Frightfest Digital Edition 2020 Line-up
Home invasion: the August FrightFest goes viral 27-31 August
Written by Anton Bitel
Over its two decades, the August FrightFest has haunted all manner of locales, be it the Prince Charles Cinema, Odeon West End, the mighty Empire, Vue (both Leicester Square and Shepherd's Bush) and Cineworld (both Shaftesbury Avenue and Leicester Square)— but 2020 will be the first time that FrightFest enacts a home invasion, creeping right into our living rooms. For while viruses, outbreaks and pandemics have long been staple themes of horror, wreaking zombifying havoc on the infected of fiction, their effect on the organisation of a real mass audience is too apocalyptic to countenance, forcing FrightFest to seek refuge online instead. So over five days, from Thursday 27th to Monday 31st August, the UK's biggest genre festival will be conjuring through the ether 25 features (plus guest introductions, filmmaker Q&As, sneak previews and trailers) in a special Digital Edition, with tickets for its geo-locked screenings going on sale from Sat 1 August.
Following a quiz hosted by Evolution of Horror's Mike Muncer, Thursday evening opens the film programme with the airborne SSploitation antics of Marc Fehse's Sky Sharks, which promises to jump the - well, you know what. After that, there will be the usual, unusual vice and variety, spread over four days and with a range of viewing options. Like the festival itself, several of the titles will have in-house locations: Adam Stovall's melancholic romance A Ghost Waits (resurrected from this year's Glasgow FrightFest), Fionn and Toby Watts' castle horror Playhouse, the agoraphobic uncanny of Sam Casserly and Airell Anthony Hayles' They're Outside, Marcel Walz's Hollywood Hills-set sensory deprivation thriller Blind and Phillip G. Carroll Jr.'s confinement experiment The Honeymoon Phase. Some features even have an aptly online theme, like G-Hey Kim's Don't Click, Ivo van Aart's The Columnist and Tyler Savage's Blinders. And in keeping with our plague times, a hospital is the setting for Brea Grant's darkly comic night nurse nightmare 12 Hour Shift, while infectious disease itself is the subject of Francesco Giannini's Hall.
Rosie Fletcher will host a panel discussion on the effects o f the pandemic on horror film production, while three documentary features will cast their gaze over the industry and its culture: Ruben Pla's The Horror Crowd, Justin McConnell's Clapboard Jungle: Surviving the Independent Film Business, and Steve Villeneuve's Hail to the Deadites. Aside from the usual showcase of horror shorts, there are two multi-director anthology films, Dark Stories from France and the Australian indigenous tales of Dark Place. The Australian connection continues with Jesse O'Brien's carnivorous comedy Two Heads Creek - and then there are all those misfit titles that, in the most agreeable of ways, conform to no obvious schema: Renaud Gauthier's wet-n-wild waterslide murder mystery Aquaslash, Armando Fonseca and Kapel Furman's supernatural serial splatterfest Skull: The Mask, Patrick Rea's lycanthropic revenger I Am Lisa, Chris Moore's wolf-crying Triggered, Logan Thomas' undead actioner There's No Such Thing As Vampires, Emre Akay's honour-killer thriller AV: The Hunt, the mutant mayhem of James Mark's sci-fi actioner Enhanced, and Dean Kapsalis' slow-burn psychodrama The Swerve. So log in, tune in, let the right ones in - and pray that your computer avoids the virus.
The full programme and ticketing information are available at http://www.frightfest.co.uk/
Passes and tickets will go on sale Sat 1 August and all film screenings will be geo-locked to UK audiences and only accessible from within the United Kingdom.