Saturday, 18 August 2012

Surrounded by Plebeians Film4 Frightfest 13th Coverage

It is now just less than one week away from Film4's annual London based horror film festival Frightfest. This is the 13th year of what has become the biggest horror festival in the UK, but this will be my first time in attendance. To be honest I had hardly heard of Frightfest (let alone given any thought to going to it) before this year, but I was unquestionably convinced I had to go soon after discovering it would be playing the UK premiere of a film which I have been waiting to see now for quite a long while.

That film is Nightbreed: The Cabal Cut. Yes, my most anticipated film I'm going to see at a film festival is indeed a redux of a 1990 commercial and critical flop. It's not really that film at all though, as this is the years in creation extended cut of the film more in line with director Clive Barker's original vision for the film. Barker has long been one of my favourite horror maestro's (I'm a huge fan of the Hellraiser mythos) however due to the rarity of Nightbreed (particularly in the UK where it has never seen a DVD release) I've never gotten round to watching it. The film has had a troubled but interesting history involving horrific studio cuts, years of long thought lost footage, and an abandonment of the finished film by both the studio and Barker himself upon its original theatrical release. In recent years however fans of Barker's, and Barker himself have worked tirelessly to resurrect the film, find the lost footage and piece it back together so that the film may be released and seen in the manner it was originally intended. Now in 2012 this complete 3hour redux is being shown across a limited number of cinemas in hopes that the buzz will persuade distributor Morgan Creek to give the film a full remaster on Blu Ray - something that is looking ever more likely as each showing passes. Up until now the film has been shown only across the pond, but next week the UK will get it's first ever showing of the film at Frightfest and I couldn't be more excited to be amongst the audience.

Strangely enough my second most anticipated film is yet another film dug up from the archives, this time James Whale's masterpiece The Bride of Frankenstein. I've always enjoyed the old, Gothic charm of the 1930's Universal Studios horror films and I've been waiting for their Blu Ray remasters for as long as I've owned a Blu Ray player. A collection of the studios finest is about to hit streets in October, but in the mean time we have the new remaster of Bride of Frankenstein showing at Frightfest. I had the pleasure of seeing Frankenstein on the big screen a couple of years ago, so I'm really looking forward to being able to say I've seen the sequel too.
As for new films I've tried to go in with as little knowledge about them as possible, having watched very few trailers, so that hopefully I can be pleasantly surprised by a few of the films. The buzz surrounding a couple of the films however has me very excited, mostly Berberian Sound Studio which seems like a unique little claustrophobic picture, and V/H/S which despite getting mixed reviews overseas has developed a bit of a cult fanbase already. Also, let's not forget Rec 3: Genesis, which again has received mixed reviews, but I saw the first two films in the series a couple of nights ago and was utterly blown away.

Unfortunately due to work I'm unable to make the final day of the festival, so I'll miss out on films like American Mary and The Possession, which although I'm rather disappointed about, cannot be helped. During the festival I'll be posting tidbits and mini-reviews on my Twitter account, and in the week following I'll post full reviews and longer articles about the festival here on the blog.

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