Arrow Video FrightFest will go virtual for the second time in 2020, having taken the decision to cancel its planned physical event at the Cineworld, Leicester Square, due to continuing COVID restrictions. The forty-five feature film line-up will merge the in-cinema selection with brand new titles to provide an online festival experience from Oct 21-Oct 25.
As with the August Digital event, the programme will be split between The Arrow and Horror Channel Screens, with the addition of a third, the Zavvi Discovery Screen. Pass holders will be able to choose what to watch across all three screens with the additional bonus of the Wednesday night features. All films, including the two Short Film Showcases, will be streamed as live, and only once. All films are geo-locked and can only be viewed in the UK.
Passes and Tickets go on sale today at 6pm. For detailed information on the line-up, ticketing details & event guidelines: https://frightfest.co.uk
The monstrous menu kicks off on Wednesday night with the World Premiere of HELD, described as “Parasite and Get Out meets The Stepford Wives”, from The Gallows franchise directors Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff. It’s followed by the UK Premiere of Courtney Paige’s THE SINNERS, a gripping occult take on the Seven Deadly Sins.
On Thursday be prepared for vengeful spirits, evil awakenings, ghost cops and disappearing synchronised swimmers as four UK Premieres are presented, including Chris Smith’s pre-World War II horror THE BANISHING, Hayden J. Weal’s hilariously ghoulish murder mystery DEAD, the terrifying cosmic chiller SACRIFICE, starring Barbara Crampton, the trippy and the Lynchian fantasy thriller STRANGER. There is also a European Premiere for THE BRAIN THAT WOULDN’T DIE, a pitch-perfect recreation of the 1962 cult classic and a World Premiere for DANGEROUS TO KNOW, David Simpson’s mesmerising three-hour journey into a dark psychological labyrinth of murder, madness and revenge.
Crazy cultists, wicked witch hunters and brutal home invaders are on show in Friday’s action-packed line-up, headed by the UK premieres of Neil Marshall’s plague-driven tour-de-force THE RECKONING and Julius Berg’s THE OWNERS, in which the seventh ‘Doctor Who’ Sylvester McCoy and Swinging Sixties icon Rita Tushingham take on Maisie Williams and her invading gang. Also taking on some nasty home invaders is feisty babysitter in the World Premiere of Kohl Glass’ nerve-shattering BABYSITTER MUST DIE.
Then there are UK premieres for Andrew Thomas Hurt’s crazy action body horror SPARE PARTS, Aaron B Koontz’s bloodthirsty hybrid Western horror THE PALE DOOR, Takeshi Kushida’s captivating and visually mesmerizing WOMAN OF THE PHOTOGRAPHS, Lodewijk Crijins’ TAILGATE, a Dutch Duel with a ferocious bite, Adrian Langley’s brutally served dish BUTCHERS, Jens Dahl’s sinister biohacking thriller BREEDER and the Argentina powerhouse writer/director Laura Casabé is back with THE RETURNED, her most shocking film to date. There is also a European Premiere for Jeffrey Reddick’s DON’T LOOK BACK, a new take on supernatural karma and its horrific consequences, and a World Premiere for Will Jewell’s CONCRETE PLANS, in which class war tips five builders into bloody warfare.
Saturday’s programme brings fourteen more deadly choices, highlighted by the banner FrightFest Presents title RELIC, first time writer/director Natalie Erika’s unforgettable new spin on the haunted-house movie – a theme that, laced with isolation and murderous desperation, runs through LET’S SCARE JULIE, which is cleverly filmed in one uninterrupted continuous take. Home invasion is taken to new gory heights in Canadian entry FOR THE SAKE OF VICIOUS, and family secrets trigger explosively violent consequences in BROIL, from the producer of It Follows, and BLOOD HARVEST – Thomas Robert Lee’s dark, coming-of-age shocker (US Title: The Curse of Audrey Earnshaw),
Home-grown talent rises to the fore. Marc Price is back with the World Premiere of his space survival thriller DUNE DRIFTER and a home-grown survival thriller with a more pernicious intent is Adam Leader and Richard Oakes’ possession pandemic debut feature HOSTS, which also enjoys a World Premiere. Two more Brit entries with powerful punchlines are HECKLE, which stars Steve Guttenberg, Toyah Wilcox, Nicholas Vince and Dani Dyer, and THE WORLD WE KNEW, where gangsters battle demons in a Neo Film Noir with a dark, existentialist twist. Then we have Patricio Valladares’ EMBRYO, a deliriously twisted tale of alien insemination, cannibalism and true love, and the World Premiere of Tyler Russell’s CYST, where a giant cyst monster goes on the rampage.
