FrightFest 2017 – Day Two

“The great pyramids wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for pussy.”

Embarking on a second journey to London in as many days, on a dangerously low amount of sleep, regretting the choice of jeans for his hot-as-balls morning commute, Andrew Brooker heads back into the fray of the Horror Channel FrightFest.

Today is going to be absolutely mental. I’ve got a shit load of running around to do between cinemas to catch one of the Discovery screen films. On top of that, I’ve got to run to Covent Garden and check into a hotel between films two and three because the bastard trains ruined my bastard plans. No, I’m not bitter.

Anyways… films:

Freehold (World Premiere)

I began the day with one of the creepiest concepts. Freehold starts by giving you the willies as it answers the age old question “who drank all the milk?” as a slick London estate agent is (for want of a better word) haunted by a guy living in his wardrobe… and his walls, and under his bed, etc.

Freehold shifts tones all over the shop as first time director Dominic Bridges and his star, Radio 1Xtra DJ Mim Shaikh, take us from creepy stalking film, to deeply dark black comedy that saw roars of laughter from the Horror Channel Screen. But when gags give way to let the final act play through, something far more sinister and unexpected rears its head.

Seems that the best film so far are ones that are perfectly blending horror and comedy. Long may that be the case.

A mad dash round to the Prince Charles Cinema for…

Fashionista (English Premiere)

A returning title from Glasgow FrightFest earlier this year, Johnny Frank Garrett’s Last Word director Simon Rumley reunites with his Red White and Blue star Amanda Fuller for this twisting and turning tale of sex, murder and addiction.

April (Fuller) co-owns a store with her husband Eric (Ethan Embry). She slowly goes out of her mind when she starts to suspect that her other half may not be the ever-faithful companion she once thought he was. Add to that friends seemingly prepared to stab her in the back at every turn, mysterious strangers pulling her into sexualised fantasy role playing games, and the occasional murder, and it’s all go for our heroine.

A fan of both Fuller and Rumley for a few years, I was looking forward to this one and the knowledge that it was returning from an earlier festival made it all the more exciting. Fashonista wears its The Neon Demon visual inspiration on its sleeve, even if it is a little more low-budget, but was a real treat.

Radius (European Premiere)

Pace slows down as we hit the halfway stretch of the second day with a sci-fi thriller about Liam (Diego Klattenhoff) who not only has no memory from before a nasty looking car accident, but literally radiates death. He and fellow amnesia stricken Jane (Charlotte Sullivan) try to figure out who they are, if (and how) they know each other, and to solve the issue of people dropping like flies – or dead birds – around them.

Whether they like it or not, Blacklist star Diego Klattenhoff and Chicago Fire star Charlotte Sullivan’s characters are stuck with each other in co-director Caroline Labrèche and Steeve Léonard’s twisty little thriller that was not only a very good film, but the perfect way to roll into lunchtime.

68 Kill (European Premiere)

68 Kill exemplifies the beauty of going into these films blind. This fucking thing came out of nowhere – and it blew the roof off the place.

This gorgeous, blood splatter-filled comedy thriller starts with a trashy trailer park couple, Chip and Liza (Matthew Grey Gubler and AnnaLynne McCord), who steal $68,000 from a slimy asshole, killing him and his wife in the process. Taking a woman hostage as they escape, insanity is the order of the day as Chip finds himself crossing paths with every strong headed, bad ass, slightly more than slightly psychotic woman in the country as he tries to make his escape from his shitty life.

A real laugh-a-minute caper that no one was expecting it to be quite this enjoyable before, yet there we all were, howling with laughter at the hapless moron running away from these women that you can’t help but want to cheer for. My favourite of the day, and currently the one to beat as my top one for the whole weekend.

Leatherface (World Premiere)

The original hillbilly horror movie that really didn’t need a prequel. But here we are.

As much as I love the genre, I’m not the biggest fan of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I understand its importance, but I’m just not that bothered about it. However, I really wanted to give this prequel a chance.

Ten years after an angry and vengeful sheriff (Stephen Dorff) takes the youngest of the Sawyer children away from their toxic family, including their violent, twisted mother (Lily Collins), the original takes a page from the modern master’s playbook and basically turns Rob Zombie’s Haddonfield scenes into the reason for Leatherface’s existence.

Sadly, while the slasher bits were fun, every shot screamed of studio interference and the heart and soul – yes I’m calling it soul – of the franchise seemed to be substituted for a safe plot and generic edit. An interesting ending that played with our expectations couldn’t save this one. It’s not bad, but compared to most of the rest of the day, it’s not that good either.

Dead Shack (UK Premiere)

It seems as though for the most part, Friday was the day reserved for the lighter hearted films and so we had more comedy to end the night with.

When three kids on a family camping trip in the woods accidentally stumble across a gory murder-come-zombie feeding, they flee the scene hoping that their drunken dad can help. He can’t. As the intrepid (if pretty stupid) kids dig into what they’ve discovered, they never expect what it is they eventually uncover.

As a Fright Night inspired tale that feels like it took a thing or two from Stranger Things, Canadian director Peter Ricq’s (The League of Super Evil) horror comedy was the perfect, hilarious, splatter-filled fun way to end the day.

And that, as they say, is that.

Day two over and done with, with a few highly anticipated films tomorrow that includes not one but two Kane Hodder films; it’s time to get my head down. Roll on Saturday.

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