By Cleaver Patterson.
Running during the August bank holiday weekend each year at the Empire Cinema in London’s Leicester Square, the FILM4 FrightFest has now become a regular fixture on the annual horror film festival circuit. The event, celebrating its fourteenth anniversary this year, will be the biggest yet featuring over fifty films from around the world, and starring everything from zombies and mad doctors to hauntings, the unexplained and the downright freakish.
Since its launch in 2000, when it was held in the smaller venue of The Prince Charles Cinema, it has moved, via the Odeon West End, to its home since 2009, the Empire Cinema. Renowned amongst genre fans and industry pundits alike for its mix of world, European and UK premieres, re-runs of seldom seen cult classics and exclusive appearances by such industry luminaries as George A. Romero, Guillermo del Toro and Tobe Hooper, the event offers lovers of the horrific and macabre the opportunity to immerse themselves in a weekend of the best cinema the genre has to offer amongst a group of likeminded film fans.
Still organized by its founders, film producer Paul McEvoy, film distributor Ian Rattray, journalist Alan Jones and film and television PR Greg Day, this year’s event will see not only the eagerly anticipated return of devil doll Chucky in Curse of Chucky (2013) and I Spit on Your Grave 2 (2013)—the sequel to the notorious 70’s shocker—but also screenings of the original Nosferatu (1922) and the rare sleazefest Corruption (1967) starring Peter Cushing.
Two films which will have their UK premieres at this year’s event are the lost footage horror mystery The Dyatlov Pass Incident (2013) and the psychopath/slasher No One Lives (2012). Telling its story by the documentary-esque lost footage format, The Dyatlov Pass Incident is directed by action film supremo Renny Harlin. The narrative follows five student filmmakers who venture into a remote area of the Ural Mountains in order to solve the mystery of nine Russian hikers who died under mysterious circumstances in the same area in February 1959. Soon the kids discover to their cost just what happened to the Russians and why their deaths have been hushed up by the authorities for the last fifty years. Taking a much more graphic approach is the twisted horror No One Lives. When a group of backwater Americans take a rich young couple, who are ‘just passing through’ their town, hostage, they soon realize that they have bitten off more than they can chew. For the man, and his girlfriend, are not all they seem, and the ensuing night of terror takes torture, shock and mutilation to new heights of skin-crawling horror.
A full report of FILM4 FrightFest 2013 will feature here during the festival. Further details of how to book tickets for this year’s event, as well as other FrightFest happenings which run throughout the year, can be found on their website.
Cleaver Patterson is film critic and writer based in London.