Abertoir 2014 Day One

Abertoir Day One

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The 9th Abertoir Horror Festival kicked off particularly stylishly with a remarkable remaster of Vincent Price’s 1953 classic House of Wax. In full, glorious 3D we were treated to Price’s well-known wit and some great special effects that were sure to delight modern and traditional horror fans alike. Given Abertoir’s special relationship with Price (his daughter Victoria officially named him Abertoir’s Patron Saint a few years back) this seemed an apt start to the festival.

The second film of the night was The Editor and to avoid repeating myself, please go read my review here.

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Next up was more comedy in the form of Danger 5 – an Abertoir crowd-pleaser for the past few years with its farcical team of spies attempting to track down and, as always, Kill Hitler. Thanks to midnight screenings the audience was familiar with all of series one, but the second series is actually a completely different animal, or at the very least a completely different anthropomorphic animal head. If you’ve not seen Danger 5 that will be lost on you, but don’t worry…and go watch it.

Series 2 replaces the single-episode platform of series 1 with a narrative, but without allowing the structure of it to dull the strange antics of the characters and the often even stranger surroundings. If anything this new focus on a continuous story for the group allows for even more non-sequiturs as the mission rolls along and the group are distracted by personal demons and hang ups. As part of Abertoir we were also lucky enough to be joined by one of the creators of the show – Dario Russo for a Q&A following the screening which tackled the difficulties in casting Hitler and working with partly government-funded television channels.

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The final film of the night was the ABCs of Death 2, which if you’ve followed my Celluloid Screams coverage you’ll already know that I’ve seen it and found it a huge improvement over the first instalment. As a result, I didn’t stay for this one, instead opting for a slightly earlier night and extra sleep, which as we all know is essential at festival time.

The Editor

editorposterThe Editor

Directors: Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy

Writers: Adam Brooks, Matthew Kennedy and Conor Sweeney

Back in the 2011 Abertoir schedule a little midnight movie caught my eye – that movie was Manborg and became my first exposure to Astron-6. Shamefully, despite Manborg making me laugh heartily including one line that I still quote with alarming regularity I never sought out any of the Astron-6 shorts that were available online. It was only really at Celluloid Screams in Sheffield that I really realised how brilliant they were and most of that realisation is down to The Editor.

The Editor follows Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks) whose editing work on a low budget feature takes a more sinister turn as members of the cast are found murdered, with a calling card of chopped-off fingers seemingly to point directly to Ciso as the culprit. As the investigation starts and filming continues Ciso is forced to confront his own sanity to absolve himself of guilt.

editorhandIt is almost too easy to pitch The Editor as The Beyond meets Airplane!, but that seems to do the film a disservice – to take away in some part the layers, thought and hard work that has obviously been put into this. I’ve been lucky enough to see the film twice now (at Celluloid Screams and Abertoir) and while at first being struck by how funny the film is on a basic, broad level during the initial viewing, the second opens up all the little jokes I’d missed the first time around. While I wouldn’t by any stretch call myself a giallo expert I did feel a certain level of pride in recognising some of the homages.

The film’s direction is strong, with lots of attention paid to small details that immerse you not only within the world of The Editor, but the Astron-6 canon itself (including a small cameo by Father’s Day’s Chris Fuchmann in the opening scene). By the very nature of the plot and the way the film is designed, writing a plot synopsis is damn near impossible but there’s so much to enjoy within this piece, including films within films that rather than pull you away from laughs, actually introduce more. In keeping with a giallo tradition it is hard to praise it for a coherent plot, but this merely adds to the charm and links to how ridiculous those films could be.

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Strong, funny and frankly, manic performances by Kennedy as detective Peter Porfiry and Sweeny as ambitious actor Cal Konitz play well against Brooks’ more restrained Ciso. The supporting cast too are incredibly enjoyable, with Laurence Harvey’s Father Clarke whose interactions with Porfiry provide the most instantly quotable lines of the film and also Samantha Hill as Bella, the fragile editing assistant to Ciso who seeks to prove herself in both her profession and personal life. My personal highlight is Paz de la Huerta, however, who in her role as former actress Josephine steals near enough every scene she is in with a pout and whispery delivery.