Plus we have three Horror Channel sponsored ‘First Blood’ entries: the World Premieres of Danielle Kummer and Lucy Harvey’s wonderfully infectious ALIEN ON STAGE, David Ryan’s blood-soaked REDWOOD MASSACRE: ANNIHILATION, starring Danielle Harris. And the UK Premiere of Karl Holt’s BENNY LOVES YOU, where Chucky meets Fatal Attraction. Horror Channel’s Manager, Stewart Bridle, will declare the winner of the inaugural FrightFest First Blood: Horror Channel Best Film Award 2020, via a filmed presentation. Also in the frame for the award are THEY’RE OUTSIDE and PLAYHOUSE, which played at the August Digital event.
On Sunday, FrightFest’s global celebration of the genre comes to an action-packed conclusion with entries from three continents. From South America there are three gems: Luciana Garraza’s SCAVENGER, a slice of cruel Argentinian sci-fi action horror, FUNERAL HOME, a harsh and heart-breaking Argentinian haunted house horror and ORIGIN UNKNOWN, an innovative dark action fantasy from Mexico’s Rigoberto Castañeda.
From the USA and closing the festival, is the World Premiere of SKYLIN3S, the thrilling third entry in the epic sci-fi Skyline franchise. Once again written and directed by co-creator Liam O’Donnell, we see Captain Rose Corley on a nerve-shedding 72-hour mission to save humanity.
Continuing Stateside, we have UK Premieres for HONEYDEW, where a young couple seek refuge in a house belonging to an unforgettable new geriatric horror villain, and murder has a new cutting edge in Jill Gevargizian’s stunning debut feature THE STYLIST, starring Brea Grant and Najarra Townsend, Another American female director continuing to make her mark is Imitation Girl helmer Natasha Kermani, back with LUCKY, a clever slasher satire; a disturbing potent metaphor for our troubling times. The ever prolific Brea Grant not only stars but also wrote the script.
Canada has come up with the on-trend couture horror comedy of the year, so get ready for the UK Premiere of Elza Kephart’s SLAXX, the tightest fitting bloodbath in history as a pair of vengeful jeans goes on the rampage. Another Canadian selection is THE NIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS, where an FBI agent is tasked to track down a psychotic couple posing as Santa and Mrs. Claus. There is also a great British debut from director Damian McCarthy with CAVEAT, a terrifying journey through madness and memory loss.
The Short Film Showcases are back as part of the programme, and the UK is represented by twelve chilling choices, including the world premieres of Dan Auty’s detection thriller WATCH, William Allum’s lock-down horror NIGHT FEED, Crystal Yu’s waking nightmare ARE YOU SLEEPING, James Charalambides’ journey into musical madness with MELOMANIAC and Daniel Rands’ PEEKING, where sounds take on an ominous meaning. There are also entries from USA, Cuba, South Korea, The Netherlands, Canada and Spain.
Programmer Shelagh Rowan said today: “We were thrilled with the reception of the shorts showcases in August, and we’re delighted to bring you even more amazing shorts for October. With films from home and abroad, there’s horror, sci-fi, animation, comedies and dramas with monsters and ghouls, all to frighten and amaze you.”
Four extra shorts have been added to the programme: Italian director Federico Zampaglione’s BIANCA: PHASE 1 and BIANCA: PHASE 2 – a double-bill of creepy family stories set in Rome under lockdown, which Zampaglione shot single-handedly on his iPhone, LITTLE WILLY, Andrew Bowser’s dark comedy about a failed actor’s distorted relationship with the puppet he found fame with and WHY WAKE A SLEEPING CHINCHILLA?, a supernatural horror oozing classic 70s vibes, with a pinch of J-horror.
Of course, FrightFest wouldn’t be the same without some sneak previews and tantalising trailers. Plus they’ll be plenty of guests popping up to introduce their films and the FrightFest directors will be there to preside over proceedings.
FrightFest co-director Alan Jones said: “The latest safety regulations and social distancing measures brought in to contain the spread of Covid-19 meant we had no other choice but to cancel our much-anticipated physical edition of FrightFest in October. So the only option open to Team FrightFest, despite all the hard work everyone has put in over the past months, was to take the new normal by its devil horns and reconfigure FrightFest 2020 once more to give everyone an important horror fantasy lifeline. Our virtual event in August was so well received that we knew we had to do it again – with even more picks of want-to-see new releases, hot previews, unusual options and first-rate titles. Enjoy”.
We’d like to thank our two main sponsors: Arrow Video, Horror Channel, Zavvi & Den of Geek.