness that really catapults it onto another level.

It Follows

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Some of My Favorite Halloween Flicks

Film, Halloween

Like a moth to a flame, I’m attracted to watching gory and terrifying movies around this time of year. Some I’ll be watching for the first time, some for the 14th. It’s really quite hard to really describe what it is that makes a scary film truly scary. It’s often a combination of the right lighting, plot progression and actor portrayals that really knock a horror flick out of the scary movie park. Sometimes it’s just a mood that’s evoked, or the subtle behaviours expressed by the often young talent on the screen. Regardless, scary movies are so successful because they are visceral, and here’s a list of some of my faves, in no particular order. I’ve included VERY brief descriptions of my favorite part of the films.

The Shining

Them twins.

Ginger Snaps

Mimi Rogers.

Rosemary’s Baby

The haircut.

Prom Night

The dance scene.

Misery

The hammer.

Candyman

Cabrini Green.

Nicole Comer

A Review of Nicole Comer’s “ACTING…It’s Not For Sissies”

Best of 2015, Book Reviews

As I’ve mentioned many, many times before, it’s really great to be a book reviewer. I get proposals from aspiring authors from all over the world, from New Zealand to Peru. The sheer amount of talent in the world is magnificent, and I’m given the opportunity to review these works? Outstanding.

Nicole Comer’s witty and hilarious “Acting…It’s Not For Sissies” is one of the funniest books I’ve read in dog years. It’s not a manual on how to act. It’s also not a step-by-step playbook on how to method act. Instead, Comer’s book is a easy-to-read piece on what showbiz is really all about, all the while throwing in tidbits of advice that Comer herself has learned along the way.

Comer uses personal stories to present an insider’s view on the climb to fame and a true love for the difficult art of being an actor. She doesn’t sugar coat things either. It’s a really, really difficult industry to break into, and once you’ve made the incredibly fortunate foray into the world of Hollywood glamour, there is no guarantee that is where you’ll stay (sorry, Renee Zellweger). The book seems to be written for those who are truly devoted to being a successful actor, despite all of the obvious pitfalls that are rolled up into that archetype. It’s a clever expose for those who may have an idealized version of Hollywood and the incorrect perception that it’s an easy egg to break.

Nicole Comer