Overall, The Editor feels like a group of film-makers and actors really hitting their stride and producing a thoroughly enjoyable and unique film despite its debts to giallo. What is also wonderful about Astron-6 is even though they heavily lean on and pay homage to other genres (in particular, bad VHS films) they always leave you feeling that you’ve seen something original, even though the trappings are familiar. My only complaint is having to wait to see it again and to show it to other people, so for the time being I’ll mainly be watching Breaking Santa and Inferno of the Dead on a loop. I suggest you do the same by going here.

Celluloid Screams Day Two

CSVSaturday at Celluloid Screams kicked off with a delightful short film by Andy Stewart that displays the effects of a relationship breakdown through a series of boils and other elements of bodily decay, which is, of course exactly what you want to see a short time after breakfast. In all seriousness, Split is a very moving short with some incredible effects that really garnered some groans from a seasoned festival crowd which is pretty impressive. This was followed by Australian character study Chocolate Strawberry Vanilla which is an engaging feature that could benefit from a little more bite throughout but ends on an ultimately tragic note and separates itself from being a straightforward film in which someone in a happy profession (ice cream man in this case) has a dark side unleashed upon the world. Initial descriptions of the film led me to believe that there would be far more in terms of the protagonist taking action against his aggressors, although it is a far better film for going down the longer route of a gradual descent into violent retribution. Glenn Maynard’s performance is a real stand-out and keeps the film ticking.

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Following this were two shorts – The Stomach and Tuck Me In, the latter of which is short film in the truest sense, coming in at around 30 seconds, if that. The Stomach is an unusual, gritty short which ultimately won best short film. It is far from my favourite, but the unique take on spirit mediumship at least marks it as something more interesting than anything more straightforward. Also worth mentioning an appearance of Neil Newbon in this – last seen being kicked under a train in pre-watershed Hollyoaks. Tuck Me In, based on limited sentence horror stories taken from creepypasta is too short to leave anything more of a lasting impression than reading it online and offers nothing new. I’ll leave out Starry Eyes in this overview, as I’ve already reviewed it here.

Next up were two more shorts, Mr Dentonn and Ghost Train ahead of What We Do In The Shadows. The former I would really love to say more about, but unfortunately an influx of latecomers taking their seats for the film prevented me from seeing the film or following any of its story, which is unfortunate. Thankfully by Ghost Train the audience had settled and I was able to enjoy an authentic ghost story about a traumatic childhood event that has led two brothers down very different paths. It is a moody, grey production that has a satisfying conclusion.

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The tone of Ghost Train could not have been more different from what was to follow, with Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s broad, crowd-pleasing vampire mockumentary hitting all the right notes in a dryly funny look at a group of vampires in a flat share. I’m really glad I’m getting to see this again at Abertoir as I’m sure there are jokes I’ve missed the first time around or little details that have slipped through. The film is a genuine joy to watch and proves that along with Housebound, New Zealand could be the home of more enjoyable, funny, horror films.

The last new film of the day was Spring, from the directors of Resolution, but before that there was a short called The Jigsaw, which was simple but effective in telling the story of a seemingly cursed jigsaw puzzle that would likely have legs as a feature. Moving on to Spring though – what a film! Directors Benson and Moorhead have crafted a dreamy, meandering love story with a backdrop steeped in their own original mythology that makes it impossible to see which direction it is heading in. A Q+A following the screening revealed the lengths that had been gone to in casting actors and locations in order to be both beautiful but ambiguous which really pays off in the finished product. I can’t recommend this film enough.

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Last up on Saturday night was a screening of Society – a 1980’s comment on corporate culture and societal hierarchy….or a film about the shunting….whichever way you care to look at it. This was proceeded by another Andy Stewart short – Ink, which for me, lacked the impact of Split, due to not really offering any explanation for what was happening. Still, the effects work is top notch. The Society screening was introduced by director Brian Yuzna, who was also on hand to participate in a Q+A session afterwards. Society is one of the films I’ve always heard about in terms of 80s horror and in many ways it stands up today, particularly with its themes of hierarchy. Hearing about what a potential sequel could contain was an interesting part of the Q+A, and would definitely be something I’d want to see.

There was more fun to be had at the all-nighter starting at midnight, but given a full Sunday was on the cards, it seemed like a better idea to retire to the hotel and take full advantage of the clocks moving back for more precious sleep.

