A staple of Leicester Square on a usually blazing hot August Bank Holiday is a dark formation of film fanatics dying to get into the cool darkness of a cinema to watch a four day extravaganza of the newest indie horror films.
Since its inception in 2000, Frightfest has gone from an odd weekend of pleasure for horror fan-boys to a world renowned film festival. With premieres of Land of the Dead (along with George A. Romero), and the UK premiere of Pan’s Labyrinth, along with a plethora of less well known directors and films making a splash on the scene, festival masterminds Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray and Alan Jones have made a home for horror.
But, alas, this year the Leicester Square tourists will be free to walk the streets without having to explain a Texas Chainsaw Massacre T-shirt to their children or overhear ‘dude, when that guy got him head chopped off I was like, aaagghhhhh’ on a pleasant summer's walk.
However, not to be outdone by the horrors of covid and its wrangle on the entertainment industry, Frightfest is heading for your homes. Stay indoors, lock the doors and don’t open the curtains of your bedroom (I highly recommend moving your TV to the bedroom for the weekend) - your humble abode is about to become a film festival.
The true joy of Frightfest though is the unknown, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, Life is like a indie film, you never know what you’re going to get.
Here’s our top picks for this years festival…
Sky Sharks directed by Marc Fehse
The opening film on Thursday night is always something to get the pulse racing and the mind boggling. In recent years we’ve seen Turbo Kid, Zombeavers, Grabbers and if there’s a new Chucky film it’ll be in this slot. Call this the ‘feel good slot’, and this year it will not disappoint with the shark-prefix roulette this year being SKY Sharks.
Look at the picture, look at the title, preview done. Well almost, it’s Sharknado x Iron Sky, because obviously these sharks are Nazis – but we’ll have to wait for the film to see if the sharks are actually fascists or just unwitting slaves to the undead soldiers (oh did I not mention their riders are zombies? Of course they fucking are!) who control them. The tag line is ‘The Sea is not enough’ – you know you’re watching this.
Hail to the Deadites directed by Steve Villeneuve
I would put my money on this being the most viewed film of the festival. An ode to the Evil Dead franchise. Hail to the Deadites, looks into the fandom of the film with a little help from the king himself, Bruce Campbell. Who doesn’t want to hear Bruce Campbell talk about Evil Dead?
A Ghost Waits directed by Adam Stovall
Billed as Beetlejuice meets Ghost with a little hint of Her on the side, A Ghost Waits, should prick the ears of any discerning spook. What starts as a classic ghost tale see a renovator and a spectral agent come head to head in a haunted house. But things take a romantic turn as the pair embark on a journey of self discovery leading each to question their (after) lives. Fortunately not a potting wheel in sight.
Triggered directed by Alastair Orr
A popular word in the year 2020 but applied very differently in the dark survival horror genre. Nine friends bound by a dark secret decide to party in the woods. After a heavy night on the lash they wake to discover each of them is wearing a suicide vest complete with countdown timers, all of them with different lengths. A team of nine friends work together to escape their shackles before realising that you can take someone else's time by killing them… dun dun dun.
Excitingly for gamers, director Alaister Orr desciribed the film as “definitely inspired by the old console games where you get to steal time from your opponent, there were a couple out there back in the day.”
Two Heads Creek directed by Jesse O'Brien
Post-Brexit horror movie alert! A butcher and a drama queen, twin brother and sister, disillusioned with the post EU Britain decide to travel to Australia in search of their birth mother. Local towns folk seem lovely but, obviously, they're hiding a dark secret. An over the top horror-comedy that tries to step the same path as Shaun of the Dead, Two Heads Creek, amps up the ridiculous and director Jesse O'Brien wasn't shy in admitting he went all out! “Making Two Heads Creek was a horror fan’s dream,” said O’Brien. “It was a delight to embrace the genre in such outlandish ways
The festival will be geo-locked to the United Kingdom and we here at sinister isles are looking forward to the horror community tweet along for Frightfest 2020.
Tickets here: https://frightfest.co.uk/tickets.html