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Our Predictions For Frightfest’s 20th Anniversary

by Kat Hughes

Frightfest recently announced the films that will open and close this year’s 20th anniversary Arrow Video FrightfestCome to Daddy and A Good Woman is Hard to Find. Thursday will see the whole programme unleashed upon us; all we know so far is that the team is throwing everything they can at the festival to make its twentieth year truly special. We may only be a few days away from finding out, but we’re giving it a shot at guessing ten films that we think/hope will grace the Empire Cineworld Leicester Square this August.

A Barbara Crampton film

It wouldn’t be Frightfest without an appearance from its Queen, Barbara Crampton. Since You’re Next screened in 2011, Crampton has almost always had at least one film screening, the last two years have also seen her attend the event to interact with the fans. From looking at her IMDB page, there isn’t much at the moment that Frightfest haven’t already screened, but maybe we’ll get a screening of Stay Out Stay Alive, 2017’s as yet unreleased in the UK Death House, or even her Into the Dark TV episode Culture Shock. The latter seems the most likely as it’s actually a feature-length episode so would fit in nicely with everything else.

Body at Brighton Rock

Roxanne Benjamin attended last year’s Frightfest to debut her short film Final Stop. The film was made with some nifty technology that did for the aural viewing experience what 3D did for the eyes, adding a new immersion dimension to film watching. Since then, she’s directed Body at Brighton Rock, a film about a park ranger whom spends the night trying to protect a potential crime scene. I’m hoping that Benjamin will return with this feature-long offering to delight the Frightfest audience.

Daniel Isn’t Real

Daniel Isn’t Real is currently making the film festival rounds and is garnering a lot of acclaim. Directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer, Daniel Isn’t Real tells the story of troubled college student Luke whom, after suffering a traumatic family event, resurrects his old imaginary friend Daniel to help cope. Imagine a darker take on Drop Dead Fred, one that highlights the trauma of mental illness, and you’re in the right area. We’re hoping that given the rave reviews and the fact that Frightfest screened Mortimer’s debut feature Some Kind of Hate (and liked it enough to release under their Frightfest Presents banner), that this one is a dead cert. Frightfest are incredible ambassadors for genre talent and regularly support filmmakers all the way through their careers.

Darlin’

Grimmfest recently announced Darlin’ as their opening film. Interestingly, it’s listed on their website as being the Northern premiere of the film. This alludes to a prior screening down south. To my knowledge, the film has yet to screen at this end of the UK so all signs point to Darlin’ making this year’s line-up. The film is a continuation to the story set-up in Lucky McKee’s The Woman. This time though it’s the woman herself, Pollyanna McIntosh, both behind the camera and on writing duties. Now better known for her role as Jadis on the hit show The Walking Dead, McIntosh caught the attention of genre audiences with her strong portrayal of the feral woman. Darlin’ will focus on the now teenage girl that woman walked off with at the end of The Woman as she finds herself thrust back into civilisation after being separated from her.

Depraved

Depraved is the only film featured on the list that I’ve actually already seen. Directed by genre icon Larry Fessenden, Depraved genuinely stole my heart, so much so that it got the full five stars in my original review. Given how hard I fell for this film, I’m desperate to be able to share it with the like-minded folks of Frightfest; I’m keeping all my fingers crossed that it is announced as part of the programming on Thursday. The film itself is a modern reworking of the age old Frankenstein tale, one that taps straight into the emotions with Alex Breaux’ creature a truly tragic innocent victim. My review stated that this was the best retelling of Frankenstein since Shelley – strong words, but ones that I’m sticking by.

Girl on the Third Floor

Producer extraordinaire Travis Stevens has been a friend of Frightfest for years. In his role as producer he has bought some of the best Frightfest films across the years, including such gems as Starry Eyes, Cheap Thrills and 68 Kill. Stevens has also sat on the New Blood panel at the festival, a workshop / competition for aspiring screenwriters to work on their ideas and get invaluable advice from industry experts. Surely then, his directorial debut Girl on the Third Floor is a shoe-in to screen. Starring former WWE star CM Punk, the story follows Punk’s Don Koch as he starts renovations on a dilapidated mansion only to learn the house has much more sinister plans for him. Given that many of Stevens’ past projects are firm entries in my favourite films lists, I may very well riot if this one doesn’t make the cut.

It: Chapter 2

Now I know this next prediction is extremely unlikely, but it would be great if Frightfest managed to get their hands on It: Chapter 2. The film is released in UK cinemas on 6th September, a date which isn’t that far away from the festival. The first film had a special Frightfest preview screening a few days ahead, just after that year’s Frightfest. Given how well received it was, surely Warner can find it in their hearts to reward the most devoted genre audience around? Let’s also not forget that Frightfest has hosted some big tent titles in the past so it’s not too far from the realm of possibility. The film will pick up years after the events of It, with our Loser’s Club now all fully grown. They’re all called back to Derry by Mike after the killings begin again, it seems that they didn’t quite kill Pennywise enough first time around. Can the now estranged friends unite to get rid of the beast once and for all?

Rabid

The Soska Sisters have been long-time friends of Frightfest. Their film American Mary went down an absolute storm with Frightfesters a few years ago, and I think it’s pretty likely that their latest offering Rabid will be in position to do the same. If the name sounds familiar that’s because it is, the film being a remake of the David Cronenberg classic. Starring Smallville and Jigsaw star Laura Vandervoort, Rabid has been on Frightfest attendees’ radar for a while. During last year’s event, audiences were treated to some on-set footage as organiser Paul McEvoy was present for portions of production. Given that fans have already been teased with footage, it would be very cruel of Frightfest to not show this one.

3 From Hell


He may be known more for his music, but Rob Zombie has spent the last sixteen years proving himself to be a formidable director of the macabre. To the common film goer, Zombie most famously directed the 2007 Halloween reboot, but to the die-hard Frightfest fan, he’s the demented mind behind House of 1000 CorpsesThe Devil’s Rejects and 31. All three have graced previous festivals and his new film, the last in the Firefly family trilogy, 3 From Hell, will surely complete the set.

Sadako


Perpetual well-dweller Sadako returns this year in the aptly titled Sadako. The latest film in the J-horror Ringu franchise, it promises to reinvent the series. It also marks the return of director Hideo Nakata whom began the series directing both Ringu and Ringu 2. Given that Nakata is coming home to roost, Frightfest would be the perfect UK venue as Ringu 2 screened at the very first Frightfest event.

Come back on Thursday to see how many (if any) we guessed correctly.

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