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.
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.
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…