Rickard’s Revelations: The FrightFest Experience Damon Rickard September 6, 2015 Editor's Choice, Features, Rickard's Revelations 1857 So that’s it. FrightFest is done for another year and my August bank holiday once again blisters by in a haze of films, alcohol and friends. The build up to the festival begins the day after it finishes as no matter what the quality of the programming is you’re always left wanting more. At least we have the Halloween all nighter and FrightFest Glasgow to keep us going in the meantime. This year there was a wealth of choice, which meant that each attendee had a very different experience. The quality of films I saw ranged from the truly terrible to the exceptional. Thankfully the former were in short supply! My festival experienced kicked off on the night before with the Quiz From Hell where the team I was in performed embarrassingly poorly. And with Katie Bonham on a competing team that, quite frankly, kicked our butts she won bragging rights this year. However they shall return to me next year and Movie Ramblings’ author of Bonham’s Burial will be left sulking in the corner. I am a competitive person and having done far better last time FrightFest hosted the quiz and coming 2nd when the Prince Charles Cinema hosted their horror quiz this was a very disappointing result. So to alleviate the pain I drank. Thursday 27th August. The day of FrightFest’s opening night. Oh dear, my head is a touch sore. After having a rather delicious breakfast and some much needed coffee it was already time for a nap! After that much needed return to bed it was back up to do it all over again with the pre festival meet up at The Phoenix. The buzz had started and the anticipation for it all to begin could be felt throughout the room. The opening night’s films were certainly mixed but there was an easy stand out which was Turbo Kid. Heartfelt, brilliant, fun and fantastically gory, this is a film that has already and deservedly gained a cult status. The remainder of the festival threw up some stinkers, some surprises, some letdowns, some devastating, some beautiful and some fantastic films. Before I get into these I just want to say that even though I didn’t like a film that doesn’t mean it’s bad; this is just my opinion. I know what it takes to get these things made and, at the very least, I appreciate what they would have gone through to get it in front of us. So let’s start with those stinkers and disappointments. For me The Unfolding and Cherry Tree were the only ones I really didn’t get along with. Both of them had strange plotting and in places were quite shoddily edited and put together. So, onto my disappointments but these were more due to my expectations. The Nightmare, described as very scary, was nothing more than an average documentary about sleep paralysis. Then there was The Hallow and unfortunately my expectations were sky high for this one and for me it didn’t deliver. It was certainly a decent film but it failed to scare, which seemed to be one of its main intentions with the type of film it wanted to be. Up next we have Hellions, brought to us from the director of Pontypool, which I thought was excellent. This started with great potential and looked like it could be one of the top films but lost its way completely half way through. The pace suffered along with the story and the whole look of the film was a bit odd. My final disappointment was Nina Forever which was beautifully shot, had very good central performances and was a very sexy film but it was just a bit dull. It became repetitive and I didn’t really get the point to it. So onto those which surprised me. The first one really divided the audience and I can fully understand why. Landmine Goes Click needs to be edited down as for the film it is it’s too long and needs to move along quicker. One scene in particular just simply didn’t need to be as long as it was. I understood what the director was trying to do but it just felt unnecessary. However the final act elevated this film substantially and left you somewhat shell shocked with a very memorable final shot. Emelie was one I hadn’t planned to see but I am so glad I did. One of the festival highlights, it was an unnerving and creepy film with a stunning central performance. It also managed that rare thing of the kids being completely believable. Body was similar, in that we had planned to see something else and ended up watching it at the last minute. It was a short, does exactly what it says on the tin, thriller and a very entertaining film. And then onto the ones I had expectations for and they delivered. First has to be a notable mention to a friend of mine who’s film Banjo had its world premier at the festival. Liam Regan has created a love letter to Troma which is full of blood, fun and snapped banjo strings. This is not me being biased because I know him, I genuinely and thoroughly enjoyed his debut and cannot wait for his follow up Parent’s Evening. We Are Still Here, Tales of Halloween, Sun Choke, Most Likely to Die, Howl and possibly my film of the fest, These Final Hours were all standouts alongside Banjo. Aside from the films and throughout the festival we were shamelessly promoting a new project, which I am producing, called Rats. We’ve got Nicholas Vince (Hellraiser & Nightbreed) and Laurence Harvey (Human Centipede 2 & 3, ABC’s of Death 2, Banjo) starring in this haunted castle chiller. You can still donate at https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rats-horror-short-film#/story But at the heart of the festival are the people who attend. For me it wouldn’t be half the festival that it is without them and I look forward each year to catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. And I got to hang out with some cool guests too. Including some very disturbing (but fun) conversations with Jon Favreau, sorry I mean Anthony DiBlasi. So that’s it from me for now and I will just leave you with this….. If you like your horror, but have not yet experienced FrightFest then I wholeheartedly recommend you do next year!