As readers of my
pointless waffling highly insightful critique will be aware, I attended FrightFest this weekend. In between all the rape, handheld horrors and handheld horrors about rape, we got to see the trailer for Sightseers - the new effort from Mr. Kill List himself, Ben Wheatley.
Again, people who
waste their time so wisely invest hours of their life in perusing this nonsense invaluable publication will be aware that I wasn't a huge fan of Kill List; mainly because it started off good then dawdled into nothingness without any meaning or logic. But judging by the Sightseers trailer, I'm not going to have a problem with this wonderfully dark comedy.
It follows Chris (Steve Oram) as he takes Tina (Alice Lowe) on a caravan journey through the British Isles. They see the Crich Tramway Museum, the Ribblehead Viaduct, the Keswick Pencil Museum... and things soon start to go very, very wrong.
Pitched somewhere between The League of Gentlemen and In Bruges, it promises to be side-splitting stuff when it inevitably arrives at the London Film Festival this year.
Sightseers it out in UK cinemas on Friday 30th November. Read on for the trailer.
Director: Peter Strickland
Cast: Toby Jones, Antonio Mancino, Tonia Sotiropoulou
When I was 11, I watched a behind-the-scenes featurette on Nickelodeon about The Rugrats. In it, they lifted the acoustic lid on the world of sound mixing. Women bashed bicycles, waggled coathangers, scratched bits of carpet. It was creativity on a level my puny pre-pubescent brain had never imagined. For the childhood me, that was it: I wanted to be a foley artist.
Fast-forward to 2012 and we've gone from coathangers and carpet to watermelons. Who knew that if you chopped, skewered and pummelled that delicious, soft-centered fruit, you would end up with the noise of a horrific, messy murder? Peter Strickland obviously does. And his fascinating meta-horror, Berberian Sound Studio, is the perfect demonstration of exactly what audio can do to a person’s brain. It’s the Rugrats all over again. But not as we know it.
So yesterday I braved FrightFest for the first time in my life. Living in the comfy blood-splattered darkness of Empire Leicester Square, it was in turns brilliant, hilarious, terrifying, rubbish, annoying, tiring and rapey. But mostly rapey.
A few short reviews of yesterday’s line-up:
Having never spent time with The Hamiltons – Neil, Christine or otherwise – I wasn’t sure what to expect from The Butcher Brothers’ (Mitchell Altieri and Phil Flores) vampire sequel. What I got was an entertaining bit of toothy fun, owing as much to Tarantino as traditional neck biters.
After a high-profile massacre in the US, the family (Mature Spice, Sexy Spice, Violent Spice, Emo Spice and Baby Spice) hide in the UK, hoping for help to stop Baby Spice (aka 10 year old Leonard) from dying. They find The Stuarts, a remote, village-bound clan with their own supernatural agenda – and, apparently, their own language, a rare English dialect called Bollocks Written By An American (last witnessed in Woody Allen’s Match Point).
Director: Jennifer Lynch
Cast: Vincent D'Onofrio
There must be something in David Lynch's sperm. The "Make Audiences Feel Uncomfortable" gene. Because his daughter Jennifer's been carrying on that family tradition for yonks. Her latest is no exception: Chained, a nasty piece about a young boy adopted by a serial killer after he kidnaps his mum, rapes her and buries her under the porch. Yep, dinner time at the Lynch home must be a cheerful occasion.
Director: Conor McMahon
Cast: Ross Noble, Tommy Knight, Gemma-Leagh Devereux
When I were a lad, I saw an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark? about an evil clown. It completely freaked me out. But clowns are everywhere these days, from Crispin Glover’s weird song to Psychoville’s one-handed Mr Jelly. So it’s no surprise to see someone have a stab at a modern clowny horror comedy. What might surprise you is their choice to play the sinister Stitches: Ross Noble.
But the Newcastle comedian gets right into it. He growls and grimaces from under his make-up as he stalks after do-gooder Tom (Knight) and his friends. Why? Because they’re the ones who killed him. Flash back 10 odd years and Stitches stops mid-shag to go and entertain at wee Tom’s birthday party. One unfortunately placed knife later and he’s throwing custard pies in the big top in the sky. It’s a gleefully warped introduction to Conor McMahon’s silly slasher – a scene so hilariously black that it could have come straight out of The League of Gentlemen. It's also the best part of the film.
Director: Paco Plaza
Cast: Leticia Dolera, Diego Martin
Handheld cameras. Scary zombies. Wetting your pants. Take everything you expect from a REC film and roll it into one big ball. Now throw that ball away. Because REC 3: Genesis is not really a REC film at all. Disappointing news for you, perhaps, but good news for your pants.
Director: Matthias Hoene
Cast: Rasmus Hardiker, Michelle Ryan, Harry Treadaway, Alan Ford, Richard Briers, Honor Blackman
Showing: Thursday 23rd August 9pm
Prick up your donkeys, me old china plate, cos the brown bread are coming back to porridge knife – and they’re headed straight to Hackney. I ain’t taking the gypsy’s. It’s all Babe Ruth. But even Queens Park Ranger than that? This high-concept, low-brained pile of Albert Halls is proper Easter Bunny. You heard Isle of Wight: Cockneys vs Zombies? It's well Robin Hood.
(No, I have no idea what I’m writing either.)
FrightFest The 13th announces biggest line-up yet
Sunshine. Football. Happiness. That’s not what summer is about. It’s about blood. And guts. And darkened rooms. And Ethan Hawke. Not necessarily in that order.
Yes, FrightFest is back. And it’s got its biggest line-up ever ever ever. (That’s THREE “evers”, math fans.)
Sinister, The Posession, Chained, Maniac, V/H/S, Tower Block, The Seasoning House, Berberian Sound Studio.
I could go on listing films but I won’t because there are a whopping 48 of them in total. All in one building over one weekend. That’s 11 countries, 15 world premieres, 23 UK/European premieres and a batshit load of gore. Plus killer clowns, cockneys and zombies.