Tuesday 5 July 2011

London FrightFest 2011: A preview

Every year on the bank holiday week end in August, a bunch of horror fanatics shun the opportunity to stay outside enjoying the sun and the fresh air, and spend day and night locked up at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square in London instead, for a week end of gore, screams and laughter. Yes the London Fright Fest 2011 is nearly upon us!

Despite being a huge horror fan I have only started attending two years ago. First year I saw Dead Snow, with its nazi zombies and it was as hilarious as it was gory, with the bonus of watching it on a huge screen with an adoring audience that was lapping it up and laughing along. Then last year I saw Monsters, which I had my reservations about, plus I also wondered if it did deserve to be at Fright Fest, as you can say a lot of good things about it but it certainly was not scary! So what does this year have a store? Here is a small selection of films that should not be missed.

First of all I need to say that day passes are already sold out for the best day of the selection, the Saturday. But do not despair, seats for specific performances will be released nearer the time.

Troll hunter by Andre Ovredal

This is a great time for Scandinavian genre films, with several hits back to back over the last few years: Dead Snow (with its director Tommy Wirkola having gone to Hollywood and busy putting the finishing touch to Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters as we speak, with Gemma Arterton and Jeremy Renner), Let me in, the Millennium trilogy... And indeed Scandinavia has a rich yet largely untapped mythology of folklore and fairy tales to be used by cinema. I have already written about Troll Hunter, and it was one of the hits of the Edinburgh Film Festival. If you only make it one film, make it this one.

Rabies by Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado

Again I had already written about this, so you can read my post about it. While the synopsis itself does not sound ground breaking, I just love the idea of watching the first Israeli horror!

Fright Night by Craig Gillespie

I have already written extensively about this, yet I will not miss a chance to watch it before it comes out (although it will actually has its UK premiere at the Empire's Big Screen event). It sounds like the studio is not afraid to show it early, which is a good sign, when so many remakes are not shown to the press before their release, to hide their awfulness and in the hope of making a quick buck at the opening week end.

The Wicker Tree by Robin Hardy

As mad as it sounds, this is a sort of remake, sort of reimagining of British classic The Wicker man. But unlike the woefully misguided remake with Nicolas Cage of a few years ago (I shall never forgot that immortal line as he was being hit with a hammer, "Aaahh my leg.... Aaaah my OTHER leg"), the director of the original film, Robin Hardy, is at the helm once more, adapting his own novel. And Christopher Lee makes an appearance too, although in a cameo allegedly.

Sennentuntschi: Curse of the Alps by Michael Steiner

You have to give it to horror films, they have the best and most imaginative titles. After the first Israeli horror comes the first Swiss shocker. Allegedly the cost of living over there is usually quite enough to put the fear of god in unsuspecting tourists, so I am curious to see what they have cooked up with this one. Reading the exciting synopsis, this mixes alpine tales, dismemberment, ghostly encounters and tragic love. The poster is gorgeous, a throwback to old book's illustrations of European fairy tales.

And if it was not enough to wet our appetite, it stars French actress Roxane Mesquida who has made some consistently intriguing choices in her post Catherine Breaillat career, after Rubber, Kaboom and now this.

There will also be a couple of other big films having their UK premiere: Don't be afraid of the dark, and Final Destination 5. If you have never had a chance to attend, you must definitely give it a try, the atmosphere is absolutely fantastic with a crowd of adoring fans and a big screen, this is how horrors should always be watched!

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