Every year the terror grows. The UK's Film4 FrightFest has moved on from its original resting place at the Prince Charles Cinema to Odeon West End in 2005, and then to the mighty Screen 1 at Empire, Leicester Square in 2009. That same year the parallel Discovery Programme was added in a second screen at Empire, last year there was a second Discovery (or ReDiscovery) Programme on a third screen – and this year we can expect further escalation of the odd, the eerie and the outrageous, as a fourth screen (dubbed FrightFest Extras) has been added, giving festivalgoers a second chance to catch any popular titles that they have missed on the Main Screen.
There will be 48 (!!) new features, four repertoire titles (Nosferatu, Corruption, The Fall of the House of Usher and the unmissable Wake In Fright), three episodes of Adam Green's horror-oriented sit-com Holliston, plus short films and trailers. That is almost too much fear to be packed into the four and a half days around the August Bank Holiday weekend – but too much is never enough for a festival devoted to the extreme and the excessive.
With the full festival/programme just released, there is a lot still to absorb, but several things already stand out. First there appears to be very little rape, which will make something of a contrast with last year's abuse-heavy line-up. Second, this is the year of the sequel, with festival opener The Dead 2: India, as well as Curse of Chucky, Hatchet III, V/H/S 2, I Spit On Your Grave 2 and Outpost: Rise of Septsnaz, all vying to revive the dead (or at least to repeat offend), while the remake of We Are What We Are is reportedly better than the original. Hell, with Sadik 2, there is even a faux sequel. Thirdly, documentaries have a good showing in this year's slate (Rewind This!, The American Scream and the intriguing-sounding On Tenderhooks). And last but not least, several of the films on the programme feature unexpected directors, like The Dyatlov Pass Incident (Renny Harlin!), Dark Touch (Marina de Van!!), The Hypnotist (Lasse Halström!!!) and Willow Creek (Bobcat Goldthwait!!!!).
Curse of Chucky.
For now I am particularly looking forward to Vincenzo Natali's Haunter, Juan Carlos Medina's Painless, Eric England's Contracted and especially the festival closer Big Bad Wolves from the Israeli team that previously gave us Rabies – but FrightFest is always pulling out surprises (especially in its Discovery Programme), and the only real way to feel the horror is to take the plunge and see it for yourself. You will be in good company, as FrightFest boasts the friendliest collective of depravity addicts to be found anywhere.
FrightFest takes place 22-26 August, 2013. Weekend passes, day passes and individual tickets will all go on sale tomorrow (Saturday 29 June), and tend to get snapped up fast. For details (and the full FrightFest programme), visit their official website.
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