Frightfest 2018 - Final Day Roundup
Written by Ryan Holloway
Before we delve into the delights of the final day we want to say a huge thank you to everyone involved in bringing this year’s festival to life and for inviting us along to cover the films and chat to the filmmakers. It was a pleasure and honour as always.
Ah what a day it was, twisted, dark, disturbing, tense and controversial, just the way it should be.
The main screen started with Open 24 Hours, about a woman just released from a mental hospital for setting her serial killer boyfriend on fire. Her paranoid hallucinations later on are pretty understandable under the circumstances, in what is a pretty standard shocker starring Leatherface’s Vanessa Grasse.
Anthologies can be a tricky beast and The Field Guide to Evil is as tricky as they come, eight stories from eight directors, responsible for films such as Goodnight Mommy, Baskin and Nothing Bad Can Happen. One moment we’re in Austria watching the consequences of forbidden love and next we’re watching a man eat the hearts from the recently deceased to gain power. It’s got more misses than hits and at two hours is more than an endurance test than a guide.
Up next, The Dark, starring the young Nadia Alexander as Mina, a flesh-eating ghoul who recently rose from the dead after a horrible incident with her mother’s lover. When she meets Alex, a blind child, whose abductor she has just eaten, she begins a journey of healing and redemption. It’s a beautifully shot film that is as intriguing as it is understated.
The Golem is the latest film from the Paz brothers whose previous film JeruZalem was something of an old Frightfest favourite. The first original film to be presented by Dread Central, the story is set in Lithuania in 1673 and centers on Hannah (Hani Furstenberg), a woman who conjures up a dangerous being to protect her village from a plague and invaders from a nearby town. It’s glossy looking and Furstenberg is superb, but it never quite gets scary enough.
We’ll get to the closing film of the main screen, and indeed the festival itself, shortly... we need time to process.
The Discovery Screen was a plethora of beastly goings on ranging from a Christmas dinner gone wrong (do they ever go right?) in Secret Santa, a divorced father taking his son to a farmhouse in the supernatural tale The Witch in the Window, and a Shakespearean retelling of Mary Shelley’s classic – Frankenstein’s Creature from Sam Ashurst.
Over at the Prince Charles Cinema highlights included another screening of Crystal Eyes - well worth a repeat viewing, the much talked about psychodrama Possum starring Sean Harris, and documentary Wolfman’s got Nards, chronicling the rise of obsessed fans who helped transform The Monster Squad from box office dud to cult classic.
So, finally that brings us to the final film of Frightfest 2018, Gaspar Noé’s latest controversial entry into the vaults of mindfuckery and devilish perversion - Climax.
Loosely based on a true story, the film shows us a young French dance troupe rehearsing for an upcoming tour of the USA. We are dazzled by some quite exceptionally choreographed dance at the beginning and later awkwardly invited into various sordid conversations between male dancers as they describe the ways in which they would like to violate the female members of the group. When someone spikes the sangria with LSD, the film turns into a nightmare which is made to feel so real with constant banging music and camera work that it turns you literally upside down. It's upsetting, visceral, nasty and at times utter nonsense but no matter how you view it, it is something that has to be seen... probably only once.
We’re sad to see the end of the festival for another year but also want to take time to thank the PRs who got us interviews with some top talent at the festival.
But now the real horror begins….getting back to work. NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!