Well folks, I’ve spent the past four days gorging myself on gory films and Scottish delicacies. I thought I would take this opportunity, as I recover from my extravaganza of grotesque indulgence, to give an overview of the festival. I’ll talk more on the specific films in the coming days.
Glasgow FrightFest, now in its ninth year, showcases new and diverse horror films from around the world. You might say it’s the little brother of the London FrightFest, which runs for five days every August bank holiday weekend. Both festivals attract hundreds of people from far and wide, all united in their love for “the dark heart of cinema”. My Friday and Saturday were spent at the Glasgow Film Theatre, a cozy, classic cinema decked out in dark wood, brass bars and red plush carpets. The cinema was packed and buzzing with excited nerds, many of them wearing t-shirts emblazoned with horror posters ranging from the classics to the campy. I kept hearing film titles and directors’ names casually thrown around in conversation, always met with nods of recognition and approval rather than the blank stares I’m accustomed to receiving from most of my friends. I felt surrounded by my own people. There was a wide age range in attendance, with a roughly even mix of 20-, 30-and 40-somethings, with maybe a 70/30 male/female split.
I spent the first night at the opening event, “Ti West in Conversation”, which took place in a smaller, more intimate theatre than the rest of the festival. The 33 year-old House of the Devil director talked about his challenges as a young filmmaker, his stylistic experimentations, and his future plans. I even got to meet him after the interview!
After that, the 11 films of the festival were shown in marathon format, with 5 on Friday and 6 on Saturday, and half-hour refreshment breaks in between each movie. Most of the films were introduced in person by their directors and followed by a Q&A period afterward. A lot of the filmmakers hung around for both days, mingling with fans in the bar or lobby in between films. This, for me, was one of the more remarkable aspects of going to a festival like this one. You don’t just go to watch movies! The organisers of the event spiced things up with lots of retro trailer reels and prize giveaways. It’s these extras that bring horror fans back year after year, many of them making the pilgrimage up to Glasgow in February, then to London in August for FrightFest and to various cities in October for the Allnighter, reuniting with old friends each time. As for me, I met some fellow genre nut friends whom I can’t wait to meet up with at the London fest, if at all possible!
Now, to tide you over until the next post, here are some fun, gory statistics, gathered by yours truly, about the 11 Glasgow FrightFest flicks:
8/11 of the films had someone tied to a chair at some point
6/11 of the films involved chainsaws or circular saws
5/11 of the films had people set on fire, with 4 of them involving gasoline.
4/11 of the films involved beheading.
3/11 of the films involved people lying convulsing on their backs with white foam spilling out of their mouths.
3/11 of the films involved people asphyxiating with plastic bags over their heads.
3/11 of the films involved wrist cutting.
2/11 of the films starred Joe Swanberg.
And the award for the hottest guy goes to:
Ryan Corr from Wolf Creek 2
with runner-up Graham Skipper from Almost Human
And presenting the hottest girl:
Katharine Isabelle from Torment
And runner-up Luna Maya from Killers
Stay tuned for some shameless Ti West fangirling and my personal ranking of the films!