FrightFest 2017 – Day Three

“Fear changes people.”

A lovely Saturday morning in the finest city in the world. Seems like another perfect day to hide out in a dark, air conditioned cinema watching scary movies all day for Andrew Brooker, who rejoins a few hundred horror fans for the third day of this year’s FrightFest.

I’m back alongside my little group of people in aisle D this morning after an awful night’s sleep listening to a dripping air-con unit, like some form of first world Chinese water torture. We’re all looking a bit worse for wear.

As neck ache setts in, me and my row wonder how we’re going to watch two subtitled films on this enormous screen; and the only thing keeping me going is a steady stream of coffee from the beautiful caffeine angels out in the foyer (thank god for that Cineworld discount at the counter).

Saturday begins with…

The Bar (UK Premiere)

I’m starting to think that the guys behind the festival have focussed hard on the comedy this year as another one billed for laughs opens the day.

Playing like a Spanish Right at Your Door with a healthy dose of every cabin fever film you’ve ever watched, The Bar pits eight strangers against each other and the outside world as a surprise quarantine is erected around them for reasons they are yet to work out.

A brilliantly crafted one-location thriller that leaves you feeling panicked and claustrophobic really has set El Bar (sorry, not sorry) high for the day.

Alone (UK Premiere)

Ok. A French movie based on a comic book about a teenager who wakes up one day and can’t find a single solitary soul anywhere? As much as I don’t really think it’s a horror, I was picturing something like I Am Legend with the second film of the day. That is not what I got.

When schoolgirl Leila wakes up in a city completely devoid of life, with absolutely no idea where anyone is or what happened, she decides to take charge of her own destiny and figure it out. Joining up with a few other apparent survivors, the group have to find their way out of a city while being chased by a mysterious stranger on one side and a boiling cloud of death on the other.

A weird one here. I kinda liked it, even if it did feel very much like a sequel baited rip off of The Hunger Games. But I’m clueless as to what it’s doing here.

To Hell and Back: The Kane Hodder Story (World Premiere)

The man himself was in attendance for the world’s first showing (ish – I’ve read reviews of it already, so we can’t be the first) of the documentary based on his book, Unmasked.

A very candid couple of hours spent with the man that’s killed more people on screen than anybody in movie history doesn’t need me to advertise it. This is the true story behind the accident that left him scarred and how he dealt with the aftermath, both physically and mentally; and everything that happened since to make him a genuine icon in the industry and the definitive Jason Voorhees.

Not a dry eye in the house for this one. For a guy who’s made a career out of killing people in the most horrendous and creative ways, To Hell and Back shows a side of him that might surprise some.

Should be required viewing for anyone who calls themselves a fan of the genre Hodder calls home.

Victor Crowley (European Premiere)

Talking of Kane Hodder.

Having only just familiarised myself with the amazing Hatchet series, I was very much looking forward to this one. Both Hodder and director Adam Green were in attendance to talk about the real life inspirations for this fourth entry in to the franchise.

Victor Crowley needs no introduction (even to someone like me who hadn’t seen the films), so I’ll leave you simply with a quick summary: Ten years after the last appearance of Crowley, he’s accidentally resurrected and brings all his angry, violent, vengeance fuelled tendencies with him.

Some beautifully gory kills that elicited cheers from the audience, including possibly the most brilliant and gruesome use of a removed appendage you’ve ever seen and maybe the best out-of-nowhere dick joke to ever be put to film, are just a couple of highlights to this delightfully nasty, darkly hilarious slasher.

Green’s extended standing ovation was well deserved.

Game of Death (European Premiere)

No, not a Bruce Lee movie, but another perfect late-night gore-fest to close out Day Three.

When a party of hipster douchebags trip across an old board game, they decide to give it a play. When the game wakes up and takes a sample of their blood, things get a little more sinister. Given an expected body count and the rules, this herd of dickweeds must kill 24 people before a timer runs down or the game will substitute their victims by making the players’ heads explode one at a time.

Some of the best fun with Game of Death comes from watching this pack of twats suffer at the game’s hands. Pointless Instagram loving asshats who deserve to have their heads explode. The rest of it comes from watching this superbly paced murder-fest kill as many people as it can throw at our gamers, including a couple in very imaginative ways. A decent closer for the day.

There is Day Three over and done with. This equals my record from last year’s festival and tomorrow sees me spend longer here than before. Ok, so I skipped out on a film after the documentary so I could get some dinner, but I’m not too fussed about that.

Tomorrow is another day.

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