FrightFest 2013 programme highlights
The directors of the horror film festival talk us though 2013’s Glasgow Film Festival line-up
FrightFest has rapidly become one of the most popular events at the Glasgow Film Festival, selling out way in advance. This year will be no exception, especially when you take a look at the line-up of horror they have prepared. Plus the small fact that a certain Mr Eli Roth will be in attendance. We met up with Alan Jones and Ian Rattray (who run FrightFest alongside Greg Day and Paul McEvoy) for an exclusive look at this year’s movies.
Friday 22 February
The American Scream (1pm): The FrightFest weekend kicks off with a documentary
Ian Rattray: That’s one of my finds, I discovered that in Austin at Fantastic Fest. It’s a documentary about three families in a small New England town who each Halloween turn their own home into a haunted house and people come along and get scared. It’s not there to laugh at them, it laughs with them and it’s really quite touching.
Sawney: Flesh of Man (3pm): Scottish cannibal action
Alan Jones: We showed this in London in August, Ian found this in Cannes and he liked it so much we thought we’d better have a look at it and it’s incredibly we’ll made. It’s a really really good film.
Ian Rattray: It’s made by two men from Aberdeen. This is their first film and it looks amazing. The performances, because it was shot over there years, are variable, but it works.
Alan Jones: It was a no brainier really to bring it back to Scotland where they shot it.
Ian Rattray: They really have made a good film. It sold to Lionsgate in the US and has been picked up for the UK via us.
Ian Rattray: That splits us.
Alan Jones: I’m going to be very honest on this. I hated it.
Ian Rattray: But Paul [McEvoy] loves it.
Alan Jones: When we first saw it, that’s exactly how it went. You either go with it or you don’t. We have a history with Rob. He came over with House of 1000 Corpses, he has a fanbase and we knew that fanbase was eager to see it, but I’m having nothing to do with it [laughs].
Alan Jones: I was on the set of this, and i’ve been tracking it. It’s really a new take on vampires, and not in a naff Twilight sparkly vampire way but in a really adult way. It’s Neil Jordan going back to his Interview with a Vampire roots. I think Gemma Arterton is wonderful in it. It’s very similar to a 70s film called Daughters of Darkness. I’m not saying they ripped it off, but that’s where it’s coming from. I thought the story was remarkable. It plays off in three time zones and it’s really, really well done. It’s a different film. It’s a contrast, and that’s what FrightFest always tries to do. We’re hoping to have Gemma Arterton with us, but that's to be confirmed.
Detention of the Dead (11pm): Friday ends with some zombie action
Alan Jones: At this time of night, you want something naff and trashy.
Ian Rattray: And naff and trashy is just what it is [laughs].
Alan Jones: People can have a drink and a laugh. There’s always one film at FrightFest that gets the audience shouting or slagging it off and that’s what it’s there for.
Saturday 23 February
Black Sabbath (10.45am): Day two starts with this classic Italian horror anthology
Ian Rattray: This is the first time this version has been screened.
Alan Jones: I’m the big Mario Bava aficionado. I love the Italian version, Three Faces of Fear, but Black Sabbath is the only way most people have seen it, which is the American cut-down and rejiggled version. This is the restored version and it’s the first time it’s ever been shown in the world. I’m really happy - it really is a remarkable piece of work from one of the Italian masters.
Bring Me the Head of the Machine Gun Woman (1.15pm): Grindhouse action from Chile
Ian Rattray: That’s another of my Austin finds. It’s an exploitation movie. Basically it’s this deadbeat who spends his life playing video games, but then he meets the girl in the game in real life. She turns out to be real, but in the process of betraying her he falls in love with her. It’s different.
Alan Jones: Our grindhouse slot.
The Bay (3.30pm): Parasites invade a coastal town
Alan Jones: It is probably the best found footage movie we’ve seen. It’s very well integrated, very well done. It’s much scarier than you expect and it’s by Barry Levinson and you don’t usually get somebody of his calibre making a movie like this unless it’s going to be something special - and this one is. It’s going to surprise a lot of people. It’s very creepy actually, it’s all about parasites and it’s been very cleverly put together.
Unfortunately, with found footage movies, what you’re going to find is that most horror fans don’t like them but the general public do, because it’s a safe way in. With the Paranormal Activity movies they know going in that they aren’t going to see any gore but they do like the jumpy stuff. They think it’s fun when a shadow goes across the screen - they go ‘ooh ahh’ - that’s what makes these movies a safe option. Found footage is going to be with us for some time yet.
The ABCs of Death (6.15pm): 26-part horror anthology
Alan Jones: Going in, I thought it was going to be terrible. Three minute films from 26 directors each taking a letter of the alphabet, but you get to H, then you get to J, and you realise it's pretty good.
Ian Rattray: There’s a few dodgy ones.
Alan Jones: But you get through to P, and usually with an anthology film I think “OK this one’s alright but let’s move onto the next one”, but this one is really good. Hélène Cattet and Forzani’s is particularly good. If you liked Amer, which we showed a few years ago then you will love ‘O is for Orgasm.’ We’ve got Simon Rumley coming to promote his ‘P is for Pressure’, Jake West coming for ‘S is for Speed’ with the star and Lee Hardcastle who did ‘T is for Toilet’. 130 minutes sounds really long, but they have more or less got it right.
Alan Jones: The thing about Eli is that he comes up with the most brilliant concepts, and to make a disaster movie and actually accentuate the horror is just genius. We’ve all seen Earthquake and The Towering Inferno, but what if you saw that but with real gore and the real nasty stuff - and this is what he does. When he told me how much the film cost, then you see the special effects, you’ll be astonished. I actually thought it was brilliant. It has the best shock of the year in it. I have never seen anybody not react to one particular moment in the film, it’s just brilliant. I love it and we were so delighted when he said he was going to come and I think the audience are going to love it.
Hellfjord (11.30pm): The Norwegian TV series ends the festival with two back-to-back episodes (the other five episodes screen throughout the festival before The Lords of Salem, Detention of the Dead, Black Sabbath, Bring Me the Head … and The Bay)
Ian Rattray: This is my third Austin find. I ended up at two Norwegian films, Fuck Up and Hellfjord. I had no idea what it was, but it was the best day of the festival. Both films were great, although actually, Hellfjord is a TV series. Basically it’s like Twin Peaks - weird characters, really offbeat, set on an island in the north of Norway where no-one is under the age of 67 apart from one girl, everybody smokes, the community centre also doubles as a strip joint, there’s drug smuggling. We’re showing it in chunks across the weekend.
Alan Jones: We didn’t want to be stale about how we show things, and we wanted to shake it up a bit. Ian was raving about it so we thought let’s take a chance. The director should also be coming over, Patrik Syversen, who also did Manhunt, along with the two leads.
Ian Rattray: Each episode is about half an hour, so three and a half hours dotted throughout the festival. The first two are hilarious.
FrightFest at the Glasgow Film Festival on Fri 22 & Sat 23 Feburary.