Massive apologies for the delay on this but I promise the next few entries will be at a far more sensible rate.
Day Two of the Abertoir Horror Festival began with a documentary – something perhaps not often seen at a lot of horror festivals, but nonetheless proved an enjoyable piece of scheduling. Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr Moreau looks back at the frankly disastrous production of Stanley’s version of Island of Dr Moreau, attracting comment from studio execs, crew and cast members and indeed Stanley himself on how the project spiralled into a battle of awkward stars, long, meaningless shoots and the director going missing (yes, that happened). Most of the runtime I spent shaking my head, wordlessly wondering how a group of adults could get it all so wrong – but thankfully the documentary retains a wit and brevity, so while you feel for Stanley’s lost vision, you’re not left completely shell-shocked by it.
Following this was an informative talk by Abertoir regular Gavin Baddeley, who every year has taught everyone something on any given subject. This time he was focusing on moral panics and how the video nasty scandal was not the first time that censors, governments and pressure groups had made horror media a scapegoat for society’s ills.
Next up and something of a novelty for even the most hardened Abertoir fans (due to it normally being scheduled on Saturday and Sunday early afternoons) was the short film competition. Abertoir has the privilege of being affiliated with the European Fantastic Film Festivals Federation which means that one of the short films won the Méliès d’Argent – this year The Stomach took that honour. Despite mixed feelings on the film itself its great to see Abertoir have a platform to send a film to compete for the Méliès d’Or. Other shorts on offer included the witty Border Patrol, the very creepy Alexia and the graphic revenge of She, which just goes to show the variety of short films being submitted for the competition.
After the short films we were moved from the downstairs cinema into the larger theatre space upstairs for the next film What We Do In The Shadows. I’ve already expressed how much I love this film from my Celluloid Screams coverage, but it must be said I gained a lot from seeing the film twice, again with a very large and appreciative audience.
WWDITS proved to be the perfect feel-good film to send everyone into the competitive atmosphere of the Abertoir Pub Quiz. This year our team managed a not altogether shameful 8th place (out of 10…oh shut up, it is a really difficult quiz) and I managed to nab myself a super special spot prize in the form of a signed The Editor shirt (hooray), so all in all a successful night.
The night was capped off with another Abertoir tradition in the form of a Japanese splatter movie from Noboru Iguchi with Live, which maintains a level of crazy we’ve all come to expect and enjoy, while still boasting narrative clarity. However, before the screening we were treated to our last episode of Danger 5 (sniff sniff), which as always went down a storm with the audience.