Celluloid Screams Day One

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While it was tempting to just review pretty much everything I saw at Celluloid Screams it doesn’t quite sum up the festival experience, which I think can really influence how you feel about a film. For example, if you’re getting up early to watch a really earnest horror, aiming for scares and high emotion, you probably won’t feel it as much as you would a little later on once you’ve shaken off the cobwebs. Equally, if you have a run of films that are too light or comedic you start to doubt you’re at a horror festival at all, which is where the real skill in programming a festival lies. Before going any further then, it is necessary to point out how much work Rob Nevitt and his fellow festival coordinators put in to ensuring the whole event runs smoothly.

Celluloid kicked off on a high with The Editor from Astron-6 with the three stars and creators of the film (Conor Sweeney, Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy) in attendance to provide an introduction and later, a Q+A for the film. Ahead of this a short film named Timothy screened, which if you’ve seen mine and Hayley’s videos you’ll know featured a few things that really freak me out. Nevertheless, it is an entertaining and well-crafted short.

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The Editor itself is hugely entertaining and while many have termed it a parody of giallo films, its actually far more of an affectionate homage that doesn’t hold back on representing how very silly some of those films could be. Huge mentions here to Paz de la Huerta who is an absolute scene stealer where she appears and also to Matthew Kennedy’s delivery of pretty much every line he’s given. The Editor has had me laughing while going about daily business ever since I’ve seen it, which is about the biggest compliment I can give any film. It’s the sort of film I can’t wait to see again with another audience, which thankfully I will be able to at the Abertoir Horror Festival.

Next up (following some refreshments…mainly gin and tonic), it was time for another short film – Muck. Originally an entry for the ABCs of Death 2, Muck features a really great synthy soundtrack and a misbehaving water supply and actually, probably works better as a standalone short than it would within the anthology.

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This idea of horror within the home carried over into the screening of Housebound – a New Zealand horror-comedy that we were told delivered on both emotions. This is always a tall order, but Housebound covers them both with confidence, throwing in a variety of twists and turns that, handled with less skill, would soon tire an audience. Housebound benefits from a great cast and brilliant interplay between the characters and hinges its movement from fear to funny and back on their shoulders. Also, just look at that poster – wonderful!

Following Housebound, the hours of travelling had caught up and sadly caused me to miss the final film of the night Creep – a decision made partly on the fact that it is a found footage and secondly, it is part of a trilogy so another chance to watch will almost certainly be on the cards. Instead a sleepy glass of red wine with fellow reviewer Hayley was the order of the night in order to be ready for all that Saturday had to offer.

Coherence

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Coherence (2013)

Director: James Ward Byrkit

Writer: James Ward Byrkit

Starring: Emily Baldoni, Nicholas Brendon and Alex Manugian

Despite its completion in 2013, I’ve only recently been able to see Coherence as part of the Abertoir Horror Festival takeover in Chapter Arts Centre for Halloween and honestly, I’m surprised I’d not heard more about it before now. This is a clever, engaging film that succeeds because it doesn’t need to remind you how clever it is at every turn. Instead, it thrusts you into a dinner party situation that begins innocently and descends into secrets, lies and recurring vices.

Married couple Mike (Brendon) and Lee (Lorene Scarfaria) are throwing a dinner party for friends during a night in which a comet is predicted to pass. In addition to the comet, tensions within the group are high, given that one guest is bringing the ex-girlfriend of Kevin (Maury Sterling) as a date, much to the discomfort of Kevin’s current girlfriend Em (Emily Baldoni). As the comet passes however, the night takes a very different turn.

It is hard to qualify Coherence as a horror in a strict sense and it probably belongs more to the sci-fi side of things, but this is not to play down some genuinely unsettling moments within the film. The characters too are introduced initially as average, middle class types and it is only as the film continues that we are introduced to their darker sides, largely through the characters themselves admitting to, or inadvertently revealing them.

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The start of the film positions the viewer within a naturalistic setting – a slightly off-focus camera moving loosely around the kitchen and dining space creates a relaxed yet dynamic feel which really contributes to the believability of the scene. The crafting of these scenes and the way we drop in and out of the action and conversations creates a feeling of a passage of time, meaning we relax into the evening along with the characters, and equally are exposed to the tension when it arises.  The naturalistic setting also contrasts well when events take a turn for the strange.

At the start of this review I mentioned that it succeeds by being a clever film that doesn’t need to remind viewers how clever it is being. Aside from one (genuinely funny) casting in-joke, the film does little to offer a nod and a wink to break the tension along with the fourth wall, choosing instead to immerse its audience within the night. The cast too is wonderfully put together and is a true ensemble, with only one character emerging as a lead in the true sense rather late on in the film.

