Frightfest Picks

For the first time ever I’ll be heading to Frightfest this August. The 20th edition of the festival has revealed a jam-packed schedule with lots of variety, so I wanted to post something about the films I’m particularly looking forward to. There are still more fun things to be announced, so this post might be edited in time.

Ever since the first trailer for Alexandre Aja’s Crawl dropped I’ve been eager to see it. Aja is no stranger to the gory and overblown (see Switchblade Romance and Piranha 3D) and so the slightly silly premise of two people trapped in a house increasingly inhabited by alligators should be carried off well.

I have not heard too much about Knives and Skin but a Lynch-inspired story of a missing teenager sounds exactly like the sort of thing I would really connect with. A short clip of a rendition of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun positions the film as both cathartic and sinister.

Speaking of things I really connect with – Frightfest features a new film from Lucky McKee – a film-maker with a body of work I thoroughly enjoy. Kindred Spirits also features Thora Birch – an actress who usually delivers on complex performances. McKee’s emphasis is always on complicity and the threat of a long-held family secret seems like it would work incredibly well within his style.

In addition to Kindred Spirits, there is also the sequel to 2011’s The WomanDarlin’. Star of The Woman Pollyanna McIntosh helms the follow-up which is really interesting in terms of linking to the original work. I’ve made no secret of how excited I am for this project and cannot wait to see it. I’m slightly concerned that this is on a Discovery screen as it might limit the numbers able to see it, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed! The trailer alone promises The Woman on a rampage, as well as Darlin’ herself taking some action against the religious group she finds herself with.

Another film that I’ve not heard or read too much about is Sadistic Intentions but the description makes it sound like a claustrophobic face-off which offers the chance for lots of tension. The presence of genre legend Larry Fessenden is also a good sign. Another Discovery option here, so no guarantees.

There seemed to be a lot of buzz around Freaks from Glasgow Frightfest so I’m really excited to see it represented at the London event too. The initial idea of a paranoid father keeping his daughter away from the outside world is creepy enough, but the trailer hints at there being a very good reason for this.

I have already seen and reviewed I Trapped the Devil and you can read my review here. I would hugely recommend this slow-burn tale driven by some really excellent performances when it plays on the Saturday.

Twitter reactions to Daniel Isn’t Real from other festivals have really made it a must-see for me in terms of it being an exploration of madness with aspects of fairytale and horror. The fact that I can’t find a full trailer for this one is kind of a relief as it sounds like something that should be seen with as little knowledge beforehand as possible.

Ready or Not offers some great laughs in the trailer surrounding a very extreme game of hide and seek. The trailer very much made me think of You’re Next which I enjoyed despite not expecting to. Ready or Not looks like it will throw everything at the screen and if the tone is similar to the trailer, looks like it’ll be a fun crowd-pleaser.

Unfortunately, I’m quite likely to miss this one as it runs against Daniel Isn’t Real, but documentaries are probably my favourite area of film other than horror so The Magnificent Obsession of Michael Reeves definitely appeals. Reeves is a fascinating figure, with a huge amount of success in a short space of time before meeting a tragic end. It is worth pointing out that this has also been selected for the Abertoir Horror Film Festival in Aberystwyth in November and for anyone unable to make Frightfest, should definitely be on the list of festivals to visit.

Staying on the subject of documentaries for the moment, Master of Dark Shadows should be an excellent piece of work. Director David Gregory excellently brought the story of Richard Stanley’s doomed production of The Island of Dr Moreau with affection in Lost Souls. This look at the work of Dan Curtis promises a view of a figure that some are perhaps unfamiliar with.

Bloodline is likely to grab some headlines for featuring Sean William-Scott in a darker role than his traditionally comedic career has allowed for. Promising to be very disturbing, this could be a real highlight.

Satanic Panic caught my eye a little while ago. As a Fangoria Presents film it’s safe to say that it will be a film which knows, understands and loves the genre and so the combination of that, with a great cast should make this a real highlight.

The Soskas’ Rabid has been one of my most anticipated films of this year so it is really great to see that the film will be playing the festival. A remake of a David Cronenberg film is no easy sell but the trailer mixes high-fashion gloss with surgery and a side of violence which makes me think this will be a very interesting piece of work. So excited for this one.

In ‘films that you can’t believe made it past the pitching stage’ is The Banana Splits movie, which takes a cuddly children’s show and turns it into a violent bloodbath. This one looks like a lot of fun and given that I’m already pretty terrified of people in these kind of mascot costumes will do nothing to relieve those fears.

So that concludes the films that really caught my eye on my first look at the Frightfest schedule. I’m sure by the time the festival rolls around I might have found others that I also need to see and already the sheer variety of the schedule has me reeling so let me know in the comments or on Twitter if I’ve missed something I really need to see.

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