Those devilish chaps at Frightfest certainly know how to keep us horror fans on our toes.

No sooner had the agony of the (totally understandable) cancellation of August’s five-day London genre shindig sent us into the doldrums, along comes the ecstasy that the new plan is to run a slimmed-down, online event in its place – as well as beefing up the Halloween special.

Here at Movie Ramblings we are Frightfest veterans – having first dipped our toes into the bloody waters of the event many moons ago – so it made sense to reach out to the clan (Alan Jones, Paul McEvoy, Ian Rattray and Greg Day) to try and find out more.

Luckily enough for us Greg was happy to field our questions – so here’s what he told us about Arrow Video Frightfest 2020…

Q. Can you talk us through the thought process? At what point did you realise the ‘in person’ event was not going to happen, and who came up with the online idea?

It was very much a collective decision, as most important decisions we make are. We made up our minds at the end of May. It felt obvious that social distancing was still going to be in place come August, and as you know, our events are very inclusive, very much to do with coming together, embracing each other’s company and feeling close within the FrightFest community. No way could we imagine that unique atmosphere being there with social distancing, even with 1m.

Q. To the outsider it may appear that running an online event is an easier proposition than the multiple screens, hosts and ticketing systems normally used. I’m sure this event has its own pitfalls and preparation though – can you divulge?

Well, this is our first time presenting an online event, so of course it’s a steep learning curve, but exciting at the same time. Luckily Ian (Rattray) is great at grasping the mechanics of the online world and is putting all that expertise to good use! Paul and Alan are programming the bulk of the films and I’m plotting how we promote it and make it work as a community event by involving as many people as possible to help create live events.
And we have our main sponsors to help with this – Arrow &Horror Channel. Den of Geek are also on board and we hope to do an event with them.

Greg Day

Q. Naturally there is a smaller schedule for the online event in terms of films showing – how are those special few going to be chosen? Is it easier or harder to deal with directors if their films are not going to be played to a ‘crowd’?

The films are being selected on their merits and with the blessing of the filmmakers, distributors and sales companies. We have a pool of films which will either play in August or October (not both) so it’s down to the discussions Alan and Paul have, as to what, ultimately, gets chosen. Ian, also, is choosing a First Blood strand. So far, the August line-up looks great and will be announced on July 28.

Q. To many – myself included – the Frightfest experience is just as much about the community and friends as much as the films themselves. Is there anyway of creating that online?

We’ll try our best We’ll certainly get as much talent involved as possible and, as I hinted at earlier, we are planning some live events.

Q. We have read about the Halloween event possibly being expanded. Is it a case of bumping some films that would have played in August to that event?

A lot of the films that would have played in August are obviously still in the mix but we’re also watching a heck of a lot of new submissions. We’re certainly not short of films!

Q. I’m sure I speak for most Frightfesters when I say how grateful we are that you have found a way to give us our August horror fix – all the best to Alan, Paul, Ian and yourself and here’s to a great event!

Yes, let’s all have as much fun as possible!

About The Author

Simon Fitzjohn

Simon is a journalism tutor in London, who also just happens to be a movie fanatic, with a craving for the darker side of cinema. He has written three books - on the horror films of director Bob Clark (2014), the history of the character Norman Bates (2015) and the work of British exploitation director Pete Walker (2017). He is currently working with director Richard Loncraine to explore all avenues in a bid to orchestrate the re-release of 1978 Mia Farrow chiller Full Circle