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Coherence is a very strong entry into either the horror or sci-fi genre, with its ending packing a punch more often seen in the climax of short films and leaves you wanting more, yet ends with the knowledge that it has done enough. There are also enough clever twists and developments that I would happily watch it again and again (if only to pick up on extra potential clues). Coherence is a film that demands your concentration, but rewards you heavily for it.

Find Coherence on twitter: @coherencemovie

Abertoir 2013 Day Six

Again, I missed the short film competition today but during the closing ceremony it was announced that Fist of Jesus had been voted the winner.  This was the only short I wanted to see that I hadn’t already seen so was kind of sad to miss it, particularly as the team behind the short were behind the absolutely insane Brutal Relax two years ago.  Still, I’ll catch up.  I also skipped out on Motivational Growth due to having seen it at Sheffield.  While it is certainly an inventive and ambitious debut it didn’t quite grab me or become a favourite.  From what I understand it split the crowd at Abertoir, but that’s always a risk with some of the unique films that are screened.

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My first screening of the day was the silent horror shorts with composer Paul Shallcross providing original scores to four silent short films, including the 1910 Frankenstein.  I’m told Shallcross’ specialism does not lie in horror, meaning that he researches the films he is to show to a great degree, managing to come off as a complete expert.  His compositions fit wonderfully with the films and the extra trivia was welcomed as I know relatively little about the films.  What was really interesting about this was the different uses of colour used in each film and also the evolution of acting styles. 

Next up was another film I had seen at Sheffield but was eager to see again – Chiméres, due to the director and lead actress being on hand for a Q&A afterwards.  I really enjoyed Chiméres the first time around, but the second time I loved it, being able to appreciate more of the nuances and I think by now I could probably write an essay on this film.  This is quite something as I’m not too keen on vampires, however, both this and Kiss of the Damned made quite the impact, despite being very different in their approaches.  The Q&A also revealed a few extra details about the location and non-subtitled conversations that add another layer to the film.

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Sadly, I missed The Ghost Hunter, which was a one-man show focused on a man who leads ghost tours.  While it sounded wonderful (and I hear was very effective) I wanted to be alert enough to watch and enjoy Soulmate, which was the final film of Abertoir 2013, in keeping with the ghostly theme of much of the festival, ending with a Q&A with the two main actors.  Soulmate is a slow, relatively gentle ghost story concerning a woman who goes to a Welsh cottage to recover from a suicide attempt, but instead finds herself talking with the ghost of the previous occupant.  This is Axelle Carolyn’s first feature film, following shorts like the wonderful The Last Post and this is rather similar, mixing the soft and the sinister.  While I can’t say it’s one of my favourites, it’s certainly an interesting debut and I’m definitely interested in seeing what will come next from Carolyn.

During the closing ceremony, posters (I’m now in possession of a The Last Exorcism Part Two poster, bluergh, haha) and DVDs were thrown out and the announcements made for the winning films.  After that, it was time for yet more socialising in the bar to close off the festival and start to make arrangements for next year.  I’d strongly suggest that if anyone has been thinking about making the trip, do so next year.  You won’t be sorry, as Abertoir offers the best value for the lowest price, while not compromising on sub-par films.  Even if I didn’t like some of them, I couldn’t deny that they were all well-made and offered something unique to the genre.  There is also something for everyone, from classic screenings, brand new independent films and everything in between, while also offering the opportunity to chat and network with some of the most dedicated genre fans around.

Until next year…

Abertoir 2012 Day Two

Now moving on to day two of Abertoir, with something resembling an early night on night one I woke up surprisingly refreshed and ready to get down to some serious horror viewing, helped greatly by the 1pm start time.  Today’s first film was Madhouse, featuring the focus of this year’s festival Peter Cushing and Abertoir’s very own patron saint, Vincent Price (no, seriously it’s in the programme now.  Victoria Price has confirmed it…she’s that cool).  This was a first viewing for me but anything featuring those horror greats must have something to it, and indeed it does.  Gaz during an introduction to the film explained how this was one of the last horror’s of its kind before the juggernaut-like The Exorcist hit screens and left people wanting evermore violent and disturbing horror.  What Madhouse provides is a warm and nostalgic look at a time before this, with the knowledge that you’re in safe hands for entertainment with Cushing and Price.

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Keeping on the subject of horror icons, next up was the Court of Cult: British Horror’s Greatest Stars.  The court was presided over by Judge Gaz (do excuse the terrible quality on my camera, ’tis all my fault) and featured presenters arguing for their favourite cult British horror star.  Lively presentations were given in favour of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Sheila Keith and Michael Ripper to be awarded Abertoir’s favourite.  All the presentations were wonderful, but with a little help from Morecambe and Wise, Peter Hutchings secured a victory for Peter Cushing, rather fittingly.  However, had Russ Hunter been able to play the fantastic clip of Christopher Lee reading from The Exorcist….that might have swung it.  Nevertheless, we were not to be disappointed for long as it was screened just before Danger 5 later that night.  Worth the wait.  So worth the wait.

Up next was the second short film of the festival Grandpa, screening ahead of Across the River.  I’ve spoken before about how I feel that some short films can function as a pitch for a feature length version and I would strongly suggest this is the case with Grandpa.  There were quite a few half-ideas throughout it, with nothing completely fleshed out, which honestly, left me a little cold.  A couple of creepy moments worked well, but ultimately felt a little hollow.  This feeling would continue into Across the River – an Italian film with a focus on the history of tension between Italy and Slovenia using a ghost story as a way of exploring the themes.  Somewhere within this film is a creepy and effective ghost story that hints at human cruelty, but unfortunately, it is over long and spends far too much time in the set up, meaning that the necessary ‘scary bits’ are few and far between.  However, when there is a scare – it tends to be a good one.

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Next up was Painless, and as I’ve already reviewed this, you already know that I loved it.  Sharing a similarity to, Across the River, Painless is far less about the supernatural and more about troubled human histories and the cruelties within it.  I did not see Painless for a second time here, but will definitely pick it up on DVD.  I also missed The Station, largely due to its description as being like The Thing and having an emphasis on sci-fi.  Those who know me, know that sci-fi is often not my thing, so as already mentioned, whenever you can find a break at a festival – it’s usually a good thing to take it.

My long break (and a little bit of rum) left me nice and refreshed for the midnight screenings of Danger 5 and Return to Nuke ‘Em High Vol. 1Danger 5, as always, was a real treat and was again introduced by the hilarious creators.  Now, I’ve never properly experienced a Troma film before, so Return to Nuke ‘Em was quite the introduction.  I’ve already said in the videos how in the beginning, I laughed despite myself, thanks to a few well-placed cameos.  However, the controversial one-liners soon came thick and fast and while some may have been well-received, the sheer amount of them turned the film into something rather more cruel than first imagined and for me, it lost a lot of steam.  Still, I’m glad to have finally seen a Troma.    

Abertoir 2013 Round Up

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So, Abertoir is over for another year and while my liver is suffering and my craving for an actual vegetable is almost unbearable, I could happily have stayed for much longer.  What would be left of me is a whole different matter, but I can always recommend the festival to anyone.  This year was my third year attending the festival and it has been a great experience every year – even if I do make myself a promise to attend everything before red wine happens and it all falls apart a bit.  Of course, there were some films I had previously seen at Celluloid Screams in Sheffield – Painless (my review for allhorror.net is here), Discopath, The Body, The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears, Chiméres and The Battery – meaning I could have a few breaks without missing out, although Discopath, The Body and Chiméres demanded a second viewing.

As most of those who follow me on Twitter know, myself and Hayley of Hayley’s Horror Reviews have been producing some short on-the-ground festival footage, thanks largely to Hayley’s quickly-increasing editing abilities that have meant that we’ve been able to record a great deal of our instant reactions to films and get them uploaded fairly quickly.  The link to the playlist for these videos (and others from Sheffield and last year’s Abertoir) is here and we’d be grateful for comments, shares and even helpful tips or what you might like to see next year.

With that bit of housekeeping taken care of it’s probably best that I structure my thoughts following the festival on a day-by-day, film-by-film (or event) basis.  Of course, I’m not going to give away too much of my thoughts on films that I might get around to doing full reviews on at some point.  Will probably return to my method for my first Abertoir and review one film from each day…wish me luck.  Without further ado…my Abertoir 2013 Round Up, with thanks to Gaz, Nia and Rhys for putting on such a wonderful festival and working so hard.

Day One

The first film at Abertoir 2013 was originally intended to be a classic screening of The Haunting with Richard Johnson in attendance to take part in a Q&A session following the screening.  However, due to a scheduling conflict, Richard Johnson was unable to attend until the Saturday, but this resulted in some very special moments which otherwise would not have happened.  Instead, we were treated to a screening of The Mummy, featuring some wonderful eye-acting from Christopher Lee and one of the greatest backhanded compliments from the mouth of Peter Cushing.

Following this was my second opportunity to see Discopath – again screening with short film The Body.  The best description I can bestow upon Discopath is that it is a grubby and disarmingly, darkly funny film.  I feel like some of the negative response to the film is as  result of people expecting it all to be played for laughs – admittedly the premise does have a comedic value – but instead are confronted with a frequently unpleasant and gory film.  The Body before it is an example of a short film done very right – playing perfectly into its run time with wit and stylish design.

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The third film of the first night came from Lucky McKee, which of course, I was very excited about.  The Woman is one of my favourite films of the last few years and getting to directly fangirl at Lauren Ashley Carter at Celluloid Screams was a major highlight and I was expecting a similarly hard-hitting, social commentary.  Instead, we got All Cheerleaders Die.  I knew very little about it, and again those watching the videos/following on Twitter will already know that I loved this, partially for being so different to what I was expecting.  However, there are moments that are distinctly Lucky McKee, although it is missed with a humour and madness not always present.  The ending was probably one of the best I’ve seen too.

The final film of the night was Lucio Fulci’s City of the Living Dead, continuing Abertoir’s love affair with 1970s Italian horror.  As I’d seen this fairly recently I decided some sleep was a better option, but not before sticking around for episode 4 of Danger 5.  Last year, Abertoir showed the first three episodes before midnight screenings of the 1960s, Nazi-hunting, spy team parody full of strange non-sequiturs and perhaps more importantly, some great cocktail recipes.  These recipes in fact, formed an important part of this year’s festival as bar patrons were treated to The Perfect Fruiten Kahmoon (the best one) and The Perfect Swiss Kiss (surprisingly tasty), designed for us movie and booze hounds based on actual recipes from the show.  The creators of Danger 5 had also prepared a special introduction for each episode – often upping the strangeness considerably.  I can’t really accurately explain entirely what Danger 5 is, but it’s a slice of absolute brilliance.

ImageThis was my first day at Abertoir 2013 and as my rambling about it has dragged along a little, I think I’ll be posting the round up by days to avoid the dreaded wall of text.  Day Two through Six to come.  Six days!  How did we all survive that?!

Preparations

OK, so we are 10 days away from Celluloid Screams in Sheffield.  I’ve only attended the Showroom once before for a fantastic screening and Q&A of Jen and Sylvia Soska’s American Mary so am looking forward to going back for a longer visit.  Upon returning home from Sheffield, I have a week before setting off for Aberystwyth for the Abertoir horror festival which has become my official yearly holiday. Who cares about warm weather? Give me Aberystwyth and its lovely (yet freezing) seaside any time.  Somewhere in between those two, lies Halloween.  Was so hoping to attend the screening of Night of the Demon at Tredegar House but sadly sometimes real life intervenes and is preventing me from getting to that one.  Very tempted to see what Abertoir are serving up as their Choice Cuts on Halloween in the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff too though alongside a screening of The Darkest Day with Q&A from director Chris Crow.  So much going on which is awesome!

So, with that said I’ve started making preparations and particularly seeing all the Halloween decorations and sweets out I am super excited, even though we’ve had exactly 0 trick or treaters in the last 5 years, despite having a ready supply of pretty great sweets, which I’m obviously forced to eat afterwards to avoid waste.  Come on lazy kids, you’re making me fat.  I don’t even mind if they have shitty costumes.  No creepy Psychoville trick or treaters though.

ImageNo…just no.  Do not want.

I think it’s about time I ran down my most anticipated films of both festivals, in no particular order… Click the titular links to be taken to the site for the festival and see the full line up.

 

Celluloid Screams – 25th to 27th October

1) Big Bad Wolves – heard so much about this.  Can’t wait to finally see it.  Currently Tarantino’s favourite film of this year as I recall.

2) Jug Face – star from the woman? Check.  Story of human sacrifice? Check.  Bit of cult activity? Check.  Bring me this film already!

3) Discopath – should have it’s own theme tune.  I won’t stop untl I find out if it does.  Also a prime contender for possible best soundtrack.

4) Der Fan – obsessed fandom.  Well I wouldn’t know anything about that. *cough cough*

5) Delivery – found-footage Rosemary’s Baby?  I could potentially really hate this one, but I’m intrigued.

 

Abertoir – 5th to 10th November

1) All Cheerleaders Die – Lucky McKee.  That is all.

2) Bad Milo! – Stress demon in arse.  I can relate.  To the stress, not the arse demon.  The trailer for this looked brilliant when I was doing my October horror line-up for AllHorror.net (oops a cheap plug fell out) so excited to see it.

3) The Haunting – I will shit myself.  Lots.  Even though I’ve seen it before.  “Whose hand was I holding?”.  Terrifying.

4) The Borderlands – As already mentioned, I’m kind of surprised to be excited about a found footage film after spending most of my time groaning at each release, but have heard some good things about this one.

5) Soulmate – Set in Brecon, which is so close to home I might not be able to return if it’s too scary.  Although I’m expecting a thoughtful ghost story, largely due to the grace and beauty of Axelle Carolyn’s short The Last Post.

 

That’s what I’m looking forward to and you’ll be able to see my daily (and increasingly more weathered) reactions to each film thanks to the video coverage from myself and Hayley of Hayley’s Horror Reviews.  We’ll also be tweeting from the festivals provided the wi-fi is good and I’m not a total technological failure so if you can’t watch the video coverage, you can still keep up with what’s going on before we get back, recover and write longer and more coherent reviews.  I’ll also be posting some novelty pictures and stuff soon if WordPress will kindly allow it. *grumble grumble*

 

Twitter, as always is @caitlynmdowns and you can also find my reviews on allhorror.net along with many others who are submitting solid reviews of films and of course, the featured attraction, All Horror Radio.

 

Catch Up

Has been a little while since I’ve done some blogging but as we head into October a lot of stuff needs blogging about so seems like the right time.  If you follow me on Twitter (@caitlynmdowns) you’ll probably know a lot of this stuff already, but never hurts to recap.

Anyway…first bit of news is that I have the featured article on AllHorror.net for this month, which is a line up of new releases on film and television for the month of October (USA dates, sorry UK folks).  You can read the article now by clicking here and please feel free to comment either on the site or to me directly on Twitter if you’ve seen any or are looking forward to seeing anything on the list.  So thrilled to have an article on such a great site and ridiculously excited about their superb new co-host.  No I won’t reveal it here, go listen to the latest show!

Second bit of news is that I’m adding a second horror festival to my year: Celluloid Screams in Sheffield.  You can click the name to be taken to the site and check out everything on offer for the weekend.  I’m most looking forward to Jug Face and Discopath (if any film deserves a theme song it has to be this. I’ve practically written it myself in my head) for this one, although there’s no films there that I wouldn’t like to see, which is always good. As with last year’s Abertoir film festival I will be working alongside Hayley of Hayley’s Horror Reviews to create on-site video updates of everything we’re seeing and thinking but this year you get 2 lots of videos as we’ll be doing this in Sheffield too.

Speaking of Abertoir, the first wave of scheduled films has just been made today and there are still tickets available.  For 6 days full of horror goodness, including a theatre performance, talks and a pub quiz for £58 you really can’t go wrong.  Or you can go very wrong…after those 6 days, as I did last year, but it was a fun kind of hysteria….a warming, giggly kind that produces terrible jokes about egg sushi.  Early highlights for me include a classic screening of The Haunting (scares the ever-loving shit out of me), Axelle Carolyn’s Soulmate and found-footage film The Borderlands.  Yes, this is me, being excited for a found-footage… strange isn’t it?  All this seasonal October-ness must be getting to me.

So, even though I’ve been slightly quiet for a while it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to shut me up for the next few months.  The videos from festivals will likely be supplemented by longer reviews after the festivals by myself and Hayley so is best to keep an eye out on both sites for those if you’d rather a more in-depth review than at-the-festival video coverage can provide.  I’m happy to take requests for any reviews via Twitter or this site during the festivals and have them posted upon return.

Oh also, I need to mention Wales Goes Dark, which is a collection of events in association with the BFI as part of their BFI Gothic season.  Highlights include Dracula at Cardiff Castle and Night of the Demon at Tredegar House as well as a variety of events at Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff.  Sadly I don’t think I’m able to make it to these events but if you can, you definitely should.  Is so nice to see more and more horror stuff popping up in Wales.